St. Pete Boat Show: New MJM 35z

Where family boating meets all-weather performance

Published in the October 2017 Issue December 2017 Feature, News Austa Cook

MJM Yachts’ new 35z is the crossing point where versatility and all-weather comfort shake hands with raw performance and high-end style. This is thanks in part to the foundation of what it means to be an MJM Yachts build.

“The core DNA of the MJM is the flush deck and the ability to open the front windows, the sides, and the back wall to essentially have a fly bridge,” shares Chris Hughes, strategic marketing partner at MJM Yachts. “From the sea trials with customers, the other features of the 35z that have become extremely prominent are the smooth and comfortable ride and the incredible performance.”

With these fully-opening windshields, you can indulge in fresh air when you like and protection from the elements when you don’t. In an area of boating where the weather can be inclement, this feature is perfect for Great Lakes boaters and even comes with an optional electric push button. The side openings come in your choice of either tinted sliding safety glass or roll-up Strataglass, but one thing is certain—you won’t be short on versatility on this boat.

When you’re staying out for the night, the pilothouse doubles as a second cabin with settees converting to two full-length berths fully enclosed by the privacy/sunscreen curtain. Below deck, a pair of almost 7-foot berths come with optional “filler” for a double berth conversion, giving you greater choices when it comes to sleeping arrangements. You can even indulge in an optional bow rail similar to that on other MJMs with a spotlight and burgee staff, or the optional full cockpit Bimini that’s been tried and tested at 40 mph.

The cockpit table flowers open to 24 by 36 inches when the family is ready for dinner and additionally has two other socket locations, in the bridgedeck and in the V-berth for dining versatility. And of course it goes without saying there’s a range of fishing options for the casual or serious fisherman. These include a 35-gallon livewell in a transom island, outriggers, hardtop rocket launchers, and 58 square feet of fighting room in the cockpit.

Thoughtful Design

If you want to see artistry, take a look at how the 35z applies its space onboard. This boat indulges in an airy ambiance complemented by seven hull ports, portlights, and deck hatches that invite in an abundance of light and air. The overall sense of space is thanks in part to the careful application of storage areas onboard. Shelves over the berths are perfect for stashing duffel bags during weekend getaways. The galley has above and below counter storage, and the serving bar in the cockpit can regale guests with an electric grill, sink, icemaker, fridge, or tackle management. Two lockers pad the cabin sole with additional room, and the twin Stidd piloting seats can pivot and lower on telescoping pedestals to metamorphose into “living room” side chairs for comfortably accommodating up to six people when the adults are ready for cocktail hour—regardless of the weather. Under both settees in the bridgedeck there are cavernous storage areas. There’s a hanging locker and head with shower, not to mention a deck shower on the transom. And because you don’t have to contend with room for diesel engines under the deck, you have that much more space for any golfing, bicycling, camping, diving, fishing or water sports equipment. Even if you’re into bigger equipment sports like kayaking or standup paddleboarding, you don’t have to worry—simply store them on the hard top.

Luxury Onboard

Slipping below deck won’t bring any less sense of wonderment. Classy Herreshoff décor abounds wherever the eye sees; antique white paneling is contrasted by the clear gloss Awlgrip finished teak and holly cabin sole and satin-finished cherry joinerwork and hull sidings, showing that the luxury literally stretches everywhere onboard. All the berths and optional seatbacks are wrapped in bolstered Ultraleather upholstery for the ultimate comfort. Heck, the headroom is even a generous 6 feet, 3 inches so you won’t have to slouch unless you’re one of those pro basketball types (and then why not go for the 50z?).

“Our below deck really is a step above,” testifies Hughes.

Why The Z

Simply put, you’ve never laid eyes on an outboard vessel with features like these before. It’s clear from the first look that this line was designed by people with experience at their backs and innovation at their fingertips. The z in 35z is actually a nod to naval architect Doug Zurn, who played a crucial hand in the MJM Yachts hull design.

“Bob Johnstone, the founder, laid out what he wants the boat to look like and then worked with Doug Zurn to help bring it all together in a modern classic of the Downeast style. Doug really nails it on the hull shape. I mean, they are high performance hulls,” says Hughes. “We’re the only actual performance Downeast boat. We like to say that the 35z, the 40z, 43z, or the 50z is a modern blend of classic Downeast with today’s technology.”

Longer Cruises

Speaking of the class of performance you can get with these hulls, the 35z is surprisingly fuel efficient, boasting 1.2 mpg when cruising at 35 mph with twin 300s. That puts you at a range of over 300 miles of cruising with only 250 gallons of fuel. Behind this efficiency is MJM’s unique wet pre-preg, post-cure, epoxy composite construction that makes for a stronger, lighter and longer-lasting hull. The modified deep-V hull design has a larger waterline length-to-beam ratio of 3.5:1, as compared to the more typical 2.7-3.0 ratio. And you can hit the throttle hard—you won’t experience chine-walk even at top speeds approaching 50 mph thanks to the chine flats and lifting strakes that divert wake and wave energy into stabilizing forces, making the hull more stable the quicker you go.

If you’re ever in the situation of captaining a boat while slim on crew, the side boarding doors at floating dock height will make the job a lot easier. And with joystick docking control, optional Seakeeper gyrostabilizer, and GPS station-keeping, this family boat is ready to handle whatever you throw at it. Wherever your adventures take you in whatever weather situations you face, take comfort in the fact the 35z has earned the highest rating for seaworthiness and stability for a vessel under 40 feet with its ISO Category B Offshore rating.

“The 35z is a boat that has far greater capabilities for its size. It has been designed to the highest standards of stability and seaworthiness, so it can outrun weather and it can provide an extremely stable fun family platform when conditions get a little rougher for traditional lake boats,” adds Hughes. “And its innovative layout provides a [lot] of extra space again for a boat this size, but also protection from the pilothouse that just is not available in any other center consoles or walkarounds.”

To neatly sum it up, when it comes to boating on the Great Lakes, the new MJM Yachts 35z bridges both worlds of boating with ease.

“When you look at the other boats in this class, there really isn’t anything like it on the Great Lakes, because you either have to go with a big displacement boat that has the protection where if storms come up you’re inside and protected, or you’re stuck with the typical deck boats, runabouts, and express cruisers, which are just extremely limited in usable space and stability,” shares Hughes. “I used to run a dot-com so I’ve spoken to thousands of boaters, and I know what they complain about on the Great Lakes. This boat is just an ideal family day boat.”


LOA: 35’ 6”

Max Beam: 11' 0” 

Fresh Water Capacity: 58 gal.

Deadrise/Transom: 19.7 degrees

Fuel Capacity: 250 gal.


MJM Yachts


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