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August 28, 2009

Jupiter 39 Express

The Jupiter 39 EX continues the philosophy of high-quality, yacht-level styling and excellent all-around performance.

This 39 signifies a significant departure from business as usual for Jupiter. The company's previous hulls all fit the center-console genre with a maximum LOA (overall length) of 38 feet. This Donald Blount-designed 39 is heavier and provides luxurious living quarters belowdecks, a considerably wider beam and greater LOA: all in all, a recipe for a smooth-riding fishing cruiser.

Performance
I had no choice but to run the Jupiter 39 EX on a day no one in  his right mind would want to go boating. Squalls surrounded us. Winds hit 35 knots in gusts, and nasty four- to five-foot seas hammered us at the mouth of Florida's Manatee River. But at the same time, the sloppy conditions gave me a solid idea of how this boat handles.

The Jupiter 39 handled drifting beam-to in the steep, close-together seas with such grace that it became a non-event. Just enough side slide made the transitions gentle as the boat rolled. The weight of the solid fiberglass bottom adds to the very smooth ride in rough seas. Also,  the new chine design Jupiter has adopted keeps that ride dry too.

The triple Yamaha 350 hp V-8s performed better than any I've experienced to date. Even in the hardest turns, the props never blew out. Our boat had three-bladed props, though Jupiter is experimenting with Yamaha's prototype four-blade wheels. Some boats have experienced ventilation difficulties with triple Yammies turning three blades.

We reached a top speed in excess of 54 mph, burning 100 gph, and cruised quite nicely at 34.5 mph while burning 37.2 gph total - not bad for triple 350s! You won't experience jack-rabbit starts on the 39, though. It planed in just more than five seconds and took 8.13 to hit 30 mph.

Though this 39 can turn very sharply, worry not: It bleeds off speed quickly enough not to endanger any of your passengers.

I often find boat windshields work well when the driver is either seated or standing but rarely in both situations. The new Jupiter offers superb visibility from the helm either way.

For all its windage, the 39 handles amazingly well in close quarters - even against wind or current with the outboards and the thruster.

Fishing
Jupiter considers the model I ran its cruising version. Despite that, the fishing layout proved as good as (maybe better than) many hard-core fishing machines on the market. And yet Jupiter will happily "hard-core" your cockpit for you.

Our boat sported a coil-wrapped refrigerator/freezer in the starboard cockpit module and a rigging station opposite, along with a 45-gallon recirculating livewell and a pair of 120-gallon in-deck fish boxes. You can set the cockpit up any way you please: transom fish box or livewell, fighting chair with modules on the bridge deck, Eskimo ice maker  dumping into the starboard fish box, etc. In fact, the possibilities are legion.

Tubes under the gunwales let you protectively stow full-length rods or house mops and gaffs if you wish. Jupiter provides four in-gunwale rod holders, plus two posi-lock horizontal holders beneath, with six more across the back of the optional hardtop.

Design and Construction
As I said, everything about the bridge-deck and cockpit layout can be customized to suit an owner's needs. But no matter what layout you choose, you should find tons of storage space for tackle and personal items.

Several notable items include the Garelick swim ladder recessed flush into the transom just at water level. A handle on the transom makes the ladder much easier to use as well.

Our craft had the optional Fischer Panda 8 kW diesel generator; the standard equipment list calls for a 7.3 kW gas genset. Personally, with the new zero-CO-emission gas gensets, I'd just as soon not have two types of fuel aboard.

The optional hardtop features an interesting track location for the enclosure. With the track set inside the support stanchions, passengers and crew can use the massive hardtop supports as handholds while  traversing to and from the foredeck.

Belowdecks, I found a gorgeous stand-alone enclosed shower in the starboard-side head with a full-length mirror inside the head door. I particularly like the trend in a number of high-quality, limited-production boats today that uses designer plumbing fixtures rather than the standard marine fare. The galley features under-counter refrigerator/freezer units, high- gloss veneers and Corian counters.

Jupiter's literature claims the 39 EX sleeps six. I'd put that at five since the hi-lo table in the dinette that converts to a berth is pretty narrow. However, the very comfortable athwartship, forward double berth and another comfy super-twin under the bridge deck in the midship cabin more than make up for this minor shortcoming. Oh, and Jupiter mounts overhead storage for eight rods in the midship berth too.

As I mentioned, this is not a lightweight boat thanks to the solid fiberglass bottom. However, neither is it obese. Jupiter utilizes PVC foam coring in the topsides and decks, a uni-bond stringer system, biaxial and triaxial knitted fiberglass, and vacuum-bagged resin-infusion construction. Combined with vinylester resins for osmosis protection and ceramic-core transom construction, the Jupiter 39 has the makings of an heirloom - something to hand down to your children.

LOA......41 ft. 2 in.
BEAM......12 ft. 6 in.
DRAFT......2 ft. (engines up)
DEADRISE......18 deg.
WEIGHT......18,600 lb. (w/ triple 350s)
FUEL......420 gal.
MAX POWER......Triple 350 hp OB
MSRP......$499,990 (w/ triple 350 hp OB)

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