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September 21, 2007

Venture 34

Solid construction and outstanding performance make this a serious fishing machine.

If you are serious about center consoles, and speed, convenience and quality are on your shopping list, you just found the perfect boat. In terms of construction, the Venture 34 is as solid as they come. It's a three-piece assembly: hull, cap and liner. The hull features vacuum-bagged, Divinycel-cored construction throughout, with a high-compression-strength ceramic-matrix core in the transom.

The forward-cuddy version is the newest layout for the 34. The same hull is available as a walkaround cuddy or an open-bow, center-console configuration. (The forward cuddy adds about $12,000 to the base price.)

The cuddy has a fully molded interior - pull out the cushions on the seven-foot bunk and the whole thing can be hosed out. Inset cupboards on the rear bulkhead can hold a television, microwave or other items. A Bomar hatch lets in plenty of air and light, and there is ample room under the step-down for the installation of an optional 500 BTU air-conditioning unit. The doors into the cuddy are fully gasketed, and will not leak under normal washdown or rain.

Our test boat was equipped with a T-top by Birdsall, with fully sleeved joints and a solid-glass, hand-finished top. Particular to this design are the plates to which a full tower can be bolted. You can order the T-top now and simply add a second story in the form of a full tower later on. The hardware is already in place. Access to the top of the sunshade, or the tower, is via a hatch with a heavy-duty latch. All rigging passes through the pipework, and the legs of the frame anchor into a fiberglass pedestal deck, eliminating the need to fasten them directly to the cockpit sole.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 34'
Beam: 10"
Draft: 2'4"
Fuel: 300 gals.
Water: 50 gals
Weight: 6,400 lbs.
Max. hp: 600
Base price w/o power: $102,500

Beneath the seat in front of the console is a large cooler. The liner of the cooler is held in place by four screws, and removing them provides access to the battery compartment. This battery placement effectively shifted 300 pounds forward, improving both the ride and the running efficiency of the boat. Inside the console is all the vital service stuff, including the through-hull fittings, where they are easy to keep an eye on and easy to access, should the need arise. The console liner, like the cuddy liner, is fully molded and includes a built-in head and full shower.

At the helm, a lift-up, smoked-Plexiglas panel conceals the electronics from prying eyes at the dock. The mounting surface is large enough to eliminate the need for an overhead radio box, unless you want one as an option. The leaning post includes five rod holders, drink holders and the customary storage beneath the seat. There's room for a slide-out cooler underneath. The main fishbox is a seven-footer, which drains via a self-priming macerator pump.

In the bilge you'll find a special drop-in module that holds the depthsounder transponder. This handy feature allows any brand or style of transponder to be fitted into the removable module and installed on-site, which allows for simple upgrades or replacement without having to return the boat to the factory.

All fittings and hinges are electro-polished 360 stainless steel, and all hatches feature gas-ram lifters. Locknuts and bolts are used whenever possible, minimizing the use of screws, which can work loose with vibration.

At the transom, a 55-gallon oval live well with standpipe overflow takes center stage. Flanking the live well to starboard is a bait-prep sink and the fresh and raw-water washdowns, each with six feet of hose, which is plenty of length for showers or washing down the interior. Access to the platform is via a transom door to port.

With a 60-degree entry and 24 degrees of deadrise at the stern, the Venture's hull is fast, dry and soft-riding. A 7 1/2-inch planing strake running the last six feet of the hull reduces the flat surface up front for a smooth and exceptionally clean ride with little air coming off the entry. Aside from running dry and soft, this boat is fast. With the Yamaha 225 four-strokes on our test boat, we cruised at 37 mph at 5000 rpm while burning 22 gph. Top end was 46 mph at 6100 rpm while burning 38 gph. That's some serious performance - but only what you'd expect from a serious center console.

Venture Marine, West Palm Beach, FL, (561) 845-8557; www.venture34.com.