Jupiter Marine's 27-footer may not attract as much attention as its larger, 31-foot sibling, but the smaller boat offers no less in the way of performance and practical fishing features. It also boasts a very impressive level of fit-and-finish, as well as a few surprises.
The biggest is its unique head compartment. As soon as you lay eyes on the 27, you notice the extra-large console (it's pretty hard to miss). This creates a lot of interior space, and Jupiter puts it to good use. A portside double hatch leads to a spacious head compartment that is unlike anything we've seen on a boat of this size. It houses a full marine head (optional), plus a sink and a mirror.
But the big surprise is that Jupiter adds a berth down below. That's right, a berth. This space can be used for sleeping, of course, but also creates an incredible amount of storage room. The head compartment is lighted, and there are two hatches that provide excellent access to the wiring, batteries, and the through-hull fittings and pumps.
Above deck, the 27 is pure center console, with a lot of uncluttered fishing room. It has optional coaming pads that run 360 degrees around the boat, and the gunwale height is just right for casting or leaning out to tag a fish. In the bow, Jupiter has installed two pop-up cleats to keep snags to a minimum, and there's no bow rail. It's a very clean design.
The bow features an anchor locker forward, with a vertical storage hanger for a Danforth-style anchor that we're seeing on more and more boats these days. The fresh water fill is also located in the bow, along with an in-deck storage box for loose gear. All of the hatches are finished top and bottom, and come with flush-mounted, stainless-steel hinges.
At the helm you have two large, lockable electronics boxes on either side of a central switch panel. The wheel is mounted in the center, and there's a footrest below for comfort while steering. Our test boat featured a powder-coated Birdsall T-top and rocket launcher, adding to the overall upscale look of the boat. The rocket launcher held four rods and had storage beneath the seat. Wing boxes in the deck, on either side of the console, provide additional storage.
Jupiter puts an in-deck, 109-gallon insulated fishbox between the rocket launcher and the transom. This box measures five feet long, two feet wide and two feet deep, and will hold a lot of fish and ice. The transom bulkhead itself contains the boat's 52-gallon live well on the centerline, with a fresh water sink to port. The transom gate, located to starboard, is not a flimsy piece of acrylic material, but a molded fiberglass door that opens on sturdy hinges. The fuel valves and Racor filters are located in the bulkhead, with both salt and fresh water washdown bibbs mounted to port.
Jupiter made a few changes to the boat for the 2002 model year by redistributing weight to make the boat run more level, and extending the running surface all the way aft for more lift. The company also increased the size of the fishbox. Like the large 31, the 27 gets on plane with almost no bow rise due to the "posi-stern" pad molded into the aft end of the hull. We tested the boat courtesy of Stella Marine, the Jupiter dealer in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and quickly discovered that the 27 is just plain fun to drive. It knifes through chop with no problem thanks to the sharp, 60-degree entry. With a pair of 200-hp Yamaha HPDI outboards, the 27 cruised at 38.5 mph at 4000 rpm, and topped out at 51 mph at 5300 rpm. But these speed numbers only give you a partial look at how this boat performs. It's very agile and responsive, no matter what you ask of it.
It's also sturdy. Jupiter builds its boats on a solid-fiberglass bottom with a grid stringer system. There's no wood anywhere in the boat, and all fiberglass is hand-laid with top-quality resins, Armorcote gelcoat and high-density composite coring above the waterline. The fit-and-finish is excellent, and Jupiter backs the boat with a limited lifetime transferable warranty. The quality construction and level of finish, combined with a superb ride, should put the Jupiter 27 on the short list of anyone looking at a boat in this size range.
Jupiter Marine, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; (954) 523-8985; www.jupitermarine.com.