In the predawn hours, Carolina skipper Chris Pope navigated the intricate web of channels and oyster bars leading to the Atlantic Ocean through one of the East Coast's most challenging passes, Oregon Inlet. With wind stacked against an incoming tide, we were greeted with just the type of conditions necessary to find out what this boat would do.
Once on plane, all it took was a little downward adjustment of the trim tabs and a little lift on the engines, and Pope had the boat cruising smoothly through 3- to 5-footers. Our crew - Jupiter's Todd Albrecht, SWS publisher Dave Morel, Peter Harper and myself - settled in for what proved to be a comfortable 55-mile ride thanks to the 39's 38-foot-7-inch overall length, 18-degree deadrise and 18,500-pound hull weight. Contrary to what one might think of such a solidly built boat, the 39 remains very responsive to trim adjustments, handling like a fine sports car.