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July 25, 2008

Jupiter 34 FS

I had a chance to run the new Jupiter 34 FS out of Palm Beach Inlet in late spring, and though the weather didn't cooperate for a boat test (calm winds and seas), the sailfish bite went off like it was midwinter.

When it comes to aesthetics, Jupiter Marine really gets it. You'll find few sharp corners or hard edges aboard this or any Jupiter Marine product. The company excels at radius curves and terrific seaworthiness - an admirable combination. 

I had a chance to run the new Jupiter 34 FS out of Palm Beach Inlet in late spring, and though the weather didn't cooperate for a boat test (calm winds and seas), the sailfish bite went off like it was midwinter.

Performance
What a rush when you push the throttles forward on the Yamaha 350 V-8s; they sound like no other outboards. In fact, they sound like an old 389 big-block in a DeLorean-vintage GTO winding out. Also like that original muscle car, the Jupiter exhibits a highly acceptable turn of speed - topping out at 60.4 mph at 6,100 rpm, while using 68.6 gph after taking just over four seconds to plane. The most economical speed turned out to be 32.6 mph, turning 3,500 rpm. At that, we used 21.1 gph or just a tad more than 1.5 mpg. That offers a cruising range of almost 439 miles with a 10 percent cushion.
 
Turn the wheel hard-over at cruising speed (I love power-assist steering) and the props don't blow out; the boat carves a turn in under two boat lengths and bleeds off enough speed to keep your passengers safely in the boat. Running in a straight line, however, I did notice that the Jupiter 34 doesn't offer a dramatic range of trim. It likes the engines trimmed under and some tab - how much depends upon conditions.
 
Jupiter's in-house designer Tim Chalfant collaborated with Don Blount and Associates to pen the unventilated running surface. One interesting facet  that sets this hull apart from others is what the company calls a "posi-stern pad," a flat keel section aft that provides additional lift under way and improved lateral stability at rest.
 
Fishing
Boat companies populated with  owners and line personnel who live to fish always seem to pay more attention to the fishing details. Jupiter certainly fits this profile, offering plenty of tackle  storage in the helm-seat module, loads of rod storage consisting of four holders across the back of the helm seat, six on the hardtop, two in each gunwale and two more under each rail. The livewell uses a larger-than-average intake pump combined with new high-speed hull intakes to both pressurize the well and assure a phenomenal flow of fresh, oxygenated water to your baits. And I love the magnet to hold the lid open. It's much easier than having to snap and unsnap latches or hooks.
 
Jupiter's corporate ownership also has plenty of small children in its numbers, so they pay close attention to security around the cockpit. For example, the gunwale meets your leg at exactly the right height to combine security for you and your wee ones, with an easy reach to the water's  surface to release fish. Yet, despite the huge Yamaha V-8s on the transom, I had no problem getting the rod tips out past the power plants.
 
The captain of our test boat also showed me a cool trick for dealing with the outrigger lines. He attaches them to the freeboard via a suction cup. Quick, clean and easy.