Captain's ReportDefiance 260Small boats with enclosed pilothouses tend to be fairly traditional in appearance, with straight lines and square corners that often look a little, well, clunky. In a refreshing departure from this trend, the new Defiance 260 is an outboard powered pilothouse boat offering more contemporary styling. A bit of downward sweep of the shear at the bow, a steeply raked stem, and a reverse transom combine to give this boat a speedy look even when it is tied to the dock. Appealing angles on the pilothouse and rounded corners on the truck cabin create a far different appearance than its competitors.While looks are important, the purpose of a pilothouse on a small boat is to insulate fishermen from Mother Nature’s less appealing characteristics on the way to and from the fishing grounds, a role the Defiance 260 serves well. The company combined a true deep-V bottom (22 degrees deadrise at the transom) with a reverse chine, forming what they call a “Stable-Trak” hull. The sharp angle of the V bottom gives the Defiance the ability to cut through rough water, but the hook on the chine lessens a deep-V hull’s tendency to roll while trolling or anchored. The reverse chine also helps the boat plane quickly and deflects spray for a dryer ride. While we didn’t have a chance to test the boat in rough water, we did notice another benefit of the hull design, an incredible turning ability. The boat leaned into turns more than a cat, but not as much as most monohulls, and made extremely tight high-speed turns.While many small pilothouse boats are powered by inboard engines, the Defiance 260 takes advantage of performance benefits often associated outboard power. Our test boat, equipped with twin 150 horsepower Honda four-stroke outboards hit a top speed of 45.4 miles-per-hour at 6000 RPM. We planed off in 7.7 seconds and hit 30 miles per hour in 8.4 seconds. While those numbers are impressive, the boat is rated for twin 200 horsepower engines which should make the 260 a rocket ship. If you’re happy with 45 miles-per-hour top end, you’ll probably appreciate the economy of the Honda 150s. We found our best cruising speed of 21.9 miles-per-hour at 3500 RPM, burning 7.7 gallons per hour or 2.86 miles-per-gallon. Even at 5000 RPM where we were making 38.8 miles-per-hour, we were still getting considerably more than two miles-per-gallon. While we didn’t test this boat with twin 200s, we’ve tested other boats with Honda’s 4-stokes and found all of these motors to offer similar economy. The designers of the 260 weren’t satisfied with just good performance and contemporary looks, opting to incorporate some simple yet thoughtful features. For instance, a channel in the side deck catches water flowing down the deck from the bow, diverting it over the side of the boat rather than letting it drain into the cockpit as it would on most boats. This might not matter much while running with everyone protected from spray inside the pilothouse, but will help keep water out of the cockpit while trolling or anchored on a choppy day. Considering this boat is likely to be purchased by fishermen who like to stay dry, this should be a well-appreciated feature.Inside the pilothouse the captain has good visibility from the helm. In addition to numerous windows, the pilothouse door is entirely made of clear plex, providing an excellent view of the cockpit. The optional 12 volt DC refrigerator sits beneath the captain’s seat, and a galley area behind the captain’s chair is easy to access from the cockpit. There is a small dinette across the boat on the port side. While the table drops to form a bed, its really more of a place to sit than sleep, except for children less than 5 feet tall, but the v-berth forward will comfortably sleep two adults, either with the filler cushion installed forming a large double, or without the filler cushion for separate twin bunks. The optional marine toilet sits between the bunks, concealed by the filler cushions when installed. With opening windshields, sliding side windows, and a large overhead hatch in the V-berth, the Defiance 260 offers plenty of ventilation, and for still days in the summertime, Defiance offers air conditioning and a small generator as an option. For cooler climates or extending the fishing season it’s hard to beat a pilothouse, and economical four-stroke outboard power is both easy to trailer and easy on the wallet. Add in the boat’s contemporary lines and the Defiance 260 is a winning combination.Captain Vince DanielloTest Captain
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Defiance Defiance 260(2006-) is 45.4 mph (73.1 kph), burning 28.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 108.63 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Defiance Defiance 260(2006-) is 21.9 mph (35.2 kph), and the boat gets 2.86 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.22 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 348 miles (560.05 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 150 Honda 4-stroke.