385 Express Motoryacht — By Capt. Bill Pike
— December 2005
Shopping for a comfy waterfront condo? How about a two-bedroom model that does 36.5 mph?
With any luck, my wife won’t read the following test of the Cruisers 385 Express Motoryacht, a speedy, extraordinarily comfortable aft-cabin cruiser that’ll debut at the Miami International Boat Show in February. Not that I’ve tossed in anything inflammatory. Far be it from mois to shoot my mouth off about personal stuff just to keep readers reading Power & Motoryacht.
Nope! What I’m worried about is a myth I’ve concocted over the years featuring me as a stalwart, overworked boat-testing hero constantly tempting fate on the high seas—except, of course, when I’m slaving away over a hot word processor. If my wife gets a load of the next few pages, in which I’m naturally constrained to shoot for accuracy and candor, she’ll immediately see what really goes on during tests of sumptuous, condo-esque vessels like the 385, and she’ll say to herself, “Hmmm, ol’ Bill’s got it pretty good out there on the boat-test trail. Maybe he needs to be workin’ harder around the house!”
Here’s how my test of the 385 started. As Cruisers rep Don DePouw invited me onboard, he remarked on the heat wave that was currently sautéing Fort Lauderdale and, more particularly, Pier 66 Marina, an opulent little spot on a stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway there. “Man, it’s hot,” he said, adding, “come on in and cool off, Bill.”
I accepted smartly. And within seconds I was splayed out in the 385’s saloon in full, kick-back mode, with a frigid Diet Coke in one hand and a press release touting the “incomparable comfort” of the boat’s layout in the other.
The claim was not exaggerated. Our saloon was configured with a long, L-shape leatherette sofa to starboard and an equally expansive dinette with crescent-shape leatherette sofa and cherry table (in lieu of an optional, dinette-style setup with fore-and-aft seating) to port. The arrangement was conversationally practical and transcendentally cushy. More to the point, DePouw seemed positively stuck in the sofa on the port side, with his fingers laced behind his head and his legs stretched straight out. And I was experiencing mobility problems myself, thanks to the double incliner in the sofa to starboard.
And man! Was it cold!
Our test boat had two bone-chilling, 16,000-Btu Cruisair combo units, each installed in the saloon area, in heavily sound-insulated compartments (one under the companionway steps and the other under the dinette sofa), in keeping with Cruisers’ notion that operating noise from air-conditioning equipment should be minimized where possible and all but eliminated in sleeping spaces. “Not bad, eh?” asked DePouw with a grin. I swear I could see his breath when he made the observation.
The encompassing scene was luxurious. The saloon’s overhead was lofty (6'6" from thickly carpeted sole to vinyl headliner), and its width generous. Nothing boosts habitable interior space onboard a cruiser like poofing out the superstructure, although the strategy certainly narrows the side decks—in the 385’s case, to little more than the width of a deck shoe. Thanks to a huge windshield forward as well as a couple of equally huge, flush-fit, over-under windows along the sides, I found my vantage point in the saloon let me both retire from the world beyond and simultaneously keep tabs on it.
This article originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.