The day broke warm and clear as Dominick LaCombe Sr. and Steve Adams from American Custom Yachts brought the Venture 39 to Pirate’s Cove Marina in Stuart, Florida, to pick me up for a day of offshore fishing. Even from the dock, I was impressed by the clean lines, sleek styling and open deck of this 39-foot-6-inch center-console, replete with a tower and second station on the hardtop.
Officially known as Venture by American, this brand is owned and built by ACY. Bustling with 160 skilled craftsmen, the 63-acre shipyard and boatbuilding operation is located where Interstate 95 crosses the St. Lucie River in Stuart.
“I think you’re going to like this boat,” said LaCombe, president of ACY. He quickly pointed out that we were aboard the forward-seating version, with 16-inch-high seating and lounging platforms that wrap around the bow on an otherwise level deck. This is one of three layouts you can order for the 39 or its sister ship, the Venture 34. The other two floor plans include the open layout, available with a coffin box forward, and the raised-deck version, with a platform occupying the entire bow area.
Beyond basic floor plans, the Venture 39 and 34 can be customized to meet any buyer’s wishes, explained Adams, who serves as project manager for the Venture series. “For example, many buyers are now ordering teak decks for these boats,” he pointed out.
The plan for this day in mid-May was to troll rigged ballyhoo for mahimahi, but first we had to make our way through St. Lucie Inlet. A 15-knot wind was blowing in, with a strong tidal current flowing out, piling up 5-foot rollers at the mouth.
LaCombe throttled up the triple Yamaha F350 outboards, and the 39’s deep-V hull cleaved the waves, landing smoothly between combers. Once clear of the inlet, the 39 settled into a comfortable rhythm while running almost directly into the 4- to 5-foot waves at 26 ½ mph (3,000 rpm), burning 25.9 gallons per hour for slightly more than 1 mpg on the passage to the offshore grounds.
The 39 is available with just about any kind of helm seating you desire, but my test boat was equipped with a 48-inch-wide leaning-post module with a wraparound backrest and tackle-tray storage below the hinged seat bottom. A fold-out footrest below offers anglers additional comfort while seated.
An angled footrest at the base of the console allowed me to brace myself in rough conditions. The hinged face of the console footrest opens up to reveal convenient storage for items such as fish towels and spools of line. Abaft the helm seating module was an aft-facing 4-foot-wide bench seat with an insulated cooler below (where we iced our drinks) and storage for four rods across the back.
The 3-foot-wide helm panel was equipped with a pair of flush-mounted Garmin 15-inch touch-screen monitors, networked with a GPS chart plotter, radar and fish finder. SeaStar Solutions power-assist hydraulic steering helped rein in the 1,050 ponies on the transom, while a joystick control for an optional Lewmar bow-thruster helped with docking.
The Venture 39 featured a curved, clear polycarbonate windshield that extended to the underside of the hardtop. The top of the console has a fiddle to prevent items from sliding off.
About 5 miles off the coast, we found a nice edge of purple-blue, 79-degree water and brought the throttle back to start trolling. Adams deployed two rigged ballyhoo from the Rupp Z-30 outriggers and two as flat-line baits, while LaCombe set the trolling speed at about 4.5 mph (900 rpm) with all three F350s in gear, burning 4.5 gallons per hour for 1 mpg. This also resulted in relatively flat and clean trolling alleys.
Stable and Able
As I moved about the deck, I noticed a number of convenient places to hold on, including grab rails on the anodized-aluminum hardtop supports straddling the console, and on the underside of the hardtop above the 30-inch-wide walkways. With a 10 ½-foot beam, the 39 exhibited outstanding stability, even as we trolled in the 5-foot cross seas.
As we waited for a bite, Adams explained that the hardtop on my tester featured a special design to ease access to the tower. “We created a recess in the center of the aft edge for a ladder leading aloft from behind the helm seating,” he said. “This seems to make the climb up and down a lot easier than using a hatch along the side.”
Just about that time, the reel on the starboard flat line started screaming as a mahimahi inhaled the bait and danced across the water astern. I picked up the rod and quickly came to appreciate the padded coaming bolsters that cushioned my legs as I followed the fish along the 25-inch-high aft gunwales. The diamond nonskid assured safe footing. The flush-mount hinges prohibited stubbed toes. After a brief fight, we swung the fish aboard and iced it in the in-sole fish locker.
As I assisted in resetting the lines, I noted that each gunwale was equipped with five rod holders, giving you the versatility to drift, kite-fish or troll. Thanks to a combination of 8-inch pull-up cleats and hawsepipes leading to beefy 10-inch cleats below, the gunwales were free of obstructions that might snag lines or cast nets.
Across the transom, I found a 55-gallon livewell and a sink with freshwater and saltwater faucets. In the port quarter, a transom door allowed access to the integral swim platforms. The boat’s inward-swinging port side dive door is great for boarding from floating docks and pulling aboard big fish.
Forward of the console, I found a place to relax — a high-back seat with armrests and an insulated cooler below, where we kept our sandwiches The 39 features a roomy, step-down head compartment, accessible via a companionway on the port-side of the console. My tester was equipped with a permanent marine toilet. I also got a chance to check out the top-notch helm rigging, which is accessible from inside the console.
ACY builds the Venture series with a vacuum-bagged PVC core, a high-density polyurethane transom core, solid stringers and bulkheads, and Kevlar and biaxial fiberglass, combined with vinylester and isophthalic resins. The construction proved its integrity by the absence of any creaks or rattles as we challenged the waves. The boat carries a limited lifetime warranty.
On the Fish
My tour of the 39 abruptly ended with a double hookup on mahi. Measuring 8 feet 9 inches wide and 7 feet long, the aft cockpit offered plenty of room for two anglers to maneuver. After landing both, we decided to head in to gather performance numbers in protected waters. Yet as we were bringing in the lines, another mahi bit, giving us a quartet of tasty fish. “A great way to end the morning!” exclaimed LaCombe.
Inside the inlet, I put the Venture 39 though its paces. Turning Yamaha Saltwater Series II 21-inch-pitch, three-blade stainless-steel propellers, the triple F350s vaulted the boat to plane in 4.5 seconds. It reached 30 mph in 9.5 seconds, en route to a top speed of 63.4 mph at 6,100 rpm, where the engines burned 100 gallons per hour for 0.63 mpg. I found the optimal cruising speed at 34.6 mph (3,500 rpm), where the 39 achieved 1 mpg based on a burn rate of 34.5 gallons per hour. While this is slightly less efficient than the 1.02 mpg at 26.5 mph and 3,000 rpm I measured, the 39 seemed to feel happier at the higher speed. Either way, you can expect a maximum cruising range of 530 miles based on the 530-gallon fuel capacity.
With testing done, we ran back to Pirate’s Cove, and on the way, the Venture 39 received lots of admiring looks from other boaters. As I disembarked at the dock, a bystander asked me what boat I was on. “A new Venture 39,” I answered.
“Ah, I’ve heard those are great boats,” he responded.
I responded with a nod and a smile, “You heard right.”
POWER Triple Yamaha F350 outboards
LOAD 400 gal. fuel, 50 gal. water, three crew
TOP SPEED 63.4 mph @ 6,100 rpm
TIME TO 30 MPH 9.5 sec.
BEST MPG 1.00 @ 34.6 mph (3,500 rpm)
LOA 39 ft. 6 in.
BEAM 10 ft. 8 in.
DEADRISE 24 deg.
WEIGHT Approx. 15,000 lb. (ready to fish)
DRAFT 2 ft. 7 in. (motors down)
FUEL 530 gal.
MAX POWER 1,200 hp
BASE PRICE $360,900