Luhrs 28 Open
JULY 2002
Length overall  31'10"
Beam 11'6"
Draft  2'8"
Displacement  10,000 lb
Fuel Capacity  300 gals
Base Price  $99,995

The cabin is well laid out to sleep four when the seat backs of the V-berth are flipped up to form Pullman-style bunks.

Luhrs has just launched a new 30-foot sportfisher that provides an attractive step up for guys looking to graduate from twin outboards. Stuffed to the gills with standard features, the new Luhrs 28 Open offers twin gas or diesel inboards, a big cockpit, roomy accommodations, and outstanding performance for a surprisingly affordable price. And it's available in three configurations: Bimini top, hardtop, or tower.

The model I recently scoped out near the Luhrs factory in St. Augustine, Florida, was equipped with tower, optional twin Yanmar 240-hp diesels, air-conditioning in the cabin and on the helm deck, plus a plethora of other options like dripless shaft logs, internal sea strainers, oil-change system, shore water connection, three-sided enclosures around the helm deck, windshield wipers, spreader lights and rocket launchers-and still came in at under $160,000.

The cockpit features a large fishbox mounted in the transom, high enough to drain overboard, fresh- and raw-water washdown spigots, and a deep circulating bait well mounted in the forward bulkhead. A large hatch in the sole reveals the lazarette where batteries, strainers and hydraulic steering components are conveniently accessible. Four flush-mounted rod holders come shipped loose with the boat so you can have them installed where you want them.

The sole of the helm deck hinges up to provide access to the engine compartment.

The helm console also hinges out to easily install and service electronic components. The dash is large enough to accommodate two 15-inch chartplotter screens. There's plenty of headroom underneath the hard top, and if there's any critique, it's that the top of the windshield blocks the view of this six-foot-two-inch boater while standing at the helm. Plastic enclosures fill the gap between the top of the windshield and the hardtop. The helm seat is fully adjustable, with deep storage underneath. The passenger helm seat is a wide, comfortable bench. The helm deck can be fully enclosed and air-conditioned.

Heading down the companionway, the AC/DC distribution panel is conveniently mounted on the bulkhead, within easy reach from above or below. The battery switches are mounted at the foot of the steps. The cabin is fairly spacious, with good headroom for working at the well equipped galley station. The enclosed head has a hand-held shower, porcelain electric toilet, and enough elbow room to read the Sunday funnies. There's room to sleep four adults when you lift up the backs of the settees to make Pullman-style berths. You're on your own for a dining table; Luhrs didn't want to clutter up the space.

Luhrs' test captain, Bruce Auclair, and marketing manger, David Taylor, took time out from a fishing tournament to take me out for a spin. There was a light breeze off the Atlantic that kicked up a four-foot chop against the out going tide at the inlet, but the wide Carolina flare of the bow kept the ride nice and dry. Farther out, the seas laid down to three-foot swells, and the 28 Open behaved remarkably well on every point of the compass. Turns were tight and controlled, and the deep-V hull provided a nice, soft ride, even running wide-open at 3450 rpm. That gave us a reading of 27 knots on my hand held GPS. Under those conditions, we found a comfort-able cruising speed of 22.7 knots at 2800 rpm. Factory data indicates that running at 25 knots, the fuel burn rate is a mere 16 gallons per hour, yielding an impressive range of more than 500 miles on 300 gallons of fuel.