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Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Boat Reviews, Powerboating, Saltwater Fishing, Sport Fishing, US |

New Launch: Brooks Boatworks 34

Brooks Boatworks may be a "new" builder, but it has a long history.

A new boat called the Brooks 34 just hit the water, and offshore anglers ISO a hot new Carolina-styled express will want to check this one out. The Brooks grabs your eye with tumblehome in the transom, gobs of Carolina flair in the bow, and a healthy dose of high-end panache in-between.

The Brooks 34, on display for the first time ever.

The Brooks 34, on display for the first time ever.

Though this is a new boat, the builder has plenty of experience. The principal, Roger Brooks, started off at Fountain Powerboats and was in charge of the tooling and R&D Departments. When he went out on his own he started building boats for other companies, and has recently constructed models including the Eastport 32 and the Jarrett Bay 32. The company has also built parts (hard tops, tower units, and various custom components) for builders including Hatteras, Tiara, and Blackwell. So it should come as no surprise that the Brooks 34 is a top-shelf boat, with cutting-edge construction.

The hull is built via resin infusion, for the perfect resin-to-glass ratio. Decks are multi-axial E-glass with foam coring. There’s high-density core at the fittings, and aluminum plates backing up the cleats. Hatches and the hard top are vacuum-bagged. Fiddled countertops are Corian, the cabin sole is teak, cushions are Ultraleather or Sunbrella, and systems are controlled with digital switching. In the cabin, you’ll note the flawless joinery North Carolina’s woodworkers are famous for. There’s a forward dinette that converts into a V-berth, a stand-up head, a galley, and an aft cabin carved out under the helm station. The helm itself is extremely comfortable and well-protected by a raised fiberglass brow that gives the boat a unique look, but also pushes the electronics flat far forward. For most, it will be too far to easily reach and you’ll have to install a separate control pad at the helm or do a lot of stretching. With some systems this will be no big deal, but it could eliminate some others from your choice of electronics packages.

Custom Carolina craftsmanship is on display, in the cabin.

Custom Carolina craftsmanship is on display, in the cabin.

The helmdeck is intelligently designed, with a full-size lounge alongside and behind the twin helm chairs. Unlike the fore/aft oriented side seats on many expresses, you can actually sit on this one while the boat’s running, without constantly sliding into your neighbor. Once you’re ready to deploy the trolling spread, you’ll make good use of the bait station with built-in freezer, freshwater sink, tackle stowage, and cutting board. And after sinking the gaff, the transom livewell/kill box and macerated in-deck fishbox will come in handy.

All cool stuff, sure, but the really interesting thing about this boat comes when you consider your power options. The boat I checked out at the Annapolis boat show, and again at the Fort Lauderdale boat show, was powered by a pair of twin four-stroke Yamaha 300-hp outboards. But you can also choose a pair of straight inboard Volvo-Penta D4 260-hp diesels. Or make things really interesting, by dropping a set of Volvo’s IPS 350 pod drives into the engineroom. Plenty of builders let you choose between outboards and inboards, or between inboards and IPS, but all three? That’s a pretty nifty trick.

Of course, boats with this much character don’t come cheap. The 34 starts out at $314,000 and goes up from there. Add in each and every option they list, and you’ll break $450,000. This may seem a bit excessive to the uneducated boat buyer, but hey—can you really order a boat like this without getting stuff like the $1,750 underwater lights, or the $2,075 Kahlenberg air horn? Of course not! These goodies are just the beginning, when you’re looking at a high-end express like the Brooks 34.

-Lenny Rudow