When was the last time you took the family to a boat show, and your the wife said something like, ''that’s a good boat for you dear, you should get it?'' Yeah, we never have either. That’s why more and more manufacturers are making boats that fill dual, or even triple, roles so that everyone can be happy with the purchase. Such is the case with the Luhrs 35 Convertible. Luhrs markets the 35 with the tagline ''The Best of Both Worlds'' and we’ve seen that line blurred between what is built and what the customer wants when striving for a combination. While Luhrs is well known for having tough offshore capable hulls, does the 35’s layout make this an ideal weekender when the rods are staying in their storage racks? Let’s take a look and see how they’ve done, and hope that it’s naot called a ''convertible'' for nothing!
Luhrs’ 35 Convertible was designed to cross back and forth across the line between cruising and fishing.
Since the 35 Convertible gets its pedigree from the fishing world, let’s start with a close-up look at the fishing features. For bluewater fishermen, the Luhrs 35 Convertible has a lot to like, beginning with an 84 square foot, self bailing cockpit. The portside cockpit module features a reach-in freezer, preparation station and sink. There are two in-deck fish boxes with macerators, and a third fishbox in the transom. We love the protection that the molded-in stairs to the flybridge provide, and the first two steps lift to reveal a 30 gallon (113.6L) livewell, and a great use of space. There are four flush mounted rod holders in the caprails and five rocket launchers at the flybridge with an additional storage for six more rods. With the helm located at the aft end of the flybridge, the operator will have a commanding view of the cockpit and easy controllability when backing down on a fish. Note the hawseholes in the quarters for passing lines through to the recessed cleats.A reach down freezer with a cutting board on top is the main attraction of the rigging station. A sink and plenty of tackle storage round out the features. For as good a job as Luhrs has done with keeping you secure on the 35 Convertible we’d still like to see rails around this portside rigging station.There’s no shortage of fishboxes on this 35 Convertible, but why not continue the padded bolsters around the transom mounted fishbox?
Part of what makes an offshore boat so capable is its ability to handle seas as well as allow those on board to handle themselves. The Luhrs 35 Convertible provides several examples of how it keeps its passengers safe and secure regardless of what the boat may be going through. Whether moving from bow to stern, on the side decks, maneuvering through the cockpit, or walking through the spacious interior there’s always something to hang onto, with the rigging station being the only exception.Here’s a perfect example of built-in safety. No more ladders to the flybridge-- this molded-in stairway will keep you safe and secure while providing an easy access above deck. A livewell is tucked under the lower step. Now, before you leave the dock put teak treads or some other non-skid on those fiberglass steps, otherwise you risk cracking your noggin if you slip and fall.Notice how Luhrs provides a little bit of extra security with the raised toe rails. Three Bomar hatches allow natural light into the living space. Ground tackle is housed in an integrated pulpit.We love that this optional windlass is recessed in its own covered compartment, but we’d rather see it all flush mounted to the deck with the foot switches moved inside.Note how there is a raised step for accessing the main salon. This is an important feature when you’re backing down on a fish and water starts coming over the transom. Two large macerated fish boxes are in either side of the cockpit. Under the port side gunwale you can see the raw and fresh water wash downs. Underneath the step to the salon is quick access to the engine room for daily checks. Notice how the hatch secures around a raised lip surrounding the opening, plus it’s gasketed all the way around and supported by gas assist strut.Looking inside the engine compartment we see a well laid out design allowing easy access plus security. Easy access to the steering gear can be seen in the lazzarette.
You have an option of piloting the 35 Convertible from the flying bridge or an optional lower helm station. The flying bridge is nicely laid out with the center helm console located well aft for good visibility to the cockpit. A single helm seat is flanked by two quarter seats for observers. Thankfully Luhrs saw the benefit of adding a bench seat forward of the console which makes a great viewing spot while cruising or heading out to the fishing grounds. Surprisingly the hardtop is standard, and manufactured from thermoformed ABS, and the Isinglass surround is also standard. Interestingly, Luhrs has custom designed a portable cloth cooler bag, with a built-in cold plate, that can be plugged into a 12 volt power source. This then gets a dedicated space to the left of the helm where you can plug it in to continue keeping your items cooled.Luhrs has partnered with Raymarine to provide electronics packages for its entire line. Luhrs has gotten a lot right here. Notice how the compass is mounted off center so it’s in line of sight of the helm. We always applaud when a manufacturer adds a chart holder. There’s plenty of open real estate for twin 12” (30.48 cm) nav displays, and notice the custom made cooler bag with dedicated storage.This will surely be the most popular seat in the house. Flip-down footrests would be a welcome addition. Note the helm console is hinged for easy access during electronics installation.Two observer’s seats flank the single helm seat. Note the optional icemaker in the side of the console.
The Inside Story
Luhrs has done a masterful job of creating the interior of the 35 Convertible. They’ve gone with a galley-up layout that really lends itself to spending the days up on deck and nights below deck. Furthermore, Luhrs is one of the few, if not only builder to offer options to the salon that include adding or subtracting the forward windshields when deciding on whether to have a lower helm. With the lower helm you’ll definitely want the windshields added. If you don’t opt for the lower helm you can remove the windshields in favor of additional cabinetry for storage. Frankly, since this isn’t a long range cruiser we would imagine the need for the additional storage will be minimal and therefore one might opt for increased visibility even without the lower helm.A nicely appointed helm chair fits in with a teak and holly sole and luxury appointments throughout the salon. With the lower helm you lose the option of having additional storage cabinetry overhead, but you gain a second operating station for inclement weather.A two burner stove, refrigerator, microwave, and optional flat screen television make up the features of this nicely appointed galley. Notice the beefy mullions to support the deck above.
It’s not unusual to see a sport fishboat with the forward windows blacked out in favor of adding additional storage overhead. More often than not it’s also needed for increased support of the deck above. Here we can see that such an option is available in the 35 Convertible, particularly when the lower helm station option is removed from the equation. Notice how all the grains are matching indicating that all of the cabinetry is cut from the same piece of wood. Countertops are Corian, and all hardware is stainless steel.We think several people will opt for keeping the forward windshield just to improve the visibility of the surroundings, which is what owning waterfront property is all about.
Luhrs didn’t give up the creative engineering when they moved down below in the 35 Convertible. Probably one of the most significant ways that this boat shines is in its capacity for storage. No space is wasted so whatever you’d like to bring aboard is likely going to find a home.The master is fully forward, and features a double wide berth, thankfully with ample storage both above and below.At the foot of the master bed is a clever hatch that reveals additional storage beneath. It is supported by two gas-assist struts.The head lies off to starboard and, as it features both an access door from the master stateroom and the companionway, it will double as a day head. To port is a small berth with enough room for two people.The Luhrs 35 Convertible has several diesel options, and Luhrs was correct to leave gas options off the list. Standard power is a Yanmar 440-horsepower 6Y3A. Options are available for twin Cummins, or twin Volvo Penta IPS 500 or 600 pod drives. Maximum horsepower available is twin 480-horsepower.We have not tested the Luhrs 35 Convertible, so cannot report on its performance but our past experience with Luhrs products have left little to be desired in the way of handling and sea keeping ability. As far as Luhrs’ goal of creating a crossover boat that offers the “best of both worlds,” we think they hit the mark with a 35 Convertible and made not only a cost effective boat but a very well laid out one as well.
Standard and Optional Features