Nova Boats Unveils 39 Sport

Volvo Penta-powered V-bottom promises much.

A new company in South Florida has put a new wrinkle in a classic performance-boat design, the nonstepped V-bottom. Nova Boats' first model is the 39 Sport. After testing the boat for a review in an upcoming issue of Boating magazine, I was impressed with how it handled a variety of conditions.

Company president Jose Abella and I took the boat out of Port Everglades inlet, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with winds blowing out of the southeast at 15 to 20 mph and the waves running consistently at 4 to 5 feet, and with plenty enough 6-footers rearing ugly whitecaps to keep us sharp. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D6 370 Duoprops, the boat ran strong and rode level. Most impressive was that the 39 Sport did not leave the water as much as I'd expected in those rough conditions. That's by design.

“Why get the boat out of the water when you can keep the boat in the water?” explained Abella. “We’re interested in providing a safe vessel for a family to go out on.”

The 39 Sport has two patents on the nonstepped V-bottom design, and Abella is hoping for at least one more. The unique element of the bottom design is a keel pad at the transom that’s 12 inches wide and has what can best be described as a swallowtail shape at the forward end. This pad provides the transom lift to keep the stern from dropping when the boat runs through waves. Other unique aspects of the design are that the inner strakes actually curve downward at the bow to create a softer re-entry. Inner strakes extend to amidships, while the outer set runs full length. The chines are 5 inches wide and turned down 8 degrees for their length. Abella said the combination of the lift created by the pad and the turned-down chines creates a pocket of air beneath the aft section of the boat when it’s running at speeds above 35 mph.

In calm conditions, the 39 Sport hit a top speed of 49.7 mph at 3,550 rpm. Driving the 39 Sport felt like getting behind the wheel of any classic V-bottom. Handling was predictable and stable. Its cockpit layout is straightforward, with two bolsters up front and a bench seat aft, with a sun lounge on top of the engine compartment. The cabin is enormous, with 6 feet, 11 inches of headroom, facing lounges, a V-berth and a standup head.

Abella builds the boat with a foam core, infused vinylester resin and vacuum bagging to create a solid, strong hull. The cabin lounge and V-berth are separate liners. In a touch that shows that Abellaknows what he’s doing, all through-bolts are installed with polymer bushings and backing plates to ensure that the coring can’t get crushed when the backing nuts are torqued down hard.