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Jarrett Bay 46 – Boat Review

Jeff Burton's new 46 Persistence delivers superb fuel economy and driver-of-the-year handling

July 1, 2011
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Jarrett Bay 46

Jarrett Bay 46

One would think that a man who makes a living driving racecars in excess of 200 mph — oftentimes touching the bumpers and doors of those around him — would choose a boat with blazing speed and dramatic, modern styling. Not so in this case. Jeff Burton, who has 21 career wins, 128 top-five finishes and 237 top-10 finishes, chose classic styling, coupled of course with an advanced propulsion system that delivers superb fuel economy and driver-of-the-year handling!
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Performance**
Our sea-trial day found the winds southeast at about 5 knots, but with confused seas and the wind-against-tide conditions in the inlet, it was still ugly. Running through the inlet at a modest speed, the 46 ran dry and smooth. One of the things that Jeff Burton dislikes with a passion is noise — he’s around loud cars every day, so he enjoys his quiet times. Consequently, at cruising speed, the noise level on the bridge is a churchlike 82 dB, thanks to the Caterpillar engines coupled to ZF pods with integral underwater exhaust.

This Jarrett Bay turns more sharply than any pod-driven vessel I’ve run, with few apparent speed-related rotation limits. The boat backs down at 8 knots like an arrow, without a drop coming over the transom. With pods, you can also use the steering wheel to steer in reverse just like a car, or switch to using the throttles and gears like any standard propulsion rig. And finally, there’s that incredible joystick that can move the boat in any direction — and I do mean any direction.

Captains needing to wait for bridge openings as well as those who like to bottomfish will particularly appreciate the Skyhook function that comes with the pods. Just press a button, and the GPS and propulsion system keep the boat hovering on station just feet from where you engaged Skyhook and on the same heading you set it on!

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Trolling at 9 knots, I witnessed considerable subsurface turbulence on centerline that dissipated by about the fifth wave back. Interestingly, there was only moderate surface white water.

The integral trim tab in each pod offers a good range of trim as well as a programmable auto-trim function.

As I said, I would have thought that Jeff Burton would have wanted an oceanic rocket ship (like many other Jarrett Bays). But top speed on Persistence hit a stately (but still very respectable) 34.9 knots at 2,400 rpm. But note that at that speed, it burned only 58.3 gph! Optimum cruise registered at 24.5 knots (1,900 rpm), burning 36.4 gph.

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Running back toward the inlet, I found that the 46 tracked straight and true down-sea.
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Flybridge**
Jarrett Bay’s signature barrel-style armchairs forward of the flybridge (with a molded-in, insulated chest between them) serve a couple of purposes: They offer terrific comfort with lateral support while a guest rides on the upper deck, and they set Jarrett Bay apart from other custom builders who don’t include similar design elements. Other bridge seating includes a portside straight settee.

Cockpit
Burton stipulated that this would be a family boat — not just a hard-core fishing machine, but not just a cruiser either. Fishing features include a fish box in the transom, a lovely sailfish pod, insulated boxes and a tuna door (without bridge) in the cockpit. Jarrett Bay installed three rod holders in each gunwale and six more across the flybridge rail.

You often lose much of your underdeck cockpit storage on boats with pod propulsion; however, the mezzanine on this Jarrett Bay offers plenty for extended cruises and tackle storage as well as quick-release connectors under the port gunwale for the water fill, fresh and saltwater washdowns, etc. The shorepower plugs in under the starboard covering board.

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Engine Room
As you’ll discover with all pod-propulsion boats, most of the power is housed farther aft, under the cockpit deck. This 46 provides centerline engine-room access, but the engine compartment doesn’t extend as far forward as you expect it to when you first open the hatch. In fact, you enter the forward compartment via metal-plate steps attached directly to the fronts of the engines. You can access the power plants via this “day hatch,” or the entire cockpit area above them rises on rams. Either way, you’ll have no problem working on all the standard maintenance points or getting outboard to service equipment mounted on bulkheads.

Interior
As I get older, my appreciation for “retro” grows. The Jarrett Bay 46 has much to offer in this regard. The boat has a decidedly old-world interior with rich, dark woods like smoked oak and burled walnut. Another retro aspect comes in the form of full-width windows in the cabin front, something most sport-fishing boatbuilders discontinued 30 years ago when many buyers claimed they feared taking green water over the bow, crashing through the glass. Apparently, people now realize that that virtually never happens, and it’s really nice to have the extra ambient light in the cabin to alleviate the effects of “cave” syndrome. Finally, a true retro feature finds a lower helm station to starboard in the salon, giving you both an open flybridge and an enclosed station — on a 46-footer! Burton says he wants to spend a lot of his off-season on the boat, and since that’s during the winter, he wanted a lower station so he could enjoy the boat with his family while staying out of the elements.

Additional modern features include a lovely L-shaped settee to starboard with an entertainment center opposite, and a larger L-shaped settee amidships to port.

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Oh, and here’s another throwback: the galley-down configuration. Modern touches here incorporate granite counters, a ceramic cooktop, refrigerator/freezer drawers and a day head that also serves the guest cabin with two single berths. Fortunately, it’s the Burton children who stay in this cabin; the doorway is a bit tight for someone of my not inconsiderable bulk. The master stateroom in the bow boasts a raised island double on centerline.

Design and Construction
Jarrett Bay cold-molds each hull bottom with fir marine plywood, Okoume, bi- and tri-directional fiberglass and epoxy. However, on this hull, receiver tunnels for the pods were designed following extensive tank testing and have been constructed of solid fiberglass and epoxy and tie in structurally to the hull bottom, stringers, bulkheads and transom to carry the loads generated by the pods. Many of the above-deck components are built with foam coring that keeps the weight and center of gravity down. Bulkheads are cut and installed to hair-breadth tolerances. Jarrett Bay boats look good, last a long time and run exceptionally well.

Specifications

LOA……46’8″
BEAM……15’4″
DRAFT……4’4″
WEIGHT……37,000 pounds
FUEL……620 gallons
MAX POWER……Twin 575 hp Cat C9 diesels
WATER……50 gallons
MSRP……Price on request

Jarrett Bay Boatworks / Beaufort, North Carolina / www.jarrettbay.com 252-728-2690

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