Issue: January/February 2006
This new import displayed her true colours when she out ran a massive thunderstorm.
WORDS + PHOTOS ANDREW RICHARDSON
I don’t know what it is about Cruisers’ Express series of motoryachts, but every time the team do a test on one, Mother Nature seems ready to put on a show and gives us heaps.
The last Cruisers Yacht the Modern Boating team reviewed was a 50-footer and on that day the wind was gusting to more than 30 knots. But went out anyway and the conditions helped establish some of the vessel’s strengths.
And this time heading towards Cabarita in the photo boat, to meet up Tony from Cruisers Yachts, I had a sense of deja vu. It was a hot, unseasonal morning and there was a storm in the air. But it was Tony’s birthday, so there was to be no mucking about, he had a party to go to. The best strategy was to just get out there quick.
And quick this Cruisers 300 Express was. Tony shot out towards the ‘coat hanger’ at around 40 knots, even the photo boat had trouble keeping up. But the wind gusts were strange and our destination near Circular Quay began to look ominous. We slowed down to check out the weather.
Crack! The lightening struck only metres away; the storm was directly above us. We were forced to hightail it to where the sky looked blue further up the harbour.
Fitted with twin 320hp Volvo DuoProp sterndrives, the Cruisers Yachts 300 demonstrated it true express cruiser capabilities by easily outrunning the storm. Within minutes the mess up the harbour was for us to view, not to endure.
It was clear that the Cruisers 300 Express had the power to deliver good top end performance, although I was glad I wasn’t paying for the fuel.
Cruisers Yachts have been around since the 1990s. The company is based in the USA where it currently employs around 1000 people.
It has manufacturing facilities at Oconto and Wilmington in North Carolina and it produces 13 models. The 300 Express is one of the smaller vessels in its range.
The Cruisers 300 Express is a keenly priced performance/family cruiser with quite a lot of space below. It puts less emphasis on outdoor areas compared to other vessels in its class with virtually no side access around the vessel and a child-unfriendly bow area with a low bowrail.
The trade off is that, these shortcomings produce a vessel with substantial interior volume, which is great for over-nighting.
Below deck there’s a forward V-berth, a portside settee and the galley is to starboard. There is an aft double berth under the cockpit. The head is tucked away portside amidships and although it has no natural light, it does have halogen down-lights, a stand-up shower (with curtain separating it from the head) and an electric toilet. Throughout the saloon, small portholes and deck hatches provide adequate natural light, which is supplemented by plenty of down-lights.
The galley has a Corion bench top and a stainless steel sink with tap and faucet. The cook top is electric and draws its power from the Kohler 4Kva Generator, which also runs the saloon’s air-conditioning, the microwave and refrigerator. The galley storage is ample and it has plenty of bench space. It’s positioned close to the stairs, so it’s practical for entertaining topside.
The main cockpit is the hub of the Cruisers Yachts 300 Express. It features a curved settee located across from the single bolster helm seat. Behind this is more seating serviced by a wet bar and refrigerator. There are plenty of drink holders scattered about and the step-through windscreen gives access to the bow. Here there’s a windlass and spotlight on the rail. The cockpit floor is carpeted and the transom door opens to a swim platform that has a shower and a lift -up aft fender/line stowage area.
Entertainment electronics include an LCD TV and DVD player in the saloon and CD player with speakers topside and below. The sexy helm is equipped with a load of engine instruments and has controls for the leg trim, spotlight, trimtabs and a Raymarine GPS Plotter.
The helm has a high driving position with good visibility and comfortable access to all controls including the throttle. It took little time to get used to the vessel and although her modest beam would imply some need for trim tab use, we didn’t need to fiddle with trim much at all.
Essentially, this is a go fast cruiser, so before you know it she is in the 30 knot range and even I was surprised when the GPS nudged over 40 knots. The Cruisers 300 offers a good balance between performance and accommodation and priced at $259,000, you won’t feel so bad spending a bit more on petrol down the line. But if you find yourself caught in a storm, it’s good to know she’ll get you home quick smart.
Apart from the 300 Express, Cruisers Yachts has 12 other models ranging from 28 to 58 feet. Each possesses its own distinctive allure and personality.
According to Cruisers Yachts, every model is constructed from fibreglass, steel, wood and a philosophy that transcends simply building and selling boats.
Cruisers Yachts want to be a part of its owner’s lives. So the company tried to imagine every capacity in which its yachts enrich its owner’s days and nights, then went beyond the accepted and the expected to create experiences reflective of its artistry and passion.
The Cruisers Yacht 300 Express was powered by twin, Volvo 5.7lt 320hp petrol engines with DuoProps sterndrives.
In frantic, flat conditions we logged the following figures on the GPS.
KNOTS – RPM
7.3 – 1500
8.8 – 2000
14.5 – 2500
22.8 – 3000
30 – 3500
35 – 4000
40.3 – 4600
+ High speed performance; Main cockpit
– Low bowrail