The statement that something is a good buy for the money is tossed around so often it has become one of the many clichés of boat-test parlance. Though it is often true, the statement can sometimes appear an easy way of rationalizing quality or design issues, simply because the boat is reasonably priced.
Sure, when covering Luhrs products in the past, Yachting's writers have equated Luhrs with value. A Luhrs is a good boat for the money, something we know firsthand from running a 36 Open, a 36 Convertible and a 30 Open on extended sea trials during the summer months. These designs were well executed, but had a few shortcomings when it came to equipment and finish details. After testing the Luhrs 41 Convertible, however, I began humming a new mantra. The Luhrs 41 is a great boat for the money.
The Luhrs Corporation can deliver value partly because of its buying power. (The company also builds Mainship and Silverton powerboats, as well as Hunter sailboats.) More boats produced translates into more buying power, which means a lower cost for the buyer. Luhrs also finds savings through the production efficiencies it developed from building several hundred boats per year.
To broaden its market, the company expanded beyond this value-driven formula to design the 41 Convertible. The first step was to ask current Luhrs 36 and 38 owners, as well as dealers, what they wanted in a new boat.
"In general, the Luhrs owner is pretty serious about fishing, and this was evident during the discussions," said Chip Shea, then vice president of marketing at Luhrs. (Shea has since left the company.) This dedication to fishing is evident on the 41.
The cockpit, for example, holds two insulated fishboxes with macerators. There is also a coaming fishbox. The bait station is out of the way, on the forward bulkhead, and has a livewell and sink. If down-island cruising is in your plans, be sure to order the optional freezer. The opening transom door will make boating a big tuna easy. A past gripe of mine on Luhrs, however, is that the latch used to hold the door in the open position protrudes too far out and can snag fishing and dock lines.
If you plan to install a fighting chair in the 85-square-foot cockpit, you're in luck—Luhrs incorporates a half-inch backing plate under the sole, already tapped and ready to go. There is additional rod stowage in the lazarette area.
The engineroom represents one of the biggest leaps forward from the Luhrs builds I've run in the past. These spaces were certainly organized and serviceable, but the one aboard the 41 has the fit and finish of a custom Palm Beach ride.
"This is not your normal Luhrs," Shea said as he walked me through the space. I agree. The fiberglass molds and pans are easy to keep clean and wipe down after a long day of fishing. Since the generator, batteries, fuel filters and strainers are abaft the engines, clutter is at a minimum. (I would like to see covers on the batteries, though.) Additional rod stowage is overhead.
During our sea trial, the 41, powered by twin 580 hp Cummins QSM-11s, reached a top speed of 32.3 knots. Expect an honest cruising speed of around 24 knots at 1800 rpm. She lifted onto plane easily at around 1500 rpm, and the ride felt solid as she cast water aside. The propeller pockets help keep the draft at a minimal 3 feet, 6 inches, making this a good island cruiser where draft is a concern.
A day fuel tank is gravity fed off the forward centerline tank, giving the 41 a total fuel capacity of 600 gallons. I like the fact that Luhrs installed a centerline sight tube on the fuel tank. I've been tricked by false readings from electric gauges in the past. If plans call for overnight fishing 100 miles or so offshore, this feature will be an added comfort.
The flying bridge shows the same attention to detail. An L-shape settee is forward of the helm and offers a fine place to sit back and relax while under way or swinging from a hook.
The business end of the bridge, abaft the settee, is well designed for fishing and cruising. A bench seat, adjacent to the helm, offers a good perch to watch baits. Two chairs serve the helm, and there is room on the console for three 10-inch electronic displays. The engine gauges and controls are all well placed.
The fiberglass hardtop is standard and includes mounting pads and integral lighting. Though it is functional, I find it a little cumbersome and high from an aesthetic standpoint. The 41 has such pleasing lines that the high hardtop is like wearing a ski cap with black tie.
Nothing in the interior is harsh on the eyes. The elegant saloon benefits from sophisticated fabrics, a cherry finish and upgraded hardware. All appliances are concealed behind raised-panel doors, and the air-conditioning vents are recessed into the valence. The sofa converts to a double berth with the flick of a switch, and two barrel chairs are opposite.
The forward stateroom has a queen island berth, two cedar-lined lockers and an overhead hatch. Access to the head, which has a separate shower stall, is from this stateroom or the passageway.
In the focus groups, owners said they wanted another double berth, and they certainly got one on the 41. The guest stateroom also benefits from an overhead hatch and more stowage.
At about $640,000 fully equipped with options like the washer/dryer combo ($2,850), a Murray chair ($7,429) and two 15-inch flat-screen TVs ($4,279 each), the 41 certainly is a value compared with competitive brands. The fact that this convertible is also nicely executed and well designed makes her a great boat.
Contact: Luhrs Corp., (800) 882-4343;
www.luhrs.com. For more information, contact: (866) 922-4877