DONZI 38 ZF OPEN 941/727-0622 www.donzimarine.com
With a 64-mph top end, this boat came in third in these speed trials. But it earned a respectable 1.3 mpg at a 4500-rpm, 43.9-mph cruising speed with our triple 275-hp Verados. It rides on a stepped hull, which has the added benefit of minimal bowrise when coming onto plane-my clinometer remained nearly flat through the powerband. Its handling was Porsche-like, and that cushion of air running under the hull seems to soften the ride.
The hull-to-deck joint uses an adhesive/sealant, with fiberglass lamination at high-stress areas. Resins are vinylester. Wiring has Packard connector plugs wherever possible to provide watertight connections. Hardware is stainless steel with aluminum backing plates; bolts are secured with locking nuts. The switch panel is protected by a clear flip-up cover so you won't hit switches by accident and to keep water out-a unique touch. Upholstery matches the hull graphics and is 32-ounce vinyl, which has a longer lifespan than the more common 28-ounce vinyl.
Donzi excels in this department. This boat was clearly designed with the tournament kingfish angler in mind. Livewell capacity is a huge 60 gallons. There's a 204-quart mega-cooler under the leaning post. The rear integrated deckboxes will hold a dozen 50-pound kings, and the forward box is big enough for six 100-pound tuna. It's a 6'9" reach around the outboards, so you can forget about working around them. The transom has flush-mount rodholders, however, which should help you add an extra line or two to your spread.
HIGHS & LOWS
The largest fish-hauling capacity (both live and dead). Nine standard rodholders-yee-hah. Love the protected, yet accessible, switch panel. Console has 5'6" of headroom and is exceptionally roomy inside.
Speed is a tad behind most of this competition. There are flimsy drippy plastic hatches over the battery switches. The insulation in the aft end of the forward fishbox is lacking. There's no center cleat on the bow for anchoring.
$212,064 (w/triple 275-hp Mercury Verado outboards) Bait prep station w/sink; 60-gal. livewell w/light; raw-water washdown; 4 gunwale-mounted rodholders; 5 transom-mounted rodholders; battery switches; recessed bow grabrail; 2 removable coolers; Zero Effort controls; compass; locking electronics box; 3 integrated fishboxes; enclosed compartment w/shower and sink; portable MSD; illuminated switch/breaker panel; K-planes; 4 under-gunwale rodracks; helm bolsters; tacklebox.