The day of fishing starts at 6 a.m. Ben Lenda and his compatriots gather at the dock, hop on the boat, and head out of the Narragansett, R.I., marina to chase down some summer flounder and maybe a few stripers or blues.
“We go out and fish until 10 or 11 o’clock, then we head in, checking our lobster traps along the way,” says Lenda, 71, a retired engineer from Narragansett. “We’re usually home around midday. We clean the fish, and we’re done. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the afternoon.”
For some, life doesn’t get much better. Part of Lenda’s fun comes from driving and fishing the 6-year-old boat he bought just a year ago. It’s the 26-foot Glacier Bay 260 Canyon Runner (also known as the 2665 Canyon Runner), a twin-outboard, center console displacement power cat that Lenda tracked down after a thorough search and bought for $55,000.
“I knew about power cats. I’d ridden on some different boats with friends, fishing in Florida,” says Lenda, who’s owned SeaCraft, Grady-White and Sportcraft boats, along with an old Dunphy runabout, a Blue Jay and a Dyer dink. “[The power cats] were great boats, and when I started looking for a new boat, I thought I’d look at dual hulls.”
Lenda and his wife, Joanne, went to boat shows, test riding cats from the major builders. They watched the Internet and classifieds, and traveled as far as New Hampshire looking at potential purchases. “We ended up finding just what we wanted almost right around the corner,” he says. “It was a local ad in the local paper. The owner just wasn’t finding the time to use the boat enough, and we struck a deal.”
The Canyon Runner was in great shape, and had “all the bells and whistles,” says Lenda, including two GPS units, a “first-rate” Furuno fishfinder, console soft top with a full enclosure, and a console head. The boat also had a pair of 150-hp Yamaha HPDI outboards. “They’ve been great,” he says. Cruising speed is 21 to 23 mph at 3,500 rpm, and Lenda’s pushed the boat to 30 or 33 mph at 4,500 rpm. “They power along the boat very nicely.”
None of that would matter if the Glacier Bay wasn’t a good fishing boat, and for Lenda, the Canyon Runner fills the bill. “It has an enormous forward deck, which makes a great casting platform,” he says. “It’s raised up, and you can stand there and cast for bonita or albacore with plenty of room. We use the afterdeck for trolling.” The layout includes a bench seat ahead of the console, a leaning post, two fishboxes and a large live well.
Then there’s the ride. “In a head sea, it’s the best I’ve ever had,” says Lenda. “It’s hard to describe, but the ride is just so soft. The hulls are displacement hulls, so the boat is not inclined to pound. It’s handled all the seas we’ve been in. You can cruise right along; you don’t have to be pulling back on the throttle.”
The boat does “sneeze” a little, says Lenda, referring to power cats’ tendency to spray water from between their hulls in some conditions. “It’s happened a couple of times,” he says. “But only in the roughest conditions.”
Lenda admits he hasn’t gone too far offshore in the Canyon Runner — yet.
“Narragansett Bay offers a lot, and we’re right there, so we mostly go up the bay to Jamestown, and over to Newport, of course,” he says. “We’ve fished around Block Island, the Mudhole and Coxes Ledge.” But he figures he’s got a boat that can do more. “We could go out 30 miles, 50 miles in this boat,” says Lenda. “That’s what it’s made for. And that’s where the tuna are.”
Glacier Bay’s 26-foot Canyon Runner rides a pair of displacement hulls made of foam core/fiberglass sandwich, reinforced below the waterline. Hardware is stainless steel and chromed bronze. The profile shows a straight sheer from bow to stern, ending in downturned “wings” that extend to the integral transom platform. The center console is placed just forward of amidships and includes a two-person leaning post. The standard layout and equipment list offer a number of basic fishing, convenience and safety features. The self-bailing cockpit (lined with cushioned coaming) has insulated fishboxes to port and starboard. The live well is set up abaft the helm seat. There’s also a 13-gallon freshwater system and a saltwater washdown. The boat includes a forward console seat, a Porta-Potti in the console, stainless steel bow rail and locking security cover at the helm.
Options include a choice of Cobalt blue or Fighting Lady yellow hull colors, a swim platform and ladder, bow pulpit with roller and electric windlass, marine head, and Ttop with rocket launchers. A removable stern seat also is available.
There are plenty of Glacier Bay Canyon Runners on the used market, and prices range from less than $40,000 to around $70,000, depending on the boat’s location, gear and general condition. A “like new” dry-stored 1999 model in North Carolina was for sale online for $39,900, with twin 150-hp outboards, T-top with curtains, bow dodger, swim platform and transom shower. Another 1999 boat — “second owner … excellent condition” — in Texas was priced at $65,000 and included radar, a GPS/plotter, fish/depth finder, freshwater washdown, float-on trailer, stereo system, and a pair of 150-hp, 4-stroke outboards. A “loaded” 2001 boat in Florida was listed at $59,000 and included twin 130-hp outboards, a T-top, swim platform, ice chest console seat, downriggers, 40-gallon live well, 21 rod holders, and a trailer. There was a 2004 model in Louisiana selling for $69,000, including a trailer, new depth/fishfinder, a GPS/plotter, VHF, and twin 150-hp outboards with less than 1,000 hours.
Steve Knauth is a contributing writer for Soundings Magazine. This article originally appeared in the October 2007 issue.