With the diesel-engine setup, the 39-footer could cruise all day on less fuel than some go-fast boats will burn in a morning. (Photo by Tom Newby)

With the diesel-engine setup, the 39-footer could cruise all day on less fuel than some go-fast boats will burn in a morning. (Photo by Tom Newby)

Within minutes of the Donzi 39ZSC arriving at the docks in Sarasota, Fla., Powerboat's associate publisher Vicki Newton was sitting on the sun pad and telling anyone within earshot, "Welcome to my boat." We have no doubt that if Newton had the means to write a $563,000 check, she would be island hopping the Florida Keys with Jimmy Buffett blasting from the stereo system.

Every boater should be lucky enough to own—or at least ride on—the 39ZSC. It boasts luxurious accommodations and thanks to twin Yanmar diesel engines, the boat will sip fuel like a fine wine.

Even finer were the various European-style features designers incorporated into the 39ZSC. Teak flooring in the cockpit and large sun pads on the deck and over the engine compartment gave the boat a royal feel.

The 39ZSC had an extended swim platform large enough to host a small cocktail party. Walking into the cockpit from the port side, guests will come upon a wet bar with a Corian countertop, freshwater sink, 12-volt receptacle and an icemaker situated in the cabinet.

With a 12'2" beam, designers had plenty of space to work with in the cockpit. They made good use of space by creating a J-shape lounge that was richly padded on the starboard side. With a table set into the teak sole, the lounge would be an ideal spot for a meal or to hang out and enjoy a conversation.

At the starboard-side helm was a two-person bench seat with flip-up bolsters. Donzi did exquisite work installing the Beede gauges and rocker switches in panels on the dash. Electronic goodies from Raymarine included radar, fishfinder/depthfinder, GPS and a VHF radio. An Access Technologies remote to control the Sony stereo system in the cabin was mounted below the steering wheel.

Steering for the 39ZSC was from Latham Marine and the steering hub had the Donzi logo in it. Donzi selected Mercury Racing Zero Effort throttles and shifters, and indicators for the Mercury 280S K-Planes were from Livorsi Marine. We were especially appreciative of the bow thruster—a $12,000 upgrade—which made it significantly easier to dock the boat at the Sarasota Hyatt.

Donzi's production work continued to shine in the cabin, which had better appointments than a $500-a-night hotel room and could sleep just as many—up to four people. Adults likely will pick the main cabin because of the spacious accommodations. In the middle of the U-shape seating, a table with a cushion raised and lowered electrically to form the sleeping area. The children would sleep in the aft cabin.

The galley on the port side featured an electric stove with two burners, a refrigerator and a large stainless sink with hot and cold water. To speed up the cooking process, the builder also included a small microwave.

Stowage won't be a problem in the galley thanks to the abundant cabinet space. The cherry wood gleamed from the indirect and direct lighting in the headliner. Six port holes and three deck hatches also let in natural light. Opposite the galley was a standup head with a vacuum-flush toilet and a shower with hot water.

Worth noting was the 20" flat-screen television in the cabin and the 12,000 BTU air conditioning that made it a cool place to hang out.

Anyone who is looking to purchase a boat that weighs nearly 17,000 pounds knows it won't be the fastest on the water. That's why the customer on our test model went for 440-hp Yanmar diesel engines with Arneson surface drives. Smart move because the package provided reliable performance and a range far better than gasoline motors could offer.

The engine package and boat was good for 55.8 mph at 3,500 rpm (Donzi says it has since reached 58 mph). With that setup, the 39-footer could cruise all day on less fuel than some go-fast boats will burn in a morning. Cruising on the bay at better than 40 mph, the motors were turning a mere 2,500 rpm.

If someone offers you a ride on Donzi's 39ZSC, jump immediately at the chance. You'll be one of the fortunate few.

Editor's note: This article was part of a roundup that ran in the August 2004 issue of Powerboat magazine.

Donzi 39ZSC Specifications
Weight16,800 pounds
Engine/Horsepower(2) 440 Yanmar/440
Drive ratio1.28:1
PropellerRolla six-blade 18 1/2" x 26 3/4"
Top speed at rpm55.8 mph at 3,500
Price as tested$N/A
Contact information800-973-262,8 www.donzimarine.com