Donzi’s enticingly beautiful 38 ZX is both wide and
deep, boasting over six feet of headroom in the cabin. But size alone
does not luxury high performance make. This beamy offshore boat is fast!
Tied to the pier, the 38 ZX looks like a performance
yacht. Make no mistake about it, Donzi is proud of this ma-chine—and
their logo is
With a 9 '3" beam, the 38 ZX is approximately 9
inches wider than most boats in its class. I consider it to be a
performance boat that makes sense—you can eat, sleep, entertain and
walk around in the cabin. Try doing that with other 38-foot offshore
Luxuries include white upholstery, large storage
compartments located below the seats and pads, a hanging clothes
locker, stand-up private salon/dining area and a seven-foot-long
V-berth. The galley comes with stove, microwave, sink and refrigerator.
It’s bright too, with two translucent deck hatches that let light in
whether open or closed. Too hot? The air conditioner will cool you down
The cockpit also benefits by the extra girth. The
aft bench seats four, rather than the usual three, passengers. Operator
and companion are treated to adjustable electric bolster seats and
power footrests. Aft standing passengers have stainless steel grab-bars
securely fastened to the bolsters, and the aft bench has headrests for
Coolers have been installed under the bench and port-
side console, but functional stowage is limited in the cockpit. The
dash, however, is very well-engineered, with Gaffrig instrumentation
grouped by engine, spanning the tachometers and speedometer.
Under the soft yet supportive sun-padded hatch lie
twin HP 500 EFI’s with Bravo performance drives from Mercury Racing,
considered the standard these days for reliable offshore power. Gusty
winds had whipped up the waves on Lake Simcoe, ideal conditions for
this 11,500-pound boat, so I estimated speeds in the high 60s.
In fact, the Donzi 38 ZX pulled out a top-end speed
of 75.3 mph at 5,100 rpm. The twin step, aft-ventilated Z-Tech hull has
a 22-degree deadrise at the transom. Wide chines, strakes and
eight-inch running pad help balance the boat when trimmed high, and
helps it track with accuracy through the turns.
Accelerating to plane in 5.8 seconds with tabs
level, not completely down, the boat keeps its bow low, yet the depth
of the cockpit and height of the deck requires one to maintain good
posture for optimum visibility. The 500 EFI’s have great mid-range
power and the Donzi would pull from 0 to 50 mph in 12 seconds,
approximately the same time it took to accelerate from 40 to 70 mph.
Running 60 mph at 4,300 rpm seemed effortless. With tab adjustments, the hull ran straight as a die.
The 38 ZX slaloms nicely at cruising speeds and
completes wide-radius turns without difficulty, strimmed level or
Construction highlights include Plexus bonded hull
and deck joints, vacuum-bagged balsa core in the hullsides, a cockpit
liner and Divinycell closed-cell foam coring of bulkheads, stringers
and the transom. Donzi’s 38 ZX is built tough—to be driven hard.