The MJM 34z is a cruising yacht that demonstrates what the breed can be in the best of all worlds, if money and mass-marketing are no object. She is the brain child of lifelong boaters who couldn't seem to find what they were looking for in the current market and so designed their own vision of the perfect boat. With an all-star team comprised of naval architect Doug Zurn (the "z" in 34z) and the premier yacht fabricators at Boston Boat Works, the groundwork was laid to build a line of cruising yachts for serious -- but very discerning -- cruising people.
With an LOA of 37'5" (11.4 m) and a beam of 11’ (3.35 m) the MJM 34z is an excellent size to be easily managed by a cruising couple or even single-handed.
The 34z has been designed for a couple that is downsizing from a larger boat or one transitioning from sail to power. She is large enough to entertain 10 people on a day trip or moonlight cruise. She is also designed to be strong and seaworthy enough to go to Bermuda even though her primary mission will keep her close to home. By keeping her beam under 12' (3.65 m) she can be transported from the north to the south by truck (with a permit) by snowbirds, thus only one boat is needed instead of two. Finally she is intended to be fuel efficient and fast, powered by a single diesel, but be easy to dock single-handed.
The forward dinette converts to a V-berth, while the loungers on the main deck will sleep an additional 2 people.
• Kevlar-epoxy construction – MJM builder Boston Boat Works uses a high-tech construction method that goes well beyond chop guns and fiberglass mat. This makes MJM boats rock solid.
• Lightweight – The BBW construction method not only produces a strong boat, but a comparably light boat. This means reduced horsepower and better fuel efficiency.
• Open or enclosed main deck – Typical of the Downeast design is the open side windows that allow the captain to quickly reach the side of the boat and haul lobster pots or tie the boat up single-handed as the case may be. Of course this area can easily be enclosed in Strata-glass or… the 34z can be built with an enclosed helm deck.
• Stidd helm seats standard – Stidd is the top name in the world of helm seats and few builders make them standard.
• Grab handles everywhere – Since the owner of the company is a veteran sailor he knows the importance of grab handles in a seaway and they are placed all over the boat In some cases multiple handles are fitted. In addition, several structural components such as shelves are also designed to be held onto.
• Fully opening forward windows – The forward windows are hinged at the top and open from the bottom to allow unprecedented ventilation through the helm deck.
This elevations drawing shows the placement of the engine room under the bridge deck. There is a large lazerette under the cockpit large enough for a life raft and other gear.
• Both bow and stern thrusters. Because the 34z is a single engine design the builder has made standard both bow and stern thrusters that make docking a piece of cake for anyone.
• Deep bins to hold bicycles. The port and starboard bench seats have deep compartments under them that extend down to the bottom of the boat. They are each large enough to hold a 26" mountain bike in addition to much more.
• Designed to be trucked. While most boats under 50' can be trucked with special "wide-load" permits, the 34z was specifically designed to be trucked by a more easily obtained and less costly permit in the U.S.. What makes this possible is her beam which is under 12' (3.65 m) and her relatively light weight hull. People with two houses -- one north and one south -- will appreciate this capability and be able to cruise and entertain by boat year round.
• Hull made of epoxy resin. Virtually all production boats are made of polyester resin which must have one to three layers of vinylester resin skin coat to keep them from blistering. MJM and BBW go a giant step beyond these materials but it is costly. Because MJM uses epoxy resin it is able to give a 10-year transferable osmotic blister warranty rather than just five years, as many companies give. See below for details.
• 3x5 American flag with teak staff. MJM is one of the few companies that has the hardware and staff for a flag as standard equipment.
• Marelon water intake and through hull fittings. Marelon is a proprietary formulation of polymer composite compounds and additives to produce a superior marine-grade product. It does not corrode nor is it subject to electrolysis. Very few builders use it, but the list is slowly growing.
The Adirondack stern seat is optional, but one we would recommend. Not only will it be great for entertaining, but we think it is the most comfortably designed seat on the planet.
The Strength is in the build
Boston Boat Works constructs the 34z with the technology of pre-preg epoxy vacuum-bagged laminates using Gougeon slow-set epoxy. These materials have been used in the sailboat-building world for years, but powerboat builders have avoided them because of the cost. This process allows BBW to attain a glass to epoxy resin ratio of 60:40 which is the optimum for fiberglass boats. Since resin is heavy and does not add strength, much weight is saved without robbing strength.
More weight is saved in the hull by using 3/4" (15.7 mm) Corecell closed cell foam core. Solid unidirectional E-glass/epoxy composite is used in the in the keel and in the hard chines. These are the two areas of the hull which are most vulnerable to groundings and the composite is as hard as steel.
By using epoxy resin and not conventional polyester resign that virtually all boat builders use, BBW gains better adhesion than resin, as well as to be able to elongate without failing more than conventional resins which are relatively brittle. Epoxy resin is also not permeable by water which eliminates worries about blistering and hydrostatic water migration.
With a modified-V hull, a knifelike entry, and an 18-degree deadrise carried forward 11’ (3.35 m), the 34z is an efficient boat indeed. MJM tells us that the boat has good handling characteristics and gets very good fuel economy, but since we have not tested the boat we can't verify. Obviously the boat was designed to be fuel efficient, and with hits hull shape, relatively narrow beam (11'/ 3.35 m), light weight, and prop pocket, she should be quite fuel efficient.
With the prop recessed into a pocket the draft is reduced to only 28” (71.1 cm). The large rudder provides excellent maneuverability and when combined with the standard bow and stern thruster will allow the operator to literally crab the 34z sideways.
The helm deck of the 34z is designed for three couples, one sitting on the helm and companion seats facing forward and a couple behind each of these seats and facing each other on bench seats. The helm and observer's seats swivel around to join the group, albeit in conversation from a slightly elevated standpoint.
Both settees open to access what are probably the deepest storage compartments in class. Minor rearranging of the seat cushions converts both into single sleepers.
Even with the open configuration, privacy for overnight accommodations is no problem on the helm deck of the 34z. Looks cozy to us, sort of like being in an A&K tent on safari in Africa.
With the helm and observer seat swiveled around to join the conversation an intimate gathering for six is created.
This helm deck is also where the two major design options of the 34z are separated. First is the Downeast is design with open sides that allow for plenty of air to flow through the entire deck area. While there are Strata-glass curtains that can be rolled down for protection some may opt for the entirely enclosed helm deck. Those choosing the enclosed version might want to consider the optional MarineAir 16,000 BTU reverse-cycle air-conditioner or a Wallas diesel heater.
This arrangement is rather unusual and it offers the best of both worlds. When the weather is inclement, the side curtains can come down and keep everyone dry and toasty. But when the sun is out and hot, by rolling up the polycarbonate Strata-glass sides the air can come rushing through. Either way the hardtop is there and passengers can get safe sun.
Optional air conditioning will address any greenhouse concerns with the enclosed version. Notice the helm and observers seats are elevated pedestals. We'd move the VHF radio to the helm console.
The helm of the 34z is among the most comfortable I've been in, at least in this class. The large 24” (61 cm) destroyer wheel is mounted vertically, is expertly finished, and spins effortlessly. Electronic displays and gauges are all angled towards the observer’s eye and grab handles are conveniently located.
The observer's position is equally comfortable and stable with grab handles and a foot rest. An open space in front of the observer will accommodate additional electronics allowing him/her to be an active participant in the vessel's navigation. But it gets better…
Note the Stidd seats here for both the skipper and the companion. Both are on pedestals on a platform.
Fold up the seat, and settee becomes 6'6" (1.98 m) and makes into a single berth. Below is a deep locker that can hold a 26" mountain bike. The same arrange is also to port.
Central Nav Station
The entryway to the cabin has a clever and purpose-built design feature. With the top of the hatch in the closed position, a chart table is created at a 45-degree angle, complete with a lower fiddle to keep a chart book and equipment in place. This is just one example that shows that this is clearly a boat designed by people who have done a lot of cruising. The prudent captain never relies solely on electronics to navigate by, and having a dedicated chart station directly adjacent to the helm is certainly a feature worthy of note.
The accommodations below decks are designed for living first and sleeping second. A forward dinette features V-banquette seating of butter soft Ultraleather wrapped around a pedestal table. The bulkheads are cherry batten planks giving a distinct nautical flair to the cabin. Naturally the area converts into a V-berth and the shelves above are secured to the bulkhead and can be used for storage so long as it doesn't get too rough. Access to the all-chain rode is through a set of double doors in the forward bulkhead.
The standard table is a 36" x 15" (91.4 cm x 38.1 cm) double pedestal type without leaves. Shown here is the optional single pedestal version. The dinette converts to a berth measuring 7' x 7' (2.13 m x 2.13 m) with the bedding storing behind the forward cushions.
Attention to detail of the fit and finish is evident everywhere. Satin finished cherry cabinets are all framed and Corian oyster countertops highlight the galley. The teak and holly sole is treated with a high-gloss polyurethane finish that holds up much better to the rigors of the hard-soled shoes of your land-based guests.
The galley was designed to be a functional piece of furniture rather than the simple "kitchen in a bedroom" that we usually see. A 10 gallon (37.8 L) water heater is plumbed to a 58 gallon (219.5 L) freshwater tank. A 5.5 cu. ft. top loading refrigerator/ice box keeps items from spilling out onto the deck as we might see with a front loading unit. Former sailors will be familiar with this arrangement. This is a large capacity for the area.
There is a "Cruising Galley" option which includes a 12-vot Seafrost refrigerator drawer, Princess single-burner ceramic cooktop, a microwave oven and a toaster.
The galley is compact, but has lots of counter space. The refer is under the counter to the right. Note the grab rail at the top of the picture.
But it's the aesthetics that draw more attention to the galley than the functionality. Along with the full-length overhead stainless grab rail, a sizable wooden fiddle above the cabinetry also provides a quick handhold for the person designated to make sandwiches in the Class A offshore waters that the MJM 34z was designed for. And then there's even the simple thing like a coat hook located on the bulkhead just inside the companionway.
The engine room is easily accessible with the flip of a switch. The bridge deck raised by the rams seen port and starboard.
The MJM 34z comes standard with a single Yanmar 380-hp 6LY-UTP, 6-cylinder, 24-valve, freshwater cooled turbocharged diesel. It is installed under the bridge deck. To access it, the entire deck electrically rises 40-degrees by the rams. There is a fiberglass drip pan under the engine and transmission, plus a Seafire automatic fire suppression system. Access to all aspects of the engine room and accessories there is extremely good.
MJM says that the boat get 1.8 to 2.0 nmpg at best cruise. We have not tested the boat.
MJM also offers two other engine options, both from Yanmar. One is the 6LY3-STP 440-hp diesel, and the other is 6LY3-ETP 480-hp engine. All models come with digital controls.
Clearly the 34z is designed for sophisticated and well-healed boaters. Her range and height make her an excellent Great Loop boat and her draft will allow exploring the many remote locations of places like the Bahama Banks.
Her accommodations are thoughtfully laid out for a cruising couple as she can easily entertain the people who are encountered along the way. Should additional overnight accommodations be needed, the upper deck easily encloses for privacy. When cruising, I think I would leave the V-berth below permanently made up and use the settee and table on the port side for dining.
But mostly, I think, the MJM 34z will be used just as Bob Johnston and his wife Mary use it -- as a day boat and as an entertainment platform for friends. She also makes a good commuter out to places like Nantucket and Martha Vineyard for lunch or dinner, or even an overnight stay. With two bicycles carried aboard, she can also keep any boating couple fit.
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
MJM 34z (2012-) Price
MJM 34z (2012-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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