You don’t have to be a computer geek to know that abbreviations abound on everything from Twitter to emails (LOL), so I’m inventing one right now that will come up regularly in this test of the new Jeanneau NC 895 Sport: SFABTS. It stands for “Surprising for a Boat This Size,” and I’ll use it a lot.
The 895 translates from meters to just over 28 feet LOA. The NC stands for New Concept, which it certainly is for those of us on this side of the Pond. (It’s called the Merry Fisher in France, but I can see all kinds of issues with that translation.) This is the Sport version with twin outboards, and a boat that will find ready acceptance whether in colder northern waters or steamy tropics, or for fishing or family outings.
You might question the word “Sport,” since the styling is “commercial fishing boat vertical” with a square pilothouse and a windscreen that slants slightly forward rather than back, but it’s the first of our SFABTS moments. It doesn’t waste dashboard, it minimizes reflections, and it keeps rain off the windshield and sun off the helm.
Yet the NC 895 Sport is one of the brightest and lightest boats I’ve been aboard recently. Start with the windshield—one piece, two wipers, big. Then there’s side windows that start low (below dinette level) and go to the overhead, and an oversize slider aft (note the single level from transom step to helm).
But there’s more. Not only is there an opening window to port, but the skipper has a big walk-through sliding door next to the helm seat, which is perfect for short-handing, or just yelling at the gas dock attendant. I loved that the door can lock partially ajar, to give the skipper a taste of breeze on hot days. And then there are two large (33-inch) sunroofs that slide independently, so you can open the 895 to feel a breeze on four sides. Should this not be enough, opt for the Westerbeke 3.5 kW generator to power enough air conditioning to get you through the steamiest summer (or stretch your winter season by months with heat). There’s a dedicated cockpit compartment to make access easy.
A word about power: Jeanneau decrees you can have only twin 200 hp or 250 hp Yamahas, which the builder has chosen for the balance of power versus speed versus economy. The choice is easy: Go for the 250s. Yamaha engineering boffins were tinkering with props during our test, but we nailed a solid 47 mph while they fooled around. SFABTS. The engines are too close together for Yamaha Helm Master joystick steering, but our test boat had the optional Quick electric bow thruster for maneuvering.
Interior and Accessories
The cockpit is nothing but cool, with an aft seat that slides forward so you can tilt the outboards above water. Imagine, replacing less zincs (or even lower units). Optional folding cockpit seats around the available 2-by-4-foot table (the French love alfresco dining) don’t hinder access to the starboard swim platform with folding ladder or the 16-inch-wide side deck to the bow wraparound seating.
Like all of us, the French fret about kids around water, so the cockpit coamings are a full 36 inches high, with gates protecting the two swim platforms. A starboard side-deck door through the coaming makes boarding from the dock easy, as well as jumping ashore from the helm.
Inside is SFABTS. Les Francais have, in a 28-footer, achieved two private staterooms, each with a closing door and nearly 6 feet of headroom to pull on les pantolons in the morning. There is an enclosed head (same headroom) complete with shower and a folding seat over the loo.
Up in the salon, the dinette easily seats four, and a backrest flips to become a forward-facing companion seat. The galley is elegantly simple, with a single gas burner and a pressure sink on the dash in front of the companion. A 68-quart fridge is tucked under the helm seat for, at a guess, 25 Champagne bottles to toast your smarts in acquiring the 895 Sport.
When it comes to sleeping off the Champagne, the forward stateroom has the expected V-berth, and it’s 7 feet long to minimize tangled toes.
The second stateroom is tucked under the salon, and I’d be tempted to claim this as the owner’s cabin because it has a 55-by-78-inch rectangular berth, just a few inches shy of a queen (60-by-80). Both cabins get great light through hullside windows, and the fore cabin has a large opening port as well as a hatch.
Shopping around? Check out the 9-inch-longer Cutwater C-302 Sport Coupe with twin Yamaha 300s and more standard equipment: genset, thrusters, etc. ($304,937).
Underway, the NC 895 Sport is a SFABTS hoot, with the power of 500 snorting horses to give skiers or wakeboarders a serious ride, and enough punch so the skipper should warn, “OK, hang on everyone,” when he nails the throttles. The 895 goads you into carving some doughnuts just for the heck of it, and we sliced through fat wakes with aplomb. The skipper has, by the way, a compact but thoughtful dash, with room for twin monitors, a tidy row of illuminated rockers, and optional ZipWake trim tabs, which did an admirable job of keeping us running fast and efficiently.
Solidly built by Jeanneau and with more than 1,500 already launched in Europe, the NC 895 is truly SFABTS: Surprising for a Boat This Size.
I loved her. Je l’aime!
How We Tested
- Engines: Twin 250 hp Yamaha V-6 4.2-liter
- Drive/Props: Outboard/Yamaha 15 3/4″ x 15″ Saltwater Series II stainless-steel 3-blade
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 100 gal. Water on Board: 10 gal. Crew Weight: 1,300 lb.
- Side-door access from the helm makes short-handing a cinch; kick out the fenders, grab dock lines, and be close to the helm.
- Outboards that tilt completely out of the water eliminate many maintenance issues, especially in salt water.
- Great access to service points, shut-off valves and battery switches.
- Every ounce of possible space is used for stowage lockers or hatches.
- One-burner stove says “let’s eat ashore,” unless you’re jonesing for soup. The builder should at least add a microwave.
- Hanging locker should include either a bar or shelves.
- Electronics rack atop the cabin roof for radar, antennas, spotlight, etc. is clunky.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$150,185 (with base power)|
|Displacement (approx.):||7,275 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise:||18 degrees|
|Max Cabin Headroom:||6’0″-plus|
|Fuel Capacity:||158 gal.|
|Available Power:||Twin 200 or 250 hp Yamaha outboards|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Jeanneau – Annapolis, Maryland; 410-280-9400; jeanneauamerica.com