Boating - - CERTIFIED TESTS - —Kevin Falvey

An out­board­pow­ered boat with the ameni­ties and lay­out of a larger ves­sel.

M My boat test and fac­tory in­spec­tion prove that the MJM Yachts 35z per­forms well, fea­tures a ro­bust build, and its self-touted “eco-friendly” moniker has merit. Fur­ther, it im­pressed me with nu­mer­ous small de­tails, the likes of which make it ob­vi­ous they were con­ceived and ex­e­cuted by those with ma­jor sea time.

Con­cep­tu­al­ized and over­seen by Bob John­stone of J/Boats fame, de­signed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with naval ar­chi­tect Doug Zurn, and built in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bos­ton Boat­works, the MJM 35z’s ba­sic lam­i­nate is cre­ated us­ing wet pre-im­preg­nated epoxy com­pos­ite, a tech­nique at the heart of the boat’s mis­sion state­ment. The “wet pre-preg” process uses less resin to achieve

higher strength and stiff­ness at a lighter weight to com­pa­ra­ble struc­tures made with other resins. Along with the use of high-tech cor­ing ma­te­ri­als, which fur­ther re­duce weight, the 35z has a 3.5-to-1 lengthto-beam ra­tio, ver­sus the typ­i­cal 2.7- or 3.0-to-1 ra­tios, for a slip­perier, smoother ride, since weight and drag are pri­mary fac­tors in fuel ef­fi­ciency and per­for­mance for bet­ter use of re­sources (and boat­ing dol­lars). Plus, since epoxy does not out­gas styrene, the 35z’s lam­i­na­tion process is more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly than other meth­ods. How did it per­form on the wa­ter?

Hit the throt­tle and twin 300 hp Mer­cury Ver­ado out­boards make the 35z jump. While I noted a top speed of 46 mph, what im­pressed me was the way the boat ran at a 34 mph cruis­ing speed in the mod­er­ate chop of test day. Crew com­fort was high, fuel burn and sound lev­els proved low, and vi­bra­tion and fumes were un­de­tectable. The 35z nets 1 mpg at this speed. If the ris­ing seas lead to slow­ing down, we recorded sim­i­lar econ­omy at 16, 20 and 26 mph.

Plus, I dis­cov­ered the boat main­tains plane at 15 mph. These at­tributes pro­vide plenty of op­tions with­out fore­go­ing econ­omy when sea con­di­tions change. No­tably, the 35z’s length-to-beam ra­tio, which makes it nar­rower for its length than many other boats, pays off tan­gi­bly in seakind­li­ness and han­dling that speak for them­selves.

Han­dling proved able us­ing the clas­sic, teak-rimmed de­stroyer wheel and ba­sic con­trols. But that’s just a base­line. The MJM 35z is of­fered with a Sea­keeper gyro. Hit the switch and the boat sim­ply will not rock and roll. Fur­ther­more, the Ac­tive Trim and Auto Tab fea­tures al­low the skip­per who’s busy with crew and nav­i­ga­tion to “set it and for­get it” with re­spect to these con­trols. Man­ual over­ride is avail­able, of course, but I couldn’t bet­ter the auto sys­tems my­self. See if you can dur­ing your test ride. Like­wise, Sky­hook GPS sta­tion-keep­ing is stan­dard.

The 35z is also equipped with Mer­cury’s Joy­stick Piloting com­ple­ment­ing the ba­sic wheel and throt­tle. With the joy­stick, I found the 35z could be made to ma­neu­ver in a highly pre­cise and in­cre­men­tal man­ner around the dock. It can even be made to slide side­ways, if needed. A joy­stick is a great ad­di­tional tool for any cap­tain to have at hand.

The helm it­self is a broad, flat ex­panse hous­ing an ar­ray of big-screen electronics, gauges and switches. As much as I trust electronics, I was glad to see the com­pass atop the helm, since I pre­fer to steer by com­pass rather than icon. (Plus, a com­pass needs nei­ther power nor soft­ware up­dates to work.) I also liked that the spring-line cleats were in reach from the helm, since the abil­ity to get a line on while still at the con­trols is a big plus when sin­gle-hand­ing a boat. In fact, I found that with the can­vas rolled up, I could get out onto the side deck and up to the bow di­rectly from the helm — an­other plus for skip­pers who run solo. Nat­u­rally, ac­cess to the stern from the helm is lick­ety-split thanks to the open, sin­gle-level lay­out of the MJM 35z.

This lay­out de­liv­ers the room of a larger ves­sel. It fea­tures a hard­top with two deck hatches, elec­tric-open­ing wind­shields and Strata­glass side cur­tains. Drop cur­tains seal off the helm deck from the cock­pit, mak­ing a weath­er­tight, air-con­di­tioned space that also serves for en­ter­tain­ing, loung­ing away a rainy day in port, or cre­at­ing a twin berth state­room for guests. A Bimini top ex­tends aft of this to pro­tect the cock­pit proper from sun and rain. Twin tran­som doors pro­vide great en­gine ac­cess and ac­cess to the wa­ter.

Belowdecks, the cabin fea­tures a gal­ley, an en­closed head and a V-berth. A mov­able ta­ble is pro­vided. I ap­pre­ci­ated the keeper rails in­stalled on stowage shelves that in­hibit items from slid­ing off. The hull sides are sealed in slat­ted cherry, and the sole is teak and holly. All very yacht­like, al­though, thanks to mod­ern coat­ings, the owner need not sched­ule an­nual var­nish­ing.

Shop­ping against this boat will be dif­fi­cult be­cause the com­bi­na­tion of high beam-tolength ra­tio, con­struc­tion method and de­tails makes it rather unique. That said, check out the Back Cove 34O, a new Downeast cruiser of­fered with twin 300 hp Yamaha out­boards as stan­dard power ($340,000 base price).

A sport-fish­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion com­plete with livewell, out­rig­gers, tackle man­age­ment and more is avail­able.

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