The new 39 VRZ center console showcases Donzi Marine’s
With marine industry legend Craig Barrie back at the helm of Donzi Marine, the company has ambitious plans to launch four new models over the next year. The first model is the 39 VRZ, a sporty center console that Barrie is counting on to re-establish the brand.
“We don’t need another center console unless it has some different qualities to it,” Barrie said. “The center console market has always, because of the client, reverted back to speed in the performance end of the center console business.”
Barrie knows it’s a crowded market for center consoles, yet he believes the 39 VRZ will stand out in the marketplace. The first boat out of the mold had a striking orange and black custom paint job, reflecting Donzi Marine’s performance heritage.
The 39 VRZ has a new running surface and for base power Donzi Marine picked triple Mercury Racing 300R outboards. With base power, the 39 VRZ is a 75-mph center console boat. Add an extra 450 horsepower on the transom, Donzi Marine expects the 39-footer to top 92 mph.
The 39 VRZ ‘s hull is designed to handle up to 1,350 horsepower. Engine options for the triple-engine setup include 300- and 400-hp Verados from Mercury Marine and 400- and 450-hp outboards from Mercury Racing.
“Donzi’s center consoles have always had fast bottoms,” Barrie said. “With the added technology, she’s a little faster than they used to be.”
Donzi Marine borrowed aerodynamic technology from the automotive industry to develop the new wicker bill for the Performance Vented Attack hardtop on the 39 VRZ.
“When the air hits the windshield, instead of it being pushed like a brick or like a parachute that some hardtops have, it takes that wind coming straight through it and blows it out the top,” Barrie said.
Donzi Marine carried the black and orange paint job over to the interior with the optional charcoal Alcantara suede and orange stitching. The cockpit looks straight out of a go-fast boat with carbon-fiber panels for the dash and the 24 JL Audio speakers and subs throughout the cockpit of the 9’10” beam.
Seating accommodations under the hardtop include a two-person bolster at the helm and a second-row bolster for three people. On the first 39 VRZ, Donzi included the throttle and shifter into the seat, but it can be moved to the dash, giving buyers the option for a three-person bolster at the helm.
“When you get that double bolster, you need that throttle right in the seat,” Barrie said. “You can run the boat right there with your hand on the steering wheel and not have to reach up to the dash.”
The helm for the 39 VRZ is sleek and modern with side-by-side Garmin 16” displays and a Mercury Marine VesselView display up top. Other than the Fusion touchscreen for audio, a joystick for the bow thruster and four push-button switches, the helm is minimalistic by design. Donzi offers night vision cameras from FLIR and Nite Track as options. A smartphone battery will never go dead on the boat with 12 USB ports around the boat.
Access to the head compartment is to starboard, and Donzi finished the console in smooth gelcoat. In addition to the porcelain head, the builder included a sink and faucet with shower. Donzi also offers an optional freshwater shower for the transom.
For our money, the best seats (other than driving) are two loungers in front of the console. Nicely padded and upholstered with Alcantara suede, the loungers have two cupholders and a moveable center armrest.
The bow seating is plentiful with dedicated forward-facing seats to port and starboard. The backrests are upholstered and include the Z moniker since the 39 VRZ is now part of Donzi’s Z Series lineup, which stands for the company’s commitment to performance and lifestyle. Donzi offers an optional table and filler cushion for the bow.
On the transom, Donzi included two fully upholstered bench seats with a centre walk-through to the swim platform and the colour-matched Mercury Racing 300R outboards. For added bling at the docks, there are 29 LED lights in the cockpit and underwater that sync to the music.
Donzi loaded the 39 VRZ with standard equipment that would be features for other center-console builders. Take the custom soft-step flooring cover with the Z logo covering the sole and hatches, as well as the top of the gunwales and the swim platform.
Barrie was hired in April 2022 by Donzi Marine owner Fred Ross, whose Iconic Marine holdings include Fountain Powerboats, Baja Marine, NauticStar boats, marine dealerships and marinas. Both Barrie and Ross agreed that Donzi needed to re-establish its own identity. That meant moving from the Fountain plant in Washington, North Carolina to nearby Caldwell Marine Designs.
Barrie sees it as a positive with the team at Caldwell Marine Designs, which designed the running surface for the Donzi 38 ZRC two decades ago.
“By having our own people, while they’re not making the same thing, they’re making the same type of product,” he said. “There’s not only a comfort level, but there’s a direction to make a very excellent product.”
- Length: 38’8”
- Beam: 9’10”
- Dry weight: 12,000 pounds
- Fuel capacity: 320 gallons
- Base power: (3) Mercury Racing 300R outboards
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