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TOPIC: reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556...

reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 12 Aug 2017 17:07 #1

  • Centerline2
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im sure reviews have been done on this model many times before, but here is my review of the 2556 I now own..

I am 56years old and have owned a boat (or boats) all my life since i was 9yrs old... all kinds of boats from dinghys, to 35ft motor yachts.... power boats and sailboats... new and used... boats have always been my passion, so I know a little about them and feel I am qualified to give a fair review of the boat, overall..

The Bayliner 2556 was a great boat in its day, and by the current standard of boats, the old 2556 is even better now. I am not sure why there is not a manufacture still producing an affordable fiberglass convertible cruiser like the 2556.
the aluminum boat seems to have taken over the small cruiser market, but they dont have the comfort and character of a decently built fiberglass boat. I dont believe they ever will... and still be affordable!

the 2556 as it was originally built, was outfitted well for its time and market, and it had the amenities and space to allow the occupants to spend several days (or weeks) afloat cruising in reasonable comfort, yet still be easily trailered to locations where most cruisers with this much comfort would be difficult to take.
it was delivered to the buyer as a turn-key boat, ready to cruise...

the 2556 I purchased was not even close to great condition, I am now the 3rd owner of it, and the second owner had it for 6 years but no clue as to how to take care of a boat (or even how to use a boat for that matter).... but all the pieces were there and except for the engine and added equipment, it is bone stock without questionable modifications and holes drilled everywhere...
I assume that the original owner/buyer of it had more money than time or knowledge of boats, due to its condition (poor) and the way its outfitted (top dollar stuff and lots of it).
it has all been upgraded with expensive and redundant systems and the engine has had some horsepower increasing modifications done to it, and all of it looks as if it was done professionally.... but the exterior of the boat itself has taken a beating.
the interior is in nice condition, and with the exception of what the second owner did to the galley contertop when he replaced the stove, it is clean and original... some of the settee cushions are getting threadbare from use, but it looks great...

depending on the size of the kids, the boat can sleep up to a family of 7 in the berths, but with full grown adults, 2 in the v-Berth, 2 in the dinette berth and 1-2 in the quarter berth is more reasonable... but if one wants to sleep on the salon floor or in the cockpit, and on the floor of the flybridge, it can sleep many more bodies.
personally, I would have designed the cabin layout with a few more inches here and a few less there, but then we are only two people,whereas the boat was designed for a family of 4-6....
the cockpit has room for 4 deck chairs and still be able to move about, but 2 deck chairs is more reasonable, but as the number of occupants increase, the space shrinks dramatically, so in some cases deck chairs may not be an option.

there is good access to the engine and basic components, but one has to question the built in "fish box" that is in the cockpit floor just forward of the engine cover, as its difficult to access when fishing, it DOES have a discharge pump, but no ingress pump or insulation, so any fish you have in there is going to cook from the heat of the engine warming the box.. AND as delivered, if you wash the deck down, water will get into it so its not a good storage area either... I installed a double bulb seal under it and made it dry for storage of items that is not moisture sensitive, because even though water cant be sprayed into it with the cover on it, IF water gets in when the cover is off, it WILL NOT evaporate from the space. one could remedy this be cutting ventilation holes in the sides so that it could vent to the under-deck/engine compartment... but then its unusable ever again as a fish box.

when we were looking at buying a boat of this type, I originally did not like the shape of the foredeck on the 2556's, but after owning it and using it, I realize it is a thought out design. it allows for head room below, yet giving ample room to work the anchor from the foredeck... and the rode locker is big enough to hold as much chain or rode as you will ever need on a boat of this size.

the side decks (cabin walk-around to foredeck) are reasonably sized with hand rails that are solidly mounted, but I think could have been mounted higher for better security when moving fore and aft.

the cabin is dry in the rain, but can be prone to leak at the rub rail... maintenance every few years may be required to keep it from leaking

one thing I have noticed about the boat is that it has an abundance of "lost" space, which is space that has been sealed with cabinetry or fberglass and not accessible or usable.
someone with common sense and tool savvy can easily reclaim this storage space to at least double the storage space on the boat.

the boat even without any gear on board, is stern heavy and lists slightly to starboard... it needs heavy items stowed forward on the port side.
one remedy to the list is to add more batteries, but that will add more weight to the stern.. i feel the OEM trim tabs should have been 12x24 rather than 12x12, which would help it get on plane quicker, stay on plane at a lower speed and keep the stern higher with less tab down.. less tab down = less drag.
the OEM installed tabs have wings on them that is supposed to create better lift, as it keeps the water trapped under the tab to create better pressure for better lift. the PROBLEM is, the tab mounting space on transom is NOT square to the sides of the hull or the direction of water travel, so the wings are planed inward about 1.25" over the length of them (12") and create excessive drag.. 4 wings with that much drag can amount to 2-3mph at top speed, and raises the speed at which the boat would be capable of staying on plane at low cruise speed.
this can be remedied by bending the wings out, not all the way flat, but to about 30degrees from flat... with the leading edges of the wings very slightly bent upwards so it has a tendency to force the water under the wing even when crossing wakes and turbulent water.
I did this to mine and there was a lot less spray at the back of the boat afterward... this adjustment made such a difference that I upgraded to the 12x24 tabs without wings, which took a bit more creativity to install due to the curvature of the transom (long thin fairing plates were needed) and the difference is proof that the 12x12 winged tabs were the wrong choice for bayliner to install on these boats. GREAT brand of tabs, just the wrong model.

all other components, switches, and appliances that came OEM installed seem to last for a long time with most still in service on most boats, so it shows bayliner tried for as much quallity as possible at the price point of this boat...

overall, in my opinion the 2226 is a well built, solid, decently outfitted and comfortable boat that has potential for being modified and upgraded into a better and more comfortable cruiser than how it was delivered...

all boats have their downsides and even though it seems the 2556 was fairly well thought out and has few problems, if I could redesign a few things on it, it would be to lighten the stern somehow, add a hardtop over the cockpit, and for maintenance purposes, it would have a LARGE full width/length removable cockpit floor, (with the normal engine access and fish box in it), so that when a tank, pump, wiring or other installed item needed attention, the entire floor could be removed to get at stuff.... ironically, all these design changes would ADD weight to the stern...

If there is anything i missed here and want to hear my opinion on it, just ask.. PM me
The following user(s) said Thank You: JC3, mgm1986

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1989 Bayliner 2556, 5.7 OMC Cobra

reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 13 Aug 2017 08:25 #2

  • Solandri
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Centerline2 wrote: I am not sure why there is not a manufacture still producing an affordable fiberglass convertible cruiser like the 2556.

Skipjack (Southern California fishing boat manufacturer) still makes one. In fact that's how I settled on the flybridge convertible as the boat I wanted. Problem I had with the Skipjack was that there's no second helm in the cabin. It's a lot more fishy than the 2556, but I wanted more of a 50/50 cruiser/sportfisher.

www.skipjackyachts.com/262.html

depending on the size of the kids, the boat can sleep up to a family of 7 in the berths, but with full grown adults, 2 in the v-Berth, 2 in the dinette berth and 1-2 in the quarter berth is more reasonable... but if one wants to sleep on the salon floor or in the cockpit, and on the floor of the flybridge, it can sleep many more bodies.

I bought a queen-size inflatable mattress. It fits perfectly in the cockpit with a little space to walk around the side. But the weather in SoCal is nice enough you could sleep outside if you wanted.

the cockpit has room for 4 deck chairs and still be able to move about, but 2 deck chairs is more reasonable, but as the number of occupants increase, the space shrinks dramatically, so in some cases deck chairs may not be an option.

I've been looking for a fold-out bench seat I could attach to the transom. Like what's on the Discovery 246. I think it would neatly solve two problems I've had with the 2556. Lack of cushioned bolsters around the cockpit, and lack of cockpit storage for something big like deck chairs. Right now I store the deck chairs in the forward closet, and it's a PITA dragging them through the cabin all the time.

boats-from-usa.com/sites/default/files/b...overy-246-934445.jpg

but one has to question the built in "fish box" that is in the cockpit floor just forward of the engine cover, as its difficult to access when fishing, it DOES have a discharge pump, but no ingress pump or insulation, so any fish you have in there is going to cook from the heat of the engine warming the box.. AND as delivered, if you wash the deck down, water will get into it so its not a good storage area either... I installed a double bulb seal under it and made it dry for storage of items that is not moisture sensitive, because even though water cant be sprayed into it with the cover on it, IF water gets in when the cover is off, it WILL NOT evaporate from the space.

The 1991-1994 models do away with the discharge pump and make the box removable. I think that's a better config as it opens up quite a bit of space underneath (above the fuel tank) for additional storage. I know quite a few 1986-1990 2556 owners have cut out the box and attached handles to it.

Agreed that it's useless as a fish box. I toyed with the idea of spraying insulation on the underside of it. But ended up just using it to store deck hardware (ropes, fenders, etc). I tried storing some metal things in there (short fishing gaff), but as you said water splashes inside while you're washing down the cockpit, and doesn't evaporate. I think I'll try your seal idea.

when we were looking at buying a boat of this type, I originally did not like the shape of the foredeck on the 2556's, but after owning it and using it, I realize it is a thought out design. it allows for head room below, yet giving ample room to work the anchor from the foredeck... and the rode locker is big enough to hold as much chain or rode as you will ever need on a boat of this size.

The locker is too shallow if you decide to add a windlass. I've seen people modify it to deepen it, which allows the rode to pile up naturally if you use a windlass.

Mine (unmodified) is pretty full with 100 ft of rode, limiting me to anchoring in about 35 ft of water. I'd really like to go up to about 200 ft. I could make it fit, but it would be a chore repacking it every time I pulled up the anchor. With 100 ft you can just toss it in there as you're pulling the anchor up, and the cover will still close.

the side decks (cabin walk-around to foredeck) are reasonably sized with hand rails that are solidly mounted, but I think could have been mounted higher for better security when moving fore and aft.

A previous owner replaced my forward hatch with one without the crossbeams I've seen in the stock hatch. So in rough seas I can get up front via the hatch, without having to shimmy along the side. Also good for the kids who always seem to want to go up front but I don't trust to go along the sides. It's a worthwhile upgrade I think.

one thing I have noticed about the boat is that it has an abundance of "lost" space, which is space that has been sealed with cabinetry or fberglass and not accessible or usable.
someone with common sense and tool savvy can easily reclaim this storage space to at least double the storage space on the boat.

I think the amount of storage aboard is a good amount. I ran one trip with 8 people aboard and the boat had a hard time getting up on plane. This isn't a boat you want to load up with stuff in every nook and cranny.

the boat even without any gear on board, is stern heavy and lists slightly to starboard... it needs heavy items stowed forward on the port side.

Mine is stern-heavy too, especially with people lounging in the cockpit. I've moved stuff to the storage cubbies under the front berth, but I just don't have much stuff aboard the boat. I usually have to send one or two people to stand by the lower helm to get the boat on plane with 6 people aboard.

From what I've read, the '91-94 models list to port. Mine does. One owner found concrete in the port side. I plan to drill some holes this winter to remove any concrete in mine if it has it. Right now I need some pretty heavy down trim on the port tab to make it run level.

baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/forum/t...n-the-box-on-my-2556

all other components, switches, and appliances that came OEM installed seem to last for a long time with most still in service on most boats, so it shows bayliner tried for as much quallity as possible at the price point of this boat...

Check your thru-hulls. The stock ones are plastic and are likely brittle and cracked after nearly 3 decades.

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1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2
Last Edit: by Solandri.

reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 14 Aug 2017 22:16 #3

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Solandri wrote:

Centerline2 wrote: I am not sure why there is not a manufacture still producing an affordable fiberglass convertible cruiser like the 2556.

Skipjack (Southern California fishing boat manufacturer) still makes one. In fact that's how I settled on the flybridge convertible as the boat I wanted. Problem I had with the Skipjack was that there's no second helm in the cabin. It's a lot more fishy than the 2556, but I wanted more of a 50/50 cruiser/sportfisher.

www.skipjackyachts.com/262.html

depending on the size of the kids, the boat can sleep up to a family of 7 in the berths, but with full grown adults, 2 in the v-Berth, 2 in the dinette berth and 1-2 in the quarter berth is more reasonable... but if one wants to sleep on the salon floor or in the cockpit, and on the floor of the flybridge, it can sleep many more bodies.

I bought a queen-size inflatable mattress. It fits perfectly in the cockpit with a little space to walk around the side. But the weather in SoCal is nice enough you could sleep outside if you wanted.

the cockpit has room for 4 deck chairs and still be able to move about, but 2 deck chairs is more reasonable, but as the number of occupants increase, the space shrinks dramatically, so in some cases deck chairs may not be an option.

I've been looking for a fold-out bench seat I could attach to the transom. Like what's on the Discovery 246. I think it would neatly solve two problems I've had with the 2556. Lack of cushioned bolsters around the cockpit, and lack of cockpit storage for something big like deck chairs. Right now I store the deck chairs in the forward closet, and it's a PITA dragging them through the cabin all the time.

boats-from-usa.com/sites/default/files/b...overy-246-934445.jpg

but one has to question the built in "fish box" that is in the cockpit floor just forward of the engine cover, as its difficult to access when fishing, it DOES have a discharge pump, but no ingress pump or insulation, so any fish you have in there is going to cook from the heat of the engine warming the box.. AND as delivered, if you wash the deck down, water will get into it so its not a good storage area either... I installed a double bulb seal under it and made it dry for storage of items that is not moisture sensitive, because even though water cant be sprayed into it with the cover on it, IF water gets in when the cover is off, it WILL NOT evaporate from the space.

The 1991-1994 models do away with the discharge pump and make the box removable. I think that's a better config as it opens up quite a bit of space underneath (above the fuel tank) for additional storage. I know quite a few 1986-1990 2556 owners have cut out the box and attached handles to it.

Agreed that it's useless as a fish box. I toyed with the idea of spraying insulation on the underside of it. But ended up just using it to store deck hardware (ropes, fenders, etc). I tried storing some metal things in there (short fishing gaff), but as you said water splashes inside while you're washing down the cockpit, and doesn't evaporate. I think I'll try your seal idea.

when we were looking at buying a boat of this type, I originally did not like the shape of the foredeck on the 2556's, but after owning it and using it, I realize it is a thought out design. it allows for head room below, yet giving ample room to work the anchor from the foredeck... and the rode locker is big enough to hold as much chain or rode as you will ever need on a boat of this size.

The locker is too shallow if you decide to add a windlass. I've seen people modify it to deepen it, which allows the rode to pile up naturally if you use a windlass.

Mine (unmodified) is pretty full with 100 ft of rode, limiting me to anchoring in about 35 ft of water. I'd really like to go up to about 200 ft. I could make it fit, but it would be a chore repacking it every time I pulled up the anchor. With 100 ft you can just toss it in there as you're pulling the anchor up, and the cover will still close.

the side decks (cabin walk-around to foredeck) are reasonably sized with hand rails that are solidly mounted, but I think could have been mounted higher for better security when moving fore and aft.

A previous owner replaced my forward hatch with one without the crossbeams I've seen in the stock hatch. So in rough seas I can get up front via the hatch, without having to shimmy along the side. Also good for the kids who always seem to want to go up front but I don't trust to go along the sides. It's a worthwhile upgrade I think.

one thing I have noticed about the boat is that it has an abundance of "lost" space, which is space that has been sealed with cabinetry or fberglass and not accessible or usable.
someone with common sense and tool savvy can easily reclaim this storage space to at least double the storage space on the boat.

I think the amount of storage aboard is a good amount. I ran one trip with 8 people aboard and the boat had a hard time getting up on plane. This isn't a boat you want to load up with stuff in every nook and cranny.

the boat even without any gear on board, is stern heavy and lists slightly to starboard... it needs heavy items stowed forward on the port side.

Mine is stern-heavy too, especially with people lounging in the cockpit. I've moved stuff to the storage cubbies under the front berth, but I just don't have much stuff aboard the boat. I usually have to send one or two people to stand by the lower helm to get the boat on plane with 6 people aboard.

From what I've read, the '91-94 models list to port. Mine does. One owner found concrete in the port side. I plan to drill some holes this winter to remove any concrete in mine if it has it. Right now I need some pretty heavy down trim on the port tab to make it run level.

baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/forum/t...n-the-box-on-my-2556

all other components, switches, and appliances that came OEM installed seem to last for a long time with most still in service on most boats, so it shows bayliner tried for as much quallity as possible at the price point of this boat...

Check your thru-hulls. The stock ones are plastic and are likely brittle and cracked after nearly 3 decades.


thank you for the input. you've offered some good points... I will agree that some of the stuff noted depends on how or for what purpose a person uses it, so the review may not be fully agreed upon by all users. we have 225ft of 1/2" rode, with 20' of 5/16 chain, and I find on our '89 there is plenty of stowage room... BUT, we hand the rode in to the box and keep the anchor stowed on the roller... and you are absolutely correct that there is not enough fall in the box to allow the use of an anchor windlass, but personally, rather than deepening the box so that a windlass can be used, I plan to use get a windlass with a simple gypsy drum to wrap the rode around. one still has to handle the rode manually, but the use of the gypsy will eliminate the back breaking strain without having to modify anything.... here is a link to one brand I found (the black cover opens to allow the the use of chain) www.amazon.com/Quick-2000D-Genius-Horizo...ndlass/dp/B01JQZG152 .... as for storage space on the boat, its only my wife and I except on special occasions, but because we travel far and wide towing the boat to different areas, we have it stocked like a motorhome, and always ready to go at the turn of a key... and because of this, its nice to find more storage space to keep all the little things necessary for long term cruising from having to be all lumped up in the few spaces bayliner supplied...

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1989 Bayliner 2556, 5.7 OMC Cobra

reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 15 Aug 2017 03:03 #4

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Great write up on the 2556, I agree it's a killer little boat set up for long weekends up to several days on board. Yes, the concrete in the ass end does not help with the "stern heavy" boat scenario. I've also found many areas hidden by cabinetry etc. that could be used for storage of not so heavy stuff. I've already been busy modifying some of these areas myself to gain more useful storage. My "removeable fish box" has not seen its home since I purchased the boat in 2013, the space below is way more valuable for removable storage containers and myself when checking the engine oil and working on engine bay related stuff. As for the 12x12 drop fin trim tabs: I find mine work better than they need to, they're usually deployed only 1/2 way give or take to compensate for list unless I'm fully loaded with fuel, water, people, and gear then it's full down tabs to help me get up on plane quicker then back to somewhere around 1/2 way again once I'm trimmed up where things feel good. Something I've been considering on the anchor locker is this: if a windlass is in the future, one should consider using a small amount of space in the forward portion of the V birth area to build a new below deck anchor locker for rode drop and storage, if a fair amount of chain is used (weight) it will likely help the boat plane quicker and improve its attitude during cruising speeds. The grab rails are sufficient when walking around to the bow but I agree that most of us would prefer them above the flybridge windscreen (bridge rail) another project on my to do list :lol:

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www.baylinerownersclub.org/index.php/for...ansom-repair-my-2556

reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 16 Aug 2017 17:36 #5

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Great 2556 write up! & why this model is still popular, still hold their value.
Skipjack 26 fly is still being made if someone wants to spend nearly 200K. her beam is about 12" narrower so she is gonna be tippy.
Cutwater CB30 is about the next closest comes to my mind, but with app 18inches less beam than my 3058, $300K price tag.
2556 has somewhat similar lines to my 3058 :)

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Joon, Kathy, Jaden & Tristan
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reviewing a well used Bayliner 2556... 16 Aug 2017 19:20 #6

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Very nice write up! We absolutely LOVE our 2556 and so do all of our slip neighbors, we get compliments almost every time we stay down for the weekend.

And honestly, without the help of all of the members on this board, we wouldn't be able to enjoy it as much as we do.

I purchased my 2556 for $5k and have invested roughly $16k in bringing it back to life (Transom seal, gas tank, bellows, electrical, etc). I have not seen a boat anywhere near what the 2556 offers for even half that investment.

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Joel
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1990 2556 - Cabin Fever (purchased 11/21/2015)
1968 Plymouth Fury III Convertible (My other boat!)
2001 Chevy S10 ZR2
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