After sea trialing the new Luhrs 41 Open, I came away with two distinct impressions. First, this boat is much bigger than she looks, and second, she handles like a considerably smaller one. Smoke and mirrors, maybe?
The overall length of the 41 Open measures 44 feet, 6 inches — including the pulpit — and she has a 15-foot, 9-inch beam. Above and belowdeck, there's a spacious feeling you'd expect to find on something approaching 50 feet. Under way, the sprightly handling reminded me of the company's 28 Open that I'd tested a few months earlier. Luhrs has put together an attractive combination of fishability and comfort that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Great Outdoors
The main deck is divided almost equally between two levels. The 100-square-foot cockpit features two insulated in-deck fishboxes and a 50-gallon livewell built into the transom. A bait prep center runs along the forward side and includes a sink with a spray hose, plus a cutting board and space for an optional freezer. There are also plenty of tackle and storage drawers within easy reach. The cockpit sole has an aluminum plate bonded into the fiberglass for installation of a fighting chair. The 41 Open remarkably has storage for up to 20 fishing rods on board, eight of which can be secured in a cockpit sole compartment.
Two steps up from the cockpit, the bridge deck has a versatile seating area that lets you create a U-shaped conversation area. A bench seat runs along the port side and another faces forward at the windshield. The backrest on the latter can be flipped so that its occupants can face the rear. There's another of these movable backrests running along the top of the bait prep station. In the aft position, those sitting here can use the optional cockpit table. Flip it forward, and you create a place to sit while tending lines.
The 41 Open comes with a single pedestal captain's chair that converts to a stand-up bolster. It's placed slightly to starboard of the centerline, so you can get to it from either side. As an option, you can order a second one to be mounted on its right. And by the way — go ahead and add five to the total rod storage tally. There's room for them in the starboard side bench seat.
The most unique feature of the 41 Open's bridge deck is an option that Luhrs calls its "summer galley." This large molded-fiberglass console, located just behind the helm, has a lid that lifts to reveal a cooktop, a sink and a refrigerator/freezer, all mounted on a Corian countertop. It could be the next best thing to preparing your catch over an open fire on a beach. If you decide against the galley, you can have an additional bait prep station put here to complement the one in the cockpit.
A hardtop is standard on the 41 Open, as are enclosure curtains for two sides. Add the optional back curtain and you can air condition the bridge deck as well. For ventilation while under way, there are power-operated windshield vents, and the hardtop has two Bomar hatches to scoop in the breezes. The upper helm station in the welded aluminum tower features full instrumentation, including electronic engine controls. There's room for optional electronics repeater gauges as well. The bench seat holds three people.
Space, Not Sacrifice
In order to provide a spacious deck plan, many open fishing boat models compromise on room in the cabin — but the 41 Open's broad beam provides plenty of elbowroom. Headroom in the salon is 6 feet, 4 inches at its lowest point. Luhrs has done something unique with the layout to balance the need for openness during the day and privacy at night. The three wood panel doors that close off the master stateroom can slide out of the way to give the cabin a more airy feeling.
The 41 Open's master suite has a queen-size berth set on a high pedestal, which eliminates the need to shave off corners to fit it into the bow V. The standard innerspring mattress is topped with a layer of memory foam. There are hanging lockers in each aft corner of the cabin, plus storage bins under the berth. All are cedar-lined.
An L-shaped settee runs along the starboard side and across the back of the salon. It has an adjustable-height wood-top dining table. At night, you can flip up the backrest on the settee and lock it in place, creating an upper bunk. The electrically powered seat base rolls out to become the lower double bunk. And, lest we forget, there's rod storage here too, so get out your calculator again: A hidden panel in the aft bulkhead opens to reveal space for seven more rods.
The head compartment is located on the port side and has entrances from the salon and the master suite. There's an enclosed shower stall, a Corian countertop, a VacuFlush toilet and storage cabinets above and below the sink.
The 41 Open's galley is located in the aft port corner of the salon, arrayed along an L-shaped Corian countertop. It has a double-burner electric stove, a built-in microwave oven, a coffeemaker and a large sink set in the corner. Separate freezer and refrigerator drawers are located under the counter. Ever mindful of maximum use of space, Luhrs put a trash receptacle under the top riser of the cabin entrance steps and a storage drawer that comes out of the middle and lower one.
For onboard entertainment, the 41 Open offers a standard 23-inch LCD TV or an optional 26-inch model in the salon. They are hooked up to the standard Bose 3.2.1 audio system with an integrated DVD player. An optional 15-inch TV display that flips down from the master stateroom ceiling also has a DVD player.
The 41 Open has a 56-degree forefoot and a wide Carolina bow flare, giving her a dry ride. Straight-line tracking through chop was smooth as silk. I was impressed by how quickly the steering responded and how the boat held tightly in turns. I've seen hulls 10 feet shorter that weren't this agile. Getting on plane, there was a very slight bow rise with no trim tabs applied. Acceleration from the twin Cummins QSM-11 diesels was strong and smooth throughout the power curve. We hit a top speed of 32 knots with five people on board and nearly full tanks of fuel and water.
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