The Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 is Jeanneau's new flagship. It replaces the Merry Fisher 855, which was a very effective family weekender and did good business for Jeanneau. We looked at the boat in Cannes, and shot the First Look Video below.
Despite the angling connotations of its name, Jeanneau’s Merry Fisher range is all about mixed family cruising on a relatively compact footprint. In order to facilitate that multi-purpose versatility, it has always aimed to combine overnighting ability with the shelter of a pilothouse, the angling practicality of an open cockpit and the uprated internal space engendered by outboard propulsion.
The 855 certainly did that very well, as its success illustrates, but, aside from the prodigious Cap Camarat 10.5 WA, the new 895 arrives not just as the largest Merry Fisher to date but the largest outboard model in Jeanneau’s entire fleet.
So what does the 895 have to offer that makes it an improvement on its predecessor? The Merry Fisher 895 offers the same sliding bench so you can trim out your engines fully and the same variety of cockpit configurations. What it adds is better access via the starboard swim platform and side access through a new gate. The port dining station is fairly common place in the Merry Fisher range (see Jeanneau Merry Fisher 795: on water test). However, in this instance there's no messing around with the backrest you simply sweep it over and it lowers the seat simultaneously, so you simple you get good views aft and a ready-made dining station.
New and old combined
Jeanneau describes the 895 as “all-new” but given that this boat is designed to take the lead role in a highly regarded and well-established product line, that’s plainly not the case. On the contrary, at first glance, the new boat looks very much like a larger version of the old one. As on previous incarnations, the entire pilothouse is slightly offset to port to maximise the breadth of the starboard walkway without unduly narrowing the breadth of the pilothouse itself – and the recessed starboard side-deck is impressively easy to navigate. And just as the shape of the hull and topsides echo very closely what we’ve seen before, so the sheltered interior of the pilothouse suggests quite a circumspect approach to change…
You get the same big windows for panoramic views and plenty of natural light, allied to all the cruising accessories demanded by the committed weekender. The portside of the pilothouse on the Merry Fisher has always been set aside for a compact fore-and-aft dining station with reversible seatbacks and the same is true here. However, in this case, the feature is ramped up, not just in terms of its scale but also in terms of its ease of use. Rather than having to remove and relocate the forward seatback, it simply swings on hinged arms, from its low-level aft-facing attitude to its elevated, forward-facing navigator’s position. That provides you with an easy communal dining space plus an imperious forward view to match that of the Skipper, without any complication or delay.
Across on the starboard side, the helm position also feels subtly familiar. It comes with a Skipper’s door, twin overhead sunroofs, an extended brow above the big raked windscreen and a broad starboard walkway. It is in fact much the same as the helm station on the outgoing 855 and I have no problem at all with that, because the ergonomic arrangement here is very sound indeed. It’s plainly been developed on the back of extended on-water testing and when you perch in the Skipper’s seat, that feels very satisfying indeed.
Further aft, the cockpit employs a wraparound L or C-shaped seating unit with central dining table and a starboard walk-through transom. The seating is easily big enough for five and the entire section can also be converted into a sun lounger encompassing at least half of the entire cockpit. Again, that’s much as we would expect of a Merry Fisher, but what’s new here is the uprated accessibility on the starboard side – partly via the reworked swim platform and partly via the compact boarding gate, a welcome (if slightly overdue) addition to the Merry Fisher range.
Among the most notable developments elsewhere are the hull windows, which now comprise a single extended section with far greater style than the two blunt, prismatic apertures of old; and the foredeck, which offers a proper bench seat with a substantial backrest so you can sit in relative comfort, securely contained by those elevated guardrails. In fact, the only part of the boat that doesn’t seem to justify its place is the port swim platform, which is so isolated by the engines and the backrest of the bench seat, that it appears to add nothing but symmetry. Even so, Jeanneau has made a very conscious decision with the Merry Fisher to use the port side for furniture and to free up the starboard side for passenger movement - and now, as always, it’s an arrangement that works well.
Accommodation and upgrades
Down below, you get two generously sized cabins, one with a slightly diagonal berth in the bow to create space for a starboard heads and shower compartment, and another running in a transverse direction beneath the pilothouse deck. The main bed is elevated with good storage underneath and it can also be extended to accommodate taller couples. With its traditional beam-forward design and its foredeck elevation, the space down here is impressive and the natural light is also very striking.
However, for those keen on sociable cruises, what really hits home is the fact that, with some aft canvasses, some infils dropped into place, an effective heater and some intrepid friends, you could feasibly take advantage of the pilothouse and the cockpit to sleep seven or even eight people on a weekend away. If you read the spec sheet, of course, it’s only officially designed to sleep six, but the fact that a 29-foot multi-purpose fisher can offer such sleeping flexibility is to be roundly applauded.
At more than three metric tonnes with a beam of around three metres, it’s also good to see that the dynamic abilities of the 895 can be upgraded by means of the ‘Offshore’ variant. While the base model tends to come with either a single 350hp outboard or a pair of 150s or 175s, the Offshore variant encompasses twin 200s for uprated performance, alongside a 50% increase in fuel capacity (up from a pair of 200-litre tanks to twin 300-litre units). With increased range as well as extra poke, it looks like a very worthwhile option.
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 summary
These boats are not the last word in heavyweight build or luxury finish but the 895 takes the blueprint that has kept the Merry Fisher range in the public arena for so long and improves it with some very well selected upgrades. Even in basic form, it is the longest, beamiest, most versatile and best-looking Merry Fisher yet; and while pretty much any Merry Fisher could be described as a spacious, safe and accommodating cruising companion, the flagship 895 amplifies these happy traits to a thoroughly satisfying degree. There’s nothing especially new or thrilling here but it is, without question, a job well done.
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 895 specifications
Fuel capacity: 2 x 200 litres.
Water capacity: 160 litres.
Berths: four to six.
Max engines (base model): 1 x 350 / 2 x 175.
CE Category: C 10.