A narrow beam and a deep-V hull make a good combination if you want to go fast in rough water. So check out Jefferson Yachts' Marlago FS 35 if getting there first is your priority. With twin 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards, I shot the inlet at 59.4 mph and then cruised in ocean swells at 40 mph. The sharp V and narrow beam ensure a soft ride, even while you go thuk-thuk-thuking over whitecaps.
The Marlago FS 35 handles with the agile athleticism of a performance boat. Twitch the wheel and you get an instantaneous course change. Its handling isn't as forgiving as wider boats -- it's not a boat you'd recommend to novices or loan to the kids. Of course, those "forgiving" boats don't provide the pulse-pounding adrenaline rush of a hull with a keelpad and notched transom.
I was impressed by the top-notch building and rigging features aboard the Marlago FS 35. The solid fiberglass T-top lid was secured to the pipework by hidden fasteners, making a clean look with no brown rust bleeds from crevice corrosion. Fishboxes are evacuated with diaphragm pumps. The water tank is fitted with a drain for winterization. The transom platform allows walking in front of the motors, so checking the oil or replacing a fuse can be done at sea. Electric battery switches are used to alternate between the big Group 31 batteries.
The cuddy features a 9'-long V-berth, with a dinette table serving as a filler when needed. I taped 4'7" of headroom here, plenty of space to comfortably sit upright and more than enough to spend a night aboard without feeling like a mole. With the console serving as the head, you won't have to rouse your bunkmate to heed nature's call as you might if the commode were located beneath the berth cushions.
Equipped with livewells, fishboxes, rodholders, rocket launchers, and tackle lockers, the Marlago FS 35 is ready to campaign in tournaments and provide two anglers with lodging as well. It's fast, has lively handling, and is easy to service. And with its cuddy, console head, and other amenities such as the transom bench with headrests, the Marlago FS 35 stands ready to serve as a great day boat, sportboat, or tender.
MSRP: Standard power - $163,900 Test power - $179,000 ****
Contact: 812.282.8111 www.marlagousa.com