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September 21, 2007

Luhrs 32 Convertible

With its solid ride, smart use of space, and luxury touches, the Luhrs 32 Convertible feels like a much bigger boat.

By introducing the 32 Convertible, Luhrs is causing boaters to reach for the tape measure. Sure, most will agree with the adage, "Great things come in small packages." But after close examination many might insist on verifying the actual length, since this impressive 32-footer seems much larger than its actual size.

"We feel this boat definitely fills a niche for offshore enthusiasts," explains Luhrs Marketing Director James "Chip" Shea. "We kept the same hull design as our other convertibles and that, along with its wide beam and solid construction, give it a very stable and comfortable ride. Plus, with the fuel-efficient and lightweight gas or diesel power options, it has great range and is economical to run."

I found that out for myself after joining Shea for a shakedown cruise from the factory plant in Saint Augustine, Florida. Our test boat handled the choppy conditions outside the inlet with ease, regardless of sea direction, and the ride was very solid without pounding, thanks to the fiberglass keel, flared bow and Baltec-cored hull sides. The boat cruised at 24.2 mph at 3,000 rpm, and spun up to 38.3 mph at 3,800 rpm with the optional Yanmar 300-hp diesels. It also tracked straight when backing, and visibility from the flying bridge was exceptional.

Luhrs 32 ConvertibleAccess to the command bridge is gained via the BridgeWalk, Luhrs' trademark molded stairway. Making use of every available space, the base of the BridgeWalk houses an insulated cooler, while air intakes, out of the way of salt spray, adorn the steps. Topside you'll find custom helm and companion bench seating, a custom half-tower with rocket launcher, molded hardtop with electronics box, hydraulic steering, and plenty of storage. As I learned from the subsequent factory tour, Luhrs manufactures everything it can in-house for economy of scale and to pass the savings on to the buyer.

With a draft of only 3' 4" the 32-footer is able to fish in close, but it's definitely well suited for offshore excursions. A fuel capacity of 270 gallons provides considerable range, and the angling amenities are numerous. The self-bailing cockpit features a molded-fiberglass bait-prep center with live well and sink, dual washdowns, and a large fishbox in the transom coaming. A fighting chair mounting plate is molded into the cockpit sole, plus walk-through transom door and four rod holders are also standard. The 32 is available with twin Marine Power 340-hp gas engines, or a choice of twin Yanmar 230-, 250- and 300-hp diesels.

The 32's engine room (accessible through the cockpit) is tight yet adequate for routine maintenance; the salon carpet and flooring are removable for major repairs. For deep-water peace of mind, an automatic fire-extinguisher system and three automatic bilge pumps are standard.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 34' 11"
Beam: 11' 8"
Transom deadrise: 18 ¿
Draft: 3' 4"
Displacement: 16,250 lbs.
Fuel: 270 gals.
Water: 60 gals.
Base price w/ twin 300-hp
Yanmar diesels: $193,880

The newest Luhrs convertible is also deceptive when it comes to creature comforts-you typically won't find this much luxury in boats of its size. The salon is accented with teak interior, recessed Halogen lighting and designer fabrics. A sofa, barrel chair and high-low dining table allow onboard entertaining, with music provided by the built-in AM/FM stereo with CD player. Or, get some quick work done using the convenient electrical panel countertop to park the laptop computer. Stash the everyday fishing rods in the handy overhead racks and store the backup arsenal in the supplemental racks inside the sofa.

In addition to the typical microwave oven, the 32's galley offers a built-in two-burner electric stove, refrigerator/ freezer, sink, Corian countertops and plenty of teak cabinetry for dishes and dry goods.

Stepping down and forward, you'll find the electric head with macerator to port, along with a molded vanity, Corian countertop and separate stall shower. The master stateroom in the forepeak offers a double berth with custom innerspring mattress, double drawers and cedar-lined hanging lockers, and stereo speakers.

Whether your plans call for a weekend cruise with the family or an overnight trip to the canyons, the Luhrs 32 Convertible is perfectly suited for either. Just leave the tape measure at home and bring the rods instead.

Luhrs Corporation, St. Augustine, FL, (904) 829-0500; www.luhrs.com.