Craig Barrie, the marine industry veteran charged with revitalizing the once-coveted Donzi Marine powerboat line, has an unmatched historical grasp of the brand. But far from stuck in the past, Barrie’s goal with Donzi has been to bring it into the modern era without losing its long-held mystique and cachet. To be sure, it’s a tricky balancing act.
But Barrie and his team at the Washington, N.C., company may just have pulled it off with the all-new 39 VRZ center console, the first new Donzi offering released under his leadership.
Powered by triple Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines, the new Donzi 39 VRZ tops 75 mph and “will run all day” at 74 mph, according to Donzi’s Craig Barrie. Photos courtesy/copyright Donzi Marine.
“Creativity, innovation, style and performance are so difficult to develop in a market filled with excellent brands,” Barrie said. “Yet this is the core of what Donzi is all about. The goal is to introduce product with meaning while keeping the brand legacy and legendary people intact. The 39 VRZ has all those qualities and more. She’s fast, handles like a dream and is stylish and innovative. In other words, she’s pure Donzi.”
The 39-footer rides on an all-new hull—it is not based on Donzi’s prior 38-foot center console—with a mild pad. All seat bases are built into the deck. Its standard features list includes two rows of bolsters, Alcantara upholstery, carbon-fiber dash panels, an extensive cockpit Shadow-Caster RGB lighting systems and more. Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines are base power for the new model.
But perhaps the most intriguing element of the boat is its “Performance-Vented Attack Top.”
“The Aero Top can and does slip air through the front intake and exhales out the top,” Barrie explained. “This wicker bill allows slipping the air, taking away some of the parachute effect assisting in straight away speed and turning in full control.
“It really works,” he added.
A closer look at the details.
Top speed for the Donzi 39 VRZ so far is an attention-getting 75.2 mph. “And she’ll run all day at 74 mph,” Barrie added.
But a less sexy number—50.2 mph—tells a more important story. That’s the speed the boat was able to maintain running on just its outer two engines with eight people on board, a test the boat “passed easily,” Barrie noted, on its way to National Marine Manufacturers Association and European Union certification.
Fred Ross, the owner of the Donzi, Fountain Powerboats and Baja Marine sportboat brands under the Iconic Marine Group umbrella, caught a ride in the 39-footer last week. Ross was more than pleased with the boat’s performance.
“I love how the boat handles—it’s so easy to run,” Ross said. “It requires minimal driver input. I was blown away at how enjoyable it was to drive. It’s a fabulous performing boat.
“It’s nothing like the old Donzi center console,” he continued. “I think people are going to fall in love with it.”
An all-new boat, the 39 VRZ retains the Donzi mystique.
Barrie, who came from the fashion and fragrance world before entering marine industry decades ago, already has.
“It’s so Gucci,” he said, then laughed.
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