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January 28, 2009

Venture 34 Tournament

This is certainly one of the best-running 34-footers on the market today.

Nasty weather always seems to happen when I Profile a Venture-built boat. Sea conditions on test day ran two to four feet out of the northwest. Sure, Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach was relatively calm, but just offshore it quickly got sporty.

I believe the most impressive aspect of this boat is its performance. Push  the throttles even halfway forward, and the boat leaps up to speed. Time-to-plane is virtually nonexistent.

You'll find the ride up-sea and down almost identical with a smooth entry and no lagging. Launch this 34 and it lands softly and ever so slightly stern-first.

At trolling speed, the three Mercury 300 Verados with DTS barely purred on the transom. Speaking of DTS, I especially like the positioning of the individual engine-trim buttons on the bottom front of the binnacle rather than on the top, where  the heel of your throttle hand inevitably mis-trims the engines at some point. The DTS controls also offer engine synch, docking and trolling modes.

Former 34s featured extended transom brackets above the actual bottom of the boat. Venture now integrates the bracket and the running surface, effectively making the hull longer, resulting in a smoother, faster and more efficient ride. The design change also provides greater buoyancy aft - a major factor when mounting the heavier, big-horsepower outboards. It effectively lets Venture keep the same optimum center of gravity location (right around the helm console) while adding considerably more weight aft.

As you'd expect with triple 300s, the 34 ain't no slug! Top speed hit 62.4 mph at a hair more than 6,000 rpm while chugging 90 gph. But notably, if you can stand cruising at only 32 mph on this boat, you can realize fuel economy on the order of a mere 21 gph or 1.5 mpg.

Returning to Lake Worth, I pulled up directly behind a large yacht throwing a considerable wake, then turned to cross its wake to overtake - most times a wet and perilous maneuver. The Venture 34 proved that it can be a non-event. No shear, no spray, no pounding.

Throughout the entire sea trial, the only performance trait I couldn't generate was walking the 34 sideways during docking. Some triple-engine boats do and some don't - a small sacrifice for the rest of the spectacular performance. Overall, I can offer the extremely rare assessment that I found zero performance idiosyncrasies.

Anglers can't help but find the flat, single-level-from-stem-to-stern deck a desirable fishing feature. Run fore and aft without having to worry about tripping on the foredeck step!

The Venture boasts an impressive amount of storage, including a 50-gallon coffin box on centerline forward with an equally large insulated under-deck   box beneath, as well as a 188-gallon fish box on centerline in the cockpit sole. Standard equipment also includes a 55-gallon livewell on centerline in the transom.

At normal trolling speeds, the triple engines shoot moderate subsurface white water on centerline. Even combining that with the limited surface turbulence from the hull doesn't prevent fish from clearly seeing your trolling pattern. Drifting, the 34 exhibited a very short roll moment with moderate transitions, making bottomfishing or kite fishing quite comfortable.

Additional standard equipment includes three rod holders in each gunwale, augmented by three more under each gunwale. However, being a semicustom boat, this Venture can have as many as you want.

Design and Construction
The Venture 34 Tournament comes with a notably large dash panel that can easily accommodate a single 17-inch display or two 12-inchers. Helm ergonomics will suit captains of all sizes and statures as well.