The only other sit-down offshore go-fast this size is the Cigarette 36 Gladiator ($240,250 with twin HP500EFI Bravo XZs), which runs in the low 90-mph range. The 38 ZR is 1' longer, 2" wider, 900 pounds heavier, and has 5" more freeboard so passengers sit deeper in the boat, which makes them feel more secure in rough water.
Low Rider. The 38 ZR has a low center of gravity, which contributes to how well it handles. Not only are the fuel tanks in the belly of the boat, but Donzi runs all the wire harnesses and cables, which can weigh hundreds of pounds, under the cockpit decking in PVC tubes. Access them all in the engine compartment simply by lifting out removable sections of decking. Although I liked the racy style of the lightweight manual engine hatch that rises on twin gas struts and latches when closed, for a pleasureboat, I'd prefer a power hatch.
Because Donzi also offers the 38 ZR with staggered engine installations, the boat has an enormous engine compartment. The engines in our test boat were mounted tight against the transom on aluminum L-angles bolted through the stringers with backing plates. This left at least 5' of space forward. The only accessories mounted forward in the engine compartment are the battery switch panels and the automatic fire suppression system on the bulkhead. Trim pumps are mounted on the outboard stringers on each side. For easy cleanups and a squeaky clean look, the bilge is finished in Awlgrip.
Beneath the Awlgrip, the 38 ZR is built with 10 perimeter bulkheads and stringers formed out of ATC closed-cell foam and then sandwiched in Kevlar. For added strength, the bulkheads are installed crash style, which means they form a point at the keel and taper aft out to the hullsides. If the boat stuffs into a wave, the shape of the bulkheads helps support the hull at the point of impact.
Lamination on the 38 ZR consists of alternating layers of Kevlar and S-glass with vinylester resin. Donzi uses Kevlar instead of coring in the bottom to keep the hull strong, light, and more durable. To ensure proper curing, the hull and deck sit in the mold for two weeks, then are attached in a shoebox-style joint that's bonded on the outside with Dexter chemical sealant, on the inside with three layers of Kevlar and one layer of S-glass, and then through-bolted. The rubrail is also through-bolted. Cigarette attaches its hull and deck in a butt-fit joint that is glassed over inside and out. It looks cool, but without a rubrail to protect it, the gel coat will get damaged during hard docking.