WE SEIZED the opportunity to take a run in the new Jeanneau Merry Fisher Marlin 695 at the global sea trials off Cannes.
The new Marlin 695 is not only an excellent small fishing powerboat, but after blasting around having a lot of fun for an hour or so, it is easy to conclude that it is also a great, adaptable little sports utility vehicle.
It may not come with the RIB cred, but it is a go anywhere boat which gets you and your passengers there in a little more comfort, especially appealing to those who maybe like four seasons boating, writes Yachting Life boat test editor Andi Robertson.
The Marlin 695 follows in the wakes of the successful 755 and 855m carrying on the key elements, so it has a deep, recessed walk around side deck with side door access to the wheelhouse cabin, great aft cockpit space and a sporty, adventurous look.
The traditional V shaped hull is sea kindly and stable and returns an impressive performance under traditional outboard.
There are two options, one which is more fishing orientated with an aft door as well as the side door, however in both versions there is plenty of space and storage. There is a good live bait well, multiple rod holders, cutting board area, a fish well and deck washing pump.
The single door option, as we tested, is more attuned to family days out with a fold down bench seat behind the wheelhouse. On both there is a slide down small table with a small bench seat which allows four to sit and enjoy a snack and cuppa, or an evening apero, but the spacious wheelhouse will still accommodate four people.
Down below there is a separate toilet and a small bunk area. Money-wise you are spending close to the same as an equivalent sized RIB, but for me you are getting much more. Just as the walk round decks are great for fishing so they are great for the family, for picnics and days out and when it rains, as it will some time, there is so much more protection.
Granted the RIB will be better in extreme conditions, covering more miles faster, but the Merry Fisher, needing a little less throttle, will still do the job and everyone on board will be that much more comfortable.
The boat is exceptionally low maintenance. The self draining design means you can lock the sliding doors and leave the boat.
The Marlin 695 is most usually supplied with the newest generation of Suzuki lean burn engines which really do promote sensible running costs even over longer distances. The boat will carry an engine up to 175hp but the 150hp on our single door test boat had us up to just over 30kts in comfort in the smooth seas, but throttling back at around 22 to 24kts gives a more comfortable ride in the chop.
She turned positively and held a tight arc if you wanted to. Around the boat there are plenty of hand holds and on the rear bench seat passengers could feel secure as well as warmer, out of the wind.
At the back of the big aft cockpit there is a moveable seat locker combo allowing the unit to be moved forwards for aft facing sitting when fishing. But there is also the option to have a little sun pad platform for the sunny days. There is a rod storage tube under the sidedeck which will take rods to 190cms. You can specify a telescopic sun canopy which means no obtrusive supports to get in the way.
Inside the wheelhouse there is the option to have a big fridge alongside the small sink with pressurised water. And there is the option to have the little cabin open with a bigger berth area and chemical toilet underneath or to have the enclosed heads as mentioned.
Up front there is a good double seat on the forward edge of the wheelhouse and another two small seats forward, on top of the anchor locker. A powered windlass is easily fitted.
It is easy to forget that with the beam under 2.55m this is a boat which can be towed. We certainly loved the versatility and performance of the Marlin 695.
Historically there was resistance to outboards, but as predicted by Jeanneau when they stopped producing inboard diesel Merry Fisher’s this has ebbed away. Today there is little problem with marina based petrol sales.
In conclusion, especially when you consider that she is easily towable, the Marlin 695 represents real boating value for money.
Story by Yachting Life
23rd April, 2014