The success of the For Dummies books proves society is looking to simplify. Cruisers Yachts' new 4050 Express Motoryacht is a fine example of boating for, ahh, well, let's say folks who want to keep it simple.
Several production boatbuilders are offering new motoryachts in the 35- to 42-foot range, looking to satisfy the growing number of owners who want to entertain and relax aboard an express-style boat, but with more than the traditional amount of living space. Cruisers Yachts is among those builders watching the industry's fluctuations, and its new 4050 is designed to capture that audience with systems accessibility, an uncomplicated environment and about as much hassle-free boating as buyers can expect.
When evaluating any boat available with gasoline engines with an LOA and displacement that would benefit from diesels, individual use must be considered. For some, boating is tinkering and tweaking, poking and prodding. For others, it is topping off some fluids, draining others and inspecting the bilge before and after each trip. I will not address the minority who simply untie the lines and go, but for those who find themselves in the middle of the maintenance curve, the 4050 makes boating easy.
Pop open four centerline hatches, and you have a quick visual of most ship's systems. Beneath the master berth aft is the rear bilge, with steering, underwater exhaust and trim tab external assemblies. Through the saloon sole is the machinery compartment, including the main engines, electrical system and generator. The engineroom is a bit snug down the middle, with 18 inches of outboard accessibility, but components are well labeled and easy to read. A third hatch, forward of the engine compartment, leads to the air-conditioning compressors, the holding tank and the pumps. A hatch within the forward cabin leads to the optional bow thruster and its dedicated battery.
This ease of access-along with the gray-water collector and sump that keep bilge areas clean and dry-leaves few excuses for poor systems management and should make routine maintenance easier.
The 4050 is fully balsa-cored, though areas where through-hulls penetrate are solid fiberglass. The planing hull has propeller pockets and a 17-degree deadrise. All deck hardware has aluminum backing plates.
Our test was in relatively calm winds and a slight chop on Lake Michigan, in a 4050 with a pair of 420 hp MerCruiser gasoline engines. She performed well on plane and at low range.
At 3500 rpm, the 4050 was fully on top and running at 171/2 knots. A kick up to 3800 rpm, a suitable cruising range, and the GPS showed 211/2 knots while the MerCruisers' SmartCraft system displayed a combined fuel burn of 40 gallons per hour. She did not labor while getting on plane, even with the trim tabs recessed. Bringing the bow down with a minor adjustment to the tabs at cruising speed increased performance by a knot.
Under way, the feel is more like an express boat with a slightly elevated helm. Only a glance aft reminds you this is a motoryacht. Sitting behind the helm is quite comfortable, and all controls are within easy reach, including the SmartCraft touch panel and keyless ignition system. Flush-mounted electronics should fit well in the area provided.
The windshield is tall, offering no interference with sight lines at the meeting of the isinglass. The cabin's height and profile, however, do not allow for a walk-through to the bow, a popular express boat feature.
The cockpit area is but one step down from the helm, keeping everyone together under way or dockside. Our test boat had the optional hardtop, a feature that makes sense for this design. Aside from the sunpad forward, most areas are enclosed, which will let families extend the boating season by a month or two on either side of summer.
Molded into the enclosure's sides, a foot off the deck, are air scoops. These ventilate the area behind the transom, effectively reducing fumes while under way and preventing a station wagon effect from developing.
Belowdecks, plenty of natural light fills the full-beam saloon (side decks are above cabin height). There is clear separation between social areas and the galley, and the dinette and L-shape settee convert to berths.
As with other boats in her class, the 4050's galley has uncluttered working surfaces. A convenient four-gang, not two, outlet is above the counter for multiple appliances.
An aluminum grid system, rather than a heavier, weaker wooden one, supports the saloon sole. The main engines are between the marine plywood, fiberglass-encapsulated stringers on through-bolted aluminum brackets. Cruisers says this method reduces vibration. We did have minimal vibration under way, but decibel readings in the saloon were a bit high at greater rpm, even with the engine compartment's insulation.
Both staterooms should meet owners' expectations. The master has a formal look, with cabinetry embracing the room. A large aft-facing hatch provides air and an alternate means of escape. The optional washer/dryer can be outfitted in this space without inhibiting stowage.
The forward stateroom has stowage beneath its queen berth, and a true fiberglass liner within will keep clothing and stores clean and dry. This stateroom has a split head and shower arrangement, making life much easier on long cruises when personal space tends to diminish. Translucent skylights bring in additional light.
Boarding and offloading is via the side deck at cockpit level, or from the swim platform at the bottom of a quarter-circle molded staircase. The platform is large enough for a few people to stand.
Aft cleats are raised and set toward the middle of the swim platform. A more traditional setup would be outboard on the platform, but the Cruisers engineer I spoke with said there have been no problems with the placement. Still, the cleats may be a tripping hazard. Cockpit lighting can be illuminated when boarding from the platform.
Express motoryachts make boating easy, which is why so many buyers seem to be looking for them. Conscientious manufacturers listen closely when customers speak. They are proactive so that when the market swings, they are ahead of the curve. Cruisers is in line to be right there with the 4050.
Contact: Cruisers Yachts, (920) 834-2211; www.cruisersyachts.com.