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May 02, 2011

Yellowfin 39

Between its mammoth size and the ­awesome number of horses on the transom, this boat makes you feel as if you can take on any sea conditions with impunity.

As I stepped aboard the brand-new Yellowfin 39 to fish for tarpon one evening in Miami's harbor, it occurred to me that this boat was also being used during the day to run demo rides for prospective buyers at the Miami International Boat Show. If I were to damage it, scratch it or - heaven forbid - worse, that would prove both embarrassing and exceptionally costly to the manufacturer.

Fortunately, I found a monster of a boat that exhibited not a single idiosyncrasy in handling or performance. And right out of the box, it didn't even hiccup. Now that's a rarity for any new boat!

I admit to feeling pretty indestruct­able when driving this boat. It's big and stable and blazingly fast. And yet, when maneuvering, it stays where you put it. I squeezed it into some tight places in the marina with inch-by-inch control.

Before dark, I managed some speed runs in the flat water of the cut and was smiling big time when I finished. With quad Mercury Verado 300s, we hit a top speed of 72.2 mph at 6,200 rpm while burning 118 gph. At 40 mph, which felt like standing still, we used a measly 34 gph; bumping up to 50 mph increased that by only 6 gph. With all that power on the transom, the vessel proved remarkably efficient.

The turning ratio and reactions belied this boat's stepped hull. It carves a sharp arc and leans well into the turn, keeping everyone safely aboard. And of course, the proud bow, knife-edge entry and deep-V all make this a terrific ­head-sea boat.

As you'd expect, with almost 12 feet of beam, the 39 is as stable as a jetty. At an 8 mph trolling speed, I expected much more subsurface turbulence from the four propellers churning at the transom. The white water dissipated by the third wave back. Surface wash proved minimal too.

This boat will typically be run hard and fast through some heavy seas, and the heavily padded bolster helm seats should dampen some of that roughness. I also liked that I didn't have to open a lid to access the twin 15-inch Simrad displays. They are always accessible.