Posted: January 1, 1988
A Rogue With Dazzling Performance, Practical DesignCruisers Incorporated has a reputation for building stylish, well constructed power boats that make a strong statement about their owners. The rakish Rogue 2860 is just such a boat. Designed for those who like their time on the water fast and thrilling, the boat is speedy yet comfortable. It seems to crouch, not sit, at the dock, ready to spring into action. One tends to be wary of flashy boats, assuming that style may have taken precedence over structural integrity. No such fears are justified this time. Yes, the 2860 is a striking boat, designed to stand out from the crowd. No routine clone of a mainstream sports cruiser, this power machine is a far from the Jim Wynn-designed underbody, a deep-V configuration. The Cruisers design team made important changes to the appearance of the 2860 when they designed an aggressive, clipper-like bow and reverse transom. The slight reverse sheer and two-color stripes reinforce the impression of crouching power. While the somewhat angular windscreen seems slightly at odds with the overall appearance, it is not obtrusive, though I would not be surprised to see a later model with a curved screen. The fiberglass work on the Cruisers Inc. 2860 is excellent, and the structure of the boat is exceptionally strong. Even in lockers and other hidden corners, the finish work is well done, with no skimping of resin or carelessness of application. The deck-hull bond is solid, interior cabinet work of high quality, and the small details well taken care of. Little touches mean a lot when it comes to safety, and the boat's builders seem to agree. Cleats have strong backing plates and stainless steel grab handles are properly placed and installed. The company's unique Cruise-Safe Foam Flotation system is sprayed into various parts of the hull, including the engine room, to ensure the boat does not sink if holed or swamped. Given the speeds the 2860 is capable of, it is comforting to know that the builder has provided not only exceptional hull strength, but a wide safety margin as well. As befits a performance cruiser, the 2860 comes with a variety of engine packages. Most owners choose the twin MerCruiser 260s, but you can select OMC Cobra Twin 230s, less powerful MerCruisers, Volvo Twin 271 Duoprops or twin MerCruiser 330s. Whatever engine package is selected, the owner can anticipate cruising speeds of 30 mph and a maximum velocity of about 50 mph. The moment you start up, you know the growling 2860 means business. The growl settled down to a gentle, vibration-free murmur as we eased out of the dock and navigated through the reaches of Newport Harbor at 1,200 rpm and about five knots, leaving a small wash and turning heads as we passed. Even at low speeds, the steering was sensitive, although the boat needs some distance to turn because of its length and the weight of the engines in the stern. Maneuvering at close quarters is definitely an art, for, as with all boats of this configuration, the turning point of the hull is further astern than with a conventional twin screw vessel. However, once the turning moments are mastered, the 2860 is easy to turn and to back into confined spaces. Once clear of the jetties, we found wind and wave conditions which made testing the upper speed range of the Volvo engines impossible. Even at lower speeds, however, the boat was most impressive. Downwind, the Rogue 2860 slid comfortably onto plane, maintaining 20 to 22 knots at 2500 rpm. The optional trim tabs were invaluable for fine-tuning the ride, so we tracked comfortably at a slight angle to the wind waves. Sharp turns in either direction at this speed were both nimble and controlled. The boat heeled, but the captain remained in control. It responded instantly when we had to slow down suddenly because of some poorly marked lobster pots. As we turned into the sea, we eased off to about 15 knots, a comfortable speed under these conditions that minimized the inevitable tendency toward bow pounding. We were impressed by the stability and steering control, by the boat's ability to respond to small steering changes away from the steep waves. This is a boat that is, of course, at its performance best in smooth water. But when afternoon winds and small waves kick up in open water, it is very stable and sea kindly, provided one uses throttle and trim tabs to maximize comfort and control. An experienced skipper will never have a moment's anxiety if conditions pipe up offshore. And, in smooth water, the power and acceleration with a basically standard engine package are truly remarkable. We enjoyed the scenery from a palatial command station with a comfortable, adjustable helmsman's seat on the starboard side and a double companion seat to port. The command console with small, leather covered wheel is logically arranged. A VHF radio and Loran can be installed in a convenient cubbyhole just astern of the engine throttles. The rest of the crew lounge in contoured seats in the self draining cockpit aft. I was impressed with the careful thought that had been given to grab handles and other safety features. For example, a large light signals and a buzzer sounds on the dashboard if the stern gate is left ajar. You enter the boat through the stern, for the reverse transom provides an excellent step and convenient handles make life easy for divers and swimmers. Access from the cockpit to the foredeck requires considerable agility. There is a step just astern of the spoiler, but from there you have to scramble onto a very narrow side deck, which could be tricky under way, and requires contortion even in harbor. Anti-skid finish makes moving around the deck much safer, as well as keeping sunbathing cushions in place. The anchor platform and roller lead to a sturdy samson post and a hinged anchor well at the forward end of the cabin top. Both hinges and securing bolt appear flimsy; a wise owner would replace them. Two large hatches in the cockpit floor give you access to the engines, with all routine maintenance points close at hand. The bilge pumps are also easily accessible, a convenience that many designers forget. The batteries are located on the port side and are less accessible than on some boats. I would have preferred to have them mounted in their own box with stronger mounts, but the standard fixture is certainly adequate for inland waters. It is reassuring to see the foam-filled fiberglass boxes on either side of the engine room, an important safety feature in open water. One steps down from the forward end of the command station into the cabin, which has more than six feet of headroom. The carefully coordinated interior colors make one feel immediately at home. A pleasing combination of rubbed teak, carpeting, easily cleaned formica surfaces and fire resistant, textured deck headliner gives a nicely understated sense of luxury and space that belies the overall length and beam of the boat. Three Lexan hatches, two side ports, and a rear bulkhead sliding window provide plenty of light and more than adequate ventilation for hot summer nights. A double berth is immediately to port of the entry, with the galley extending the length of the main saloon. A double sink and two burner alcohol stove (a combination electric version is a recommended option) fill the counter top, so the designers have added a hinged shelf at the aft end next to the sink. This can double as a place to stack dishes or serve food. All counter surfaces throughout the boat are Formica covered. A small refrigerator, described as a mandatory option, and a drawer and storage closets tuck in under the counter top. The designers have made ingenious use of the high sides of the cabin top to provide hinged lockers close to the deck head. An astonishing amount of gear can be stored out of sight in them, and also on the shelf along the port side above the aft berth, where the electrical panel and optional stereo are located. A cozy dinette opposite the galley converts into a double berth, with large bins under each seat. A nicely designed head with basin and shower tucks away aft by the companionway, a convenient location both at anchor and under way. I liked the large mirror, which added a pleasant illusion of spaciousness. The snug forward cabin can be closed off from the saloon with a folding door that hinges back against a galley locker. A sliding panel closes the low bulkhead between dinette and fore cabin to give complete privacy. The double berth is to starboard with a narrow, upholstered seat to port. The 2860 comes with a choice of striking accent stripes in blue, burgundy, or terra cotta. The extensive options list allows each skipper to dress the boat up with all kinds of goodies, including air conditioning and heating, dockside water inlets, hot water systems, a gas powered generator, cockpit shower, and remote control spotlight. Most owners will select a more modest set of options, enough for them to cruise for three or four days in comfort. With its shallow draft and high performance, the 2860 is at its best as a weekend retreat, a base for exploring reefs, coves, and small anchorages, and short distance cruising. The Rogue 2860 is a versatile and functional power cruiser with a dazzling performance and a pleasing combination of practical design features and strong construction. It bristles with ingenious features, yet is free of minor, but apparently marketable, gimmicks. This is a thoroughly practical speed machine with a personality that will appeal to a wide clientele, especially those who like to make a strong statement on the water. It is a boat for living out fantasies, and at a base price of about $61,000, not including West Coast delivery, the fantasy is affordable.