Straight up, the 850 Sport is by no means a trailerable cruiser that you can hook up and hit the highway with — she weighs in at five tonnes fully loaded, is just under 30ft in length, and has a healthy beam of 2.99m (9.8ft). From a distance, the decent sized saloon, cabin, cockpit, and usable bow most certainly looks like the ideal combo for weekends on the water, entertaining, and even dropping a line for your favourite species.
A closer look at what’s on offer reveals that the Sport range is all about versatility, and Jeanneau has done an excellent job at creating an innovative design to please everyone.
To start, you can board the vessel via the starboard transom platform or the handy side door. The cockpit is a good example of versatile or multipurpose innovation, with the modular design providing for fisherman and entertainers alike. The fisherman gets a live-well, sizable transom tackle station with storage and rod-holders, as well as nice high gunwales with padded coamings to lean into when wrestling the catch of the day. There’s no dedicated kill tank, however, there’s plenty of room for eskies in the cockpit — it would be nice to see a fish box option included into the large deck hatch.
When it’s time to sit back and relax, the cockpit then converts to an outdoor lounge with the transom and gunwale fold-out bench seating, an infill table, and this model optioned with the sliding cockpit bimini for added protection. Although you lose gunwale storage for fishing gear, I really like this setup — it’s quick and easy to transform from a fishing platform to an outdoor lounge for entertaining. The forward sliding tackle station is also a nifty idea, allowing full trim on the motors when moored.
Moving forward, the enclosed pilothouse-house styled saloon lends itself to all-seasons of boating. It’s an interesting design as you don’t have the normal full beam of a saloon — in this case, the saloon has been reduced in width to create a full starboard side walkthrough to the bow. You then have access via the cockpit sliding door and a captain’s starboard side door, which also adds to ventilation when left open.
Without compromising on saloon features, Jeanneau has still managed to include a port side dinette that converts to an extra bed, as well as a mini galley in front of the forward and rear facing passenger seat. Personally I would probably fit a cockpit BBQ, rather than cook indoors. There’s also a 12V fridge below the captain’s seat, starboard side cabinets with quick access to battery isolation, and even dedicated wine storage provided. The full screen, high side glass, sliding door, and sunroof create a light and airy feel to the saloon. The hard-top rack option is another worthy feature and works well for stand-up paddle boards or even kayaks.
At the helm, the captain’s dash is compact, but set up neatly to accommodate all the necessary switch panels, Yamaha dual motor binnacle and DES (digital electronic steering), the new Helm Master EX Joystick piloting with CL5 digital display and push-button engine start, as well as bow-thruster, trim-tabs, Fusion audio, and a Garmin GPSMAP 8412 XSV — the 895 Sport is clearly not lacking in terms of high-end gear.
The cabin was another eye-opener for me as the higher freeboard than usual creates more volume to the internal area. I was surprised and impressed to see a separate V berth, a small but adequately sized head with vanity and hot shower on the port side, and then another door leading to an extra low-profiled berth below the saloon deck with storage and double bed. This most certainly transforms the 895 Sport into a great weekender for couples or even small families.
Now onto the bow — an area that’s normally difficult to access and utilise to its full potential on most cruisers. Not in this case!
The starboard walkthrough leads you to yet another practical and fully usable area of the boat. The open bow includes social seating, shade sail option, high bow-rails, gas storage hatch, and easy access to the anchor. It also opens up another fishing area and, being elevated, it wouldn’t be a bad spot from which to chuck lures.
PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING
The smaller 795 previously tested did lack a bit of gumption as it was a single 200hp outboard installation by choice of the owner. As tested, this 895 Sport had the latest twin Yamaha F250s with digital electronic steering (DES) integrated, and the new Helm Master EX joystick piloting system — and what a difference it made. The heavier hull, extra weight on the transom, and higher horsepower was well-matched, and changed the ride characteristics for the better.
Merry Fishers are designed more as cruisers rather than high-speed weapons. Deadrise is limited on the transom and looks to be around the 18–19 degrees, which in turn creates very good stability throughout and a nice dry ride. Low down, the twin V6 4.2L 250s punch the 895 onto the plane effortlessly and produce a comfortable cruise speed of 18-20 knots (3300rpm) in the rough), and economy sitting at around 60L/h combined. In the calmer conditions and loaded with 5 onboard, you could maintain a comfortable ride at 28–30 knots (4000rpm), and economy sitting at 80L/h.
Acceleration through the rev-ranges is nice and responsive, and when punching the silky-smooth digital controls to wide open throttle, the 895 Sport achieves a decent 38-40 knots at 5600rpm. The economy however does blow out to a hefty 191L/h, as to be expected. No quibbles with the performance when loaded with five onboard, a bit of gear, and 400L of fuel (full fuel capacity is 600L).
Off the throttles, 1500rpm will give you a low troll or cruise speed of 7.3 knots, and low economy of 16.5L/h. Bumping it up to 2500rpm produces 10.6 knots speed, though the economy does jump up to 41.2L/h as it’s on the cusp of climbing onto the plane.
Again, although the 895 Sport achieves around 40 knots WOT, they are not designed to be high-speed weapons of the ocean. At civilised cruise speeds, the 895 Sport produces a comfortable, dry, and stable ride throughout. Adding to the simplicity of operation, the optional bow-thrust and Helm Master EX joystick piloting turns docking nightmares and low speed manoeuvrability into an absolute breeze. It’s a generous dollar figure added to the end price, but well worth it if you’re looking for easy and simplified operating.
Comfortably cruise with family and friends, run out to the local islands for a weekend, or load it up with all the fishing gear and head for the reef — you can do it all on the new Merry Fisher 895 Sport. Again, I really like the multipurpose use incorporated into the new boats as it caters for more family-orientated boating and, in turn, you are getting more out of your vessel with better value for money. Contemporary and stylish design alongside a wad of creature comforts is just a portion of what the 895 Sport has to offer.
Two on board 600L fuel, 160L water, light load. 800L fuel tanks (calculations using 90L, 10 per cent reserve)
*Sea-trial data supplied by the author.
FACTS & FIGURES
MERRY FISHER 895 SPORT
PRICE AS TESTED $376,988
OPTIONS FITTED Twin Yamaha F250 (DES) 4-strokes, Yamaha Helm Master EX joystick piloting, Garmin GPSMAP 8412 XSV, Trim Level Premier Pack, full fishing kit package, plus loads more.
PRICED FROM $279,800 including twin Yamaha F200XCA outboards plus standard inclusions.
TYPE Sport cruiser
LENGTH 8.92m (29ft 3in)
BEAM 2.99m (9ft 9in)
WEIGHT 3300kg (hull only) 5014kg loaded
REC. HP 200–250hp (twin)
MAX. HP 500hp (twin 250hp)
FUEL 600L (twin 300L tanks0
WATER FRESH 100L
MAKE/MODEL Yamaha F250 XSB (twin rig)
TYPE:24-Valve, DOHC with VCT, 60 deg. V6
GEAR RATIO 1.75:1
PROPELLER M15 Reliance SDS
2294 Sandgate Road, Boondall 4034 QLD AU
PH (07) 3265 8000