Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
While one might reasonably imagine the ‘Merry Fisher’ part of the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095’s title takes its name from a character in Izaak Walton’s seminal fishing classic The Compleat Angler, the facts of the matter are somewhat different.
For while the word ‘Fisher’ does indeed point towards the initially conceived use for the boat, the ‘Merry’ part has nothing to do with jollity (or intoxication) but happens to be the name of the man who designed it: Merry de la Poëze. Nonetheless, it was a memorable call for a range which has not only endured but gone from strength to strength since the French manufacturer Jeanneau launched it way back in 1987.
Since then around 30,000 Merry Fishers have been built and today there are two types: the Sport, which features a forward-raked windscreen and is aimed at sporty types in general, including fisherfolk, and the regular Merry Fisher coastal cruiser, likely to be favoured by families looking for an affordable weekender.
The model we are looking at is a 2019 Merry Fisher 1095 being offered by Ancasta Port Solent for £185,000 VAT paid.
Launched in December 2017 at the Paris Boat Show, with the first examples arriving in the UK the following year, the 1095 is the second-largest model in the Merry Fisher range, which provides options from the 18ft 605 up to the 40ft 1295 Fly.
Unlike its big brother, the 1095 is available in either flybridge or pilothouse format. While Jeanneau would not be drawn on how many 1095s have been sold to date, it did tell us that two out of three orders were for the pilothouse model, making our review boat the more likely kind to be found on the used market.
What sets the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 apart from virtually every other sub-36ft boat is that it can be specified with three cabins below decks. What’s more, none of these cabins are mere spaces with mattresses separated by curtains – they are all bona fide rooms, each of which is entered by its own door off a central vestibule sited two steps down from the wheelhouse.
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That’s an awful lot of accommodation to pack into a vessel that is just 10.92 metres long, a fact not lost on the seller of our test boat, Carl Goddard, who together with his wife Debbie, seven-year-old daughter Jasmine and the family dog, have enjoyed many Merry Fisher days out and about on the south coast.
“The three cabins is why I went for it,” says Carl. “We wanted the accommodation and the 1095 ticked all the boxes for us on the budget we had at the time – I can’t think of many other boats that size that have got three cabins. While I’ve no complaints with the 1095, our nieces also come with us sometimes and then I can find myself tripping over everyone, which is why I’m now looking at selling and getting a larger three-cabin boat.”
Helping make a three-cabin arrangement possible within such a compact vessel is the use of outboard power rather than inboard engines on sterndrives or shafts.
While the upside of this is extra space on board for the designers to play with, two chunky outboards hanging off the back does mean the boat doesn’t offer much in the way of a bathing platform – there are just two mini platforms, one either side of the engines. While a ladder is integrated into the starboard one, bathers need to assemble in the aft cockpit as there’s only room for one on the platform at a time.
While you may come across a variety of different outboards fitted to Merry Fisher 1095s, the twin 300hp Yamahas fitted to our review boat were a popular choice.
In terms of performance they top out at 37.6 knots, making the 1095 mighty quick as well as accommodation-heavy. However, at that speed the engines will guzzle 205 litres per hour, reducing the boat’s range to 117 nautical miles. At a more sedate 23 knots fuel consumption more than halves and the range is extended by 35%.
Speedy and assured
The maximum speed Carl has taken his 1095 to is 33 knots. “It gets on the plane really quickly and thunders along at that speed,” he says. “And the variable-V hull makes for a comfortable ride – in calm conditions she’s as happy as Larry.”
But on one occasion Carl did get caught out: “Our plan was to get to Torquay. We left our base at Port Solent and met up with a friend from Brighton who has a sailing boat. We went first of all to Swanwick and then on to Yarmouth, after which we headed out of the Solent past the Needles. It turned out to be so rough it was unbelievable – I had the wipers on full and still couldn’t see where I was going!
But the boat coped with it beautifully; I was still able to make 13 or 14 knots in horrifically rough water. In the event, we got as far as Poole, stayed there for a few days until the weather calmed down then headed back.”
As Carl points out, a number of other key features make the 1095 stand out as an attractive option. For starters, there’s the aft cockpit. Here, the rear seat unit slides back 12 inches or so when the engines are deployed to create a generously proportioned area with L-shaped seating for up to six adults.
There’s also a storage box-cum-pouffe opposite which is handy for the kids. One quirk here is that the cockpit’s table is offset to port, meaning that anyone at the starboard end of the bench seat doesn’t have the benefit of a dining table in front of them. Below the aft cockpit, and accessed by a large hatch in the deck, is a massive lazarette – another bonus of outboard power. “There’s plenty of room down there for a deflated dinghy, paddleboards and so on,” says Carl.
Moving around the boat is easiest from the starboard side, for although there are side decks on both sides of the wheelhouse, accessing the port-hand one involves clambering past the aft cockpit’s table and seats.
There’s also a side gate on the starboard side to allow direct access from the pontoon. While a very useful feature, care has to be taken when using this gate for its latch bolt risks scratching the wheelhouse coaming when extended.
Once onto the side decks everything becomes easy, with high gunwales along the length of the wheelhouse and hefty protective guardrails giving a good, secure feel all round. Reaching the foredeck and its double sunpad area involves climbing two steps on the side decks, but once again the rails are there to provide a solid grip as you go.
Entry to the wheelhouse is either from the aft cockpit by way of a three-part patio door, or via the boat’s helmside door – ideal for anyone single-handing the boat. Inside, although compact, the wheelhouse features a decent-sized galley and a four-seater dinette with a flip-over seat which faces forward when under way.
Opening the patio door effectively adds the aft cockpit to the living space and with the boat’s two manual sunshine roofs opened up, the entire area becomes refreshingly bright and breezy. Up front, the helm is workmanlike and clearly laid out, with a comfortable and well-positioned bolstered single seat.
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095: Verdict
Below decks are those three cabins – two doubles and a single with a bed that’s wide enough for a couple of small kids. There’s not a great deal of headroom down here and the fact that all three cabins are served by a single heads may not be to everyone’s liking – but once again, let’s not forget this boat is less than 36ft long.
The other point to note is that the Merry Fisher is a boat built on a budget – its fixtures and fittings are perhaps best described as practical rather than premium but will nonetheless deliver many years of service if treated with a little TLC.
To sum it all up, a Merry Fisher 1095 gives you a lot of boat for your money, not just in terms of value but also with regard to accommodation, performance and all-round family appeal. And because it was, and still is, such a popular choice when new, there should be a decent number of used ones to choose from – we had no trouble finding three good examples for sale in the UK.
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095: Surveyor’s report
The Jeanneau 1095 is one of the larger examples of the popular Merry Fisher range of sportsfisher/cruisers. These have built up a reputation for being practical, versatile, good value for money all-purpose family cruisers.
I have surveyed several of these over the years. Extensive use of vacuum infusion, cored laminate and inner mouldings makes for consistent build quality but access to certain parts of the bilges can be tricky.
Points to note when considering buying:
- The windage on this style of craft is relatively high, making them tricky to manoeuvre in windy conditions, despite having a bow thruster. Check for minor impact damage to shoulders, quarters and midships areas.
- Ensure all window, door and sunroof guides are clear and that the units slide efficiently over several operations. These are a key selling point and need keeping clean to avoid them becoming stiff or leaky over time.
- Hull cleanliness makes a big difference to speed and fuel efficiency on this style of craft so check when it was last antifouled and consider a mid-season lift out for pressure washing and an anode check.
- Check the engines’ service history and insist on a thorough sea trial with your surveyor. Ask to see the last computer service record sheet, which will highlight any areas of concern and give an indication of how hard it has been used.
- Check for correct gearbox drive and operation of the kill cord. Many electronic throttle controls do not have a safety detent with potentially disastrous results if knocked inadvertently.
- Ensure that both the engines are fitted with insurance- approved outboard locks as many insurers won’t provide theft cover without them.
- Ensure that all hydraulic steering lines and connections are sound, smooth in operation and well protected from the salty environment.
- Check for mould spores in all the cockpit and underdeck recesses. Given the lack of access, damp and mildew often sets in.
- Check for moisture damage to furniture just inside the saloon. Often salt water or rain ingresses through the open doors. Check the finish of the door and locker furniture. These are often prone to damp deterioration.
-Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1095 specifications
Type: Pilothouse cruiser
Designer: Centkowski & Denert/Jeanneau Design
Hull type: Variable-vee planing
RCD Category: B for 8 people, C for 10 people
LOA: 35ft 9in (10.92m)
Beam: 11ft 0in (3.37m)
Draft: 2ft 3in (0.69m)
Air draft: Max 10ft 5in (3.08m) Min 9ft 5in (2.82m)
Weight: (ex engines) 4,822kg
Fuel capacity: 2 X 400 litres
Water capacity: 160 litres
Engines: 2 x Yamaha F300 petrol outboards
Top speed: 37 knots
Fuel consumption: 4.2 litres per nm @ 28.1 knots
Cruising range: 150.6nm at 28.1 knots with 20% reserve
Annual fuel burn: 3,380 litres (based on 25 hours at 28 knots and 25 hours at 6.5 knots)
Marina mooring: £7,810 (based on £710 per metre for a marina berth on the Hamble River, Southampton