Issue: September 2005
After more years than I care to remember conducting boat tests, I often comment that the team’s first impressions about any particular vessel are usually correct. But what does this mean?
Well, if on first inspection we find poorly completed joinery in the saloon, for example, or glue and Silicon smeared on various surfaces where it shouldn’t be, it’s an indication of poor attention to detail during the boat’s construction. So it stands to reason that if attention to detail is lacking in the simpler phases of a boat’s production, it’s a fair bet that other short cuts have been made. Maybe even during the vessel’s design.
But one should never totally rely on this first impression theory when it comes to evaluating boats, because sometimes these impressions can mask design innovations that make a vessel a true leader in it’s class.
Take the Cruisers Yachts 455 Express Motoryacht for example. Here’s a boat that, while it isn’t unattractive from the stern, it doesn’t quite have the express cruiser lines we’ve become used to. That’s also why she’s called an Express Motoryacht, not an Express Cruiser. But it is her ‘chunky’ aft section that allows for this hull to house a massive aft stateroom, giving her more usable interior space than on many larger craft . The 455 also has high cabin sides, which bow slightly from the gunwales, giving an excellent 6′ 5′ headroom in the main saloon. The high sides also allow for massive side and front cabin windows that really do bring the outdoors, indoors on the 455. But it’s below deck in the master stateroom where this boat shines.
The master suite comes complete with full-standing headroom, generous storage and a massive off set island bed with ample storage on either side. The stateroom also has its own private en-suite with a spa/bathtub that’s tucked away behind a lovely French door. What better way to relax than by taking a spa after a long day on the water. And talking of relaxing, in this cabin you can either read a book by natural light, or take in the latest movies on the TV/DVD. The forward stateroom is also tastefully laid out. It also features a large island bed, plenty of storage, a large walk-in wardrobe and a TV/DVD to keep the guests entertained. A large bathroom with full standing head height and separate shower, services the forward stateroom and third cabin. This cabin is sited on the starboard side below the saloon floor. It has full standing headroom at the foot of its twin bunks and its own hanging locker, but the headroom above the bunks is a bit low. There’s also a washer/dryer locker at the entrance to the third cabin.
The open-plan saloon off ers superb views of the surroundings in all directions. It features an Ultra-Leather lounge with double incliners, top quality sound system, 20′ LCD TV with DVD and a magnificent cherrywood finish throughout.
Hungry? Cook up a storm in the fully functional U-shaped galley, which features plenty of counter space, a large fridge/ freezer and a microwave/convection oven. A dishwasher and coffee maker are also available as options.
But what about that chunky aft deck Cruisers Yacht’s distinctive crossover design allows easy access to both helm and aft seating areas. The entire bridge area is enclosed by clears and closing port and starboard Perspex door, so this area can be completely sealed off from the elements. It also has seating for some 12 people and is an ideal spot to sit, enjoy a few quiet ones and watch the sun go down. But this cockpit also features an alfresco dining table, wet bar, icemaker, fridge, sink unit and a barbeque. Did somebody say party’
The helm station features full instrumentation for the twin Volvo TAMD75P EDC 480hp diesel engines, a comprehensive Raymarine electronics package and digital keyless ignition. The helm is ergonomically designed around the skipper with the electronic engine controls at your fingertips. There is a comfortable dual helm seat and an L-shaped lounge to port for passengers.
Above the helm seats are open hatches for better ventilation when the air-conditioning is not being used.
Opening the Perspex door and moving forward to the bow is made easy and secure by the thigh-high bowrail that extends all the way back to the aft cockpit. But the walkway around the cabin is a bit narrow and you need to use the grab rail on the cabin wall to steady yourself.
Twin freshwater-cooled 480hp Volvos provide plenty of grunt to effortlessly lift this more than 15,000kg boat out of the hole and onto the plane. And while this boat doesn’t have the sportsboat performance of some of its competitors, it is no slouch either. With a half load of fuel (950lt) and full water tanks (507lt), the 455 topped out at 27.3 knots pulling 2540rpm. But the good news is her fuel consumption. Cruising along comfortably at 20 knots, she only consumes 30lt per hour per engine.
Her steering is light and the bow responds quickly to even slight movements of the helm. On the day of this test the seas were calm, but we did manage to find a bit of swell rolling in past Sydney’s South Head. She tackled the swells head’on without banging, crashing, or any pause in her forward progress.
The interior design and layout of the Cruisers Yachts 455 Express Motoryacht is impressive. This American boat builder has created a 50ft -plus boat, in terms of interior space, inside a 45′ 6′ hull (includes integrated swim platform) with all the luxury and comfort a motoryacht of this calibre affords. Fully decked out with reverse-cycle air-conditioning, hydrauliclift swim platform, bow thruster, genset, de-salinator, auto pilot and much, much, more, the 455 costs around $1.3m.
There are nine express cruisers in the Cruisers Yachts line-up ranging from 31 feet through to 58 feet. All of these boats maintain the streamline express cruiser lines we have become familiar with, but Cruisers Yachts also produce three Express Motoryachts ‘ the 375, 405 and the 455 ‘ ranging from 40 to 45 feet. The motoryacht design allows Cruisers Yachts to incorporate spacious aft cabins in each of these powerboats, plus a roomy forward stateroom and either a comfortable third guest’s quarters, or a dinette that converts into a third double bed. This well and truly keeps Cruisers Yachts’ motoryachts in the family cruiser/owner’s plus friends boat class. The extended aft cockpit format adds extra entertaining space to the stern without the loss of below deck living area.
The 455 is powered by twin Volvo TAMD75P EDC 480hp diesel engines. Twin Yanmar 6CX-GTE 465hp diesels are optional.
On the day of the test with two adults, 950lt of fuel and 507lt of water onboard the 455 recorded the following performance figures.
Speed to RPM: 8 knots @ 1000 rpm, 10 knots @ 1500 rpm, 13.4 knots @ 1800 rpm, 16 knots @ 2000 rpm, 27.3 knots @ 2540 rpm.
LOA: 45′ 6′
BEAM: 15′ 4′
CLEARANCE: 15′ 4′
+ Massive aft cabin
– Walkway around cabin
Words and Photos by Ian Macrae