An Affordable Cruiser With Many AmenitiesBy Capt. Robert E. SmithNew for 2003 is Monterey’s 268 Sport Cruiser. She is modeled after the revolutionary 298 Sport Cruiser flagship and based on the 268 bowrider’s smaller hull. The SC offers excellent styling cues and a functional Mediterranean day boat inspired cockpit layout.
The first thing you’ll notice when setting your eyes on the SC is the signature sun pad island at the stern of the boat. This sun pad has room for two people to stretch out and enjoy the day, yet allows enough room for a transom walk through. This makes accessing the extended swim platform much safer. Going for swim is easy with the concealed boarding ladder and the smart transom gate, which can be secured with one hand.
Cockpit AreaMoving into the 268’s entertainment area, you will appreciate the expansive room afforded in the cockpit. The use of space is excellent and it is hard to believe that this boat has only an 8 and a half-foot beam. A wedge shaped wet-bar is located to starboard and contains a sink with pressurized fresh water faucet, counter space for snack preparation and storage below for an insulated cooler. Seating in the cockpit is comprised of an aft bench seat and port side bench/chase lounge. Underneath the chase is a storage spot for a large cooler or other items. There is also storage under the aft bench seat for safety gear or other.
At The ControlsAt the helm, you will find a stylish and simple layout. The gauges and switches are all easy to read and use. The tilt steering wheel and gunwale mounted shifter/throttle controls are comfortable until their black rubber covers bake in the sun and turn into skin scalding devils. There is nothing cool about black controls on a boat! Helm seating is accomplished with separate swivel bucket seats with flip-up bottoms for maneuvering. The seats are also adjustable fore and aft for captains of all sizes.
The companionway door is built solid with molded-in steps for access to the foredeck. Sliding the door open reveals the SC’s comfortable cabin. The cabin has a wraparound settee and dining table. The table drops down and a filler cushion can be installed to convert the area into a large V-berth. Directly above the berth is a large round Bomar hatch for light and ventilation. An additional Bomar hatch is positioned vertically on the bulkhead on the port side. This intelligent set-up allows great ventilation when on the hook. Also on the port side, is a storage cabinet with countertop space. Finishing off the cabin is the starboard side private head, complete with a porta-potti and small vanity with a sink.
Engine Package and PerformanceYou can order your SC with engine and drive packages from MerCruiser or Volvo-Penta. Her single engine configuration and stern drive propulsion provide a reliable and economical family fun machine. With the help from dual-counter rotating props, backing into your slip is a breeze. Fuel economy and range are tolerable, thanks to the fuel injected big block motors. You can also opt for the ‘Quick and Quiet’ exhaust system that directs the exhaust through side exiting pipes. At the flick of a switch, the SC goes from a quiet cruiser to a loud, throaty beast. Accessing her engine compartment is easy. The sun pad island doubles as the engine hatch and is manually operated, but is aided by the use of gas-assisted struts. Performance and ride are good on the SC, but I was not impressed with her handling characteristics. Even though our test boat was over propped, tight radius turns at any planning speed were not the SC’s forte. Despite the cavitation felt during slalom trials, the 268 SC is an all around good value. She is an affordable day boat with lots of amenities and world-class styling.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Monterey 268 Sport Cruiser is 49.9 mph (80.3 kph), burning 28.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 106.36 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Monterey 268 Sport Cruiser is 38.5 mph (62 kph), and the boat gets 2.58 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.1 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 223 miles (358.88 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 425-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HO.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!