by Dom Wiseman

Seaside escapes often conjure up images of idyllic homes by the sea, sweeping views of endless blue and rustic salt dried timber awnings hanging from the veranda, but what if I told you that there’s another way? The Jeanneau Merry Fisher range of boats have all you need to have a little seaside escape of your own without the accompanying house price and irritating neighbours plus an unlimited choice of views. No two of those need ever be the same.

We’ve tested quite a few of these European production boats and each within the Merry Fisher range has impressed thoroughly. They range from compact 605 all the way up to the flagship 1095. They are perfect for our lifestyle allowing owners the choice of cruising, entertaining or anchoring up for a relaxing night with only the sounds of the water lapping the hull lulling you to sleep.

jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 running

The Jeanneau Merry Fisher range is built for the enjoyment of all. The large rear cockpit is a hallmark of the design, even with outboard power. There are multiple berths downstairs, a galley and a host of other inclusions that mean you can hit the high seas and not return to land for days.

WHAT YOU GET

The Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 is the biggest and in my mind, best of the range with class topping features and an eminently classic style. The design is decidedly European, as it should be being a French made cruiser, and there is an air of sophistication without the snobbery of a bespoke cruiser about it. It’s usable in a smart way and that’s the appeal of these classic boats. I’d buy one in an instant. The space is enormous and if you are stepping down from a large format cruiser, it’s easily manageable and sits right in the pocket combining manageability and spaciousness.

In addition, it can do it all, whether you like cruising or anchoring up and fishing, the 1095 will do all that effortlessly and in absolute comfort. It’s like a caravan on the water and while the platform is too large to truly trailer, it is quite capable of runs between safe harbours with the right preparation. In fact the owner of the vessel we tested will be basing it out of Cairns so I expect he will be running to deserted islands in the Great Barrier Reef regularly and it will be perfect for that.

I love the appearance on the water too. The 1095 carries sleek lines where everything blends together in just the right way. Part of that is due to the longer waterline. It extends the angles further, softening them up and making the whole boat look more in proportion. The smaller boats look a little shrunk, like when you used to put a chip packet in the oven. They looked cool but never quite right.

Where you’ll spend most time will be the cockpit and there is ample room here. It’s true that the twin outboards do impact on the space slightly, but there is still plenty of it and the versatile modular lounge manages the space well. You can sit guests around a timber table that has two locations depending on how you want to configure the space. Alternatively you can drop in another insert and throw some cushions on top to turn the space into a sun bed. Most manufacturers use the table to do this but the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 comes with a separate aluminium infill. While that minimises damage to the timber table, it adds to the hassle, having to locate and bring out a separate piece of furniture to create the space you want. Overhead the owner has installed an optional black bimini. A must in the tropical north.

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The cabin itself is pushed to the port side, which delivers a neat wide walkway to starboard. The test boat didn’t have any grab handles on the roof of the cabin, but I’m sure you could add them if necessary. By pushing the cabin to one side, Jeanneau have maximised space inside by not having the cabin in the centre of the boat with like sized walkways either side. It’s a design element that makes sense and is something I’d look for on any boat on my wish list.

2018_Jeanneau_MerryFisher_1095-7Jeanneau have placed the galley just inside the rear sliding cabin door and it occupies the starboard side entrance. It is beautifully placed, within earshot of the rear cockpit and directly opposite the dining area. This gives an owner the best of both worlds. The conversation can flow between each individual section or be contained within it. It has that open feel whilst still delivering that purposeful space.

While the galley is a single long bench top affair, there is enough space for food preparation. There is a two burner stove and a sink with infill. The black bench top does show up marks and food remnants quite well, so I’m not sure I’d go with that look myself. I’d also look to add a barbeque somehow for that outdoor feel.

Both the dining and galley areas are flanked by large windows allowing light to stream in. The view from the dining area is particularly impressive with a high seating arrangement allowing full visibility out the port window. The forward seat doubles as forward facing passenger seat while underway and is easy to flick back and forth between the two.

The Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 can be fitted with a twin berth with a storage room or a three berth configuration. The owners have elected for the three berth which comes with a main at the bow, the second running under the dining area. Both are large with enough room for a couple in each. The third berth, which the owners had fitted with an optional second fridge runs under the helm area. This restricts the height to laying down room only but there is generous light from the port window.

Above the main berth at the bow, I would have the optional sun pad fitted to make full use of this area. The space up here is enormous and it is a shame to waste it.

POWER

Powering the Merry Fisher 1095 were crisp white twin 300hp Mercury Verado outboards. While traditionally you would expect to see an inboard on a boat of this type, the outboard powered versions seem to have quite a strong following if the sales are anything to go by. Their performance is unquestionably exciting too.

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They are paired up to electro hydraulic steering which is responsive and remarkably similar to the steering on a motor vehicle. It is precise and easy to turn making light work of putting the boat exactly where you need it.

When cruising, the engines spin up to around 4000 rpm at 23 knots. It’s a comfortable speed and that will keep the boat humming along. We couldn’t get fuel flow figures on the day of the test. A top speed close to 30 knots is achievable overall but when you’re in a boat like this, you rarely need to go that far on the throttle.

Each engine runs on a four-stroke supercharged inline six-cylinder platform with a displacement of 2598cc. Each weighs 303kiligrams.

While the outboard power delivers torque early, I also barely had to touch the trim tabs at all, but rather used the trim functions on the outboards to get the boat to sit as I needed it. If you were carrying more equipment you may need to use them more regularly.

ON THE WATER

This is a large boat at 10.5 metres in length but that bulk belies the handling the boat is able to muster with twin 300hp engines on the back. They purr along and at a cruising speed of around 23 knots, it feels like it would handle anything you throw in its way.

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It has an almost unbelievable ability to feel and handle like a smaller more manoeuvrable package. The boat leans into the turn well and while the hull isn’t going to like a harsh southerly on the nose, not many do, who in the right mid would head out in such conditions anyway. I can tell you, should the conditions blow up, it’s definitely going to make it. We often talk about rough water handling but rarely if ever need it in a boat like this. This is all about casual cruising not a bruising.

The driving position is great, up high with ful2018_Jeanneau_MerryFisher_1095-3l visibility all round. The door adjacent to the helm is handy and the controls always within reach. This boat is definitely a ‘set and forget’ type at cruising speeds. The boat has also been set up with a large Garmin head unit and optional bow thruster. It is a high sided boat and in blustery conditions can catch the wind, so the bow thruster is a welcome addition making mooring easy.

The hull entry is sharp enough but it flattens out quickly. This provides exceptional stability at rest which is great for not only cruising but also while anchored in that quite bay enjoying the solitude.

 

ON THE TRAILER

You can’t, not without signage and checking which roads you can actually drive on.

OVERVIEW

The Jeanneau Merry Fisher range are ideally suited to couples or a family looking for more than a simple weekend run-around. The 1095 is a beaut boat with plenty of versatility and space to keep large format cruiser owners happy while delivering the performance and usability they’d expect from a larger boat. The outboard power, while not for anyone will also deliver some familiarity for anyone stepping up.

POSITIVES

Comfortable

Spacious

Classy

NEGATIVES

No space for outdoor barbeque

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: (from) $304,000

Construction: Fiberglass

Length: 10.50m

Beam: 3.35m

Dry weight: 4,638kg

Maximum HP: 2 x 400hp

Fuel capacity: 1514 litres