The Venture 39 Tournament Edition is a truly semi-custom center console that is fully equipped to challenge the big boys.
By Kevin Koenig
I tested the Venture 39 Tournament Edition this past September on a river near the Venture yard in Stuart, Florida. What I found was a fast, solidly built boat turned out by a reinvigorated builder that is keeping an eye on pleasing even the most demanding customer.
Venture makes a true semi-customizable boat. As such, outside of the hull, nearly everything onboard the 39 I tested was at the owner’s behest. He will use the boat primarily as a dive and fishing boat (he’s apparently got other boats for cruising), so my 39 was ruggedly outfitted for those activities. An inward-opening dive door to port was a highlight you won’t see on many boats since lots of builders shiver at the thought of essentially putting a hole in the side of their boats. Not Venture. The guys there build sturdy, reinforced doors that can open either inward or outward at the owner’s request.
A flush deck made it a snap to get around the boat, even with lots of people onboard, and was a highly appreciated design attribute. So too was the removable bench seat at the transom, which can seat about three or four people when it’s installed, but which also can be taken out when this boat is performing the rough, rugged, and ready duties she was designed to undertake. The head compartment inside the console boasted 6 feet, 4 inches of headroom, as well as access to the boat’s systems control panel, which was on the aft wall of the space.
Elsewhere, a marlin tower featured a ladder aft instead of to the side—a specific customization for the boat’s owner, who found the standard side entrance to the tower ungainly. A cushioned coffin box in the bow acted as a giant ice box, or a seat if you so choose.
To me, the most interesting part about the 39’s construction was the hull, which is super sturdy and geared towards performance. It’s hand-laid with vinylester resin and is solid below the waterline—always reassuring. And the whole thing is reinforced with Kevlar laminates, making it basically bulletproof. In fact, Venture is so confident in its hulls’ ruggedness that they offer limited lifetime warranties on every one they build. (In a nutshell,“limited” means that the first owner has full coverage, as well as the second owner, but the 15th owner might not get the same treatment. Seems more than fair to me.)
Below the waterline there’s some interesting stuff going on. A fine entry point helps slice through waves, while a running pad—essentially an added flat surface along the keel—stretches from the console back to the transom to help the boat get on plane easily, and stay neatly trimmed at speed.
Indeed, among many impressive attributes I noted while driving the 39, her trim numbers were probably the most memorable. Once on plane, she stays almost perfectly horizontal with the water, clocking an almost nonexistent 0.5 degrees on my inclinometer at her higher speeds, until I dropped the hammer and she hit 48 knots and rocked all the way back to 1.5 degrees. (That’s still really, really good.)
At her cruise speed of 32 knots I whipped her around in a circle to starboard in about 1 ¼ boat lengths. To port she turned even more tightly. Acceleration was so powerful that I, and I think everyone onboard, was happy that there’s plenty of handholds to grab on to.
This boat is a heck of a lot of fun to drive, and with tons of rod holders, that 7-foot-long fishbox in the bow, a livewell, and many other fishy accouterments, she will almost certainly be a star on the tournament circuits after she debuts at this year’s Lauderdale show.
Venture Boat Company, 800-658-1092; www.ventureboatcompany.com