Delivery Captain Rates the 29z Near Perfect After 650nm
Capt. Doug Sanders has driven just about everything during his 35 years as a delivery captain.
As a professional captain of over 35 years, I have had the opportunity to operate a myriad of boats. Occasionally one stands out from all the others in its category. The MJM 29z, built by Boston Boatworks, is such a boat, the ultimate example of master planning, forethought and superior design for a powerboat.
My delivery originated in Dunedin, just north of Clearwater on the west coast of Florida, south to Fort Myers then across the middle of the state, via the Okeechobee waterway to Stuart, then south to Miami. My round-trip voyage included the return of the vessel 10 days later, a total of over 650 nautical miles. The charm of this boat was evident immediately and was expressed by virtually everyone we met along the way with many comparing it to a Hinckley Picnic Boat.
The storage accessibility and capacity for a 29-foot boat was indicative of MJM founder Bob Johnstone’s extensive boating/sailing experience. Everything has its place, including storage of the plush cockpit cushions… the enclosed pilothouse with roll-up side curtains; opening windshield; large hardtop; and the optional Bimini top which offers shade to the entire comfortable cockpit seating area.
The cabin’s V-berth offers comfortable sleeping for two. The optional filler cushion converts the V-berth into a full-size double. A well-equipped galley has cold plate refrigeration, cook top stove, General Ecology water purifier and ample storage. A small table creates opportunities for dining aboard in your favorite gunkhole. The head and shower area is equipped with a Vacuflush head that has a holding tank with either dockside pumpout or offshore overboard discharge.
Docking this gem requires a little planning in fender placement because of her tumblehome design. The bow thruster, combined with the maneuverability of the sterndrive, makes docking a breeze. Attention was given to the large working deck with the safety of a bowrail, very good non-skid finish, good handrails and heavy-duty deck hardware to easily accommodate placement of lines and fenders.
The most impressive thing about the 29z is its performance, fuel economy and versatility. Running at 3,000 RPM most of the time, we were making about 28 knots and getting an amazing 3.11 nautical miles per gallon.
When you advance the throttle, the boat jumps right up on plane with very little bow rise, providing great visibility and producing a small, flat wake that should not be offensive. The 29z is by far the driest boat of its size that I have ever operated. We ran the boat in conditions where swells were 3 to 5 feet with a moderate chop on top. I cut it back to about 20 knots and used a little trim tab to let the bow slice through the waves, which made for a very comfortable ride. We were passing boats that were much larger than the 29z and I’m sure we were much drier and more comfortable than they were.
The boat handles as if it were on a rail with a very tight-turning radius. She backs down exactly where you’d expect it to go. Most appealing is the 29z’s versatility as an intracoastal cruiser. And, it’s a boat I would not hesitate to take offshore and go island-hopping on. With her dimensions, you could even load her on a trailer behind a good-sized pick-up or SUV to explore lakes and rivers that you would never see in other boats.
The only disheartening thing may be that the 29z might get better fuel economy than the truck.
Throughout my career I have been in search of the perfect boat and until now I didn’t think it existed, but the 29z comes as close as anything I’ve found. All in all it is one of the most efficient boats I’ve ever run and she can be described in one word: SWEET!
Captain J. Douglas Sanders
Sanders Marine Services Inc.