Boat Review: Jarrett Bay 58

Ever come across something so beautiful that you don't care how it performs? Fortunately for the folks at Jarrett Bay, theres also considerable substance beneath the good looks.

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Ever come across something so beautiful that you don't care how it performs? That was my first reaction when I saw the Jarrett Bay 58. From the classic Carolina bow flare to the complex, multiple curves of the hull and transom, this boat screams "gorgeous." Fortunately for the folks at Jarrett Bay, there's also considerable substance beneath the good looks.

One hopes to find unique little touches on any custom boat. Jarrett Bay offers up a myriad of such treats. For example, varnished teak tread inserts in the flybridge ladder are nonskid to keep your foot from sliding off the rung. And a stunning custom wooden baby crib in the forward cabin will keep the owner's grandchild safe and happy while sleeping. Certainly, not all owners will want such a feature, but Jarrett Bay's craftsmen are up to the task no matter what your requirements.
I'm sure the neighbors of the test boat owners appreciate how quietly the twin CAT 3412E diesels (1,400 hp each) low-idle at 550 rpm. Working our way down the Intracoastal Waterway to the inlet, this 58 struck an up-current/down-current average of 6.9 knots with both engines turning 600 rpm.

Our test day proved real-world perfect for running the Jarrett Bay. Northeast winds off Fort Lauderdale piled 4- to 5-foot seas right into the shallow water near shore. With seas dead on the nose, the 58 managed 25 knots without any discomfort. Granted, each boat has its own idiosyncrasies; the Jarrett Bay proved no exception. Using trim tabs to drop the bow just a hair resulted in a gain of about 2 knots for the same rpm when on plane. Turning beam-to the seas, she ran wide open at 38 knots at 2,330 rpm. I found that she also ran down-sea like a bullet on all points with nary a swerve, even with hands off the wheel. High-speed, hard-over turns scribe a relatively large circle, while small course adjustments happen instantly.

Traditionalists used to claim that boats this size couldn't fight fish effectively. This 58 can back on a fish at over 5 knots (although it pushes a fair-sized transom wake), and can spin with the best of them. Drifting in a beam sea, the 58's roll moment provided comfortable, gentle transitions from one side to the other rather than snap rolls.

I sometimes question the logic of boat owners. This 58's owner wanted only a narrow strip of nonskid around the foredeck. I never went forward under way, but even docking in flat calm waters I felt nervous walking out to the bow to handle lines. I can't imagine going out there to handle an anchor ball offshore.
The Jarrett Bay 58's profile looks sleek and low slung. This results in not-quite-standing headroom in the engine compartment. Nonetheless, all areas of the engine room can be readily accessed, and the floor grating and gloss finish on all surfaces make it easy to keep this space spotless. A centerline alley stretching aft from the engine room back under the cockpit provides space for rod and tackle storage.

I'm told this represents the first Jarrett Bay with teak cockpit cabinetry. The company's master carpenters should be proud. The cockpit holds all the fishing amenities an experienced angler would demand from a sink - hot and cold water and tackle drawers beneath to the transom with a livewell that doubles as a fish box. Under the ladder to the flybridge, a box plumbed to an Eskimo icemaker holds crushed ice for cooling drinks or shoveling into the fish boxes.

Multicolored granite countertops line the waist-high galley with undercounter refrigerator and freezer (not the drawer type). This 58 contains a standard sport-fishing convertible layout with a dinette to starboard, L-shaped settee in the salon to port and a straight settee to starboard. You'll also find a full head with shower at the base of the stairs and a large double stateroom to port with another private head and shower. The forward cabin features another over/under set of bunks to starboard and a washer/dryer unit in the closet. An over/under double just forward of that rounds out the accommodations.