by Dom Wiseman

The Merry Fisher has been a standout model range for Jeanneau in Australia and elsewhere in the world due in no small part to its versatile nature. It is a capable day boat, fishing platform, entertainer and overnighter all in one. And it has to be one of the most stylish looking pocket cruisers on the market. The company produces hundreds of these boats and the success partly due to the outstanding production process developed over many years.

The Merry Fisher 895, the latest model in the range, maintains many of the elements of the previous models including the large rear sliding door entry and roomy interior. At the same time it adds a new level of functionality in a chic, modern design. The 895 offers two independent, fully enclosed bedrooms with easy access and great views. It also has a bathroom and shower facilities, galley and a big open cockpit. It combines all this in a way that is spacious and elegant. I am struggling to think of a more light-filled interior. There’s a phrase in the residential home market that springs to mind, ‘bringing the outdoors in’ and the Merry Fisher 895 delivers just that.

It’s also outboard powered and as such is easy for anyone stepping up from a similarly powered trailer boat to drive. At first look, the hull appears to be designed primarily for cruising but don’t be fooled by the transition in the hull, which appears to flatten out quickly as you move from the bow to the stern. It handled the Sydney Harbour chop and slop under the Harbour Bridge with nary a bang and cruised down the harbour effortlessly.

WHAT YOU GET

Designed as a cruising boat, the Merry Fisher 895 is spacious. It’s a design that often appears boxy because of the extra height needed to create plenty of headroom and width to deliver more space. Jeanneau have managed to soften the look of the cabin with judicious use of curves in the hull lines, roofline and at the transom where this design element is most noticeable. The end result is a stylish looking craft with equal amounts of space and beauty. The space is created by pushing the cabin to the port side and leaving the wider walkway down the starboard side. There is still a small walkway up the port side should it be needed.

There is a large spacious cockpit at the transom with a multitude of seating options. It is most likely that you will spend most of the day here and you can choose one of four seating arrangements. The most basic is a simple bench seat that runs across the transom. It doesn’t quite run the whole way across, leaving space in the starboard corner for a small transom door to provide access to the swim platforms. This setup results in the most open space in the cockpit. If it was my boat, I would add the small seat that runs up the port side creating an L-shaped lounge around the table mount in the floor. For those looking for more seating, you can add yet another section that runs across the return for the sliding door. The final option is achieved by adding the outdoor table that fits into a mount in the cockpit floor. You can choose to use this as a table, or drop it down and add cushions creating a daybed.

Merry Fisher 895 2

Merry Fisher 895 6The floor of the test boat was teak, creating a classy look throughout and one I would personally select. It feels great underfoot and adds a little something to the overall package. The underfloor storage in the cockpit is equally as spacious as the rest of the boat and is the perfect place for putting all those things you need sometimes but not regularly. There is also enough room here for a generator allowing owners to add optional air conditioning in the cabin.

The entrance into the saloon area through the sliding door is generous and the single bench galley/kitchen is placed to right as you enter. The galley has enough space to prepare a small meal. The bench top lifts to reveal a two burner stove top and a sink. The 60-litre fridge is placed to the left under the single helm seat. It’s big enough for several nights aboard and by using the modular dinette table as additional bench space, there is enough room in the cabin for almost any type of cooking you could want to do. The dinette is located opposite and like the galley features a large window that extends well down on the cabin allowing masses of light into the cabin and a cracking view. The dinette doubles as a passenger seat while underway and with the table tucked out of the way, you can simply flip the forward seat around so passengers can face forwards while motoring. At mealtime simply flip it around so you have two inward facing seats either side of the table.

The two berths are located down three steps and in fact from the cockpit it’s a straight line through the cabin down to the accommodation. The main berth is located at the bow and with the maximum width of the Merry Fisher 895 well forward there is a surprising amount of space in this room. The bed runs fore to aft and is slightly offset to create room for the single toilet located against the starboard side. The bed in the main berth is an extendable island style and has enough room storage for most of your weekender items. It is light filled courtesy of a pair of port windows and an overhead hatch. A sturdy sliding door comes out of a recess on the left to give you some privacy.
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Merry Fisher 895 4The second berth, located on the ports side fills the void underneath the dinette. It’s a low ceiling here but enough space to lie down for the night. Again there is a port window and a sunlight overhead to allow light to enter the room.

Overall the design and layout uses the available space well and the finishes are as good as you’d ever need them to be. I like the low-slung windows in the cabin and the light filled space. The helm position is also comfortable and provides an expansive view all round. The seat has a bolster so you can stand, lean or sit depending on your preference. I prefer to stand when at speed and am more than happy to sit when idling along at slow speeds. Both were comfortable.

POWER

A single 350 horsepower Mercury Verado engine powered the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895. Being white, it suited the boat perfectly and would more than likely be my choice. It is supremely quiet with very little to suggest it’s even running at idle. Push the throttle down however and the engine responds with a still relatively quiet but throaty noise that is in proportion to the power being delivered.

The engine is built on an inline six-cylinder platform with a displacement of 2.6 litres. It is supercharged with charge air-cooling and electronic pressure control. It runs through the Mercury Smartcraft throttle control that offers smooth precise acceleration. The steering is hydraulic which provides a car like feel when underway.Merry Fisher 895 9

Merry Fisher 895 10ON THE WATER

The test of the Merry Fisher 895 had us heading from calm water out into the open seas on one of Australia’s busiest waterways, which was a good test of the hulls dynamics. Upon first look the hull seems to flatten out quickly which has all the hallmarks of a fuel efficient, stable hull. That however usually comes at the cost of the hulls ability to slice through and handle choppy conditions, however, I need not have worried. The hulls ability to handle crossing wakes from small recreational vessels through to commercial ferries was outstanding.

The hull does make a bit of noise and feels harder than something with a finer entry point would but at times where I felt I should brace for a wave, I was simply wasting my time. There was noting to brace against as the boat rode the waves with ease. We were heading directly into a decent nor-easter and the whole time it remained impressively comfortable and when you come to a stop the stability is equally good. We cruised back at around 5000rpm doing 25 knots (46km/h).

As I previously mentioned, the cabin and driving position are impressive with a large single window in front providing good visibility. The sliding door and sunroof arrangement provide good airflow and a large reverse chine on the hull keeps any spray (I didn’t see any) down and away from the windows and cabin.

The test boat was also fitted with trim tabs, which help even out the ride while underway. We had a lot of gear on board, yet only needed a small input here to get the boat riding nicely. A little engine trim was also applied to the outboard and between the two settings you can get the Merry Fisher 895 to cruise very neatly.Merry Fisher 895 8

Merry Fisher 895 5OVERVIEW

The Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 is perfectly placed to take advantage of the growing popularity of multi use platforms. It’s a very capable day boat and fishing platform, but also has enough class to deliver when extended stays aboard are the preferred choice. The simplicity of the design means it is suitable for couples with kids, or downsizers looking for space, comfort and ease of operation. Plus the outboard power is fuel efficient and familiar for anyone stepping up to a larger boat.

POSITIVES

  • Use of space
  • Versatility
  • Good finish

NEGATIVESMerry Fisher 895 1

  • Curtains in galley encroach on bench

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: $203,539 as tested
Construction: Fibreglass
Length Overall: 8.90m
Beam: 2.99m
Draft: 0.63m
Engine: Mercury 350hp Verado
Fuel Capacity: 2 x 300-litres (optional 2 x 400)
Water: 160-litres
Berths: 2 x berths with 1 x optional in convertible dinette

 

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