41 Convertible— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca —
|Luhrs taps a focus group to come up with a dual-purpose convertible.|
The Luhrs Marine Group’s goals for its 41 Convertible were simple: The boat had to be built to accommodate the offshore angler, but she also needed enough creature comforts so that a fisherman could enjoy a weeklong cruise with his family. Where’d these goals come from? A focus group put together by Luhrs, consisting of boat owners and dealers. My mission: to see if the 41 hit her mark.
A bluewater-capable hull was on the list, and I could think of no better place to see how Luhrs measured up than at its plant in St. Augustine, Florida. The facility employs 400 people who crank out a lot of boats—350 a year, ranging from 30 to 44 feet. Luhrs uses a fast-acting catalyst in its molds to shorten the cure time of its hand-laid, solid-fiberglass hull bottoms (hull sides are Baltek-cored). Generally, a hull (my test boat included) is popped out of a mold after 28 to 30 hours, compared to some builders who’ll leave boats in for five or more days. Marketing director Chip Shea assured me there’s no compromise in build quality as a result of the quick cure time. In fact, Luhrs claims that the high-heat from the catalyst is the reason its hulls have no history of blistering. Maybe that’s why the company backs its boats with a five-year limited warranty covering the hull and stringers.
A clean-looking interior was another item on the wish list, and I’m sure the focus group would’ve been impressed by the half-finished 41 I saw on the line. The reason is that Luhrs has implemented a new modular-build process designed to improve fit and finish, and the 41 is the first model built using these new techniques.
For instance, as opposed to building the interior as separate pieces and then placing them in the boat, which is a time-consuming process, the entire interior is built as one piece outside of the boat. Shea says this makes it possible to pre-rig plumbing, electrical, and duct work and provides a more even finish for the cherrywood interior, since it’s all sprayed at the same time, not in sections. From what I observed, the system seems to work.
Upon examining the 41’s interior, it was obvious that Luhrs has improved grain-matching. My test boat’s solid cherrywood cabinet doors and frames (cherry veneer is used for the bulkheads) appeared consistent and complemented the standard Ultraleather L-shape lounge in the saloon, just to starboard upon entering from the cockpit. The lounge stretches outboard under the side decks and, with the touch of a button, slides out into a berth for two. Rounding out the saloon, Luhrs opted for Everwear for the saloon sole. It’s a faux teak-and-holly laminate that seems durable, and whether you’re cruising with the kids or taking a bunch of guys out for a few days offshore, you’ll appreciate that.
Everwear is also used in the U-shape galley, which is up and just forward of the lounge. It’s equipped with a three-burner cooktop, stainless steel convection/microwave oven, and coffee maker, but the neatest feature is the raised wooden handholds that envelop the standard Corian countertops. Luhrs borrowed this idea from the parent company’s line of Hunter sailboats. It prevents the need to put screws into the saloon overhead for handholds and keeps dishes from sliding around on the countertops. Not only does it look good, but it’s sturdy. When I tried to shake the holds loose with two hands, they didn’t budge.
This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.