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Comparing 254 to 261

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  • Comparing 254 to 261

    I am considering purchase of a 254 or 261 and am looking at the specs for each and trying to decide. The two boats are decidedly similar -- am I missing something? Other than 6" of beam, 800 lbs. and fuel carrying capacity, is there a significant difference between the boats? Do they handle differently? Assuming cost is not an issue (it is, but just assume), what's the "better" boat and why?

    I ask this because it seems odd to me that Mako would have produced two boats that are so close to each other in design. Thanks much.
    White Stone, VA

  • #2
    I had the same questions before buying my 261. I was fortunate enough to get to try both boats out before buying and found the 261 to have a superior ride (in my own opinion). The extra 6" of beam helped take some of rock out when at anchor but as with all deep-vees she will upset your tackle box if hit broadside by a large boat wake. As far as lousy Chesapeake Bay NE weather goes both boats do great knocking down the chop but I think the 261 would win everytime. When I bought mine new in 1994, money was (as now) very tight and the thought of shelling out even one dollar more very much on my mind. Bottom line is the 254 and 261 are great boats...I just happened to like the 261 more and have yet to regret spending the extra bucks.
    Baltimore, MD[br]1972 WellCraft 16\' Sold[br]1982 Mako 20B Sold[br]1987 Mako 236IB Sold[br]1994 Mako 261 Sold[br]1984 ChrisCraft 28 Sold[br]1995 Boston Whaler 17\'


    • #3

      Check the specs out here:

      The 261 was basically an updated and bigger version of the 25, 251, and 254. They are all great boats. The 261 feels a lot bigger than it is and rides like it is a lot bigger too.

      Columbus, Georgia[br]1973 Mako 17 angler \"Reel\'s Angler\"


      • #4
        Having fished on boat boats, inshore and offshore, I'm going to rock the boat a bit and say that they're very different boats and here's why:

        • Power requirements. The 254 (or it's newer twin, the 251) can run just fine with a single 250hp engine. The 261, with it's wider beam -- yes, that makes a differnce!; requires twins -- frankly twin 200's. More upfront engine costs and maintenance costs. If you want to run twins, the 254 will run great with twin 150s, giving you better fuel economy.

        • The consoles are completely different. I have never liked the twin C-Pac consoles Mako had. On the other hand, I really like the console on the 254/251 -- can't flush mount electronics, but I remove mine at the end of the day anyways.

        • Layout. The cockpit layout for the 251/254 is made for fishing. It's one-level with a small step up to an elevated casting deck. The 261 gets greater storage from the "forward seating area", that limits your fishing mobility upfront. However you do get more storage and while crusing/trolling, there's seating upfront. I have NEVER seen anyone sitting there while running offshore!

        • Gunwale height. The sides of the 261 are indeed higher than the 251/254, giving you more of a safety factor when fighting a big fish or in tough seas.

        Many folks consider the 25' Mako (the 254/251/258) the best riding boat Mako EVER made. The combination of an 8' beam, 23 degree deadrise and 25' LOA seems to be a magic combination. A 251 with the added 50 gallon fuel tank, a 250hp 4-stroke may be my "perfect boat". Some day....

        Prop Blast[br]Mako 224, F225[br]Tampa, FL


        • #5
          I've never been on a 261, but I have an 8' beam. With the T-top and side rod holders, I would love to have an additional 6". It doesn't sound like much, but I always seem to catch the edge of the lock for the rod holders in my shin. I'm guessing the additional 6" might eliminate that.

          I don't think you can go wrong with either boat, so it will probably come down to which is the best deal.

          Tom[br]Pompano Beach, Florida[br]1976 25\' Mako[br]


          • #6
            The 254 will outperform the 261 in a steep chop or head sea (even though they both have 23 degrees of deadrise) because it has a narrower beam (8' vs 8'6") and as a result has less surface area to push through snot.

            With that said, the 261 is more stable and more spacious inside because of that wider beam.

            The real answer is, there is not one perfect hull design.....they all are trade-off's and the important thing is to figure out what best suits your needs.


            • #7
              Prop hit the nail right on the head. You have to see them and ride them cause they are very different boats.
              Past:[br]1988 Mako 230[br]1987 Mako 20C (best of them all)[br][br]1974 Mako 15[br]Miami, FL[br]