Anyone who has been watching the trend of offshore fishboats has witnessed the just-hose-me-down-Harry express fishboats quietly morph into the family cruising comfort zone. We think that's a good thing, as the fishing qualities don't suffer and the level of amenities takes a quantum leap up... it's a win/win. So as we looked at the new Luhrs 37 IPS, it was easy to gaze at the twin stateroom, twin head layout and think... "yeah, this could work." And, since it's a Luhrs you know the price will be competitive.
|Length Overall||36' 10'' / 10.82 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 370-hp Volvo Penta IPS500
2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
Capt's Report by Capt. Steve
There are at least 9 important features of this boat that set her apart from all over the other express fishboats in the size range. Some builders includes some of these features, but there is no other 37-footer with all of them! The distinguishing attributes are--
1. A very high bow with Carolina flare and exceptionally high freeboard.
2. Standard IPS500 pod drive system with joystick.
3. A mid cabin with some standing headroom and an en suite wet head.
4. A large tackle or sport equipment storage compartment under the bridge deck settee.
5. A love seat at the foot of the forward queen bed in the salon.
6. A half tower, air conditioning, and a 9 kW Kohler generator as standard.
7. Dual purpose settee seat/bait prep console with sink.
8. Joinery work and a finish in the salon that is perhaps the best Luhrs has ever done .
9. A choice of either IPS propulsion or outboard motors.
I've been on my share of overnight trips to the canyons, and the simple fact is, it's never with just a couple of guys. More like 6 minimum, sometimes 8, but 6 seems to be the average including crew. Most often that has to do with the captain's six-pack license, but in my case, it has more to do with the circle of friends that all share the same thrills. So my point of view of this 37 IPS will be with these five guys and myself, and how will we all fit into the boat?
Is There Room Enough?
First of all, are we going to be bumping into each other at every turn? Typically, under 40' (12.2 m) you're still in that zone of too small for fitting right, but not so in the 37. She has a LOA of 36' 10" (11.22 m) without the optional swim platform, but there's still a surprising amount of room both above and below decks thanks to the wide 14' 10" (4.52 m) beam.
The cockpit measures 80 sq. ft. (7.43 sq. m.) of space, more than enough for four guys to put out a spread. The helm deck allows for seating 8 people for relaxing before or after the action, and with the optional summer galley, including an electric grill, sink and refrigerated drawer, most time will be spent on deck, whether we're fishing or not.
There are a lot of features worth noting on this new boat, the first of the Luhrs Canyon Series. The team at Luhrs has really knocked themselves out to make this boat something special, and I think it is. But first, the fishy stuff.
With optional spreader lights along with the standard tower, we can keep up the action well after dark, if that's your game plan. With us it's mostly hanging out on the drift. The fishy features are an oval 35-gallon (132.5 L) livewell to starboard, four rod holders in the caprails, and the bait prep center with sink.
To port is the bait prep center with sink. There are cushions on top of the counter and the settee seatback moves fore and aft. While trolling you can be perched on the counter looking aft, at the end of the day having a cold one and a snack at the settee, facing forward.
One surprising feature is the step-down storage area under the port settee seat. Open it up and you step into a massive storage locker that doubles as a bait and tackle store. Here is where all your gear lives, so there's no sharing a berth with rods and reels.
The 37 as a whole does a fine job of shaking off water. Nothing goes into the bilge, and the scuppers are large enough to allow for backing into some of the most inconvenient breaking seas to chase down a prize fish.
As mentioned, the tower is standard, a rare feature on any fish boat. It's also comfortable, but not overly so and this maintains its business sensibility. A bench seat has an upholstered backrest, and it's mounted far enough from the helm to allow for standing without cutting into the back of your legs. The helm is center mounted and features full instrumentation, thanks to the selectable Volvo Penta EVC display, and power steering. An optional Raymarine display lies to port of the wheel.
Pods Make the Difference
A builder can only maximize all of the advantages of the IPS pod system by building a new boat from the keel up, not warming over an old hull. That is why the 37 IPS Canyon Series is so noteworthy. She is all new and few builders have utilized the IPS system as well in any fishboat under 40 feet, in my opinion. The boat is built completely around the IPS system as it should be.
This meant moving the engines all the way aft to the pods, which maximizes the living space forward. A few builders have been afraid to raise the cockpit sole to go over the engines and have tucked the engines under mezzanine seating and added a jack-shaft to carry the power aft to the pods. While this is an improvement on straight inboards, it does not maximize accommodation space.
Of course with all the weight of the engines moved aft, I was concerned about the trim being upset, but of course Luhrs thought of that. The fuel and water tanks are moved forward, and the tumble home disguises some fullness in the stern sections that add buoyancy.
With the engine room bulkhead moved well aft, the 37 was able to do what no other boat in class has been able to do: add a second stateroom with two berths and second head. You're free to make this area into an office with an added utility room, but since this isn't a long range cruiser, why would you do such a thing? No, that second stateroom serves quite nicely, and the wet head is fine with us -- particularly since there is a shower stall in the other head.
Below, the high freeboard forward and the wide beam pay off once again. There is 6'4" headroom in the salon (1.93 m) and room for two big men to pass each other without doing the tango. Over the years I can look back on many good times just sitting down below with my buddies hanging out and swapping stories, and it seems the 37 was built with this in mind.
Luhrs has done something that I've only seen on one or two other boats, but not in this class. The bulkhead between the forward cabin and the salon has been eliminated. Since the boat is only 37' this opens up the space below and makes it less claustrophobic and more inviting. Luhrs engineers have cleverly provided hull stiffening where the bulkhead would normally be with box-shaped hanging lockers port and starboard.
There's a large queen forward, but seating is not sacrificed because of it. The foot of the berth lifts up to access an aft facing double seat. Now there's seating for up to 7 in the salon, and for 6 it's enough to spread out and relax without bumping elbows. Throw a table with some smoked swordfish steaks into the middle of the mix and it's guy heaven, complete with the stories of the one that got away.
This, in addition to the sofa, and the two seats to either side of the island make a great gathering area indeed. An entertainment package includes a flat screen with a Bose 3-2-1 sound system.
Instead of going with a teak and holly cabin sole, Luhrs went with an equally attractive, but much more durable Amtico wild cherry flooring that will fit well with the fishing crowd, loathe to take their shoes off every time they step below.
To starboard is a built in sofa with storage underneath. I'd like to see the entire back of the sofa lift up and secure with straps to the overhead, Pullman style, to add another sleeping bunk to the salon.
The galley will keep any family happy, but our fishing guys aren't on this boat to cook. Fishy men (and women) will grill in the cockpit. Here, if you're so inclined, you can make good use of the dual burner stove, microwave, and dual-voltage fridge. Corian counters and curved overhead storage cabinets are standard. I think I'd do most of my cooking topside.
The Mid Cabin
The mid cabin is one of the most noteworthy features of the boat. Note that Luhrs has not designed the typical passage into the mid cabin under a fore-and-aft bench seat on the bridge deck, thus eliminating a companion seat/navigator's seat facing forward. Rather it has built the cabin under the helm.
Access to the mid cabin is through a doorway that has a slightly arched header, or architrave. I take this, along with the curved cherry cabinet doors and rounded radius treatments in the salon joiner work and upholstery, as a strong sign that Luhrs is working hard to appeal to people with taste and an appreciation of higher quality boat building. So, yes, Luhrs is trying to appeal to women, but I think there is more to it than that.
Once inside the cabin, the two singles are laid out in a "L"-shape which is the most space efficient. In the middle of the cabin there is full standing headroom. What's more, there is private access to its head.
We cannot think of a express fishboat this small that has an arrangement quite like this, or as functional.
Luhrs is offering a lot of options, and that even goes with a boat chock full of standards. I'm not a big fan of air conditioning when offshore, but my buddies are all "well insulated" so bridge air conditioning is a must. Cabin air is optional as is the optional 9-kW Kohler genny. I'd definitely add the padded cockpit bolsters, and I'm surprised that they're not standard.
The cockpit carpet will do for some people when converting to family mode. I'd opt in for a pair of outriggers and Luhrs has partnered with Lee and Rupp, so again, you have choices. Lastly, there's the "sportfish mode" IPS option from Volvo Penta. In this mode the pods are canted outward and that, along with computer control, will have you backing down on a fish no matter how fast, or in what direction it tries to go. I've tested Volvo Penta's sportfish mode on a 70-footer and it turns like a ballet dancer.
I've yet to test this boat, but with a choice of either IPS500's or 600's I can't imagine that you won't have full controllability. But testing will tell.
When I used the BoatTEST.com comparison feature I discovered that the 37 Luhrs has the widest beam in class, 9" (22 cm) wider than many. At 22,500 lbs. (10,206 kgs.) she weighs about the same as most other boats in class and carries a few gallons less fuel, 400 gal. (1,520 L), than most of her rivals. With the IPS system she probably does not need to carry as much fuel.
As we have already said, the accommodations of the 37 Luhrs are outstanding, and she is the only boat in class that has both two cabins and two heads.
WOT speed-wise all the boats in class go about the same based on what performance figures Luhrs has given us (37 mph), and her best cruise speed is faster than most others. We have not tested this boat so we can't vouch for any of this, but it does not seem out of line.
The 37 Luhrs is also being built in an outboard model. Last fall the builder had one of the boats at the fall shows with three Yamaha F350s strapped to an Armstrong bracket. The rest of the boat is pretty much the same except for the fact that you now can put fuel tanks where the Volvo IPS diesels were located, increasing your fuel capacity by 230 gal. (874 l), every bit of which you will need.
It is interesting to note that the price of the boat with the outboards is only about $10,000 less than it is with the twin IPS500s. But if you want more speed, then that is the way to go.
Clearly, Luhrs did a fine job of blending two groups together -- family and fishermen -- so that they can both enjoy the same boat. With the wide Carolina flare it's evident that this boat is made to take some serious punishment required of a boat that wanders far from home.
I like the high freeboard forward. This reminds me a bit of a commercial workboat or a world cruising yacht, but either way it is designed to be able to take large head seas and ride over them without putting the deck awash with green water. For the 37 IPS Canyon Series it serves another purpose as well -- to camouflage the fact that the bridge deck is higher than usual in order to get some headroom in the mid cabin and head. It all works for me because the sea-keeping abilities of the boat are enhanced by the high bow and high freeboard.
The cockpit sole is also quite a bit higher than it would be in a boat of this size powered by a conventional inboard engines, and is about 12" (.30 m) off the water. The freeboard aft appears to be about normal height for this type and size of boat, but of course, something has to give, and it is the cockpit depth which is a bit less than it would be with inboard engines. That is one of the trade-offs.
Luhrs is proud of the interior joiner work and I agree that they should be. All-and-all I think the 37 IPS Luhrs Canyon Series is a compelling boat for fishing or cruising.
Base price with the IPS500's is $449,592. IPS600s will add another $36k to the mix.