Boat Review Date: December 2017
Author: Mike Brown
Jeanneau, by far the world’s biggest yacht builder, is heading towards power boat stardom with their Merry Fisher series: 2,000 a year is the current production. Perhaps oddly, the reviewed 795 Marlin is the first in WA to be intended primarily as a fisher, merry or otherwise. It has the rail access of a centre console plus refinements that also put it in the cruiser class.
Layout is centre cab – or walk around - with the cab also being an enclosed wheelhouse. The substantial beam of 2.87 metres allows both the side decks and the cabin itself to be usefully wide. There is no sense of cramping indoors: there are sliding doors each side, a triple panel glass door aft, and a large opening sky light.
Vision from the driving bolster seat is 360 degrees, and especially good ahead through the forward raked windscreen – which is swept by large, effective wipers. There is just one other permanent seat in the cabin, leaving room for clever and useful built-in features. Cunningly hidden are a sink, fridge and huge quantities of storage, including a wine cellar. A small table, normally stowed under the deck head, slides down a pole when called into action.
The 795 is a mass produced item – with all the advantages that brings. For ease of construction as much of the boat as possible is moulded, with the benefit to the owner of easy cleaning. Hundreds of people worked on the detail design looking for perfection – they did not want to have to change anything once production started. The result is the efficient use of every bit of space.
The compartment ahead of the cabin houses a settee which, with infill, could sleep a couple on good terms or, more likely, several children. Probably more importantly, a sub compartment contains a toilet flushing into a holding tank. The French are civilised about these things, just as they are about provision of the wine cellar.
The cockpit had a lot of design time spent on it: in moments it converts from more passive pleasures to an active fishing space. Settees on both sides and at the transom fold up flush, revealing rod holders on their undersides. The table lifts from its socket and is stowed in the cavernous space below the deck. An effective fabric awning cantilevers aft from the cabin roof shading most of the cockpit.
Aft of the cockpit a pair of boarding platforms, coated with non-skid, flanks the motor. The starboard of them has a telescopic ladder recessed into it. When tilted, a flap on the transom top is raised to accommodate the repositioned motor. Lower the motor and the lowered flap becomes available for mounting the bait board.
The 795 has a lot of windage and the shallow draught of only a touch over half a metre. The possible manoeuvring problems this pair could cause are obliterated by the standard bow thruster. Invaluable when parking or departing in fresh breezes, it will soon become indispensible in all conditions.
Jeanneau importers, Mira Marine, generally fit the highest recommended powered motors to the Merry Fishers. This gives them all a top speed around 30 knots, meaning that whatever load is on board they can happily cruise in the low to mid 20s – which is what most people choose to do, weather permitting. The weather certainly permitted on the review day.
The sensations under way were of a much larger vessel – I automatically thought of it as a vessel rather than a boat. You can do the walk around the deck as on a cruise ship, always within grabbing range of a rail. There is enough area and distance available here to have conversation groups on a picnic day. The hull’s motions, too, were on the scale of something larger. This is not a press-on in all weathers hull, but it is an extremely steady hull in the kind of weather most people would choose to be out in. Stability is first class.
Price as reviewed AUD $145,000
Length overall 7.95m
Fuel capacity 280L
Fresh water 100L
Motor fitted Mercury 200hp four-stroke