35 — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
Up From The Ashes
|Back from near oblivion, Phoenix has a new owner and a 35 convertible as resilient as her namesake.|
The Phoenix is synonymous with rebirth and resiliency: In Greek mythology the bird infinitely repeats a cycle in which it lives for 500 years, is consumed by fire, and then miraculously rises from the ashes to live another 500 years. Little did the original owners of Phoenix Marine know how appropriate this image would be when they named their company after that storied bird. Now, after ceasing production last February, this Phoenix has returned to life, thanks to Carl Herndon, president of Jupiter Marine International, which acquired Phoenix last year. Herndon is best known for founding Blackfin Yachts and being president of Bertram Yacht from 1994 to 1996. The first new Phoenix to emerge from these ashes is the 35 Flybridge Convertible.
It was January in New York when I got a chance to defrost at the helm of this reincarnated firebird and see what modifications Herndon had made to bring her back to life. As my plane accelerated down the runway of Kennedy International and I left a frozen Big Apple behind, I waved goodbye to all the shivering city-dwellers.
The 35 is based on the popular Phoenix 34 SFX, which was introduced around 1997 and is the product of a multitude of modifications. For starters, Herndon says he wanted a more contemporary, rounded, Euro-looking profile, so he spent six months consulting Phoenix owners and dealers to see how he could incorporate these features into a legitimate sportfisherman. The first thing he and his staff did was to remove the 34's hull vents, which immediately cleaned up the profile. To ensure the engines receive an adequate supply of combustion air, the design team replaced them with hidden scoops in the pilasters containing S baffles (a trick he used at Blackfin) to prohibit saltwater intrusion and reduce engine noise. In the 34 the pilasters met the flying bridge overhang at a sharp angle, so Herndon and the designers rounded off this area and removed striations in the pilasters to produce a softer look with a lower profile that looks fast sitting still. They also added about a foot to the foredeck to make the boat a 35 and lowered and curved the windscreen to further enhance the streamlined appearance. As a result, this boat is stylish but still looks like she was built to fish.
In addition to aesthetics, Herndon also focused on practical changes. He replaced the balsa coring used in the 34's hull sides and side decks with PVC foam coring because, he says, PVC will not rot, and he added glass from the engine room bulkhead aft to stiffen and reinforce the overall structure, which added some weight. (Our test boat came in around 23,890 pounds.) He also beefed up the fiberglass-encapsulated stringer system, which is laid up outside the hull and then installed about two-thirds of the way through the building process. He also made sure the hull-to-deck joint is bulletproof, sealing it with 3M 5200, mechanically fastening it, and then glassing it all around.
that the 34 was slightly bow-heavy and looking to enhance its seakindliness,
Herndon moved the center of balance aft about nine inches by repositioning
the genset, engines, and fuel tanks. (After seeing the 35's back-straight,
lady-like posture at the Cozy Cove Marina in Fort Lauderdale, I'd
say it was the right call.) In the process he also managed to gain 100
gallons of fuel capacity, for a total of 400 gallons. Other handling enhancements
included moving the standard Bennett trim tabs outboard where they could
exert more leverage and increasing rudder size by about 30 percent, improving
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.