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.
Soon after Barker’s 26 Calibogue Bay was launched, it was joined by a sibling with an eye to the blue water: the Barker 26 Open, a versatile bay/offshore hybrid. And the line is still expanding with a soon-to-arrive 26 Open Tower.
Aptly, the Open’s open space replaces the Calibogue’s forward and aft casting decks; one fishes in, rather than on, the Open, whose cap is a bit higher to create a deeper cockpit too. “Open” might refer both to haunts — bay and offshore — and the floor plan of this hybrid bay/offshore boat. The hull has the same patented stepped-V ventilated tunnel design, for swift, dry trips across all kinds of seas with none of the bad behavior often associated with steps.
For more days offshore, you might opt for a full-tower second station, providing not only the fish-spying attributes of a stand-on, but also the full complement of fish- and direction-finding gear and controls.
At deck level there’s plenty of fishing room behind the 31-inch-wide helm and leaning-post tackle station, which houses a 45-gallon baitwell. (There’s a 15-gallon livewell in the bow, and you can add a pair in the transom.) There’s even more fishing space in the wide-open bow, with generous but unobtrusive in-floor storage. A dozen rod holders flank the console, and the 26 Open has a pair of macerated, insulated fish boxes: one a 50-gallon and one a massive 140.
More Info: barkerboatworks.com