- … you can’t help but be impressed when you step into the glasshouse-like saloon.
- Like all Merry Fishers, this is a versatile boat built to perform as a fast fisher or a family cruiser.
- She is built to a price, and from that perspective she is good value for money …
Jeanneau’s entry into the middleweight arena sees them maintain the Merry Fisher reputation for versatility, but how will they contend with the multiple capable competitors in this burgeoning market once the gloves are off? Greg Copp reflects …
The mainstay of French boat sales in the UK has always been centred on lightweight sports fishers – that is, until Jeanneau’s new MF1095 took the Merry Fisher concept into the middleweight sector earlier this year. There has never been a shortage of contenders in this area of the market, but this 600hp 10.5m boat has added a new dimension to this range.
For the last decade, design focus has been set on accommodation. Boats may not get much longer, but they pack more berths and living space, inevitably gaining displacement in the process. It seems to sell boats, and many manufacturers swear by the concept. Jeanneau have taken this idea on board with the MF1095 by building a 32ft, six-berth, triple-cabin boat. They have done this rather well, as not only does this boat not have the appearance of a portly floating caravan, but its displacement is not far over 5 tonnes dry, and it does 37 knots.
Of course, there is a fuel bill to pay with twin 300hp outboards. But on the flip side, if you powered this boat with a pair of Volvo D4s or a single D6 there would be a higher purchase price, higher servicing costs and certainly not enough room for three cabins. This logic has not been lost on those who do the mathematics – based on an annual average of 50 hours – and appreciate what really sells the average family boat. On this understanding, the MF1095 scores very well, as you can’t help but be impressed when you step into the glasshouse-like saloon. Flooded with light, it feels bigger than it really is, and you get a great feeling of continuity with the outside world. The galley is well equipped for a 32ft boat, and with a void of storage under the saloon floor, a decent fridge and quite a few under-counter cupboards, you can realistically stock this boat to feed a family. The dinette opposite is limited to seating four, though it does have a reversible forward section that converts to a double navigator’s seat for use underway. This all-too-important feature is becoming par for the course in middleweight craft, which do not have room for a separate forward-facing seat.
Stepping below, you come to terms with how well the boat’s designers have maximised the space. The first cabin on the starboard side contains a slim double bed, which is likely to get used either as a wide single or extra storage space for items like waterproofs and life jackets. That said, it has 6 feet of standing headroom, an opening porthole, a skylight and a medium-sized locker – so it is capable of providing adult sleeping space. Opposite is located the heads compartment. Given that the heads is a key selling point for any family boat, no corners have been cut in this department. The door opens to reveal a walnut veneered toilet section, complete with a contemporary ‘bowl sink’ vanity unit, a long rectangular porthole and a skylight. Once inside with the door shut, you discover a large separate shower unit with a bench seat, and yet another porthole – and like the toilet it has over 6 feet of headroom. There are some 36-footers that struggle to match this level of facilities.
Aft of the heads sits the mid cabin, accessed on the port side, which has full standing headroom in the doorway and is flooded with light from the overhead skylight. As is often the case, storage is a limited affair – in this case just a small locker. However, the very large double bed enjoys plenty of natural light from an opening porthole at the head. Surprisingly, the master cabin has not paid a price for all this amidships indulgence. It may have very slightly less headroom than the other accommodation, but there is just under 6 feet, and you can actually get around the sides of the bed to get into it. Under the bed there is plenty of storage, accessed either via a gas-strut-assisted hatch or a front-opening door at the foot of the bed. This storage also enables access right down to the bilge if you need to get to the bow thruster and its battery. A hanging locker also sits to starboard, and a series of six head-level lockers can be found above the impressively long windows. To illuminate matters further, there is also a skylight and an opening hatch, both of which can be shut out with blinds and curtains when you want to get your head down.
The cockpit has an innovative design that enables the aft bench seat to slide forward, allowing the engines to be fully raised when berthed. There is the usual under-seat storage in this area and a medium-sized lazarette beneath the cockpit sole – accessed via a cockpit hatch. The twin bathing platforms are totally separate, though both have transom gates. However, the starboard quarter gate is the only one that enables proper access that does not involve clambering over seating. If you moor alongside, it will likely be on the starboard side. The reason behind this is that there is a small starboard cockpit gate, and a wide starboard side deck enclosed by a bulwark, running all the way up to the helm side door. From here you step up to the non-slip foredeck with two lockers at the bow – one under the large sun cushion area. I will remark that the standard anchor was a bit on the skimpy side for a 10.5m boat. There is side deck access on the port side but it is a conventional 6-inch affair, albeit assisted by high guard rails and a roof handrail.
Driving the MF1095
Not surprisingly, the MF1095 is a quick boat, hitting 30 knots in around 8 seconds. Pushing up to her top speed of 37 knots requires a bit of trim out on her engines, as you would expect. Her natural fore and aft trim is pretty good, as you notice this lower down the spectrum without any recourse to using the trim tabs to keep the nose down. If you had a big beam sea, no doubt the Lenco tabs would prove their worth, but that was not the case. Her sweet spot is clearly 25 knots, as the ride, sound levels and fuel consumption indicate. At this speed you would have a 180-mile range with a 20% reserve.
Our test day was a typical Mediterranean morning, and consequently things were not that testing, so unfortunately I can’t really report on her rough-weather seakeeping.
She cuts a very steady sure-footed line in the turns, though her steering is hard work and not what you would expect from an outboard boat of her size. I expect this will be retrospectively sorted before the boat hits the UK – it certainly needs to be. She has a slight blind spot over her port quarter when turning hard to port. This can be inevitable with a wheelhouse boat whose window line shuts out your view banked over.
Otherwise helm ergonomics are good, and the adjustable seat works well – either seated with the footboard or standing with the bolster up. The non-glare dark dash has plenty of room for a large plotter – and any other electronic goodies that take your fancy.
Driving her past 30 knots does throw up one annoying aspect: high noise levels. The sea state was not mild, but certainly not something that would invoke the level of complaints I heard. It was not your usual hull slap, but sounded rather like the internal joinery. She has a medium-vee hull, so I was not expecting a super-smooth silent ride, but something was not right. I asked the skipper whether she was the first boat built and was told she was number two …
Like all Merry Fishers, this is a versatile boat built to perform as a fast fisher or a family cruiser. She is built to a price, and from that perspective she is good value for money when you take into account the amount of accommodation, her practicality and the level of on-board safety. However, as a fast offshore boat she has some capable contenders to deal with, some of which will show her a clean set of heels in the rough.
Fuel consumption (both engines – Yamaha fuel flow meter)
Engine speed GPH Knots MPG Sound level (db at helm) 2000rpm 5.5 8.1 1.50 75
2500rpm 8.4 9.6 1.14 78
3000rpm 10.6 11.4 1.08 81
3500rpm 14.0 18.9 1.35 85
4000rpm 18.9 24.5 1.30 87
4500rpm 25.3 28.9 1.14 87
5000rpm 29.3 32.0 1.10 90
5500rpm 40.0 35.2 0.88 94
5800rpm (wot) 44.3 37.0 0.83 97
- LOA: 10.5m (32ft 11in)
- Beam: 3.35m (11ft 1in)
- Displacement: 5400kg (dry – twin 300hp Yamahas)
- Power options: Twin outboards: 250–300 hp from Yamaha & Suzuki
- Fuel capacity: 2 x 400 litres (176 gallons)
- Water capacity: 160 litres (35 gallons)
- Blackwater capacity: 61 litres (13 gallons)
- RCD category: B for 8 or C for 10
- Test engines: Twin 300hp Yamaha F300s
37 knots (2-way average), sea conditions F3
From: £164,000 (inc. VAT), with twin 300hp Yamaha F300s
Swanwick Shore Rd
Hampshire SO31 1ZL