Boat Review Date: December 2018
Author: Mike Brown
All the Jeanneau Merry Fishers pack a lot of boat into their dimensions. The 895, near the top of the size range, with just a metre more hull than its next smaller sister (reviewed last May) has the presence and capacity of a ten metre or even larger vessel.
The 895’s interior offers a surprising quantity of civilized accommodation, but its exterior caters for Australians’ need for open air space to lounge, fish, eat and drink. For those who like such things the foredeck has a sun bed for two. The cockpit, though, is more antipodean. Roomy, with plenty of seating and two sockets for tables, it can be cleared for fishing or diving action. There are enough lockers to contain all conceivable playtime accessories, and there is access to two large swim platforms. Probably more for encounters with jetties than for water entry, there is also a side door. A hard top extends over part of the cockpit, and an awning can also be fitted.
Back to indoors, reached via a vast glass doorway. The saloon has standing room for Netherlanders and culinary opportunities for the French. The galley, concealed when not needed, is equipped with a two burner stove, a sink and a fridge; also stowage for all the implements. The dinette, consuming most of the port side, converts to a wide single or narrowish double berth. It also converts to forward facing seats putting the conversation group in chatting range of the driver.
That person has a magnificent bolster seat and almost 360 degree visibility through deep and extensive areas of glass. A pair of wipers maintains the visibility. The controls include power windlass and trim tabs. The latter will be particularly useful in a cross wind; the high windage could otherwise tend to make the boat lean to windward.
The fore cabin, well equipped with windows, is almost as light as the saloon. Not large, but with a double bed and all the accessories. A bathroom, with toilet, shower, wash basin and holding tank, tops off the list of the fussiest potential owner.
Outboard power has a great advantage over shaft or pod drive: you can beach the boat for dropping off or picking up passengers. That is a tall bow for them to scale, but a bow ladder is an optional extra. That beachability means that for all but a few expeditions you would need no tender.
Outboard power has another advantage: being outside the hull it makes all that under deck volume that a diesel, gearbox and shaft would consume available for other uses. The 895 has vast amounts of stowage space under there with enough left over for an additional two-berth cabin.
Alongside the driver is a sliding door giving access to the side deck; this is extraordinarily useful. When berthing the driver can be out of the seat and handling the head line in a couple of seconds. Under way, the open door lets big volumes of health-giving sea air pass through the saloon. Opening the twin skylights admits even more, though perhaps opening every aperture at once is better reserved for stationary occasions.
The Merry Fisher is a very roomy boat, and in becoming one it has been given height and hefty shoulders. Taking its cruising role seriously the hull is not a sharp, all-weather weapon. It gives an excellent ride in moderate conditions, with enough mass to smooth things out. This is a family boat that no one would buy for use in severe conditions. The twin 200hp Mercuries gave a top speed of 30 knots, meaning cruising in the low 20s would give the motors an easy life. For many people low 20s would be excessive; their view, shared with me, is that the journey is a destination in its own right.
Manoeuvring the 895 is a pleasure. The Mercuries (in white to match the hull) are hydraulically steered – fingertip stuff here – and combined with the bow thruster they make parking a breeze.
Price from AUD $228,900
Length overall 8.9m
Hull length 7.98m
Fuel capacity 600L
Fresh water 160L
Motors fitted 2 x 200hp Mercuries