We Test New MJM 35Z with Twin Outboards. WOW!
By Peter A. Janssen
It was a Chamber of Commerce summer morning when we headed out of Newport Shipyard on Zinnia, hull number one of the new MJM 35Z, with a beautiful light blue sky, the wind coming in from the ocean at an easy 15 knots or so, the waves on Narragansett Bay just about two feet with gentle, breaking, white foam on top. Leaving the dock, Bob Johnstone, the founder of MJM Yachts (and J/Boats before that), turned the teak joystick under his left hand and walked the boat sideways, the twin 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards pushing the boat in any direction he wanted.
After we headed out the bay, past historic Fort Adams, and the wind and waves picked up a bit, Johnstone put the boat sideways, beam-to the waves, and asked if we had ever been on a boat with a Seakeeper gyro-stabilizer before. I had, of course, but my colleague, George Day, had not. The Seakeeper, an option on this boat, was tucked away under a hatch almost under our feet, between the captain’s seat to starboard and the navigator’s seat to port. “Watch this,” said Johnstone, as the boat barely rocked gently in the swells, the gyro smoothing out the action of the water. It was an impressive performance. Day, who’s sailed around the world on his Mason 43 but hasn’t spent too much time on powerboats, simply smiled. “I’d think everyone would want one,” he said.
A few minutes later Johnstone asked if I’d like to drive. Is the Pope a Catholic? I was happy back at the dock, simply looking at this low-profile, long-sheerline, blue-hulled, Down East beauty. Before I took the helm, I hadn’t realized how terrific the steering was on the MJM 35Z (the 24-inch teak destroyer wheel is the same as the wheel on the MJM 50, which I had driven last year), or how quickly the boat responded to the throttles with the twin outboard power. To put it simply, Zinnia is a treat to drive. Read more: