Paul Scopinich builds a gorgeous 35-foot express boat - 13 of them
so far - but hull 14 stepped the wow factor up a notch with truly
beautiful lines. John Barton already owned a Scopinich 35 Express,
but he came up with several great ideas that convinced Scopinich to
make some major changes to the original deck layout. The result is
the 35-foot walk-around, Happy Mariner, and her debut will bring joy
to a lot of anglers.
Barton's knees have been acting up in recent
years. On the new walk-around, he can go forward to tend the bow
lines, or set an anchor, without having to climb up or down to get
up front (a benefit I had not even considered). I had noticed,
however, that there is no step in the deck for a hooked-up angler to
trip over if he or she has to circle the boat while fighting a fish.
The 100-square-foot cockpit sports a rocket launcher with a
70-gallon on-deck livewell (covered in teak decking) set around the
stanchion. An insulated bait/drink box is built into the back of the
rocket launcher. With a few more rod holders (easily installed), the
walk-around layout provides a perfect platform for drifting for
swordfish or kite fishing for sails.
The helm boasts a beautiful "old-Rybovich-style" set of
stainless-steel single-lever controls and a cast steering wheel
custom made for the Scopinich. Analog engine gauges recess neatly
into the classic varnished helm pod. A pedestal chair with footrest
allows clear vision both forward and aft.
Capt. Danny Ford spilled over with praise on the way the boat ran
and handled as we idled out of the Manatee Pocket near Port Salerno,
Florida. I remembered being impressed with the way an earlier
express model had handled and loved the maneuverability and quick
response of this one as well. She steered well in all directions
with a single engine in gear — even in gusty 20-knot winds.
Light-tackle record seekers take note: With the twin QSB Cummins
425 hp diesels and the 1.5:1 reduction gears in this light hull,
this boat handles like a champ. She spins great, and you could
actually fight a fish without having to touch the rudders. When I
turned the wheel to utilize the rudders, the boat turned even
better, making it one of the best-responding inboard-powered boats I
have tested in years!
You'll find plenty of room in the cockpit for a full-size
fighting chair and plumbing for an alternative on-deck livewell -
making her a great rig for chasing marlin or giant bluefin tuna on
heavy tackle as well.
At present, she turns more rpms (3,050) than manufacturer's
specifications (2,800), so you could probably get some more speed by
swinging a bit more prop. At both the 25- to 26-knot cruise and the
35-knot wide-open throttle, she burned less than a gallon per mile.
With 400 gallons of fuel on board, she's got plenty of range for a
boat this size.
Some engine rooms on similar-size boats remind me of a
5-pound bag trying to hold 7 pounds of spuds - but this one was
tidy, clean and not cramped. You can access the space via an
electrically driven lifter that raises the whole helm-deck hatch
(fully sound insulated) or go through the small hatch forward of the
control console. Inside the console itself, all the engine wiring,
steering and controls, auto pilot and electronics black boxes are
close at hand and very easily serviced. Few small boats match her
ease of preventative maintenance - a huge plus.
The V-berth area is tidy, and the port and starboard bunks can be
joined into a queen-size bed by the addition of a drop-down table.
Scopinich cleverly places the microwave in a molded-in cabinet over
the foot of the bunk, which allows for a large storage cabinet over
the galley sink and storage drawers. You'll also find a VacuFlush
marine toilet under a seat to starboard and a good-size hanging
locker with two shelves. The small galley has a Corian countertop, a
sink with instant-flow hot water and a small refrigerator with ice
Scopinich builds a solid boat with fiberglass bottom and
vacuum-bagged, high-density, foam-cored hull sides. All resins are
vinylester, and even with the vinylester barrier coat, she gets an
application of Awlgrip on both interior and exterior surfaces. The
entire interior is finished to allow spray cleaning throughout.
|| 14,000 lb.
|| 400 gal.
|| 40 gal.
|| T 425 hp QSB
|| BASE PRICE
|| On request
Scopinich Boat Works
Port Salerno, Florida