It appears the next single-pod powerboat could be the Release 34, an express walkaround fishing boat. The package consists of a 480-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesel engine linked to a ZF 2800 Series pod drive, a ZF bow thruster and the ZF Joystick Maneuvering System, according to Jim Turner, owner of Release Boatworks.Turner hopes to have the boat on display at the Miami International Boat Show in 2012 (Feb. 16-20). ZF and SeaVee Boats introduced a 34-foot center console with a single pod — the first of its kind in the recreational market — at the 2010 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The Release 34 uses the hull design of the 34 Gamefisherman, a fishing boat built in Stuart, Fla. Its moderate deadrise and lightweight construction, with a resin-infused composite core, should help generate good speed numbers, Turner says. He’s projecting a 32.5-knot top end and a 28-knot cruise. At the cruise speed, the boat should get an estimated 1.7 nautical miles per gallon.
Turner launched his company about three years ago in Guatemala, where he owns the Casa Vieja Lodge. Last January he moved it to Opa-Locka, Fla., to “better oversee the production and control of the boatbuilding,” he says.
The company has yet to complete a boat, but Turner says that’ll change quickly. Release is also building a 46-foot walkaround with twin Zeus pods and a 43-foot walkaround with conventional inboard propulsion. (It will accept Zeus pods.) Both were designed by naval architect Erwin Gerards (www. egyachtdesigns.com), who has designed for Gamefisherman and previously worked for Rybovich.
Release is building a 34 with twin pods that will serve as its demo boat. That boat’s estimated speeds are 41 knots and 28 knots (1.25 nmpg).
The 34’s layout includes a V-berth, head and galley. On deck, the skipper operates from a starboard-side helm. The bridge deck will have two long inboard- facing settees capable of seating eight crew. At 9 feet by 9 feet, the cockpit can hold a fighting chair, Turner says. Standard fishing equipment includes two fishboxes with macerator pumps, a 50-gallon live well, rod holders and tackle lockers.
LOA: 34 feet
BEAM: 11 feet, 4 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 10 inches
DISPLACEMENT: 14,500 pounds
HULL TYPE: modified-vee
ENGINES: single CMD 480-hp diesel with ZF 2800 pod and Joystick Maneuvering System
SPEED: 32.5 knots top, 28 knots cruise (with single pod)
TANKAGE: 315 gallons fuel, 50 gallons water, 12 gallons waste
PRICE: $399,000 ($450,000 with twin 480s and pods)
CONTACT: Release Boatworks
PHONE: (866) 846-9121
This article originally appeared in the October 2011 issue.