- The MF895 is really an already proven concept, being very closely based on the 855.
- When it comes to the heads, this boat excels for a 30-footer – there is a shower behind the door with full standing headroom.
- … design improvements have made the boat even more versatile, while recognising the need for more power in a boat with good offshore capability.
Greg Copp crosses the Channel to explore a new take on an old master …
Every country has its forte when it comes to boatbuilding, and with France it is fast fishing boats. The Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 epitomises this concept well, offering this yard’s usual blend of practicality, robustness and performance. To be totally fair, this boat is not truly new. It is an incarnation of the previous MF 855 – which is no bad thing, as in creating the MF895, Jeanneau have taken a proven concept and made it that little bit better.
The hull has been stretched a tad, making the MF895 a 9m boat with a bit more lift at the stern as a result. It also has slightly bigger bathing platforms, making stern access around the engine/engines easier. All power options are Yamaha in the form of 1 x Yamaha F350, 1 x F300 or 2 x F175s. The test boat was fitted with a single F300, which represents a departure from the 855, as it was only offered with twin 175hp or 150hp engines in the past. The single-engine concept is a logical one for normal pleasure use as it produces better performance and economy. There is also a twin F200-powered version available, known as the MF895 Offshore. The Offshore, built with stronger laminates in its stern sections, is CE rated category B as a result, and needs twin engines to qualify as such. This overkill factor has made this version of the MF895 popular. I will say that I found the single F300 suited to the MF895, though if I had a choice I would chose its bigger brother, the F350.
The MF895 dry with a Yamaha F300 displaces just over 3300kg. Factor in the nearly full fuel tank and the two crew, and the test boat of the day was weighing in at 3.8 tonnes. The F300 proved well matched to this displacement as the boat pushed up onto the plane fairly quickly, and without any need for trim tabs. Without the Lenco trim tabs off, she will plane at 18 knots at 4000rpm, though the tabs will keep her on the plane a few knots below this speed. Above this speed I felt no need to reach down to the trim tab switch, which is positioned too low and not in keeping with the good helm ergonomics. You have an equally tempting choice of being seated or standing. Though the helm seat puts you in a good spot to see clearly over the bow, with the seat bolster up you can wedge yourself in standing, and get a slightly better view. Visibility on all quarters is very good thanks to the abundance of window space.
The weather was suitably testing, especially once we left the lee of the Isle of Wight and started running into rolling swell. Keeping the bow down when running into the north-easterly force 4 proved a wise move. I chose to trim the engine in and back off the power to a point when the forward chines stopped taking a beating and the hull forefoot started doing its job. This relatively sensible sweet spot was 26 knots at around 4800rpm. Had the sea got any worse I would have been tempted to drop the speed into the low 20s and bring the trim tabs into play to keep the bow down and the stern up, but this was not the case. Running into the short, sharp chop inside the Solent was a similar situation, though you could maintain a quicker pace providing you resisted the temptation to trim the leg out more than a touch. If you did trim up too much, then the forward sections of the chines would let you know. Short chop is easily consumed by the MF895 up to 30 knots, but if you want to go any faster, she needs the motor trimmed out, which means either running with the weather, or a milder sea state than the one we experienced.
Flat out, this boat hit 33.7 knots (two-way average) while burning 102Lph, or 1.5 mpg in old money. Fast cruising is around 28/29 knots, which is a less painful 1.8 mpg, while sensible cruising at 26 knots returns just under 2mpg. The 300hp 4.2L V6 Yamaha F300 is far from underpowered for this boat, but the 350hp 5.3L V8 Yamaha F350 would be a perfect match, as that extra torque would complement this boat well. Consequently the F350 at like-for-like cruising speeds will be no less economical, but obviously at wide open throttle there will be a greater price to pay.
As is to be expected of a ‘family fisher’, the hull is a medium-vee design. Consequently if you drop off some big waves at speed and land on the boat’s mid/aft sections, as we did on occasions, you will hear and feel it, and rightly so. The MF895 is no sports boat, but knowing the brand’s reputation for a solid no-frills approach to boatbuilding, throwing this family weekender into the weather, often at wide open throttle, did not concern me, especially after watching Antoine from Jeanneau drive the Merry Fisher in a truly merciless manner. In comparison, some years back I drove a middleweight sports cruiser from a well-known British yard in similar conditions, which subsequently deposited some of its internal fittings on the deck.
Practicality is the key theme throughout the design of the boat, which is evident the moment you step into the cockpit. The wheelhouse is offset to port, enabling a wider 9″ starboard side deck enclosed by a 15″-deep bulwark complete with side gate – and you still get a 6″ side deck on the port side. The aft bench seat assembly can slide forward on rails, enabling the engine to be trimmed clear of the water when berthed. The large cockpit hatch reveals an even larger lazarette beneath that has its own internal storage lockers. Forward deck access underway, as I found out, is all the safer thanks to tall guard rails and effective non-slip decking everywhere, and the anchor locker is deep enough to cater for fenders and warps, as well as housing a good-sized Lewmar windlass. I was a bit disappointed, however, with the size of the cleats, which, all things considered, was out of keeping.
The wheelhouse saloon certainly benefits from the abundance of window space and a starboard side door, enabling you to step out and quickly get to grips with fender duties and mooring lines. The galley is the usual compact set-up with a two-ring gas hob, reasonable storage and a fridge behind the helm seat. Opposite sits the dinette, which converts to a small double berth if need be, and the forward bench seat has a tilting backrest that quickly turns it into a double navigator’s seat. Sadly, in order to get more light into the mid cabin below, the option of fitting an internal skylight took priority over placing a chart table in front of the navigator.
Below decks the design has given nothing away. The heads, complete with shower, has enough headroom to accommodate anyone up to 6ft 3in tall and it certainly has enough space for the most well-fed. The mid cabin is par for the course, with a medium-size hanging locker, full standing headroom in the doorway and a wide double berth. In the master’s forepeak cabin, Jeanneau have embellished the large double island bed with a large storage locker underneath, and a slim hanging locker. There is plenty of sleeping space, but limited room around the foot of the bed.
The MF895 is really an already proven concept, being very closely based on the 855. However, it does take the concept further insomuch as design improvements have made the boat even more versatile, while recognising the need for more power in a boat with good offshore capability. This boat has proven popular in the Offshore version fitted with twin 200hp Yamaha F200s, as the extra security afforded by two engines will always appeal. However, Jeanneau are wise to offer this boat with Yamaha’s F350 (unlike the 855), as not only will this save 100kg over a pair of F200s, but it will be around 20% cheaper to run, and faster in the process. The F300 is clearly enough to power this boat, but the F350 will make for a more enjoyable drive, while making the MF895 more responsive when having to deal with rough weather. As tested, this boat retails at £109,000 (inc. VAT), which includes pretty much all the extras bar air con and a gen set. This spec is realistic and includes bow thruster, heating, electronics and all the domestic items that you will need.
Fuel figures (Yamaha flow meter)
- RPM Speed (knots) Fuel consumption (mpg)
- 4000 18 1.5
- 4250 19.5 1.8
- 4500 21.5 1.9
- 4750 23.8 1.9
- 5000 27.5 1.9
- 5250 29.1 1.8
- 5500 30.5 1.7
- 5750 31.7 1.6
- 6000 (WOT) 33.7 1.5
What we thought
- Innovative design making good use of space
- Good performance from one 300hp engine
- Solid build quality
- Lots of storage
- Very good heads for 30ft boat
- Trim tab switch position on dash too low
- Cleats not large enough
- Windscreen wipers need to be bigger
- The usual long list of extras, many of which should be standard
- LOA: 8.90m
- Beam: 2.99m
- Draught: 0.63m
- Power options: 2 x 175hp, 1 x 300hp or 1 x 350hp
- Fuel capacity: 2 x 200 litres, or 2 x 300 litres for Offshore version
- RCD category: C for 10, or Offshore B for 5
- Test engine: 300hp Yamaha F300
33.7 knots – sea conditions F4 with 90% fuel
Price as Tested
£109,000 (inc, VAT) (exchange rate 1.15 euros to the pound)