Luhrs 30 Hardtop
OCTOBER 2004
 
   
Length overall  34'4"
Beam 11'10"
Draft  2'6"
Displacement (dry)  13,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  300 gals
Water Capacity  50 gals
Clearance  9'7"
Standard power  Twin Volvo 320hp gas engines  
Base Price  $163,200


Richard Lippincott mans the helm with its stainless-steel wheel and dual controls.



First mate Bobby Lippincott and his dad find the wide companion seat a comfortable spot from which to watch the world go by.

Luhrs's new hardtop model is a big, beefy sportfisher in a 30-foot package. Curiously, when I went to check it out at the Chesapeake dealership, Lippincott Yachts on Kent Narrows on the Eastern Shore, it was parked right next to the new Luhrs 32, so it was almost a boat-show-like compare and contrast session. Though it's two feet shorter, the 30 has much higher freeboard than the 32, which is an intentional feature designed to accommodate the big 375-hp Volvo 8.1-liter GI gas inboard engines housed underneath the helm deck in an engine room with stand-up headroom. The whole deck lifts up with the flick of a switch, or you can access the compartment through a day hatch in the deck.

'Luhrs offers this boat with twin Volvo 5.7 GXi 320-hp gas engines as standard power,' Richard Lippincott explained, 'but we felt our customers here on the Chesapeake would prefer the extra power.' While the larger engines add $13,627 to the base price, they're still more economical than the various Cummins or Yanmar diesel options.

The helm deck has fore-and-aft bench seating on either side and forward-facing helm and co-pilot bench seats. These seats are adjustable fore and aft, and have tackle drawers mounted in hatches underneath. Both stations have molded footrests. 

The helm features a big stainless steel steering wheel with dual shift and throttle controls on either side. The analog tachometer and other gauges are on the dash immediately in front of the wheel, quite visible and easy to read, and the toggles switches are right there, too. A stand-up dash has room for the chartplotter and VHF radio.

Visibility from the helm is good, either sitting or standing, though the windshield does have quite a wide frame. This requires some explanation. 'Luhrs wanted to have glass windshield panes and wipers for each one for good visibility in foul weather,' Lippincott explained. They mounted the glass in a composite molded frame that wraps around the helm deck. The sacrifice is a little bit of visibility while seated, but it's not too distracting. The top of the frame is low enough so the boater of average height would have no trouble seeing over the top when driving while standing. The gap between the top of the windshield frame and the hard top is enclosed by zippered clear plastic, and indeed, the entire helm deck can be enclosed with plastic and the two overhead hatches have screens. 

The dash in front of the co-pilot seat has a large area big enough for chart books and is protected with a clear hinged top.

Take two steps down to the cockpit, where you'll find a deep insulated cooler/fishbox to port and a deep circulating bait well with a bait prep sink to starboard. The cockpit has about 49 square feet of work space. The transom has a big fishbox mounted in it, along with a gasketed gate with a sturdy latch. There is no swim platform on this model. Shore power receptacles are under the starboard gunwale, and the fresh-and raw-water washdown taps are under the port side.

Wide side decks lead up to the foredeck, where a molded pulpit supports the anchor and a deep locker provides plenty of room to stow the rode.

Down the companionway, the cabin has some innovative ways to make maximum use of space. The ubiquitous V-berth is actually a very comfortable settee that wraps around a pretty cherry drop-leaf table. The table lowers down to support the insert cushion to form a really spacious berth. But you'd expect to find that in any boat this size. The innovation is that the backrests of the settee lift up to form Pullman-style berths on either side. These match up to a raised cushioned shelf in the bow to provide berths that are eight feet long. So it's a cozy sleeping arrangement, but there's plenty of room for everybody.

There's a compact but functional galley station in the aft corner, with a Corian counter, a stainless steel sink, a single flush-top electric burner, a coffeemaker mounted in the bulkhead and a microwave and small fridge mounted underneath the counter. Add storage in cupboards above and a cabinet below, and you've got all the accoutrements needed to make a meal or two.

The head is behind a satin finished cherry door and paneled bulkhead. There's a Vacu-Flush toilet, a sink molded into the Corian vanity countertop, and a handheld shower.

The headroom throughout is quite adequate, and the vinyl headliner is a nice compliment to the cherry woodwork. Of course, there's a flat-screen TV and a nice sound system.

There's plenty of secure rod storage throughout. You can stow three under each settee and six more in a deep lazarette underneath the faux teak-and-holly sole.

Richard Lippincott, accompanied by his 13 year old son, Bobby, took me out for a test drive. Heading south from Kent Narrows, past the watermen in their Bay-built workboats and the recreational crabbers in their runabouts, we opened up onto the flat water of Eastern Bay and ran the numbers. Wide open, we got a reading of 33.4 knots on my little Garmin hand-held GPS at about 4600 rpm. At 3400 rpm, we were doing a solid 25 knots. It was a fun ride. The helm was quite responsive, making tight turns with little banking.