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September 21, 2007

Luhrs 340 Convertible

Due to the overwhelming success of its unique BridgeWalk stair system, Luhrs has added this innovative feature to several new models, the latest of which is the 340 Convertible. This 34-foot battlewagon also continues Luhrs' tradition of building solid fishing boats that come with luxurious accommodations.

We've written about BridgeWalk before, but for those unfamiliar with it, Luhrs has replaced the metal bridge ladder found on many boats with a decidedly safer and more civilized means of getting to and from the flybridge: a set of molded-in stairs that run up the starboard side of the bridge. The stairs on the 340 contain the engine room vents, thereby eliminating the need for large hullside vents.

You lose a slight amount of room on the bridge because of the stairs, but there's still plenty of space. The 340's helm is offset to port so that passengers can come and go without tripping over the helmsman, and more passengers can rest on the lounge seat forward of the helm. Luhrs has provided ample storage space in the form of bins along the front edge of the bridge, and has even added a built-in flat surface designed to accept a life raft. Smart.

Luhrs 340 Convertible SpecificationsThe 340's cockpit features a large fishbox mounted in the transom beneath dual lids, and the transom gate to port has an integral cutting board in the top. The deck features a glassed-in, 1/2" aluminum plate for mounting a large fighting chair, and several molded boxes at the forward end of the 'pit constitute the center of fishing activity.

The huge, insulated cooler box to starboard can be optionally plumbed as a cockpit freezer, which will no doubt appeal to hard-core tournament types. To port, a large live well and a bait-prep station share another molded box. The bait-prep center features a sink with raw water, and both raw and fresh water washdowns come standard. You also get standard TV, phone and water hookups, plus four rod holders. This boat comes ready to go.

The Luhrs design team built in a large bridge overhang on the 340, one of the largest we've seen on a boat of this size. However, they managed to do so without compromising the roominess of the cockpit, a pretty good trick. The overhang comes with recessed lighting, and there's even a red light for night fishing.

The steps leading into the salon fold up to reveal engine-room access, and there are two more hatches in the salon sole. Virtually everything mechanical can be reached through one of these three hatches, and all service points on the twin 300-hp Yanmar diesels in our test boat were easy to locate.

The Luhrs design team built in a large bridge overhang without compromising the roominess of the cockpit.The forward master stateroom on the 340 features a transverse double berth with two storage areas beneath the mattress, and drawers beneath those. The room is finished in a beautiful light maple wood, and has a carpeted sole. The deck is recessed to create additional headroom, and the result is a stateroom that seems larger than it really is. It's an intelligent use of space.

Farther aft, Luhrs designed a split head system, with the head and a vanity to starboard, and a shower with another vanity and seat "across the hall," as it were. This innovative setup creates a lot more space in both the head and shower than if the two had been crammed into the same space.

A flip-up table occupies the centerline in the salon, with plush lounge seating to port and starboard that conceals generous storage space. The larger lounge, to starboard, has a backrest that flips up to form a Pullman berth, and the seat cushion slides toward the centerline to create a double berth. Altogether, the 340 will comfortably sleep five.

The well-equipped galley, located aft and to port, features a double sink, two-burner stove, microwave and refrigerator. There's even a coffee-maker and space for an optional icemaker. The cabin overhead has a transverse space for storing rods, and the boat comes loaded with goodies for the cabin, including a single-CD player (12-CD changer optional), locking mini-blinds that don't rattle, slide-out canned-goods storage, and a large window aft with a sliding door for excellent visibility.

The 340's performance is as good as its looks. According to Luhrs' own speed trials, the boat cruises at 25 knots at 3500 rpm with the twin 300-hp Yanmar diesel option, topping out at 28.5 knots at 3800 rpm. Power options include gas engines from Crusader, and additional diesel options from Yanmar and Cummins.

Luhrs offers the 340 at a competitive price, with a very long standard-equipment list (including full safety gear and ground tackle) and a five-year transferable hull warranty. And once you try the BridgeWalk you'll never look at a metal bridge ladder the same way again.

Luhrs Corporation, St. Augustine, FL; (800) 829-0500; www.luhrs.com.