Talk about a crappy day for offshore boating! The last (hopefully) winter front came roaring through America's oldest city - St. Augustine, Florida - in early April. North winds at 20 to 25 knots had seas at the mouth of the inlet running at a steady 6 feet and just about that far apart. I promise you that if I didn't have to test the new Luhrs 28 Open, I would have headed back to the dock before transiting the jetties!
Time to plane may represent the most impressive performance aspect of this 28. Push the throttles forward, and the Luhrs fairly leaps up, leveling out in about four seconds - not bad for 260 hp diesels. Top speed at 4,200 rpm hit 35.6 mph, using 26.5 gph. At a cruising speed of 30 mph (3,600 rpm/72 percent load), that fuel consumption drops to just over 22 gph, providing a range of more than 350 miles. At idle speed (670 rpm) with both engines, we trolled along at 4 mph with an absolutely spotless wake. Boost that to 7 mph (1.5 gph), and the wake remains clean.
Taking the seas quartered on the bow, I managed 25 mph without pounding. Straight into the head seas required more prudence, dropping the speed to about 18 mph to avoid launching.
Interesting that in a drift, the Luhrs 28 wants to lay with its bow almost directly up-sea. In fact, put the boat beam-to, and it turns back up-sea every time. Quite unusual, but it makes for a very comfortable drifting motion.
Because of the somewhat high center of gravity and perhaps the vertical upper fuel tank (more on that later), the roll moment when slow-trolling abeam of the seas travels a bit farther, though the transitions are gentle.
Down-sea at 28 mph, I encountered no lag when overtaking a wave, and the bow flare successfully moved the water out and away - with nothing ricocheting up onto the windshield.
This Luhrs spins as fast as you'd expect a 28-foot inboard to and backs down at 6.5 mph, though the optional swim platform (not usually present on fishing models) makes steering at high speed in reverse a tad squirrelly.
Luhrs doesn't go overboard to include standard fishing features, but everything you really need is there. An insulated livewell in one of the cockpit modules offers plenty of capacity, but I'd like to see it with a tension latch and gasket, allowing pressurization. Tackle drawers and storage for eight rods around the cockpit keep your gear close at hand. You can also store eight more rods on the overhead belowdecks. Finally, a large in-transom fish box handles all but the largest tuna.
Design and Construction
The 28's running surface includes full-length, wide, flat chines, as well as a pair of lifting strakes at one- and two-thirds of the way up from the keel. I attribute the remarkably smooth ride in such uncomfortable seas at least in part to the comparatively deep V for a boat of this design.
Two great features aft (if you don't opt for the swim platform) are the transom steps and handrail that make it easy for anyone in the water to climb back aboard.
The bridge-deck hatch opens manually on rams, revealing an absolutely huge space between the engines. Combine that with all maintenance points being located on centerline, and you have tons of room to work.
There's precious little space outboard of the engines, but with nothing there you need to access, you needn't be concerned. In case of emergency though, both guest bench-seat modules contain hatches below to afford access to the outboard sides of the diesels.
Speaking of access, the lazarette on centerline in the cockpit sole gives access to strainers, batteries, pumps and the steering quadrant, while the helm console's hinged bottom lets it tilt out to reveal the backs of all your electronics.
Once upon a time, Luhrs used to have noise problems. No longer. This 28 comes with superb engine-compartment insulation, affording low noise levels both idling and running. Luhrs has done such a good job that even the turbo whine has been dramatically attenuated.
The Luhrs 28 has two fuel tanks: one vertical, upper tank at the forward end of the engine room, and the other horizontal under the engine-room floor.
Unfortunately, Luhrs engineers run the fuel from the upper tank to the port engine, and the bottom tank runs to the starboard engine and the generator. This means tanks don't drain at the same rate. I'd prefer to see the forward tank gravity-feed into the lower tank and everything run off the lower tank. The return would then go to the upper tank so all your fuel filters remain in one place. It would act as an excellent fuel cooler too.
Below, a stand-up head with shower (not separate) greets you at the bottom of the companionway. A V-shaped settee forms twin single berths, and an optional V-berth filler cushion forms a double. The seatbacks both rise to form additional singles, allowing this 28-footer to sleep four really good friends. You'll find the galley to port as you come down from on deck. It boasts a polished stainless-steel sink, top-loading AC/DC refrigerator, single-burner cooktop, StarBoard cutting surface and a microwave.
I found the amount of storage throughout the belowdecks area quite impressive. Overall, this 28 represents a lot of boat for the money, and I must say, 28 feet is a lot more than it used to be.
LOA......31 ft. 10 in.
BEAM......11 ft. 6 in.
HULL DRAFT......2 ft. 8 in.
WEIGHT......10,000 lb. (dry)
MAX HP......T260 hp Yanmar 6BY-260 diesels
MSRP......$165,600 (as tested)
Luhrs Corporation / St. Augustine, Florida / 800-882-4343 / www.luhrs.com