Whether you’re trading stocks or forecasting weather, the old saying goes, “The trend is your friend,” and with the MJM 35z this builder gets on board with modern developments. Boatbuilders have been leveraging the advantages of potent and compact outboards to drive designs that were traditionally powered by inboard engines—everything from express cruisers to bowriders. That trend has even boiled down to the traditionally inboard-dominated Downeast powerboat market. True North kicked off the movement with its 34 Outboard Express and now high-end performance Downeast manufacturer MJM has joined the fray.

From the transom forward the MJM 35z still has a traditional Downeast look.

From the transom forward the MJM 35z still has a traditional Downeast look.

It’s worth talking about the builder, MJM Yachts, before we dive into what the MJM 35z is all about. MJM stands for “Mary Johnstone’s Motorboat,” an ode to legendary J/Boats founder Bob Johnstone’s wife. Johnstone founded MJM Yachts in the early 2000s, and launched the brand with the 34z in 2002. MJM’s boats are all about performance, efficiency, comfort, and traditional yet stunning good looks. All MJM’s are built in Boston, MA, at Boston Boatworks using the latest in composite boatbuilding materials, including copious use of modern fabrics, coring materials, and high-tech resins. They also employ building techniques such as resin infusion and vacuum bagging. This allows MJM to create not only a lightweight hull for high speed and efficiency, but also a hull that is rigid and insanely strong. So strong in fact, that the 35z has an ISO Category B Ocean rating, one of the highest offshore ratings in the business. Let’s see how MJM’s secret boatbuilding sauce translates into this new outboard-powered MJM.

Twin 300 HP outboards will power the sleek and beautiful MJM 35z, and factory testing has revealed a top speed in the low 50 MPH range. That’s pretty amazing, considering this boat is fully loaded with all sorts of cruising, comfort, and relaxation features. Still, it displaces only 12,614 pounds at half load, a testament to its high-strength, low-weight hull and deck. The 35z will cruise at a speedy 38 MPH, with a range of 350-plus miles at that speed, pulling fuel from a 250-gallon fuel tank. Joystick docking controls with GPS station-keeping ability will be included as standard, a nice feature for not just docking, but also for holding position in line off the fuel dock or when deploying an anchor. A Seakeeper 3 Gyrostabilizer will be available as an option.

On deck the MJM 35z has a familiar feeling to it, sharing many of the design and layout characteristics with the rest of the builder’s models. One of those design cues is a bridge deck and aft cockpit that are on a single level, from the transom all the way to the companionway that leads below decks. The transom has an open feel to it thanks to an island bench with access to the swim platform area on either side of it. A small refrigerator unit is tucked away caddy-corner to it, to port.

Twin opening gunwale doors in the topsides make boarding the aft cockpit of the MJM 35z a cinch.

Twin opening gunwale doors in the topsides make boarding the aft cockpit of the MJM 35z a cinch.

Underfoot throughout is luxurious teak decking. Two long lounges lie on either side of the centerline under the cabin top, just aft of twin Stidd swiveling captain’s chairs—one to port and one behind the starboard-side helm. A fold-out teak table can be inserted between them to facilitate serving guests at chow time. All seating is covered in buttery Ultraleather that unbelievably feels better than the real thing. Large opening windshields and easily removable Eisenglass panels on the sides and aft at the cockpit mean you can open the area all the way up, or button it down tight when the weather turns ugly.

Down below are similar accommodations to the rest of MJM’s fleet, which are generally set up for a couple’s weekend cruising. That being said, there’s absolutely no reason the 35z couldn’t be used for folks with longer-range cruising plans. A galley below sits to port with a microwave, electric cooktop, sink, refrigerator, and plenty of stowage cabinetry. An enclosed head/shower sits across from it to starboard. Sleeping accommodations are in the bow in the form of a V-berth that can be used as a dining area with a drop-in teak table, or as a comfy double berth by simply dropping in a foam insert. Opening ports and hatches throughout should create nice cross breezes and pipe in plenty of light.

Having run MJM’s other excellent and capable models, we’re excited for this new outboard powered model to join the lineup. With a 50 MPH-plus top end and a fast cruise in the high 30s, we’re expecting it to get folks where they are going in a hurry—and in total comfort.

Other Choices: Folks looking for a Downeast motoryacht of this type should also consider the smaller and thus less expensive MJM 29z, or go a bit larger and look at the True North 38 or the Back Cove 41.

For more information, visit MJM Yachts.

See MJM Yachts listings.
Deadrise19.7 degrees
Displacement12,614 lbs
Fuel capacity250 gal.
Water capacity58 gal.

Written by: Gary Reich
Gary Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer and photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the marine industry. He is the former editor of PropTalk Magazine and was the managing editor of the Waterway Guide. His writing and photography have been published in PassageMaker Magazine, Soundings, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Yachting Magazine, and Lakeland Boating, among others.