Luhrs Sportfish is starting the 2011 model year by introducing a new 30 Express, and the big news here is pricing: the 30 starts at $199,900, breaking the 200K barrier. No, 200 grand isn’t exactly cheap. But when you start comparing it to other 31’1” long twin diesel inboards, you realize it’s a deal. In fact, the next least expensive boat in the same class MSRP’s at darn close to $300,000, and most cost between $320,000 and $380,000.

The new 30 Open, from Luhrs Sportfish.

The new 30 Open, from Luhrs Sportfish.

Luhrs says the 30 Express is built on a “tried and true platform,” which is another way of saying that the hull design remains the same as it was on their old 30 Express. The interior is all new, with Amtico wood slat floors, Corian faux-granite countertops, and durable but soft UltraLeather upholstery. The layout puts a small galley with a one-burner stove, a refrigerator, and a sink to port, an enclosed head to starboard, and V-berths forward. You can expect this interior to have more space than most boats in this class, because Luhrs regularly builds wide boats with relatively voluminous bows, and this one’s no different; note that beam is 11’6”, well over a common three-to-one length-to-beam ratio. The down-side to a bigger bow usually comes at the cost of speed, and you shouldn’t expect the 30 to set the water on fire. Past sea trials of this hull with 315-hp diesels turned in cruising speeds in the upper 20’s and a top-end in the mid 30’s, so with the new 30 Open’s stock 260-hp Yanmars, it’s reasonable to expect a cruise in the upper-mid 20’s and a top-end somewhere in the low-middle 30’s. With those little Yanmars, of course, you’ll be burning a fraction of the fuel most boats require for canyon-running.

Fishing-wise, the 30 Open will be close to what we’ve seen from past incarnations of this model. There’s a fishbox in the transom, fresh and raw water washdowns, and four gunwale-mounted rocket launchers. The starboard cockpit unit houses a livewell, and total cockpit square footage is a hair over 50. One final surprise: the boat comes with a fairly comprehensive standard features list, including a genset and AC. And remember, even with these big-ticket items included, list cost is under 200K—making this one of the most affordable twin-screw inboard diesel express fishboats on the water today.

Lenny Rudow