Klongs for rubber boots, dungarees, a wool sweater and a smoking pipe in a face framed by a wild beard. Merry Fisher is the model name of a series of boats that Jeanneau has been using to catch customers for 25 years now, always refreshed by revisions, of course. Merry Fishers are on the road from Greenland to Australia, in many European countries as well as in America. Jeanneau builds around 2000 copies of different lengths a year. That’s what you call a success story.
The trawler-y name seems more useful than a hindrance, exuding little glamour, but seriousness and professionalism all the more. It suggests a predominantly angler focus, which may have once been the case but is no longer the case. A Merry Fisher takes you out diving, into the bay for snorkeling and swimming, transports bikes, kayaks, surfboards, camping gear, that case of beer and, yes, fishing gear. One of the basic structural virtues is that you can walk around the boat with rod and landing net in hand without encountering an obstacle.
The French shipyard currently offers Merry Fisher types in five hull lengths – 5.51 m, 6.45 m, 6.97 m, 7.98 m, 9.94 m – in two product lines. One, with a more conventional shape, offers overnight accommodation and touring qualities, while the other leans heavily towards crossover. This is something like the seagoing SUV. The SUV variants are characterized by a more adventurous design, upbeat color accents, an angular deckhouse, lots of open space outside and less space inside. Instead of the previously used suffix “Marlin”, they now bear the designation “Sport”. That sounds less strictly like fish and more like versatility.
A lively, agile and exceptionally stable boat
The newest member of the family is the Merry Fisher 795 Sport Series 2, the medium-sized SUV at a base price of around 74,000 euros including a 250 hp Yamaha outboard motor. If the customer bites, he will still order essential and desirable accessories from electrical and electronics packages to upholstery and anchor equipment to seven-way rod holders and roof racks for SUP boards and then possibly end up at 126,000 euros. This sum represented the test boat that we took a test drive with.
Outboard motors with a maximum output of 250 hp can now be hung on the revised fiberglass hull, which is manufactured using the infusion process. The previous limit was 200. With the F 250 from Yamaha, the Merry Fisher reaches an impressive 34 knots (63 km/h) and, according to the factory specification, consumes 93 liters of fuel per hour or 2.75 liters per nautical mile (one nautical mile = 1, 85 kilometers). In a moderate gliding speed of 22 knots, the 4.2-liter V6 engine consumes a good 50 liters per hour. A tenth of that, 5 liters an hour, is consumed by those who sneak along at a speed of 4 knots. The petrol tank holds 200 liters.
If you push the lever forward vigorously, you will experience a lively, agile and also extremely stable boat that, in our opinion, is highly suitable for rough water. During acceleration, the nose hardly rises during the transition from displacement to planing, and forward visibility is maintained. The Jeanneau does not tip over in tight curves, so fortunately the cabin roof does not block the view of the inside of the curve. An additional outside steering position on the back wall of the house is available as an option. Its side sliding doors have been enlarged. There is no lack of holding possibilities, there is freedom of movement. The high bulwark conveys security. The turning circle is reminiscent of a beer mat. And access from the jetty to the boat via the areas on both sides of the outboard motor or via a flap in the right side wall is more convenient.
Practicality instead of extravagance
On closer inspection, the Sport S2 turns out to be a quick-change artist. The bow is used for a second cockpit, the seat of which can be partially folded away to allow free passage. For the rear cockpit, the modular concept includes folding benches and a mobile table. Either a third sliding door or a kitchen block can be installed on the rear side of the wheelhouse. In the latter case, a sofa can be placed inside on the closed rear wall, where the sliding door variant has only a third individual seat. The mini cabin in the bow is nothing more than a makeshift, as is the tiny toilet room with a crawl space. A supply of 100 liters can be carried in the fresh water tank.
You can expect practicality from the Merry Fisher, but neither extravagance nor luxury. The ambience is characterized by large series, standardization, assembly line, plastic, cost control. Some things seem very simple and one or the other detail cheap. A wooden board rattles on the cabin floor. Handling and versatility, however, should arouse joy in Fisherman and Friend.