When you grow up with Long Island Sound pretty much in your backyard, boats and boating come naturally. And those early years can stamp a person as a boater for life.
Home for young John Fuller was the Indiantown section of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, on the Sound’s north shore, not far from the Connecticut River. His first boat was an 8-foot dinghy powered by “ash breeze” — a pair of oars. An outboard Starcraft followed, and the 54-year-old nuclear plant worker has been a water rat ever since. “I guess I was hooked on boating around 10 or 11 years old,” he says. “I love everything about being on the water.”
Fuller has had a small fleet over the years, from the outboard runabouts of his youth to a 28-foot Rinker that he used as a family weekender and for short cruises. “That was a good boat, but it was a tight squeeze,” Fuller says. “I wanted something bigger, with more room below.”
In 2006, he found what he was looking for in a 1998 Maxum 3000 SCR, a roomy midcabin express cruiser that was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was in good condition and powered by the original 220-hp MerCruiser sterndrives. The layout below provides three sleeping areas, with overhead hatches for light and ventilation. The galley came with all of the basic gear, and there were some nice touches — air conditioning and a hot-water shower on the swim platform among them.
“I like to cruise. To me, the journey is part of the experience,” says Fuller. “And this boat was perfect.” With his trade-in, the price was $50,000.
Over the last nine years, the Maxum 3000 SCR has cruised from Orient Point and Shelter Island on Long Island, New York, to the Elizabeth Islands off Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. Greenport, New York, is a favorite destination. “The ride around Shelter Island is special,” Fuller says. “I like Coecles Harbor and all the nooks and crannies around the island.”
Napatree Point and Watch Hill in Rhode Island, and Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts also are within the boat’s range. “The best is Block Island,” he says. “I like to go clamming. You bring them back to the boat, ice them down and sit on the swim platform slurping down clams and sipping beer.”
SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 32 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 9 feet, 11 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 7 inches (drives down) WEIGHT: 11,500 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee PROPULSION: twin 220-hp sterndrives TANKAGE: 150 gallons fuel, 30 gallons water
This season, the cruising should be even better. Fuller repowered the 17-year-old boat, replacing the original MerCruisers with remanufactured 5.8-liter, 357 MerCruisers, rated at 325 hp each. “I lost an engine coming out of Block Island and decided to repower,” says Fuller. “The blocks were identical, which made things easy. The engines were delivered to me on pallets. I have a friend with a crane; we picked them up, dropped them right in and hooked them up.”
He’s looking forward to seeing what kind of performance he gets with the upgraded power. “That’s 650 hp compared to 440 hp,” he says. “With the old engines, at 3,150 rpm, I did 20 to 21 knots. I’m not sure what to expect, but the new engines will deliver more power at lower rpm.”
There were other upgrades for the boat, and there are more to come. Fuller installed a new Garmin GPS and radar, replaced the canvas and is adding new Isinglass. On the to-do list: replacing cabin carpet with a wood sole and adding a generator. “Right now, I rely on shore power,” he says.
The time, effort and expense are worth it, Fuller says. From where he works, he can see his boat, docked at a friend’s marina in Niantic, Connecticut. He can be out on the water in no time for a sunset cruise with friends or off for a weeklong trip to Newport, Rhode Island. “This boat has been a great weekender and a great cruising boat,” Fuller says. “I am definitely going to keep it.”
The Maxum 3000 SCR “took entry-level value and comfort to the next level,” says the PowerBoat Guide. Owners apparently agreed. The boat had a 5-year production run and was one of Maxum’s most popular models. The layout is unusual, with its three sleeping areas. There’s a large offset V-berth forward, with a privacy curtain. The L-shaped dinette/lounge to starboard converts to a double berth, and there’s a midcabin berth (with curtain) for two, as well.
The head compartment, set to starboard at the companionway, is equipped with a marine head and a sink with hot and cold pressure water. The sink faucet doubles as the shower head, which can be hung on a hook or hand-held.
The open galley is across the way to port. There’s a large counter area, a stainless sink with hot and cold water, and an under-counter refrigerator with a freezer. The two-burner stove and microwave provide for basic cooking needs. Steps lead up to the large, comfortable bridge area, which can be fully enclosed. The helm station is to starboard, with a burl-wood wheel, a single helm seat, dual controls and a molded instrument panel. The swept-back windscreen has a center walkthrough.
Abaft the helm is a C-shaped lounge with room for a removable cocktail table. The integral swim platform has a compartment with a hot and cold shower.
Boatbuilding giant Brunswick Corp. launched Maxum in 1988 as an upscale complement to its Bayliner brand. Maxum offered a fleet of sportboats and express cruisers that were priced below Brunswick’s Sea Ray brand. Brunswick discontinued the Maxum line in August 2009 as part of its cost-cutting initiatives during the Great Recession. The Maxum Owners Club provides a forum for current boat owners (maxumownersclub.com). The 3000 SCR was in production from 1997 through 2001. Prices range from around $30,000 to $55,000 in online listings.
This article originally appeared in the JUly 2015 issue.