The boat proved exceptional in rough water, handling 2' to 5' seas from all directions. (Photo by Tom Newby)

The boat proved exceptional in rough water, handling 2' to 5' seas from all directions. (Photo by Tom Newby)

We have an editorial mantra at Powerboat: Ideas are nothing without execution. That doesn't mean difficult, even far-fetched story concepts aren't welcome or even encouraged, but if you bring one to the table,you better have a plan for exactly how it's going to get done. Nine times out of ten, that also means doing it yourself.

We're pretty sure Donzi has a similar credo. The team members at the Sarasota, Fla., company consistently turn great ideas into reality. The 33 Daytona we tested in Placida, Fla., is the latest example. From the cabin to the engine compartment, the builder didn't miss a detail in our 32'6"-long, 9'3"-wide test model.

Base price for the 33 ZX Daytona with twin Mercury Racing HP500EFI motors is $247,136. The builder tossed in a few upgrades, most notably a pair of Mercury Racing HP575SCi engines, into our test boat, which raised the price to $318,933.


Although the 33-footer has been in the Donzi lineup for about 12 years, the boat wasn't outfitted with a stepped bottom until the late 1990s. (Also introduced years after the first 33 hit the water, the Daytona package includes a number of features such as a special lay-up, a stick-built cabin and McLeod bolsters.)

Tagged Z-Tech, the 22-degree bottom of the 33 ZX Daytona had two forward-vented steps. The first step was roughly 15 feet from the transom, the second step approximately 5 feet aft of the first. The boat's four strakes were laid out in a staggered configuration, meaning they were not in line through all three running surfaces. In addition to flat chines that were about 2 inches wide, the boat had a modified V-pad keel.

To handle the punch from the 550-horsepower engines, the builder set up the boat with Bravo One XR drives (1.5:1 ratio) spinning Mercury Bravo One lab-finished 15 1/4" x 32" four-blade stainless-steel propellers.

Top speed for the 9,804-pounder—a bit heavy for its length—was 83.6 mph at 5,200 rpm, not at all bad for a beamy boat weighing in at nearly five tons. With the Mercury Racing 30S K-planes down, the 33 ZX Daytona came over in 6.4 seconds. Although the boat's standing-start acceleration was somewhat soft—it took 20 seconds for the boat to reach 63 mph—midrange acceleration numbers were consistently strong. The 33-footer ran from 30 to 50 mph in 5.5 seconds and from 40 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds.

In slalom-turn drills, the 33 ZX Daytona earned good scores for a tall and wide—relative to its overall length—model. It scored equally well in circle turns at full and cruising speeds. Tracking at all speeds was first-rate.

The boat proved exceptional in rough water, handling 2' to 5' seas from all directions. Creaks and groans were nonexistent as it flew from wave top to wave top at 65 mph.


Donzi has its paint system down to a science, which made the $7,857 up-charge for the custom graphics worth every penny. Paint work doesn't get any more crisp. That it was done over gelcoat with a brilliant shine and strong mold work didn't hurt, either. Protecting it all was a plastic rubrail with a rubber insert.

The hardware manifest included an Accon Pull-Up? cleat on the nose—and two more on the stern—between a nav light and anchor locker. Instead of a windshield, the boat boasted a fairing with a wind deflector. To help feed air to the supercharged engines, the engine hatch had Harwood-style scoops.

The hatch itself was constructed of fiberglass and hinged at the transom. It raised on two electric screw jacks that were painted yellow—the Daytona package—to match the boat, as was the aluminum diamond plate in the engine compartment. To stoutly secure the engines, the manufacturer used Mercury Racing mounts on L-angles that were through-bolted to the stringers.

The entire installation couldn't have been more tidy. Aluminum cushion clamps supported all wire looms, which were protected in conduit and arranged in parallel fashion.


Here's the first thing you're likely to notice as you enter the 33 ZX Daytona's cabin: The radiused acrylic door actually has a usable handle rather than one of those frequently frustrating inset latch mechanisms.

Plush would be a fair word to describe the cabin. Accommodations included a long, single-cushion V-berth and a horseshoe-shape lounge. The entertainment center was above the starboard section of that lounge. All the way aft in the cabin to port was a well-equipped galley.

In the cockpit, the McLeod bolsters for the co-pilot and driver were embroidered with the Donzi insignia. Complementing those seats were McLeod power footrests.

The co-pilot's station to port featured a draining cooler, a locking glove box and a cupholder. A grab handle was installed on the dash.

At the helm station to starboard, our drivers and inspectors had a clear view of the Gaffrig gauges. Five of those instruments—two for fuel pressure, two for boost and a clock—were installed above the cabin door. The rest were set in clear view on the dash above the steering wheel. Rocker switches for the accessories were located below the gauges.

For maximum comfort and support offshore, the four-person bench was designed bolster-style.


Donzi's designers can dare to dream because they know they have a team of builders that can realize their visions. That's an incredible luxury, one that translated beautifully into the 33 ZX Daytona.

Hull and Propulsion Information
Deadrise at transom22 degrees
Hull weight9,804 pounds
Engines(2) Mercury Racing HP575SCi
Cylinder typeV-8
Cubic-inch displacement/horsepower502/550
Lower-unit gear ratio1.5:1
PropellersMercury Bravo One lab-finished 15 1/4" x 32"

Base retail$247,136
Price as tested$318,933

Standard Equipment

Two Mercury Racing HP500EFI engines, Z-Care five-year limited warranty, electric bolster seats, bow and stern eyes, cabin accent lighting, Pop-Up cleats, cockpit cover, compass, U-shaped dinette table, sliding Plexiglas door with lock, engine room fire extinguisher, engine room lighting, CMI exhaust, fender cleats, footrests, galley with stainless steel sink, top-load refrigerator, glove box, Porta Potti, sink, shower, horn, K-planes, full external hydraulic steering, Sony AM/FM CD stereo with eight speakers and 40-watt amplifier, swim ladder, tie bar, windscreen and Zero Effort controls with trim.

Options on Test Boat

Upgrade to twin Mercury Racing HP575SCi motors ($52,511), custom painted graphics ($7,857), air conditioning ($5,229), convenience package ($2,243), Vacu-flush head ($1,929), TV with VCR ($1,521), depthfinder ($307) and twin hour meters ($200).

Test Results

5 seconds20 mph
10 seconds34 mph
15 seconds50 mph
20 seconds64 mph

Midrange Acceleration
30-50 mph5.5 seconds
40-60 mph6.7 seconds
40-70 mph12.9 seconds

Rpm vs. Mph
10007 mph
15008 mph
200010 mph
250020 mph
300038 mph
350051 mph
400060 mph
450071 mph
500078 mph

Top Speed
Radar83.6 mph at 5200 rpm
Nordskog Performance Products GPS83 mph at 5200 rpm

Time to plane6.4 seconds
Minimum planing speed16.8 mph

Fuel Economy
At 45 mph1 mpg
At 55 mph1 mpg
At 65 mph.9 mpg
At WOT.9 mpg
Fuel capacity174 gallons

For More Information

Donzi Marine
Dept. PB
P.O. Box 987
Tallevast, FL 34270
(941) 727-0622