Hull No. 108 from Merritt’s Boat & Engine Works in Pompano Beach, Florida, is the second 77-footer for the storied builder. Wychmere features sleek, racy styling along with a hull running surface that is the culmination of Roy Merritt’s decades of boatbuilding experience and the consulting and integration of design and architecture of the bottom from the well-known firm of Michael Peters Yacht Design. We tested the boat on a sloppy day with 20 knots of northeast wind, and the boat performed incredibly well. In fact, I would put it up against any other boat of its class without hesitation. This Merritt can run, and she’s got head-turning good looks with hull, house and bridge proportions looking just right from all angles.
Much like the negative snubs that circulate about engine manufacturers and other boatbuilders, there is a slight about Merritt boats often heard on the docks for many years. I hear people call them “Pompano pounders,” a term that comes from the purpose-built 37-footers that were designed specifically to chase giant bluefin tuna as efficiently as possible in Tuna Alley off Bimini and Cat Cay.
The 37s didn’t have much deadrise and had flat sections aft in order to be as nimble as possible. Now when it came to travel, they didn’t have the best ride, but let’s not forget that these 37-footers did travel: up and down the East Coast, the Bahamas, St. Thomas and Venezuela—not exactly calm places to fish. They were captained by some of the top skippers of the day, and they continue to show up in the some of the fishiest places anywhere. So when I hear the negative term, I know pretty much right away the person spouting off has probably never run a Merritt boat, knows very little about how they are built or the advancements in technology that Merritt’s has integrated and been at the forefront of the industry with, and that they are only parroting something they heard on the dock.
Watch: We show you how to rig one of the best baits for blue marlin: the swimming mackerel.
Running dead into the 4- to 6-foot head sea at 1,900 rpm—making 33 knots and burning 173 gallons per hour—Wychmere was super smooth, with no hatch rattle or vibration anywhere. The boat never pounded, shuddered or hit hard. She reached from sea to sea with little to no spray on the curtains, and even turning off the wind and quartering the seas, the spray was thrown down and away, and did not come up into the wind. Running down-sea, she tracked straight with no wheel adjustments.
Weighing in at 139,000 pounds, the 77 is powered by MTU 16V2000 M96L engines producing 2,600 hp each. We tested the boat full of fuel and water, and loaded with all gear, bait, tackle, and the skiff tender on the bow, as it was just prior to her taking off on a trip. At 800 rpm, she makes an easy 10.8-knot chug burning just 21 gph, giving her a range of more than 2,700 nautical miles at that speed. At cruising speed turning 2,000 rpm, she smokes along at 35 knots burning 175 gph at 83 percent engine load. Wide open, she turned 2,450 rpm at 100 percent load, making 43 knots with a fuel consumption of 260 gph. These speeds and efficiencies are enhanced by a new technology with the integration of wake-adapted struts and rudders.
Bridge and Cockpit
With a beam of 21 feet, 2 inches, the 77 offers an expansive platform throughout. The bridge is spacious, with storage under the L-shaped lounge and ahead of the console. There is also a built-in drink box, aft-facing seat, and centerline access to the brow and storage locker. The teak console dash houses three 19-inch multifunction units. There are two boxes with lift-up lids on either side of the helm that house the controls for the radar, light switches, fuel-transfer switches, gyro, VHF radios, stereo, Humphrey trim tabs, autopilot, and tank-gauge readouts—basically everything to control most systems are right there at the helmsman’s fingertips. There are three Bluewater helm chairs aft of the console.
The cockpit is massive, with undergunwale storage lockers on each side, fresh- and saltwater washdowns, and an Eskimo ice maker that dumps into the insulated fish box with automatic pump-out aft of the lazarette access hatch. A Bluewater fighting chair with offset stanchion takes center stage, while the mezzanine is set up with three freezers—two to port and one to starboard, all with massive capacity—plus bench seats with lift-up storage below and a refrigerated drink box. The engine room entrance is on the centerline and houses both the tank gauges and light switches.
Engine Room and Salon
The 2,600 hp MTUs are housed in an engine room that is finished as fine as the exterior, with great sound insulation throughout. The mechanical installations are first-class, with ease of maintenance readily evident with each system, which includes a pair of 32 kW Kohler generators, two 100-amp battery chargers, a fuel-transfer system, an oil-change system, AC and DC lighting, a 220-volt air compressor, and a black-water tank with level indicator and macerator pump. All cockpit refrigeration compressors, the chilled water air-conditioning system, a built-in workbench with toolbox, 25 kVa 100-amp Atlas electrical system, and three independent freshwater pumps for house, cockpit, and heads are housed in the dedicated pump room forward of the engine room. Both the engine room and pump room are thermostat temperature controlled and have watertight forward and aft engine-room entrance doors.
Entering the salon from the mezzanine, with the electric Marine Power door offset to starboard, the first impression is an expansive layout with rich satin-finished teak trim, valances, moldings, and leather soft goods. The interior-design team at Merritt really stepped up with this one, creating a space that’s open and inviting without feeling stale or stuffy. A large U-shaped settee to port features flip-up armrests with storage inside on each end. There is also storage under the lift-up seat cushions and a custom teak fixed-base coffee table with storage inside in front of the settee. Along the starboard side of the salon in the aft corner is the large flat-screen television and a bench sofa with plenty of additional storage under moving forward.
Ahead of the salon is a large dinette with storage under the seats to starboard and the galley to port. The galley features granite composite countertops, Sub-Zero refrigeration and freezers, undercounter stainless-steel bowl sink with disposal, and a built-in 24-inch cooktop with stainless-steel liner under the granite counter with lift-up lid. A 24-inch oven and Whirlpool ice machine with teak door are under the countertop. Along the forward bulkhead are upper galley cabinets with custom pullout drawers; the floors are satin-finished teak. Just forward of the galley is a pantry and storage area with custom racks and bins. Forward of the dinette is the electrical distribution closet with electric breaker panels.
The companionway below is trimmed with teak wainscoting and vinyl upper wall panels. The master stateroom with en suite head is to port, featuring a queen island berth with storage under and matching nightstands on each side. A large dual-door closet and six drawers are along the aft bulkhead. The massive head with vanity and full shower is located in the forward area of the stateroom.
Moving forward to starboard is a satin-teak-trimmed crew stateroom with over-and-under bunks, cedar-lined hanging locker, and drawers under the bottom bunk. There is a shared head with shower and vanity forward of the crew stateroom, then a guest stateroom with over-and-under bunks. Fully forward is a VIP stateroom with island queen berth set to port and massive storage under. Over the headboard is a Pullman-style berth for additional guests as needed.
Read Next: Meet the man behind the build: Roy Merritt.
With her showstopping good looks, competitive performance and regal lineage, Wychmere has the features for serious tournament fishing and worldwide travel while maintaining the finer points of a premium yacht-grade boat for comfort and class. Once again, Roy Merritt and his team of dedicated craftsmen have turned out a modern-day sport-fishing machine that can compete with anything on the water.
Merritt 77 Boat Specs
- LOA: 77’7″
- Beam: 21’2″
- Draft: 5’6″
- Displ: 139,000 lb.
- Fuel: 2,850 gal.
- Water: 450 gal.
- Power: Twin MTU 16V2000 M96L 2,600 hp
- Gear/Ratio: ZF 2.5:1
- Propellers: Michigan
- Paint: Dupont Axalta
- Climate Control: Dometic