The 86 Merritt more than qualifies as a big sport-fishing platform

2010-11-08 00:00:00.0 Over the past 30 years, the boats launched at the famous Merritt boatyard in Pompano Beach, Florida, have changed considerably. The nimble, purpose-built, hard-core 37- and 43-foot game-fish boats that made the Merritt name a giant tuna-fishing legend still live on, but the trend has decidedly shifted to bigger boats.

As the needs of the owners and crews started including traveling to fish in more remote, exotic locations, Merritt boats became more technologically advanced. The use of molded, composite construction and advanced materials gave their boats the greater efficiency needed for making long trips. Merritt's latest effort - hull number 94, a massive 86-foot enclosed-bridge sport-fisherman - focuses on removing weight anywhere possible without losing the beefy, robust and solid platform for which the company has become known.

To lighten the boat, Merritt looked at the enormous expanse of salon overhead, the foredeck, the enclosed flybridge structure and other areas where he could use carbon fiber and coring without sacrificing strength and stiffness. Certainly prior to this 86, Merritt used carbon fiber, but now, with lower materials costs due to a weak global economy, wider use of carbon fiber became much more affordable.

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