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New Boat Review: NEB/Zurn 38

We tend to associate high-tech boats with luxury builds, but every now and then there is one that is utilitarian but still high-tech to the hilt. Such is the case with the new NEB/Zurn 38, a custom dive boat whose owner and family will use it to free-dive, spear-fish and gunkhole the waters of Block Island and Long Island sounds in the summer and the Abacos in the winter. Jealous?

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Built with a 9-by-10-1/2-foot cockpit and cavernous lockers to hold fins, fishing rods, wetsuits and spear guns, this twin-waterjet dayboat was designed by Doug Zurn and is being built by New England Boat Works. This is the second time the two have partnered on this type of boat. The NEB/Zurn 50 — a 60-knot commuter yacht — was launched two years ago and restyled earlier this year.

SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 42 feet, 3-1/2 inches BEAM: 12 feet DRAFT: 2 feet DISPLACEMENT: 17,925 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee, hard chine TRANSOM DEADRISE: 20 degrees POWER: twin 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels, UltraJet drives SPEED: 40 knots top, 36 knots cruise TANKAGE: 290 gallons fuel, 72 gallons water, 25 gallons waste CONTACT: Zurn Yacht Design, Marblehead, Massachusetts, (781) 639-0678,; New England Boat Works, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, (401) 683-4000,

New England Boat Works builds the 38 (as well as the 50) using epoxy resin-infused composite construction for a strong but light and efficient hull. The boat is also outfitted with some technologically advanced components, such as a SeaLift hydraulic-powered swim platform, Seakeeper’s battery-powered 3DC gyro stabilizer, a Side-Power bow thruster and a leaning post control station on the hardtop. The station (with joystick and throttles) is removable, and the 12-foot beam allows for trucking the boat (without an escort) between New England and the Bahamas.

Twin 435-hp Volvo Penta diesels and UltraJet drives power the NEB/Zurn 38 to a top speed of 40 knots, and at 36 knots the boat has a range of 315 nautical miles. The waterjets allow the NEB/Zurn 38 to draw less than 2 feet for skinny water exploration.

Zurn designed the modified-vee hull with two lifting strakes per side, reverse chines and a fine entry and “soft rocker forward to avoid bow steering,” he says. The owner wanted a traditional Down East boat “that looks like she came from New England,” says Zurn. “It was not designed to a trend but to hold its aesthetic appeal over time.”

The owner also requested a simple and elegant open interior with comfortable quarters for two. Cherry ceilings frame the queen-sized berth, which has ample drawer storage beneath. Abaft the berth is a head to port, and to starboard is a modest galley with a sink, microwave, small DC fridge, Corian countertop and cabinet storage. Launch date is scheduled for late January 2016.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue.