4050 Express MY — By George L. Petrie
— October 2002
Having It Your Way
|Room or style? Gasoline or diesel power? Now you may not have to choose.|
Can't decide between an express cruiser, with its open cockpit, or a motoryacht, with its roomier interior? Cruisers may have a solution in its new cross-over express motoryacht, a concept that it says captures the best of both styles. Or maybe you're wondering how to decide between gas engines or diesels? That's easy, too. We recently tested two of Cruisers' new 4050 Express Motoryachts, one powered by twin 425-hp MerCruiser gasoline engines and the other by a pair of 420-hp Caterpillar diesels. Our results may not apply to all boats, but they do provide an interesting comparison.
We tested the first 4050 near Cruisers' headquarters in Oconto, Wisconsin, where marketing director Don DePouw filled me in on the genesis of the company's express motoryacht concept. Recognizing the current popularity of cross-training in sports, coupled with consumers' enduring reverence for the automotive industry's cross-over sport-utility vehicles, Cruisers decided to apply the notion of cross-over design in developing a yacht that combines the most popular attributes of express cruisers and aft-cabin motoryachts.
The idea has merit, for in my view, the 4050's cockpit and helm can go head-to-head with those of any pure express cruiser in her size range. Rather than adopting the traditional aft-cabin layout, which typically has three or four steps between the raised bridge and a seating area atop the aft cabin, Cruisers positioned the helm station and aft seating area on virtually the same level. This, in effect, creates a raised cockpit just one step down from the helm that sports fore- and aft-facing seats, a removable dining table, and a wet bar with refrigerator and ice maker. Just like a conventional express cruiser, but higher.
Actually, the helm offers features that other express cruisers might envy. Great visibility forward, for one thing, and the choice between a standard express-style radar arch or a hardtop enclosure with side and aft curtains, like that on our test boat, offers more protection from sun and rain--not to mention a touchpad control panel at the helm that offers keyless ignition and fingertip control of virtually all functions. To eliminate bulky wiring harnesses, the microprocessor-based touchpad system communicates with its central controller via a single line, similar to a common household telephone wire. The touchpad takes some getting used to, but its digital controller supports some neat features, like boarding lights that stay lit for a minute or two after they're switched off, so you don't have to disembark in the dark.
Getting from the cockpit to the swim platform on the 4050 is a bit more challenging than it is on an express cruiser, but the layout actually simplifies boarding for a wide range of dock heights. A circular stairway from the (raised) cockpit down to the swim platform makes it easy for your passengers to board from a floating dock or from a fixed pier at high tide. At low tide or when moored alongside an unusually high pier, the 4050 provides port and starboard boarding access onto the main deck, just forward of a cowling that encircles the aft seating area.
This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.