Safe and Sound. When I used to race offshore, I preferred to sit behind the wheel rather than stand. I was reminded of this as I climbed behind the wheel of the 38 ZR. The high-backed bucket seats that recline five degrees and power footrests felt comfortable and secure, and the quarter F-16 canopies blocked the wind.
In the race layout, the 38 ZR has two buckets up front with a starboard helm and port throttleman's position with controls in the center. The pleasureboat version I tested is set up for one person to drive and throttle, or for two people to operate. What's smart is that the steering wheel is to port, so when I ran solo, I could work the Latham controls with my right hand. Even when a throttleman takes control of the sticks from the starboard seat, he's throttling with his right hand. The optional second set of levers ($1,657) is tucked into a cleanly finished coaming box in the starboard inwale.
Behind the quarter canopies, the dash is finished in matte black to kill glare, and ahead of each bucket seat is a compass. The helm to port has a full complement of Gaffrig Monster Series gauges, including a 120-mph speedometer. The gauges are separated by engine in columns on each side of the steering wheel. To starboard, the throttleman's dash also has a duplicate set of instruments.
The Cigarette has an open bench across the back, but the 38 ZR has individual buckets for three. Pay the extra $1,871 for the powder-coated aluminum footrests, pistol-grip style grabhandles in the armrests between the seats, and grabrails on the inwales-your backseat passengers will thank you. In addition to the lockers beneath the aft seat cushions, a pair between the bench seat and the engine hatch provide needed space for fenders and other gear. Gunwale trays forward of the back seats are ideal for docklines. Cigarette's only stowage is in the bench seat base and in a glovebox in the port dash.
Cigarette outdoes the 38 ZR with its upholstered engine hatch. The 38 ZR's hatch provides exceptional ventilation, but I prefer a padded top to stretch out on.