New Boat: MJM 40Z

By admin ~ January 11th, 2012. Filed under: New Boats.

Racing Roots and Power to Boot

Fast and fuel-efficient, the new MJM 40z is perfectly easy for a couple to short-hand.

Story By Nancy Birnbaum / Photos By MJM


“Nice lines” I said to no one in particular as I stepped on board ZING, Bob Johnstone’s boat. He was already in the saloon and must have heard, because he came up smiling and welcomed me onto his newest model for a ride up to Palm Beach at the close of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Stepping onto the boat is easy. Easy, as in step right from the dock to the boat through a swinging gate and straight across without having to jump across a divide, as is usually the case with my shorter legs. I found myself making mental “checks” on a personal “Favorites List.” This boat is great for less mobile mariners! (Check.) Johnstone, MJM Yacht’s owner, together with builder Mark Lindsay of Boston BoatWorks who also joined us for the trip up the ICW, were happy to show me all the great details that they’ve built into this new yacht.

The basics

The 40z is the latest model from MJM Yachts. Designed by Doug Zurn, it’s both lean and fast. Combined with a shallow draft and an efficient diesel stern-drive or a Volvo-Penta IPS, it easily covers miles at a pretty good clip, up to the low 30-knot realm. The result is an energetic feel at the wheel and a very easy-to-control boat. With a high-tech design and construction keeping the center of gravity low, the boat carves turns with buoyant precision. The joystick system enables stabilization that borders on amazing.

This “virtual anchoring”—aka station-keeping—allowed us to “park” the boat while waiting for the two or three bridges that we needed to have open. It would make a terrific race committee boat! (Check.)

And speaking of bridges… we were able to get under all but the lowest spans between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The wheel house low clearance allows for getting under bridges as squat as 12 feet, but due to the FLIR installation on top of this particular 40z, we were only able to sneak under bridges no lower than 13.8 foot… with Doug on the foredeck, making sure that we had enough clearance. He had to duck since he was clearly the tallest item on board. Look, no waiting! (Check.)


LOA: 43′ 2″
Beam: 12′ 0″
Draft: 3′ 3″
Disp: 18,900 lbs (1/2 load)
Fuel/Water: 350/100 gals.
Waste Capacity: 30 gals.
Power: 2x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600 or 2x Cummins QSD4
Max/Cruise Speed: 39 kt/25+ mph
Bridge Clearance: 10′
Max. Cabin Headroom: 6′ 4″
Price: $879,000


MJM Yachts
Boston, MA

Those details

Socializing is at least half the fun of boating and the 40z is designed with just that in mind. For example, the helm and companion seats swivel around and drop to the level of the port and starboard lounges in the pilot house. Our trip up the ICW was under partly cloudy skies and occasional sprinkles, but with the aft curtains down we stayed dry. With the curtains drawn back, the pilot house and cockpit—all on the same level—become one continuous spacious entertaining area. Port and starboard cockpit side-opening doors facilitate line handling, grocery wielding and of course, boarding from the dinghy.

As a sailor, I appreciate the detail down below in the galley and the forward cabin. You can clearly see Bob’s love of fine sailing yachts in his boats. As the founder of J Boats, Inc.—the company he started back in 1977 with his brother—Bob has continued to design and build beautiful yet functional yachts for racing, day-sailing and now, for just plain power boating fun. The wood-battened walls and ceiling in the stateroom with teak planking lining the wall in the saloon/galley give the boat a wider, more sailorly look, while the convertible saloon table lowers electronically to form a double berth. A third cabin is created by enclosing the bridgedeck with privacy curtains and converting the settees into additional berths that fit even the tallest crewmember. Sailors will love this boat! (Check.)

The head is located to port and conveniently accessible without disturbing those sleeping in any one of the three “cabins” and has adequate room, sink and separate shower compartment, as well as a VacuFlush head. Opposite the galley you have the option of either a lounge with a table that converts to bunk berths, or a dinette with a table that converts to a double. Both layouts offer a privacy curtain.

One zippy Zurn

Conceived as the biggest yacht a couple could easily handle at sea, around the marina, and at the anchorage, Johnstone made the 40z easy to use. It’s a breeze to dock using the Volvo-Penta IPS joystick-computerized control. The standard 400 IPS works well with the twin pod drives or with the optional twin Cummins sterndrives. Bob’s 40z is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS 600s that he added for testing purposes.

Though it can achieve very fast speeds, it’s really overkill for this size yacht. The standard 400 is sufficient to achieve 30+ knots, while burning just half the fuel of other boats of its size while cruising at 25+ knots. On average, the MJM 40z gets 1.2 nmpg at 30 knots (according to tests conducted by Johnstone and Volvo). MJM credits this as setting their boat apart from all the other “green” boats currently on the market.

Doug Zurn designed the modified deep-V planing hull— which curves upward into a lovely Carolina bow flare—for the occasional steep following or head sea without yawling or burying the bow, making the ride way more comfortable and less jolting. The 40z’s lower center of gravity keeps her stable and able to carve into turns more gracefully. The 40z has an ISO (CE) Certified for Ocean Category-A rating and meets ISO structural standards for vessels capable of withstanding 45 knots and 21-foot seas.

On the other hand, for our little run up the ICW, I was impressed with how fast she was. Her narrow beam is just 12 feet—narrower than others in its class, another purposeful design aiding in the overall performance and allowing the added ability to cost-effectively transport the boat over the road. Great for Snowbirds! (Check.)

Though it took us a few hours to get away from the crowded post-show exodus from Fort Lauderdale, we were soon ahead of the pack, zipping along past all of the departing yachts until we reached the head of the line, up the choppy ICW. Being able to get under all but three of the bridges on up to Palm Beach combined with good speed when we could legally high-tail it, meant we got there in record time. A most enjoyable trip on a lovely boat. Who could ask for more?

The 2012 models will carry an MSRP of $879,000, and the plan is to build just eight. Best to order yours now!

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