MJM Yachts 40z

The MJM Yachts 40z evokes classic yachts above the waterline, with modern propulsion below.

The MJM 40z is a unique vessel, born of experience, refined through the input of active owners, and realized at the highest levels of the boatbuilder’s art. Above the water, its lines take design cues from classic yachts, yet the 40z resides in a class of one, melding blue-blooded looks with the highest degree of functionality. Below the waves, a thoroughly modern hull form and Volvo Penta’s IPS pod propulsion deliver a seakindly experience, combining spirited handling, economy of operation and the dockside confidence provided by joystick control. What else did we learn about this new epoxy-composite-built boat? Read on.

During our testing, the 40z delivered startlingly good fuel efficiency, as our data chart shows, posting 1.2 mpg or better in the cruising range. That kind of performance not only results in thrift at the fuel dock, but it also provides longer range and is environmentally friendly as well. Most cruisers of similar size with conventional inboard or jet power can’t touch this kind of performance; generally, these will not best 0.75 mpg. The Intrepid 400 C ($415,000 powered by triple Yamaha F350 outboards), however, which we tested with triple Yamaha F350 outboards, did achieve 1.07 mpg at 56.7 mph. The Intrepid has a posh cabin but lacks the private stateroom and split head arrangement found aboard the MJM. One might also look to the Legacy 42 ($842,000 powered by twin 330 hp IPS 450s). This is a larger, heavier, slower boat than the 40z — less a day boat and more a pure two-stateroom cruiser — that reportedly achieves better than 1 mpg.

Besides the efficiency of diesel fuel and pod drives, the MJM 40z can credit its design and build for allowing its owner to pass most fuel docks without pulling in. Designed by Doug Zurn, the 40z features a svelte beam-to-length ratio that, along with other refinements, results in a slippery hull that minimizes resistance while delivering a good ride in a seaway. The use of epoxy resin, unidirectional reinforcement, and Corecell coring in the hull and deck results in a boat that is lighter in weight yet retains stiffness and strength.

Out on open water, we experienced confident control. It’s no surprise, since this boat is one of only two 40-foot-length-overall vessels carrying the ISO CE Category A ocean rating. (Nordhavn’s 40 is the other.) The MJM 40z tracked well on all points, didn’t hesitate climbing the backs of waves, and was hardly slowed when running in the seas. There was plenty of acceleration on tap, and we couldn’t damp the windshield with salt spray, even when crossing back over our own wake while into the wind and making a sharp turn. Visibility forward, aft and abeam proved generally excellent. This is no surprise, since the 40z exceeds the ISO standards for visbility from the helm. Noise is minimized, and we recorded a hushed 78 dBA at the helm while cruising.

With joystick control of the IPS drives, maneuvering the 40z around the dock proved stress-free. Push the button to activate docking mode, tilt the joystick, and the MJM 40z moves in that direction. We slid it sideways, fore and aft, and diagonally, discovering that it can be made to spin 360 degrees in its own length. The joystick controller is proportional. The harder we pushed it, the more power we were provided. A special “high” mode can be entered for really windy days and times when current runs strong. Another feature, Volvo Penta’s Dynamic Positioning System, provides station keeping. Hit the button and the MJM 40z stays in place with GPS precision.

Finally, our test boat was fitted with the Seakeeper gyrostabilizer. When engaged, the Seakeeper eliminates roll. Period. Boating’s testing of Seakeeper on numerous boats produced the same roll-taming stability we noted aboard the MJM 40z. The addition of this accessory is worthwhile.

Experienced boat owners will appreciate the MJM 40z’s accommodations. In the morning, we boarded off a floating dock through one of the two hullside doors, which proved convenient. The hardtop geometry also allows getting out of or into the boat from farther forward, so if you have to clamber in via a fixed dock at low tide, you can grab the top, step down onto the gunwale, and clamber through the generously sized openings. This same wide-open access will prove helpful when you are by yourself and need to get a line onto the dock; just step up and out right from the helm.

Such wide-open spaces enable great airflow under the shade of the long top. The cockpit provides luxuriously upholstered, single-level seating for 15. If the weather turns, just utilize the easy zipper system to secure the side curtains and enjoy the climate-controlled comfort.

Belowdecks, the master stateroom is privatized by a raised-panel door, features private access to both the head and the shower, and boasts an arrow-shaped berth that provides spacious sleeping yet facilitates boarding from the sides. The split design of the head and shower allows more than one crew member to take care of business at a time. Both are nicely appointed, though we’d like to see a drain hole drilled into the shelf in the shower.

In the salon, a full galley and a dinette convert into a double berth. Curtains deploy to provide privacy for guests. The yachty interior boasts port lights with powder-coated bezels and matte-finished cherry along the hull sides.

A couple could cruise the MJM 40z, handling it as easily as a smaller boat. Its potential as a day boat is also tough to beat. Arrange a sea trial to discover how it might best suit your boating style.

A Zurn Design