The Merritt 80 comes out of the hole like a bat out of hell

2001-10-12 00:00:00.0 It's funny how things happen in boating. The new Merritt 80's owner originally wanted a smaller boat - maybe a 68 or 70, something with a draft of less than 5 feet to fit into the shallow marinas where he hoped to fish. But then he wanted so much stuff on it that the laws of physics intervened. Roy Merritt felt it could be done in a larger boat. He had already built a 75, but "I wanted to see a little more space in a couple of areas," he says. "And that's how this design turned into 80 feet."

Merritt built the boat and, to his surprise, it exceeded all expectations. The planned top-end of 35 knots became 37. "I firmly believe that this 80-footer - at 120,000 pounds - gets better mileage than [some 54-footers]," says Roy. "My studies show that [a typical 54] burns 120 to 125 gph to run at 30 knots. This boat burns 120 gph to run at 31 knots, yet it's much larger. That's an increase in efficiency." Also unlike most really big sport-fishers, the Merritt 80 comes out of the hole like a bat out of hell. From idle to 30 knots takes a mere 11 seconds.

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