Top speed for the 45 Daytona was 84.7 mph. (All photos by Tom Newby)

Top speed for the 45 Daytona was 84.7 mph. (All photos by Tom Newby)

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Pictures don't do it justice. To appreciate the Donzi 45 Daytona, you must see the real thing up close. That means close enough to run your hands along the 45'-long, 9'3"-wide boat's towering hullsides and notice that they're devoid of any bumps or ripples. Close enough to see your reflection in its gelcoat.

When your heart stops racing, you might even want to fire up the triple Mercury Racing HP575SCi engines and take it for a test ride. Point the nose toward the horizon, hammer the throttles. The bad news? You'll have to bring it back.

With the previously noted fuel-injected, supercharged triplets and other upgrades, the 45-footer sported a $592,932 sticker. Even the "base" model with triple Mercury Racing HP500EFI motors and no extras will run you $548,767.

Performance

Triple 550-horsepower HP500SCi engines from Mercury Racing powered the 45 Daytona.

Triple 550-horsepower HP500SCi engines from Mercury Racing powered the 45 Daytona.



With 45 feet of hull to work with, the designers at Donzi might well have planned the 45 Daytona's 24-degree bottom with three steps. Instead, they opted for two, the first 16 feet from the transom, the second 10 feet from the transom. Four in-line strakes ran through the first two running surfaces, but only the outer pair ran the length of the hull. Chines were wide and flat, and the keel was sharp.

Handling the combined 1,650 horsepower from the triple engines were three Bravo XZ drives—on WPM extension boxes—with 1.5:1 reductions and lab-finished Mercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 32" four-blade stainless-steel propellers.

The 14,000-pounder put its power to fine use, running to a top speed of 84.7 mph at 5,300 rpm. That power also came in handy when accelerating from a standing start. Time to plane with the 280S K-planes down was 4.2 seconds, which would have been respectable for a big bow rider. For a 7-ton stepped V-bottom, it was spectacular. Once the boat came over, acceleration remained solid as it ran 69 mph in 20 seconds.

We found gobs of responsive power in the midrange. The 45 Daytona ran from 30 to 50 mph in 6.1 seconds, 40 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and 40 to 70 mph in 10.8 seconds.

When it came to handling, the 45 Daytona earned strong scores in slalom turns at 30, 40 and 50 mph. It earned equally good grades in left- and right-hand turns at cruising and full speeds.

The 45 Daytona did require skill to drive to its full potential. Dropping the trim heading into a turn, common practice with conventional V-bottoms, for example, was not a good idea with the 45, because it caused the boat to lean uncomfortably to the outside on one occasion.

Open-ocean conditions with 2- to 4-footers posed no real challenge for the 45 Daytona whether we took them head-on, following or quartering. A few landings were rougher than we expected, but none of them were seriously jarring.

Workmanship

Because the Daytona was 45' long, we expected to find at least one dimple in the its mold work, one paint line that was less than exact. We did not.

The folks at Donzi kept the details of the 45 Daytona's layup to themselves. About all they were willing to say is also printed in Donzi brochures; that is, the boat was laminated with Kevlar E-glass and carbon fiber. All graphics were handled in BASF Diamont paint with Clearcote for extra shine.

A pair of screw jacks raised the engine hatch/sunpad, which was secured at the transom with hidden stainless-steel hinges, for access to the triple big-block motors. The outer engines were secured on L-angles through-bolted to the stringers. A four-point cradle-mount and L-angles held the center power plant in place.

All wire looms in the "conduit alleys," one of Donzi's more innovative design features, were supported by aluminum cushion clamps. Lines, such as those for the trim pumps and cables, were also routed in the conduit alleys and through the gunwales to the helm station.

Installing and rigging triple engines is a chore. You simply won't see it done much (or any) better than it was in the 45 Daytona.

Interior

An exquisite suspended headliner covered the entire cabin ceiling and the two deck hatches did nothing to detract from the installation. All the way forward, the V-berth was large enough for our 6'4"-tall lead co-pilot to lie down without his feet hanging over the cabin sole, which like the cockpit sole was covered in 40-ounce marine-grade carpet.

Cabin accommodations included a long V-berth, facing lounges, a full galley and an enclosed head compartment.

Cabin accommodations included a long V-berth, facing lounges, a full galley and an enclosed head compartment.



In one of the most innovative seating setups we've seen, the port and starboard bolsters were actually "quads." That meant in addition to the dual forward-facing units, each with a power dropout, there were two rear-facing units on the back—back-to-back, mirror images. This translated to bolster seating for eight. Each position had a power-dropout bottom. That will be much appreciated by rear-facing bolster riders, who can drop out the bottoms of their seats, stand up, turn around and face forward when the ride gets rough. Even the rear bench, with its four individual sections, was built bolster-style.

Gauges and levers, all Gaffrig, including a 100-mph speedometer, were arranged so they could be seen at a glance.

Gauges and levers, all Gaffrig, including a 100-mph speedometer, were arranged so they could be seen at a glance.



Naturally, the helm station was the highlight of the cockpit. The gauges and levers, all Gaffrig, including a 100-mph speedometer, were arranged so they could be seen at a glance, which is crucial when you're driving a boat with three engines. A leather cover made the Dino steering wheel a pleasure to hold, though it was not aligned with the driver's seat.

If the Lowrance Global Map 1600 GPS can't help drivers find their way, the Ritchie compass atop the dash could come in handy.

Overall

If bigger and better things are on the way from Donzi, we can't wait to see them. Until then, the expertly built and luxuriously outfitted 45 Daytona will do just fine.

Test Results

Hull and Propulsion Information
Deadrise at transom24 degrees
Centerline45'
Beam9'3"
Hull weight14,000 pounds
Engines(3) Mercury Racing HP575SCi
Cylinder typeV-8
Cubic-inch displacement/horsepower502/550
Lower-unit gear ratio1.5:1
PropellersMercury Bravo One 15 1/4" x 32" (outer) and 15 1/4" x 33" (inner)

Pricing
Base retail$548,767
Price as tested$592,932

Standard Equipment

Z-Care five-year limited warranty, AC/DC panel, accessory outlet, power bolsters, stainless bow and stern eyes, cabin accent lighting, 40-ounce cabin carpeting, full galley and head with shower, cockpit courtesy lights, cockpit cover, compass, full instrumentation, color-matched bezels, dinette table, depthfinder, deck hatches, sliding cabin door, engine room ladder, extension boxes, color-matched cleats, BASF Diamont paint and graphics, mechanical drive and trim indicators, K-Planes, rear sunpad, swim ladder, external tie bar, Z-Tech ventilated hull, stainless-steel windshield.

Options on Test Boat

Upgrade to triple HP575SCi engines, ($81,311), Victory paint scheme ($11,314), generator ($9,929), Teague Custom Marine exhaust ($7,536), air conditioning ($5,229), wet bar with icemaker ($3,564), gelcoated hull bottom ($2,143), electronics package ($1,779), television with VCR ($1,521), prop holders ($536), RDS toolbox ($464), C02 detector ($150).

Acceleration
5 seconds25 mph
10 seconds45 mph
15 seconds61 mph
20 seconds69 mph

Midrange Acceleration
30-50 mph6.1 seconds
40-60 mph6.4 seconds
40-70 mph10.85 seconds

Rpm vs. Mph
10007 mph
150011 mph
200021 mph
250030 mph
300045 mph
350057 mph
400065 mph
450075 mph
500082 mph

Top Speed
Speedometer88 mph at 5300 rpm
Radar84.7 mph at 5300 rpm
Nordskog Performance Products GPS84.8 mph at 5300 rpm

Planing
Time to plane4.2 seconds
Minimum planing speed17 mph

Fuel Economy
At 45 mph0.79 mpg
At 55 mph0.69 mpg
At 55 mph0.69 mpg
At WOT0.60 mpg
Fuel capacity409 gallons

Manufacturer

Donzi Marine
Dept. PB
7110 21st St. East
Sarasota, FL., 34243
(941) 727-0622
www.donzimarine.com

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