Barker Boatworks 26 Calibogue Bay: 2017 Boat Buyers Guide

A boat offering great flexibility in choosing your ­options to make it one of a kind.

Barker 26 Calibogue Bay
LOA: 25"6' | Beam: 9'3" | Fuel Capacity: 90 gal. | Dry Weight: 4,500 lb. plus power | Max Horsepower: 627Courtesy Barker Boatworks

After 10 years in the boating ­industry, Kevin Barker ventured out on his own, putting his expertise — and indeed, his very name — toward one goal: designing and building what he would proudly call the “ultimate bay boat.”

First, he commissioned ­world-renowned naval ­architect Michael Peters, whose established-in-1981 Michael Peters Yacht Design specializes in ­high-speed boats.

Barker and Peters opted for the patented “Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel” design, with its reputation as having the lowest drag coefficient of any mono hull. That’s a prescription for higher speed, safe and crisp maneuvering, better fuel economy, and an all-around better ride than conventional stepped hulls, the company says. On that hull they created what have become two 26-foot boats: the 26 Calibogue Bay and the 26 Open and the soon-to-arrive 26 Open Tower.

All Barker Boats are built to ­order, and individual hull ­progress is often updated on Facebook. Two identical boats never leave the Barker Boatworks facility. What they share is 100 percent ­vinylester resin and ­composite-cored ­vacuum-infused construction.

And attention to detail: The Barker management team has more than 100 years of combined industry experience, and the ­entire 28-employee staff ­intentionally overbuilds its boats, using the best materials, technology and methods available — achieving yacht-quality fit, finish and rigging.

26 CALIBOGUE BAY

Kevin Barker was born in ­Savannah, Georgia, and grew up on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, off whose shores he formed his first fishing memories with his grandfather Maynard Barker, on Calibogue Sound.

No wonder, then, that his first boat was named in honor of those waters and early outings, its name also reflecting its ­coastal-bay-boat nature.

It’s at home in the shallows, drawing just 14 inches. Its ­18-degree deadrise sends it skimming the waters. It’s a dry ride too. Handling has as much in common with a racing boat — sure and secure — as with a fishing craft. But a fishing boat it is.

Bow (15-gallon) and stern (45-gallon) baitwells make it supremely fishable, and a ­50-gallon insulated and ­macerator-equipped fish box awaits the proceeds. (A pair of optional 25-gallon transom baitwells can extend the fishing day or options further.)

Baker designed the helm to not only contain a head, but also to provide easy access to rigging within hatches there.

Shallow-water anchors keep this stable fishing platform — beamy and stable at 9 feet 3 inches — in place. Everything else about it makes it move — 60 mph and more! It’s ruled by an elegantly clean helm, with digital, not analog, information.