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Of course, you can’t
expect cockpit engine access in a 32-footer, right? Wrong. Okay, at 2'2"x1'4"
it’s not going to accommodate your beer-drinking buddies, and someone
did forget to provide a step for anyone svelte enough to fit through.
But once you’re inside, it’s easy to check the batteries and
reach all the filters. The sea strainers are external, so they’re
no sweat, but the dipsticks on our V-8s were just about touching the overhead;
I could pull them, but it took some wiggling. Under foot, about 18 inches
off the hull, a 4,000-gph bilge pump with float switch supplements two
1,100-gph units. Designed to come on only when there’s high water,
it activates a high-water alarm at the helm, from which it can also be
manually activated. For major maintenance, the entire overhead/saloon
sole comes up in three panels, and there is plenty of artificial light.
All fittings are double-clamped, not just those below the waterline.
Just as compact but a lot more comfortable, the saloon features a simple
port-side galley: sink and two-burner stovetop with refrigerator below
the counter and a built-in microwave above it, with a coffee maker built
in above that. There are a spice rack and big cabinet beneath the sink
but no drawers. There is, however, a plethora of rod stowage, beneath
the seats and behind the backs of the seven-foot-long couch and in a four-rod
rack molded into the overhead. A drop-leaf table provides eating space,
but the neatest feature here is a nav table at the aft end of the couch.
Sit on the couch and you face the 120-, 240-, and 12-volt panels (the
boat is wired for the optional genset) and a breaker panel below. A 2'8"W
x 1'2"L top offers enough room to lay out a chart, and since there are
120-volt and telephone outlets here, it’s perfect for a laptop. A
port-side TV is hidden behind tambour doors as you head forward and downstairs,
just past a barrel chair and dedicated plate and glassware stowage behind
it. Above the stairs is an automotive-style AM/FM stereo/CD player with
two speakers in the overhead.
Two steps take you down to a landing flanked by a head to port that was
definitely not downsized. It includes an electric MSD, enclosed shower,
6'5" headroom (just like the saloon), and a vanity that has no stowage
beneath because the space is taken up by plumbing and an exhaust vent
motor. To starboard of the head is a combination cedar-lined hanging locker
tall enough to hold a full-length coat and half-locker with a rack for
director’s chairs for the cockpit. Another step down and you’re
in the stateroom, with starboard berth, three-quarter-length hanging locker,
lots of shelving, and room for an optional TV.
If there is one place on the 32 that proves that a good fishing machine
doesn’t need a lot of LOA, it’s the bridge, which is sheltered
by a standard hardtop (the enclosure is optional). Despite modest dimensions,
there’s seating for seven on a fixed helm seat and another seat ahead
of the helm console, which has stowage below. Sightlines are excellent;
basically the entire boat is visible except for the starboard side deck.
Luhrs has taken a novel approach with the helm, placing all engine gauges
in a pod overhead and leaving the lower panel free for electronics. There’s
logic to the strategy: Most boaters spend a lot more time glancing at
their chartplotter, color video sounder, and radar than they do at their
tachometers and engine gauges. However, our 32’s pod was too far
aft for comfortable viewing, although the company says it’s planning
on repositioning it.
You could say that another advantage of a smaller boat is a quicker trip
to the forepeak. It’s certainly an easy one on the 32, thanks to
side decks that are eight inches wide at their narrowest point and numerous
handholds. The forward area is highly crowned for good water shedding,
but effective nonskid helps maintain secure footing. A pulpit is standard,
as is a deck locker to hold the optional windlass, which our boat had.
A look inside revealed some exposed terminals on the windlass relay.
The Luhrs 32 is proof that in fishing boats size matters, but only to
a point. A small boat that’s well designed can not only match a bigger
boat feature for feature, but also in some cases actually be its superior.
Luhrs Phone: (800) 578-0852. Fax: (904) 827-2156. www.luhrs.com.
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