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Measuring up the deckhouse and cabin

Before Soundings editor-in-chief Bill Sisson asked me to write about the new Jupiter 41 Sportbridge, its enclosed deckhouse had already caught my attention from among the scores of boats I saw at the earlier boat shows. The coupe styling is really sleek, of course, but what drew this old ship driver to it was the promise of excellent visibility from the wheel, with the wraparound windshield merging largely with the side windows.

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The idea is to minimize horizon blockers as seen from the helm. Although the reverse window angles blocked a few areas aft, for the most part, the design succeeds well.

In addition to the great helm visibility, the deckhouse will keep you bone-dry, to say nothing of keeping inclement weather at bay. This is a great thing in New England and other areas, as the feature can easily add a couple of months on both sides of your boating season. A boat more often used is a better value than one that isn’t. The enclosure also allows for air conditioning with some degree of efficiency.

The deckhouse’s smooth lines will reduce wind drag at higher speeds. In an outboard-powered boat, with its low drivetrain drag, wind resistance takes up a substantial and increasing percentage of the thrust the engines produce. In other words, compared to a boat of similar displacement and wetter surface that’s fitted with pipes, an overhanging hardtop and canvas, you might easily pick up several knots at top speed in the Jupiter.

Bonded, frameless glass is a wonderful thing because when it’s properly engineered so that it mates precisely to the rabbet in the fiberglass structure, it will be waterproof and not just water-resistant. The glass also strengthens and stiffens the structure, being strong in compression. Multi-ply safety glass has high-impact resistance, especially when it’s concave on the outside, so taking a wave over the bow will be a non-event, at least as far as the windshield is concerned. Aesthetically, technology has allowed a boat to be sculpted into any shape the designer wishes, the tempered glass and the fiberglass joined nearly seamlessly.

The helm station has some commendable design attributes, with room for two large displays up high, which puts them just below the horizon that should never be out of sight or mind when running a boat. Thus, either the displays or the horizon are in your peripheral vision when attention is focused on the other.

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Standing at the wheel, the mullion, or frame, between the windshield and the side windows is only about 3 inches wide, and it’s well forward of the driving position so it has little effect on horizon sightlines — perhaps a couple of degrees of arc. That, in turn, improves situational awareness, which makes the boat inherently safer. The helm seat is impressive for its engineering alone. The base is 4-inch-diameter stainless steel, so this object is essentially immovable when meeting an otherwise irresistible force.

Other features of note: There’s an aft-facing seat to port in the cockpit, imitating the mezzanines seen on large convertibles; just add a footrest and something to hang on to at 40 knots, and this will be a workable design on the Jupiter. The boat also could use a couple of handholds going up the stairs from the cockpit to the pilothouse.

The Jupiter I saw at the show had a C-Zone digital, networked electrical monitoring and control system. It allows remote monitoring of electrical components and systems, reducing the weight of conventional electrical systems, which have a separate wire from the electrical bus to each load.

The cabin is refreshingly executed and conventionally laid out, with a midcabin below the bridge deck. This one is open to the main cabin, so you won’t feel as if you’re clamped in position and having an MRI body scan when in bed. Just forward and to starboard is a long countertop — long enough to sleep on. There’s plenty of room here to make tuna sandwiches or whatever strikes your fancy — maybe it wouldn’t be canned tuna, come to think of it, on a boat designed to fish. Also to starboard is the enclosed head with a separate shower, and just forward, to port, is a settee with an inlaid teak table, if I have my woods right.

Forward is a bed, more or less queen-size, chopped off here and there to accommodate the natural confines of the hull. The boat makes good use of well-wrought cabinetry, along with fabrics in beiges and creams to offer a contrast of color and texture — Herreshoff-like, without being overpowered by wood.

The cabin is open and uncluttered, bucking the trend of cramming 10 pounds of lockers, icemakers, juicers and 50-inch plasma televisions into a five-pound space. Even the sinks are vertical-sided, rather than the trendy orb shape, so they won’t toss their contents upon meeting your first wake of the day.

The Jupiter 41 does not need creative writing to commend it. Visit for more information, or pay the builder a visit and take the boat for a long test ride — preferably in rough conditions. Have a blast!

See related article:

- Fish & cruise in style

October 2013 issue