The Maverick 39 Walkaround is straight-line descended from an inboard-powered charter boat built in Costa Rica: the Maverick 36 Walkaround, a vessel that’s endured hardcore usage along the Costa Rican coast for years and more particularly as a mainstay at Los Sueños Resort and Marina, a high-profile sportfishing destination on the edge of the cobalt-blue Bahía Herradura. The 39’s got a raised-pinky finish (a la Saunders Yacht Works of Orange Beach, Alabama, which adds engines, hardware and auxiliaries to the Costa Rican-built boat), but her cold-molded, triple-planked, Laurel Blanco bones seem obviously dedicated to tough, commercially-viable seaworthiness. A thing my practical nature responds to immediately.
The 39 has a fairly unusual (at least for a walkaround custom fishboat) powerplant: a super-clean installation featuring three 300-hp Yamaha F300 outboards mounted on a positive-floatation-type Armstrong bracket, a device designed to boost buoyancy astern on outboard-powered boats, thereby promoting reasonable running attitudes at speed and balanced profiles at rest.
When I stepped aboard in North Palm Beach, the 39, if memory served, was gonna be the first outboard-powered custom walkaround I’d ever sea trialed, so I was antsy to know whether cantilevering an extra 1,800 pounds of machinery off the transom on a bracket would affect performance.
Our plan for test day was simple enough—we’d put the 39 through her paces on nearby Lake Worth (where sea conditions were smooth) and then take her out into the much sportier Atlantic, tool around a tad, beeline it down the coast some 50 nautical miles to Port Everglades and, after negotiating the inlet there, tie up at the marina behind the Pier 66 hotel in Ft. Lauderdale.
Performance on the lake was solid. The average top hop I recorded was 41.7 knots, a velocity that pulled some 80 gph from the 39’s large, 525-gallon, welded-aluminum fuel tank, positioned just abaft what Saunders calls “the pump room,” an amidships space dedicated to inboard engines on the 36 charter boat but outfitted on our test boat with saltwater, freshwater and hydraulic-steering pumps; Delco house and starter batteries; a 7-kW Phasor diesel genset (with dedicated fuel reservoir); and, in addition to a raft of other items, an ever-so-practical see-through plastic holding tank.
Driving the boat down to Lauderdale was a blast. She seemed exceptionally dry and easy to control. Slowing ‘er down to a cruise speed of 30 knots or so maximized fuel economy (.73 nmpg) and produced a canyon-running range of nearly 400 nautical miles.
A couple of hours was all it took to get to the big city. And by the time we’d arrived, I’d pretty much made up my mind. Certainly, the Saunders Maverick 39 Walkaround’s outboard propulsion was a viable alternative to inboard power—the positive-floatation bracket at the stern seemed to almost neutralize the combined weight of her three Yamahas. The boat’s Yamaha Helm Master system certainly worked like a champ, even in wicked current. And finally, the pretty, gentrified charter boat seemed to be an excellent choice for the outboard enthusiast with a penchant for angling: While her top-notch cachet may belie a hardcore nature, it’s this nature that’ll make her sturdy, dependable and safe. —Capt. Bill Pike
Displ.: 19,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed: 30 knots
Top Speed: 42 knots
Fuel: 525 gal.
Water: 50 gal.
Power: 3/300-hp Yamaha F300s