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February 03, 2012

Jupiter 30

Jupiter Marine proves that in some cases, traditional ways are better

A fast cruiser that can truly fish, or a dedicated fishing boat offering superb cruising amenities? That’s the only question I couldn’t honestly answer after running the new Jupiter 30 near Anna Maria Island on Florida’s west coast.

Performance

Tampa Bay was resting on our test day, with perfect weather, including mild temperatures and a gentle breeze. With Yamaha’s relatively new Saltwater Series II-SDS 15-by-21-inch props, the pair of 300s lifted the Jupiter 30 onto plane in 4.5 seconds and hit 30 mph in 8.5 seconds. Top speed was 56.5 mph at 5,700 rpm while consuming 52.7 gph for an economy of 1.07 mpg. Cruising at a seemingly snail’s pace of 34.7 mph turning 3,500 rpm sipped a conservative 19.4 gph (1.79 mpg). Trolling speed of around 8 mph affords 1.82 mpg while using a mere 4.5 gph. To put these speeds into perspective, note that the weight listed in this boat’s specifications is dry with just the engines. Adding fuel, two people aboard and equipment, etc., brought our test weight to around 10,000 pounds.

Wheel-hard-over turns at cruising speed and trim results in a comfortable lean into the turn and speed reduction so that you can execute a sharp course reversal without endangering any passengers. The Lenco trim tabs provide incredibly fine and wideranging trim adjustment.

Drifting in a two-foot wake-induced sea, I found the 30 had a moderate roll moment with extremely gentle transitions. It handles perfectly when steering in reverse and changing direction, and close-quarters handling is absolutely controllable, and I honestly don’t see the need for the optional bow thruster. Really? On a 30-footer?

No matter how I pushed the ­envelope, I couldn’t find a single idiosyncrasy in the Jupiter 30’s performance.

Fishing
Coaming pads the whole way around make leaning against the rail much more comfortable. In addition to the five lock-in rod holders under each gunwale, you will find lockable in-deck rod storage for another eight or nine across the back of the helm seat and hardtop, and four more in the gunwales. A 45-gallon sky-blue, lighted livewell with a clear Lucite lid in the helm-seat module pressurizes to keep your baits hale and hearty on the way to your fishing spot. Built-in tackle drawers on the portside of the helm seat and removable Plano-box storage to starboard keep baits and tackle near the cockpit. No matter whose multifunction display you choose for navigating and finding fish, you can fit a pair of 15-inchers side-by-side, in addition to electrical breakers, VHF, autopilot and engine monitors.

Our test boat sported forward seating, but should you want a wide-open bow, the same hull comes in a Tournament Edition.

Design and Construction

I mentioned the forward seating with insulated boxes beneath. The only change I would welcome here would be the ability to open the seats without needing to unsnap and resnap seat cushions.

The beefy, polished-aluminum support structure for the hardtop mounts to the console rather than the deck, so you’ll never stub your toe. All hatches and the hardtop are vacuum-bagged and resin-infused for optimum glass-to-resin ratio. However, Jupiter has gone back to the old-school ­technology in its hulls. Jupiter Marine founder Carl Herndon has always had a reputation for building heavy hulls (Blackfin, for example). Jupiter tried building resin-infused fiberglass hulls but found they seemed louder than hand-laid hulls. Yes, they were lighter and just as strong, but weight is one of the three main contributors to a smooth ride at sea.

A Bomar hatch in the overhead above the toilet admits excellent ambient light to combat the cave effect. A pop-up bow cleat and low-profile nav light keep the foredeck clean and snag-free, while all other cleats hide under gunwales with hawsehole access. Speaking of lights, the Jupiter 30 now sports all LED lighting overhead and under the gunwales. You have a choice of one, two or multicolor systems, including underwater lighting. In true safe-cruising fashion, Jupiter includes low-profile handholds by every seat. And, finally, the foldaway stern seat deploys and stows with unbelievable ease.

Bucking the trend toward ever-larger, ever-faster, more-powerful centerconsoles, Jupiter issues this 30-footer that more than makes up for its smaller size with its impressive elegance and faultless performance.

LOA: 29 ft. 6 in.
BEAM: 9 ft. 4 in.
DRAFT: 1 ft. 10 in.
DEADRISE: 24 deg.
WEIGHT: 7,590 lb. (w/ power)
FUEL: 285 gal.
MAX POWER: (2) 300 hp OB
MSRP: $184,800 (w/ twin Yamaha 300 hp OB)

Jupiter Marine / Palmetto, Florida / 941-729-5000 / www.jupitermarine.com