BOAT REVIEW Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695

November 2016 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words Lawrence Schaffler Photos by Will Calver
MODEL Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695
BUILDER Jeanneau
LOA 6.55M
BEAM 2.54M
ENGINE Honda 150hp four-stroke
Passenger Capacity 6 people

A trailerable launch, Jeanneau’s 695 Merry Fisher is billed as
multi-use, family-oriented vessel. That she is – but look what the designers have managed to squeeze into her sub-7m hull.

The new 695 (LOA 6.55m) comes hot on the heels of her successful bigger sisters – the Merry Fisher 755 and 855 Marlin. This one’s tweaked to meet a niche market – an owner after an easy-to-handle cruiser suitable for overnighting and extended cruising. With comforts such as a dinette, toilet and enough berths to accommodate a small family – and which can be towed by an average-size vehicle.
No small order.


On water shoot using OP RIB
Voluminous anchor well

But the designers have delivered, and the package appears to be resonating vigorously with the punters. The 695 – distributed by Auckland’s Orakei Marine – debuted down here at the Hutchwilco Boat Show in May – and immediately notched up three sales.
It’s not hard to understand the appeal. Notwithstanding her attractive looks, I’d describe the Merry Fisher as a ‘modest’ vessel – in the nicest sense of the word. She’s modest in size and therefore relatively easy to manhandle at the boat ramp.

On water shoot using OP RIB
On water shoot using OP RIB

All up, including the engine, she weighs in at a modest 1620kg, so your tow vehicle doesn’t have to be a gas-guzzling V8. Lightweight also equates to a modest power plant – she skips along very smartly with her 150hp Honda outboard.
And finally, she’s an impressive package for the price ticket – depending on the options you select, the basic vessel will lighten your wallet by $109,000. This one has quite a few extras, and retails for $126,000.
She’s called a Merry Fisher, and while the vessel is well-equipped for fishing (merrily or otherwise), she’s so much more than a hunter-gatherer platform. Keen anglers will appreciate the array of rod holders peppered around the cockpit coaming and on the baitboard.
You can also add a rocket launcher to the cabin top if you feel the need. And there’s masses of space in the cockpit to extend your casting arm. Merry fishing indeed.
I particularly liked the arrangement of cockpit locker – plenty of storage space and, as a mechanical man, the easy access to batteries and fuel/oil filters.
But for me the main appeal of the 695 lies in what she offers families. For example, that spacious cockpit is quickly
transformed into a welcoming al fresco dining area, complete with drop-in table and bench seats. It will easily accommodate mum, dad and two children.
And if swimming/diving/water toys is your preference, there’s great access to the twin swim platforms flanking the outboard – via a step-through section in the transom. The boarding ladder built into the starboard platform helps swimmers into and out of the water.
Access to the foredeck is also safe and simple – the side decks are easy to negotiate. Sturdy handrails on the cabin-top, together with the high rail around the perimeter, offer plenty of security.
Up front, a generous foredeck houses a large hatch for light and ventilation into the cabin below, and in the anchor locker, an electric windlass.
The icing on the cake, though, is the interior – an impressive design that is the major factor in the 695’s versatility. A large sliding door separates the cockpit from the saloon – and I know the ability to close off the interior from inclement weather will score high on the family-features checklist.
A one-piece, wraparound windscreen and large side windows, together with that sliding door aft, provide 360o panoramic views. The helmsman, in particular, will enjoy these when easing the vessel on to her trailer. An overhead hatch adds to the masses of natural light flooding into the cabin. With the sliding side windows, aft door and overhead hatch, there’ll be no shortage of ventilation on hot, sunny days.

On water shoot using OP RIB
On water shoot using OP RIB

The saloon has good headroom – and it’s reasonable in the forepeak – helped by virtue of stepping down from the saloon into the cabin. LED lighting helps to conserve battery power.
Sleeping accommodation is divided between the forepeak – an area which becomes a fairly spacious double berth with drop-in squabs – and a smaller berth in the saloon for the children. In the forepeak, to starboard, is an enclosed toilet connected to a holding tank. Unlike many bathrooms squeezed into trailer boats, this one is surprisingly roomy – you don’t have to be a Hobbit to use it. An impressive piece of design.
Further clever design features convert the saloon into a family-friendly area in numerous ways. The four-seater dinette, for example, becomes a smaller berth for the children when the table is lowered and the squabs rearranged. Note that the backrest on the passenger seat is double-sided.
It provides support for passengers when under way, but is shifted the other way to create a backrest for the diners.

On water shoot using OP RIB
On water shoot using OP RIB

Opposite, the helm seat tilts forward to reveal a decent-sized kitchenette, complete with two sinks. A small Waeco fridge nestles under the dinette’s aft bench seat. In short – the 695 is perfectly suitable solution to a small family’s Gulf-exploring ambitions. To complete the deal, I’d carry a small, portable BBQ for Sunday morning eggs-and-bacon.
Below the superstructure is a traditional V-shaped hull – and it exhibits excellent seafaring qualities, nicely stable and comfortable. The hull’s designed for power plants up to 175hp, but the 150hp Honda provides more than enough grunt to get you to the next anchorage speedily and efficiently. The Garmin 7408XSV chartplotter reflected around 33-34 knots at WOT (6000rpm). There’s more room around the dash for additional gauges.
As mentioned, I like the view from the helm – gloriously uninterrupted. The seat is adjustable to suit your frame, and is also equipped with a bolster for your butt when leap-frogging over waves.
It’s worth noting that while the Honda responds eagerly and immediately to the wheel and throttle/gear control, the 695’s hull is also pre-equipped with a tunnel for a bowthruster. This boat didn’t have a thruster fitted – but if your favourite boat ramp demands tricky manoeuvring, it’s worth considering the upgrade.
So – by all means explore the Merry Fisher for her fishing attributes – you won’t be disappointed. But she’s much more than a Fisher – she’s a great all-rounder and the perfect companion for exploring the Gulf. An excellent bonding agent for a young family.


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