John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Midnight Express 34 Pied-A-Mer
OCTOBER 2009
 
   
Length overall  34'
Beam  11'
Deadrise(at Transom) 22°
Displacement  12,000 lb
Fuel /Water  300 gals / 45 gals
Price as tested  $339,000
I always look forward to an opportunity to review a Midnight Express. That's because I know I'm in for one fun ride. As a company, Midnight Express is well regarded for building high quality and high performance boats. 

Their first 39-foot center-console boat rolled out in 1999 and is still going strong. It's not unusual to see one of these thoroughbreds with four 300-hp outboards lined up across the back. Needless to say, they're fast. That first model has not only been popular among performance cruisers and fishermen; a law enforcement version has been sold to various federal agencies as well as some foreign governments. Building on the success of the first center-console, Midnight produced a 39-foot cabin version as well as 37- and 34-footers that come with either a center-console or a cabin.

Although Midnight has international sales, the company is still family-owned and operated. Dr. Bert Glaser and his two sons Harris and Eric are intimately involved in all aspects of the company operations. The boats are built at their production facility in Hollywood, Florida, and they maintain a sales office in Baltimore, Md.

Midnight's newest design is the 34 Pied-A-Mer, which plays on the French idiom pied-a-terre. Translated, the French phrase literally means "foot on the ground," but it often refers to small vacation apartments in posh locales. This sporty model offers owners a little bit of overnight accommodation space on the water. With more headroom and some basic domestic systems, the 34 offers enough room for a couple looking to get away for a night or two.

The higher cabin profile allows for standing headroom aft. A V-shaped seating area forward is equipped with a stationary high-low table that allows this area to convert from a dinette to a V-berth bunk. A sink and refrigerator are to starboard, across from a small bench seat to port. A flat screen TV is mounted on the aft bulkhead. Moving up on deck, there is a small seating area forward of the center console. The front of the console opens to reveal a small step-down head compartment complete with an electric head and a sink with shower attachment. The console itself is well laid out, with seating for two and room for two large electronic displays. Aft of the console, a transom bench adds a little more seating.

I met with mid-Atlantic sales manager Joe Crook in Baltimore to put the 34 through its paces. Our test boat was equipped with triple 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards that were so quiet I could barely hear them at idle. When we reached the end of Baltimore's no-wake zone, we let her rip. What a blast she was to drive! The Verados were humming as we easily reached 50 knots and went a little bit beyond. With her stepped deep-V hull she got on plane easily and cut right though the small wake and chop. Pulling her back a little, I put the boat into a series of tight turns and was impressed by how well she held, even at better than 40 knots of speed.

With outstanding performance and simple yet adequate overnight accommodations, the 34-foot Pied-A-Mer is a great option for anyone considering an express cruiser but is looking for more performance and speed.