The mission of the Jupiter 26 is to provide a well-built center console that is also more "affordable" and more easily trailerable than the larger boats in the company's line. She is first of all a fishing boat and while she has forward seating, an optional table and a standard electric head, family outings are not her primary mission.
What is Affordable?
Affordable is certainly in the eye (or in the checkbook) of the beholder, but in comparing models of this size the field is surprisingly narrow. Where once there were quite a number of 26' center consoles from major builders, there are very few 26’ (7.9 m) center consoles available today as the companies have moved on to 27' or 28' models. Most make the jump from 24’ to 25’ (7.31 m to 7.62 m) right past the 26’ range and pick up again at 27’ to 28’ (8.2 m to 8.5 m).
With twin Yamaha 150-hp 4-strokes the Jupiter 26 tips the scales at $127,250 stripped. Typical options for offshore fishing will easily add another $30,000 to the bottom line (see below). Bounce up to a pair of 200-hp Yamahas with digital shift at throttle, and the price jumps to $137,550.
has a lot to do with driving the price of a boat and this one is well-built and among the heaviest in class. The hull is hand laid with multi-directional biaxial and triaxial knitted fiberglass. A fiberglass uni-grid stringer system is bonded to the hull. PVC foam coring is used for strength and weight reduction.
is a high-density ceramic matrix composite core. And the hull and deck are mechanically fastened and bonded together with fiberglass, something that we see less of these days as most builders have moved a chemical bond using something like 3M 5200. Both are equally strong. We tend to like the fiberglass system because we think if properly done it is more likely to be water tight, although it might not be particularly important on this type of boat. Below the waterline the hull is solid fiberglass. We are told no wood is used in the boat's construction.
This design better accommodates downriggers, outriggers and generally eases boarding -- and sitting. •
Large Fore-and-Aft Transom Design.
We’ve seen several center consoles that have rather narrow transoms with the motor well taking up most of that usable space. Here, the transom remains wide, with both a 35 gal. (159 L) livewell and separate baitwell embedded within, and there’s still plenty of room for the motor well behind. •
Big In-Deck Storage.
A whopping 102 gal. (464 L) fishbox is next to a compartmentalized storage space, all under a single hatch. (In addition, there is a small coffin box forward and the compartments below the forward seating can be used as fishboxes.)•
Beefy Mechanical Gear.
How about a 1,600 gph (7,274 lph) livewell pump? All bronze thru-hull fittings, all with sea-cocks. A pair of 2,000 gph (9,092 lph) bilge pumps. All stainless steel hardware. Auto-retract trim tabs. An all aluminum fuel tank. And every hose below the water line is double clamped. Yes, we know that’s best practice, but start looking closely and see how many don’t do it.
The Outboard Engines.
The Jupiter 26 is first and foremost a center console fishing boat. She’s rated for a maximum of 500-hp and that pretty much guarantees that she’ll be rigged with twins. Jupiter has partnered with Yamaha for the power needs and as such, the 26 can be ordered with twin F150s ($127,250), or twin F200 4-strokes with either mechanical steering and throttle ($133,750) or digital steering and throttle ($135.550).
The engines are mounted behind a massively wide transom that really serves as a rigging station and can accommodate both a 35 gal. (159 L) livewell and separate freshwater sink plumbed to the 30 gal. (114 L) water tank. A door to the starboard side allows for a walkthrough to the platform, and of course can also be used to haul a fish through. If bigger fish are planned, or if scuba diving is on the list of activities for the boat, Jupiter will be more than happy to build in a hull side door, to be priced on request.
The transom door
has a swing-over beefy cap rail which we like because it can take a lot of weight being thrown against it in a sloppy seaway. This is the kind of build one often finds on a battlewagon. We would prefer to see the transom door itself open outward instead of inward, so that it can be used for emergency dewatering of the vessel.
Fish are stored in a deck box that also shares a place with compartmentalized storage. The hatches are held open with struts, are gasketed all around and finished both top and bottom. Just ahead is a leaning post featuring plenty of tackle storage and a rocket launcher.
The center console features a dual seat/leaning post and a port-side mounted helm. Jupiter offers a pretty slick helm seat with an optional wrap-around backrest ($990) that would come in handy in some of the offshore waters we fish in. Virtually all manufacturers worth their salt are now making panels that can accommodate dual displays and this one is no exception.
Jupiter isn’t in the electronics business so any displays are up to the end user, and we welcome this attitude. Typically a builder only goes with one electronics brand and it may not be the one that you want, but that’s tough luck. Here, the choice is up to the consumer. Of course, if pressed, Jupiter will certainly price out a package for a buyer, but having a local installer is also not without its benefits.
The head compartment is pretty minimalist but it’s not like we’re going to have parties in there. There’s standing headroom. It can be fitted with a freshwater washdown ($395) and the electric head with holding tank is a standard feature where others would make it an option over a Porta-Potti. It is accessed on the port side through a hatch which includes part of the overhead making it relatively easy to enter the compartment. The ship's electrical panel is also here. We’d like to see the addition of flip-down hanging hooks on the bulkhead, as the head is always a great place to hang wet foul weather gear out to dry.
Moving to the bow, there’s the usual seat just ahead of the console and two more V-seats fully forward. Under the seats is dry storage measuring in at 65 gal. (246 L) each. Optional removable, forward seating backrests ($1,490) that wrap around the bow can be fitted, and if this is going to crossover into a family boat, that should be a serious consideration ($1,350). Fully forward is a top loading anchor locker and we would probably opt for the windlass to assist with the ground tackle ($4,980, including ss anchor and line).
Aside from the typical “cleats and navigation lights” there are some standouts on the standard features list. Among them…• Electric head with holding tank• Battery charger• Coaming bolsters• Raw water washdown• Electronics compartment at the helmJupiter boats have a good reputation offshore and the 26 is intended to broaden the builder's potential market of buyers.
Options We’d Consider
Jupiter offers a host of options so that the 26 can be dialed-in to a specific owners’ needs. Some of what we would add would include --•
Power Assist Steering ($2,650).
The 26 includes hydraulic steering but long runs through a following sea will wear on a captain’s arms and wrists pretty quickly. •
Windlass with Anchor and Line ($4,980).
This package includes a stainless anchor, and with the amount of bottom fishing we do, this is a must-have. •
Cockpit Lighting ($495).
Because it’s a sure bet that we’ll be out after dark. •
Underwater Lights ($1,750).
The ability of these things to draw fish at night has been well documented. Plus they look very cool. •
Forward Filler Platform with Cushion ($1,390).
Even without a family aboard, this has proven to be a great place to just relax once in awhile. •
Taller Windscreen ($455).
We have taken some serious spray on our trips and a taller windscreen is a nice feature to have in the arsenal.
For Serious Fishing
While the Jupiter 26 comes well equipped for fishing, adding some features on top of the basic package can make or break a great day on the water. At the top of that list is a T-top and Jupiter makes a large fiberglass one that will get the job done. It includes an electronics box and is a good platform for mounting antennas ($19,995.) but we would add some options to this selection. They are--•
We’ll need to put out a spread. •
Handrails for T-top ($995).
These attach port and starboard and we consider them a "must." •
Center Rig ($725).
We like this because it gets to line up high and its entry is away from the back of the boat and in the prop wash at about the point where big billfish might think a bait fish is struggling. •
Powder Coating Package ($2,990).
Oxidizing aluminum posts supporting the heavy T-top are impossible to keep looking good, so we would spring for powder coating any day.
For 3-Season Boaters
For those who live in the northern latitudes and want to extend the season, Jupiter has that covered, so to speak. Add a console windscreen enclosure ($1,990), a dodger with zip-out window ($1,680), and a mooring cover ($2,990).
It’s hard not to love a center console with all its utility, and having a well-built one like the Jupiter 26 makes a good thing that much better. She’s got the legs to go a distance, and her 22-degree deadrise at the transom along with her proven pad on the keel that helps make her faster and possibly slightly more fuel-efficient than she would be without it. Jupiter is what we call a low-production, boutique builder and not a mass-market builder. It is a family owned and run enterprise which cares about the brand's reputation.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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