John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.
Luhrs 31
OCTOBER 2009
 
   
Length overall  34' 4"
Beam  11' 10"
Draft  2' 6"
Deadrise  19 degrees
Displ.13,500 lb
Fuel 300 gals/ Water50 gals
Waste  25 gals
Base Price  $331,600

The new Luhrs 31 Open with Volvo 350 IPS pod drives can cruise at 28 to 30 mph (3100 to 3200 rpm) while burning 20 gallons of fuel per hour. This is a boat that maneuvers like a polo pony, whether in low-speed joystick mode or while backing down on a big fish in the optional Sportfish mode ($10,532). Because the engines are Volvo’s compact 260-hp, 4-cylinder D4s, there’s plenty of maintenance access in the engine room through the day hatch in the bridgedeck sole. A hydraulic system raises the whole deck for more serious engine work. The D4s power the IPS pod drives via jack shafts, and the pods are mounted on sturdy bases under the cockpit sole, accessible via another large hatch.

The standard hardtop includes a tower with helm and canopy, as well as various rod-holder and rocket-launcher options. The cockpit has a livewell, a bait-prep station and three fishboxes. There are comfortable port and starboard seats on the bridgedeck, plus wide helm and companion seats.

Accommodations belowdecks include a forward dinette with a teak table that converts to a double berth. Its hinged seatbacks can be raised to form two single upper bunks. In the galley are a top-loading refrigerator, a single-burner electric stove, a microwave and a stainless steel sink. The stove, the standard 10,000-Btu air conditioner and other electric accessories can run on shore power or off the standard Kohler 6-kilowatt diesel generator.

On test day we encountered short 3-foot seas, which gave us a rough ride at wide-open throttle (35.8 mph at 3600 rpm). Throttling back to 3100 smoothed things out impressively, with no spray on the windshield, either running into or with the seas. There was significant bow rise as the boat climbed onto plane, suggesting that the skipper stand during this operation. Stability at trolling speeds and on the drift is very good, thanks to a hull form that carries full width at the bottom, with pretty tumblehome at the transom. Luhrs Corp., Millville, N.J.; 856-825-4117; www.luhrs.com