The night before our October Fish Trial, videographer Michelle Makmann and I beat the brand-new Jupiter 41 Express to the dock. When it finally glided past us, pushed by four whispering Yamaha F300s, the breeze carried in that new-boat smell. Todd Albrecht, vice president of Jupiter Marine, deftly crabbed the boat sideways abeam the dock at Sailfish Marina in Riviera Beach, Florida, using the optional Yamaha Helm Master joystick.
Eight years ago, nobody would have called any boat with outboards an “express.” That nomenclature was reserved for inboard sport-fishers rumbling along with black diesel soot roiling through the cockpit. That all changed when Yamaha introduced its V-8 four-stroke outboard in 2007.
Suddenly the fishable cuddies we all called walkarounds burst through their 30-something-foot length barrier, and offshore fishing changed forever. Even without those groundbreaking V-8s, these new expresses became a platform for family vacations, with a range that allows multiple-day trips without returning to refuel.
“Do you have a cast net, Todd?” I asked that evening, already thinking about the next day’s offshore adventure.
“We’re fishing for food tomorrow, not bait,” he answered. “The marina has blue runners for sale. We’ll stock up tomorrow before we go.”
The next morning, the Jupiter’s 60-gallon livewell was churning and lively with bait. We had about four hours with the boat before it would need to leave for delivery.
This particular 41 Express came from the factory without much fishing gear; the buyer planned to have his dealer equip the boat with outriggers and electronics. Jupiter can easily customize any model for its buyers, but sometimes an owner has worked with a special tower builder or electronics installer and chooses that route instead. Jupiter happily accommodates that strategy.
We stowed extra rods in the hardtop rocket launcher and under the gunwale in a pair of rod hangers. Though we didn’t use it, the bucket storage beneath the mezzanine seating could have accommodated a net.
With 1,200 horsepower, the 41 stepped on plane like a runabout and accelerated without losing the horizon. Power steering is mandatory with this much thrust, and it’s standard with Helm Master. I could swing the helm with one finger, and the steady control of the digital throttle and shift was a pleasure. So too was the top speed (57 mph at 6,000 rpm) and steady, economical cruise speed. At 3,500 rpm and 31.1 mph, we achieved 0.88 mpg.
We stopped just offshore after spotting a few flying fish. When I looked closely at what appeared to be a 16-inch Simrad NSS evo2 display, I was startled to see it was a dummy. The helm station featured plenty of room for two real displays of that size, or even a pair of 19-inch screens.
It wasn’t long before a couple of schoolie dolphinfish pestered our baits. We wished we’d brought some bite-size pilchards, but the mahi worried at the big blue runners until a hook finally stuck. That fish came to the boat quickly, chased in by a better fish.
Albrecht scrambled to drop the first mahi into the box and rerig. The big mahi scouted all our offerings and chose one just as a second gaffer did the same. I put down the camera and shamelessly grabbed the stick with the biggest fish.
Chris Gaudreau, Jupiter’s sales manager, pulled the second gaffer aboard. My mahi leaped and sounded repeatedly, then played possum. During the frenzy, Makmann worked around us, capturing video. We hardly noticed her in the enormous cockpit.
I braced against the cushioned coaming bolsters and hauled the fish alongside. Gaudreau readied the gaff, and at the same time, the mahi lunged, knocking his Costa sunglasses into the water. If I ever doubted his skill with the gaff, that question disappeared when I saw him hook his sunglasses, put them on and stick my dolphinfish in about half a breath.
The fish wasn’t green exactly, but I was glad Albrecht had the 90-gallon port fish box open so Gaudreau could slide it aboard. We could have held another 20 fish like that if they’d been nearby and we’d had the time.
Above and Below Deck
The helm deck oozed pure luxury, with air conditioning and wraparound seating. The glossy mahogany helm seat swiveled and adjusted for a perfect fit.
The 41 Express can be equipped with an upper station, which some owners are apt to add to a tower. The buyer of this boat planned to add gunwale rod holders to the current six, plus install an array of vertical holders at the transom.
The boat already sported an increasingly popular feature in fishing boats: standard LED interior and optional underwater lighting. Albrecht showed us how the interior lights could bathe the helm deck and cockpit in a glow that faded on command from white to red, blue to purple, and other colors. Surrounding the boat underwater we saw a rich blue aura, said by some to help raise curious fish.
Belowdecks, the Express’ sleeping arrangements included the forward queen-size V-berth and an aft trunk berth for two adults. Amidships, the cushioned dinette seating converts to a third bed.
Jupiter wrapped the salon in lounge seating and encircled it with some of the finest cabinetry I’ve seen. Drawers rolled on silky, silent tracks. I pushed one closed, and an inch from coming to, its mechanism stopped the drawer from slamming, then eased it home silently and firmly enough to hold it in place, even when underway in choppy seas.
I opened the cedar-lined coat locker, and the aromatic scent wafted through the cabin. Even the door to the head compartment latched smartly, with a hiss like the barrier to a sterile, climate‑controlled room.
The galley featured Corian countertops, a microwave, a two-burner stove and a dual-drawer refrigerator. The AC helped tame this sultry fall day while the diesel genset purred under the aft deck, creating a pleasant white noise.
Jupiter builds a water manifold fed by one through-hull to supply the genset, raw-water washdown and livewell. You can hoist the boat, supply water to it via a dockside pump, and still use all the systems on board.
We had to end our brief fishing foray midmorning. When we docked, all our unused blue runners were still lively and tough enough to catch and transfer to another angler. Clearly, this outboard express lives up to fishing, performance and comfort expectations; it’s a standout in its class.