3500 SCR — By Capt. Stuart Reininger — December 2000
|Part 2: Maxum 3500 SCR continued|
You won't have any trouble wafting up and out, either. The companionway is flanked by a pair of through-bolted (as is all the deck hardware) handrails, a touch conspicuously lacking on too many other boats. The helmsman's benchseat is roomy enough for a pal and adjusts electrically in four directions. Since all glass is tinted, you can occasionally take off those sunglasses without going blind. The two-tier control/instrument layout is easy to see and reach, and there's plenty of room for electronics. Electronics installation will be a breeze, since you can get behind or inside the panel by just removing a few screws.
The oversize rail to starboard of the companionway is also handy for swinging around and up the two steps to the walkthrough windshield. The foredeck of this big cruiser is almost as much of a social area as the saloon or the cockpit. It's protected by effective nonskid and makes a perfect dockside platform for a few folks to gather and enjoy cocktails. Two recesses accommodate snap-in sunpads but also sport nonskid. I've seen pad recesses that aren't so treated, a state of affairs that can lead to a nasty fall. Unfortunately, the Maxum's plastic-based, bow-mounted spotlight will not survive the first bad berthing or errant loop of a dockline. But the unusually large anchor well (there's even recessed lighting inside) can hold enough line and chain to get you through a rough night on the hook.
Although the trend these days is to stash PWCs on stern platforms, that won't be possible with the one aboard the 3500. While the swim platform is integral with the hull and could easily hold the weight of a watertoy, it's almost a foot above the water, which is too high to easily hoist a PWC aboard. On the other hand, you won't get that annoying slap of wavelets that low platforms seem to generate when you're at anchor.
Something else you won't find annoying is the way the 3500 performs. We ran our tests in Baltimore Harbor with enough wind blowing to raise a healthy chop, in addition to the wakes generated by the spectator fleet on hand to watch the OpSail 2000 tall ships. While she came on plane effortlessly, with little bow rise and no loss of visibility from the cockpit, her most pleasing trait was relative silence, surprising considering that we were being propelled by a pair of 310-hp MerCruiser 7.4-liter MPI gasoline inboards. Even at a top end of 36 mph (4300 rpm), we didn't break 89 dB-A in the cockpit. Since 65 is the level of normal conversation, that means you could converse with a raised voice; at her cruising speed of 20.8 mph (3000 rpm), the 82 dB-A we registered means you'd only have to speak a bit louder than normal. The fact that the engines were mounted well aft, thanks to V-drives, and the fact that the boat has a molded inner liner both contributed to her relative quiet.
The 3500's sharp entry and moderate 15-degree transom deadrise made for an easy slice through the chop, with no pounding and steady tracking. She backed well upwind and downwind, and running with one engine down she turned well away from the lazy prop, something any twin should be able to do easily in the event you lose an engine and must travel and maneuver on only one.
To the gearheads among you: Breathe easy. Maintenance on this boat is a breeze, as the whole aft cockpit comes up on a single hydroelectric ram. There's nothing you can't easily reach or do in the large engine compartment. I would suggest, however, a two- or three-step ladder for easier access, as it's a long step down for the short-legged or weight-challenged.
Does this Maxum have the space of a 40-foot boat? No, but she stands up pretty well to quite a few of them and outperforms most, and her construction is top-notch. Best of all, you won't need to visit your chiropractor after a long weekend--but you could invite him along; there's plenty of room.
U.S. Marine Yachts Phone: (360) 435-5571. Fax: (360) 403-1334.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.