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November 06, 2009

Bahama 41 Center Console

No matter what we encountered, even wind against tide in a treacherous Jupiter Inlet, the Bahama 41 did everything well.

When running a truly exceptional boat - like the Bahama 41 - meeting only moderate seas and winds is bittersweet.

Performance
The best I could come up with was the four-foot wind-against-tide rollers in the mouth of Jupiter Inlet on Florida's southeast coast. The triple Yamaha 350s hardly even knew they were running as we ghosted through the waves at 25 mph.

Our boat, supplied by the All In fishing team, climbed onto plane with virtually no bow rise. In fact, despite the 41's responsive performance, it reacts with subtlety and grace rather than the snappiness of a welterweight.

I reached a 60.8 mph top speed at 6,100 rpm using 100 gph. Optimum cruise clocked in at 40 mph and 4,100 rpm, burning a modest 44 gph total. More interesting perhaps, with one engine shut down (but dragging), I lifted onto plane and ran comfortably at 43 mph and 5,300 rpm.

The Bahama 41 will reverse course at 40 mph in less than two boat lengths, providing just enough slip to keep everyone safely aboard. Bahama believes that a solid running surface provides greater maneuvering control than a stepped hull and that it also gives you a very gentle, short roll moment with equally gentle transitions. It doesn't wander at all at any speed or sea direction, the engines don't seem to bark as often, and I actually remained on plane and cruised at  19 mph (2,500 rpm) using 19 gph.

In another testament to hull efficiency: Chop the throttles on most boats, and it's like stepping on the emergency brake. With this boat, it just glides on and on.

Superior ergonomics at the helm make driving this boat over long distances very comfortable. The console easily accommodates twin 15-inch displays with space to spare.

Fishing
Bahama builds dedicated fishing machines. Sure, these boats can cruise with your family in fast, exquisite comfort, but rest assured, fishing is the Bahama's raison d'etre.

The huge fish boxes hold ice for days. Livewells can be configured in numerous ways, usually with one giant well in-deck and a smaller one in the transom. Dual livewell pumps come standard.

Cockpit gunwales hit just above my knees, making it very comfortable for bracing in a fish fight. We also put four large men on the rail, and the boat didn't heel at all.

I consider the anchor locker a masterful design with more than enough room for a serious bottomfisherman's anchor rode.

Sometimes builders do a poor job of designing fish-box drains. Bahama makes sure that nothing will ever pool by the outlet. The boxes also need no macerators, as all large-diameter drains exit above the waterline. Find hidden storage under each gunwale for gaffs, mops, etc.

As you'd expect on a 41-footer, there's also tons of dry and insulated storage from stem to stern. This center-console represents an ideal boat to load up with all the family's required food and gear for a week of drifting off the Bahamas. Offload when you arrive, and spend a week fishing a huge, stable platform!

Design and Construction
The Bahama 41 qualifies as one of the most labor-intensive builds I have ever seen. The company also uses the highest-quality parts it  can find, no matter the cost. Some of the unique features of the Bahama 41 include double gaskets on each hatch, a hard O-ring in the deck channel, plus a softer neoprene gasket on the hatch. This method controls how much pressure you apply to the soft gasket so that it stays symmetrical and never loses shape.

All the hatches and boxes are heavily insulated. Bahama has virtually eliminated fasteners throughout the 41. It takes much more work, but it makes for a very clean look when you use no visible screws, bolts or nuts. The console door features a mortised locking/handle mechanism with no visible fasteners.

Look under any surface, and find even the normally rough areas finished. Bahama seals the bilges with Lucite hatches so you can see what's going on but not have water splashing up on your dry-storage stuff. The drain plug has a T-handle and is accessed from the inside of the boat: This is good whether you keep your boat on a lift behind your house or you want a poor man's crash pump. You can leave it on the lift with the plug out for safety.

It's highly unusual that I go aboard a boat and find nothing in particular that I'd change. In this case, I'd add a Garelick tube ladder in the transom to augment the Armstrong ladder that comes with the boat. I'd also put a trim-tab  indicator on the dash.

Bahama can boast of incredibly solid construction, with quarter-inch aluminum fuel tanks, all vinylester resin, a vacuum-bagged, solid-glass bottom and stringers, plus PVC-foam-cored hull sides, decks and parts. Overall, I did not find a single detail overlooked.


LOA......41 ft. 3 in.
BEAM......11 ft.
HULL DRAFT......1 ft. 11 in.
DEADRISE......24 deg.
WEIGHT......9,500 lb. (dry)
FUEL......634 gal.
MAX POWER......Quad 350 hp Yamaha OB
MSRP......Price on request

Bahama Boatworks / Mangonia Park, Florida / 561-882-4069 / www.bahamaboatworks.com