Looks can be deceiving, especially when you’re looking at the Cruisers 60 Cantius.
Coming over the historic Michigan Street Bridge on my way to the Cruisers Yachts dealer meeting I had a perfect view of the fleet assembled in the water at Sturgeon Bay’s Stone Harbor Resort. There were models of various sizes, but one boat dominated the scene—the one I’d come to test. That the 60 Cantius stood out wasn’t surprising given its size and stature as Cruisers Yachts flagship. What did give me pause was how it dwarfed the boat next to it, the 540 Sports Coupe, the builder’s second-largest offering. I knew that the 60 was roughly 6 feet longer but seeing the two boats side by side, it looked like the difference was double that.
When I later made my way down to the docks, the difference between the two boats seemed, if anything, even greater. And it wasn’t just their lengths; the 60 seemed much bigger in every way—wider, taller, and more voluminous. Yet somehow, despite her size and volume, she still managed to strike a profile that was as slick, sporty, and well proportioned as her sisterships. Realizing that I couldn’t trust my five senses, I returned to my car to get my trusty tape measure.
My impression was confirmed once I stepped aboard. The 60’s design draws on a philosophy that tracks the popular trends followed by a number of other builders. The general type is often referred to as a coupe, and it’s characterized by a saloon and cockpit that are on the same level and separated by a mostly glass bulkhead that opens all the way, or nearly so, to allow the two spaces to become one. The galley is typically on the main level and aft so that food and drink can be served with equal ease to occupants inside or out. Glass area on either side of the saloon is maximized, giving the feeling that you’re part of the outside even when you’re inside. To top it all off—no pun intended—there’s more glass in the overhead in the form of a large sunroof and sometimes an additional expanse of fixed glass.
The 60 Cantius has all of this, but what makes her different is her proportions, which explain that feeling you get that you’re on a much larger boat. One of those proportions is vertical: Headroom in the saloon is 6 feet 5 inches. Another is horizontal. A beam of 15 feet creates a lot of interior space, and the fact that the saloon has no partitions and its furniture intrudes only minimally adds to the expansive feel.
Of course there’s plenty of glass in the form of full-length side windows, a standard 7-foot-long sunroof forward, and a fixed-glass overhead abaft it that ensures that the main deck will be bright in the daytime. But the combination of extensive LED area and accent lighting and light-colored upholstery and wood makes this space feel just as open and airy at night.
Down six steps to the accommodations level things are only marginally darker. Extensive side glass admits plenty of light to all three staterooms, and the forepeak VIP V-berth gets an additional boost from a full-length combination hatch and skylight. The entire inboard side of the starboard midship bunkroom can be left open or closed off via an accordion door for privacy. (Its lower berth pulls out to convert to a double bed.)
Aft of the companionway steps everything is given over to the full-beam master, yet another place where you’ll have to keep reminding yourself that you’re on “only” a 60-footer. The centerline king-size bed almost seems lonely, there’s so much space between it and the forward bulkhead. Both sides are fixed solid glass (with an opening glass port insert), which along with 7-foot headroom makes this feel more like one of those main-deck owners’ staterooms you find on megayachts than one that’s just off the waterline.
Even the en suite master head is expansive, including the enclosed shower, which has frosted-glass walls on either side, one of which faces the entry hall. (The forward wall, which holds the showerhead and controls, will be custom-finished for each boat.)
Outside the proportions are equally generous. The cockpit is 7 feet 6 inches long, leaving plenty of room between the all-glass saloon bulkhead and the U-shaped transom seat for guests to stand and circulate should they prefer not to sit. There’s even room for a pair of fixed barstools forward, directly aft of the galley and just inboard of the standard electric grill. Almost this entire area can be shaded by a retractable cockpit awning, but if your preference is for neither dining nor sitting but sunbathing, you need only push a button and the cockpit table lowers, creating a large sunpad.
However serious sun worshipers will surely head forward, via 13-inch-wide side decks. No handholds disrupt the flowing lines of the house because at 17 inches high, the bulwarks and bowrail provide all the protection anyone could want. Walking forward, you pass a 3-foot-wide boarding gate on each side, something particularly welcome for those times when you’re tied alongside a dock.
The foredeck is expansive, and the generous square-footage has been put to good use. A five-person settee sits at the base of the windshield, and ahead of that a pair of sunpads flank the forepeak hatch/skylight. Their backs are hinged so they can convert to chaises. Despite all this, there is still plenty of deck space forward to accommodate the windlass and provide sufficient room for line-handling.
A removable four-stanchion sun shade covers the two lounges yet stows neatly beneath them when it’s not needed. The same is true of two removable pedestal tables that when installed in their receivers make this a great place to take food or drink, especially since there’s also a separate Polk stereo system. And even after all that, Cruisers still managed to find room for port and starboard fender lockers. You can stow a lot more gear in the transom garage, which opens electrically to provide access from the 52-inch-deep hydraulic swim platform. While voluminous enough to accommodate crew’s quarters should they be ordered, this garage isn’t big enough to hold a tender, although there is talk of expanding it into the engine room to do so.
And that’s a distinct possibility since the engine room, which you access from a hatch in the cockpit sole, is very roomy. There is 360-degree access to the engines and drives, although the centerline space is largely occupied by one of the three fuel tanks. (The other two are forward and to port and starboard.) Still, there isn’t a piece of equipment you can’t easily reach.
But while the 60 Cantius is a big, voluminous cruiser, she doesn’t drive like one. Powered by twin IPS950s—there is no optional engine package—our 60 managed zero to 26 knots in 13 seconds. That low-speed punch comes courtesy of the engines’ superchargers, which provide boost until the turbos spool up. Just as impressive, our test boat planed at 1,800 rpm or about 18 knots (with about half-tab). And not only does she accelerate like a sportboat, her helm response is IPS sharp, and she leans into high-speed turns like a boat a third her size. Three-foot-wide trim tabs allow you to dial in just about any running attitude you desire.
The 60 Cantius turned out to be a contradiction of sorts. In terms of exterior profile and interior space she seemed much larger than she actually is yet her acceleration and nimbleness reminded me of a much smaller boat. If you’re planning on seriously checking out the 60, take my advice and bring along a tape measure. The 60 Cantius is proof just how much looks can deceive.
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Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 71°F; humidity: 44%; seas: flat; wind: 4 knots
Load During Boat Test
210 gal. fuel, 75 gal. water, 6 persons, 200 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/725-hp Volvo Penta IPS950 diesel pod drives
- Transmission/Ratio: IPS, 1.70:1
- Props: P4 propset
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.