As the popularity of bay boats increases so does the lineup at Robalo. The second of three models, the 226 Cayman comes with the wide-ranging ability to easily transition from skinny coves and marshes to coastal conditions. With power ranging from 150-hp to 250-hp we took advantage of the opportunity to test her with the mid-range 200-hp Yamaha 4-stroke and reached a top speed of 45.4 mph.
- Premium vinyl cockpit upholstery with Nano-Block technology
- Three 30 gallon livewells/fishboxes with LED lighting and blue gelcoat finish
- Brushed anodized leaning post with backrest and 54 qt. cooler
- Aft center jump seat with folding backrests and stainless steel hardware
- Aluminum trailer with disk brakes and folding tongue jack
- Custom molded forward lockable storage with drains
- Sea Star hydraulic steering
- Port/starboard under gunwale horizontal rod storage
- 4-step telescoping boarding ladder with handle
|Length Overall||22' 6'' / 6.86 m|
2.44 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.4 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.7 sec.|
|Props||17m 14 1/4 Reliance|
|Load||2 persons, full fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||85 deg., 80 humid.; wind: 0-0 mph; seas: flat|
1 x 200-hp Yamaha 200 4-stroke
1 x 150-hp Yamaha F150XA 25''
1 x 200-hp Yamaha F200XB 25''
1 x 200-hp Yamaha F200XCA 25''
1 x 250-hp Yamaha F250XA 25''
1 x 250-hp Yamaha F250XCA 25''
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The Robalo 226 Cayman continues the line of shallow draft bay boats that started with the 206 and tops out at the 246. This mid-sized model has everything we’ve come to expect from Robalo, including the efficient “extended V-Plane” hull that carries the running surface well past the transom.
Of course the most impressive feature of the 226 Cayman is in her ability to handle the shallow water flats along with Jon boats and skiffs on one day, and on the next venture out into the inlets to venture offshore alongside the usual array of center consoles. Her 15-degree deadrise provides her with the right balance of sea-keeping ability and shallow draft that makes this crossover possible.
Imedge Gel Coat.
This premium gel coat resists fading, chalking and yellowing.
Three 30-gallon (113.6 L) Livewells.
Each one accommodates dividers for separating baits and each is insulated so they can be used as fishboxes as well.
Optional Fiberglass Hardtop.
Where others would go with a canvas T-top, Robalo went right to the fiberglass version with powder-coated rails and an electronics box. Color match the underside gel coat as an added option ($506).
Forward Access to Head Compartment.
This provides more room for entry than do the side access versions. It’s also safer to enter when in a seaway.
Kevlar Reinforced Hull.
This is a great feature for adding strength, and it’s particularly attractive to those who like to beach their boats.
Between her ceramic-cored transom and stainless steel everywhere, this is a boat that will have no problem enduring a harsh saltwater environment.
In the U.S., Robalo offers the 226 Cayman with Yamaha engines ranging from 150-hp to 250-hp. Internationally, she can be powered by Yamaha or Mercury. We accepted Robalo’s invitation to test with the 200-hp Yamaha XB. With that engine turning a 17x14 ¼ reliance prop, we reached a top speed of 45.4 mph while burning 19.4 gph. Our most economical cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 24.8 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 5.2 gph giving the 226 Cayman a range of 258 miles and an endurance of 6 hours 24 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve. We reached planing speed in 3.4 seconds, cruised through 20 mph in 4.8 seconds and reached 30 in 7.7 seconds.
Why is it that every time we go to test a boat with a reputation for handling seas we get flat calm conditions? Well, such was the case on test day for the 226 Cayman but we have tested her smaller sister and that test validated how well these boats handle offshore conditions.
Nevertheless, we did come away with a feeling that this boat, and her solid ride, would easily accommodate conditions well clear of protected inlets. She had docile handling characteristics and turned well, carving nicely through the turns. SeaStar hydraulic steering was a bit stiff. Ergonomics at the helm were excellent.
First things first, this is a fishing boat at heart and she has several features that ensure that she’s well suited to the task. It starts with dual casting decks, one forward and one at the stern. Both are elevated, all hardware is flush mounted and outboard cleats are pull-up providing a snag free caprail.
Caprails are 9” (22.8 cm) wide, which makes a comfortable stepping point for boarding. The foredeck measures 4’6” (1.4 m) from the bow to the top of the steps, and 6’ (1.8 m) across. As with the stern deck all hardware is flush mounted creating a smooth platform. The aft deck measures 8’1” (2.5 m) across.
Three 30-gallon (113.6 L) livewells all have the usual features of being tinted blue and having rounded edges to reduce the shock effect on the live bait. These also have dividers to separate bait and, since they are all insulated, they can all be used as fish lockers, too.
As with any boat, storage is of a paramount concern and having to stow items in places that are better suited for other items just won’t do. For example, where we typically see anchors stowed in a compartment fitted for rod storage, we always roll our eyes.
Here the storage solutions start with the anchor housed in a dedicated locker at the front of the forward casting deck. It’s secured with anchor keepers and the compartment is self-draining overboard.
As for rod storage, there’s the usual racks under the gunwales, but what’s unusual here is that the rods slide into tubes so that the eyes don’t get caught on any of the wiring behind the gunwales. For secure storage, there are the two compartments at the bow. The port compartment holds 5 rods while the starboard holds 6, and of course both are lockable. Also, these compartments have hatches that are hinged from the front, which makes for easier access from the sides, as when the boat is still on the trailer.
All the way to the back of the aft casting deck, and to the port side, is a dedicated spot holding every boater’s best friend, the 5-gallon (18.9 L) bucket. This is not only a convenient thing to drop stuff into, but as this is a bay boat, the cast-netters will love this feature. What’s more, it’s hinged from the right side so it can be accessed easily, while the 226 Cayman is still on the trailer.
Additional fishing options include a trolling motor package which includes a battery charger and a dual battery hookup ($1,935). For those jaunts into shallow water without having to mess with the trim, we’d recommend the adjustable jack plate ($1,356).
We’ve said time and again that these Caymans are well suited for handling both calm conditions in the flats and coastal chop outside protected inlets. With a 15-degree deadrise, the hull provides a good compromise between shallow draft and a sea kindly ride. In addition, she has good freeboard with a narrow entry coupled with a wide flared bow, all of which provide a dry ride.
The 226 Cayman also has Robalo’s “Extended V-Plane” hull which our tests have shown provide quicker times to plane, more flotation for larger engines, and better stabilization when walking about the boat. That last feature is especially important when there’s a casting deck at the stern. As we walked back and forth across the deck, the 226 remained rock solid.
It’s not just the fishermen that will appreciate all that the 226 Cayman has to offer. Families will enjoy her just as much. Forward of the center console is the typical seat. This is attached to a door at the front providing access into the console and an optional Porta-Potti ($121) goes a long way towards keeping the peace in any family. Interior headroom is 4’9” (1.4 m) and the aft bulkhead is exposed to the wiring and conduits under the helm. While this may make for easy access to the back of the dash for installations and the like, we’d still like to see it covered up for safety.
At the stern, a comfortable seat is hidden in the front of the casting deck. The 28” (71 cm) high seatback flips up to deploy the seat measuring 42” (107 cm) across. This makes a great place to ride from and the wind is well blocked from the console just ahead.
The helm got plenty of thought in its implementation, but the same is true for the rest of the Robalo line as this version is instantly familiar to anyone that has spent time around the Robalo lineup.
It starts with the windshield, which is one single piece, curved but producing no distortion at the edges. It’s mounted to the top of the console, sitting in a track. This is preferred over the usual, and easier, method of screwing the windshield to the sides of the console. When we see that we always see dirt gathered in the edges between the plexi and the console, plus it makes an easy point for the glass to crack at the screw heads.
At the top of the console there is a center-mounted compass with two storage bins, one to either side. Each of these bins is padded at the bottom to protect sensitive gear that may be dropped in. They are also self-draining so inclement weather isn’t going to cause puddling. The cubby to port also has a 12V power socket, convenient for charging cell phones or powering a portable spotlight.
The panel has twin rows of stainless toggle switches at the sides and these aren’t subject to UV degradation the way plastic ones are. A stereo remote is to port if the stereo option is selected ($278). A pair of Yamaha digital gauges (or Mercury SmartCraft gauges, as the case may be) are to the right of the panel and in the center is open space for a Garmin 70S moving map display ($1,394). Our test boat had the upgraded stainless wheel with steering knob ($75).
Below, there’s an open storage space with a lip to hold items in place. Next to that is an enclosed compartment, which houses the battery switch and a small storage space directly adjacent. Further below is a molded footrest.
Our test boat had the optional hardtop ($5,744) that was loaded with features. It had powder-coated rails that were elongated for easier gripping. The forward supports blended into the console itself. Spreader lights were forward and aft. An electronics box was overhead and the cover is held open with friction hinges. Behind, four rocket launcher style rod holders made for adding to the spread that the 226 Cayman could present to the fish. Underneath was treated with blue gel coat to color match the hull ($506).
Pricing and Observations
The Robalo 226 Cayman comes with a “no nonsense, no haggle” price of $38,295 with base 150-hp Yamaha and trailer.
With so much utility and crossover capability it’s no wonder that this is such a well thought out boat. She’s a joy to drive and while we didn’t get to fish on her, fishermen tested her and wholeheartedly approved.