Cruisers 477 Sport Sedan — By Richard Thiel
— October 2005
Part 2: She reminds me of the Ford Expedition that proved so popular because it allows people to leave nothing behind.
Even more surprising were her sound levels. Her dB readings were good, but they don’t tell the full story. This is one of the quietest boats I’ve ever tested. From the bridge I really couldn’t tell when the engines were running. Credit an underwater exhaust system with eight-inch mains and two-inch bypasses. Unfortunately, the engineers hadn’t worked out all of the bugs on our prototype, and there was an annoying vibration between 1500 and 1700 rpm due to exhaust gases ventilating the props. Cruisers says it’s got the fix: downsizing the mains to six inches to increase gas flow and therefore reduce bubbles.
But what makes the 477 “really new” is a fourth requirement that somehow went unmentioned: room for stuff. She’s powered by V-drives, which put the engines beneath the 5'5"-long cockpit and allowed designers to create a 6'6"-long space beneath the saloon for all that miscellany—including real (as in nonfolding) bicycles—that you never have a place for. (On our boat it also housed the optional Splendide combo washer-dryer.) Cruisers is working on an option that includes twin berths and ports, which would turn this into a kid’s stateroom. But the only accesses to it are down through a deck hatch from the saloon and through a two-foot-wide door in the midcabin’s aft bulkhead. I had a problem envisioning that unless you’ve got really bratty kids.
Besides, the problem with V-drives is that you end up cramming the engines into a small space, right? Not really. The engine space is tight; there’s barely shoulder width between the D9s. But everything is accessible, including the Onan that’s aft. And wonder of wonders, you can actually reach the outboard sides of the engines if you crawl around behind them.
This whole configuration—big stowage space amidships with V-drive engines under the cockpit—contrasts with the typical European cruiser in which the engines live under the saloon and the space under the cockpit is a lazarette (stowage) and maybe crew’s quarters. The 477 may well appeal to Americans who generally eschew a captain on a boat of this size and tend to carry a lot more stuff than their continental counterparts. Still, it’s interesting to note that Cruisers exports some 15 percent of its production.
One other feature worth noting in the engine room is the presence of Racor’s fuel-recovery system. It’s standard, a first for me on production boats. We’ve tested this system (see “PMY Tries,” this issue), and it works: It really does eliminate diesel spit-backs during fueling. Hats off to Cruisers for making it standard, and I wish other manufacturers would follow suit.
That’s the kind of thinking that’s produced a truly different flying-bridge motoryacht. Too different? Will people buy it? I think cruisers—even just weekenders—will love the 477. She reminds me of the Ford Expedition that proved so popular because it allows people to leave nothing behind. And it doesn’t even offer a place to store bratty kids.
Cruisers Yachts ( (920) 834-2211. www.cruisersyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.