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Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius

A Good Running Game

The Cruisers 41 Cantius exemplifies traditional American values, and she’s a pleasure to run.

Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a city with a population hovering just above 100,000, though I’d guess that number at least doubled this football season when the New Orleans Saints came to town to play the world-champion Packers in the NFL opener. The city was inundated with rabid football fans who were willing to chop off their left pinkie for a sideline pass and would happily wash quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s feet with their hair. And believe it or not, I was the only person in town who was there by accident.

Due to rolling rainstorms and overbooked regional flights, my air travel got screwed around, and I ended up getting into town a day later than I’d originally planned—game day. That was no problem though, because of all those people, I was the only one who got to test the Cruisers 41 Cantius, which was docked just a bit north up in Oconto.

Cruisers is that rarest of phenomena: a small-town American-owned company that holds dear its own way of doing business and still remains successful. (It sold more than 130 boats last year). For example, workers get into their clean and well-laid-out factory at 5 a.m. every workday, and most clear out by 3:30 p.m. The reason? A lot of them have families, and they want to get out early to be home with their kids. How many 270-employee-strong companies do you know that would abide by that policy?

Cruisers may be onto something though, because happy employees tend to turn out exemplary products, and the 41 Cantius I tested on Green Bay was no slouch by any stretch. The first thing I noticed was her strikingly sleek profile. However, that low-slung roof is not simply an aesthetic choice. While it certainly cuts a clean line, the profile has a certain duality of purpose that would resurface throughout the boat. In this case the low roof is easier to wash down after a cruise. Then there’s her high-end, high-tech Imedge gelcoat, a standard feature on all Cruisers, that made her shine brighter than a backup quarterback’s helmet on opening day.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The reason you’ll buy this boat is not because of her profile, however lovely, or the ease with which she cleans up. It’s the way she runs. Shoving off from a quaint little dock in a quaint little town on a clear and bright late-summer day, I really wasn’t expecting the Cantius to enthrall me quite the way she did out on the water. She ran plenty fast, sure. Her twin 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels boosted her up to 41 mph on the pins, which was certainly enough to blow back the hair on my head. But more remarkable was her exceptional responsiveness. An odd word to describe a boat popped into my head as I was running her through her S-turns and hard-overs: eager. The Cantius responds to a driver’s commands like a sheepdog responds to its master’s voice. The Volvo controls and steering were effortlessly smooth as the boat shot this way and that across the glass-calm lake with a pleasing serenity, even at top speed. Even more remarkable was the about-face she did at 35 mph. When I put her hardover, she completed the half-pirouette in less than two boat lengths. In truth, she felt more like a runabout than a boat with a 42'8" LOA. She did come down off a wake with what I thought was a bit of a jounce, but that was probably more a function of the steepness of the wake than anything else. Another criticism—and I had to look hard for them—was the 80-decibel reading at the helm at WOT, which is a touch higher than comparable boats I’ve tested. It’s certainly not jackhammer loud, but it is loud enough to wake the baby. Nevertheless, as we pulled back into the docks I couldn’t help but be disappointed that my time at the helm had come to an end.

The Cantius’s onboard highlights are myriad. Chief among them is the convertible swim platform. That’s right, convertible. The chunky piece of teak and fiberglass serves not only as an ample headquarters for water-related activities but also easily morphs into a miniature alfresco bar via two stools that stow in the transom and secure firmly into the platform. I have to say, it’s a pretty creative way to amplify the usable entertaining space onboard.

The saloon-helm area is another one of the 41’s strengths, mostly due to the fact that buckets of natural light illuminate it. A large electric sunroof peels back from the aggressively raked windshield to expose nearly the entire area to the sun’s vitamin D. At the same time windows almost fully encircle the deck, with very little tapering as they move aft, making the views from the saloon area outstanding on all sides.

Below, on the accommodations deck, that slicked-back windshield manages to bathe the amidships galley in sunlight, which is a plus I’m sure if you’re in the mood for whipping up some pan-fried Great Lake-caught walleye with a side of beer cheese soup. (Word to the wise: No matter what the locals tell you, beer cheese soup is not a light dish.) The forepeak master is notable for its volume. It’s not laden with multi-height steps as many such staterooms in this class are wont to be, and it’s got plenty of headroom—to the tune of almost seven feet at the foot of the queen-size berth. There’s a spacious en suite guest cabin aft, which like the swim platform and sleek profile, serves double duty. Removable panels in the walls surrounding the twin berths cover all of the boat’s electrical systems, as well as two air conditioning units, the central vacuum system, shower mixers, and more, effectively turning the cabin into a de facto control room. It’s an innovative design detail that saves boatloads of space onboard and one which is indicative of the 41: a creatively laid-out sport cruiser that ran well enough to dominate Green Bay. Which is more than I can say for the Saints. I caught a connecting flight home on a plane full of their deflated fans.

Cruisers Yachts
(920) 834-2211.

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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