Wisconsin-based Cruisers Yachts has grown quite a bit since its founding in 1953. From that year until the mid-1980s, the company was known simply as Cruisers, Inc., and focused on family boating with a line that reached about 40 feet LOA. In the early 1990s, Cruisers added "Yachts" to the company moniker and expanded its focus upward. The new 5370 Express is a product of that expansion, balancing luxury and reliability with little compromise and much technology.
Most ship's systems are controlled and monitored through a digital interface Cruisers is using for the first time. Signals travel from the helm through a four-wire cable to processors assigned to, say, a windshield wiper motor. The processor interprets the signal and responds accordingly. The system's design reduces the amount of wire that snakes through the boat, which in turn helps reduce weight and manufacturing complexity. Similar systems or variations are found on many megayachts, but finding one on a 53-foot boat is unusual. I am an analog kind of guy in terms of boats, but I respect the folks at Cruisers for thinking out of the box.
A touch-pad control area drives the system from the 5370's automotive-like helm. For example, the touch pad lets you trim the boat, drop the anchor or adjust the helm seat. With the appropriate code entered, there's a keyless engine start. If you're the forgetful sort, an idiot light warns of low fuel. Our test boat's wizardry was embellished with Caterpillar electronic engine monitors, Twin Disc electronic controls and a full complement of navigational electronics.
The steering wheel is about the only compromise to the analog world aboard this boat, but even the digitally challenged will find the interface seamless. The system performed flawlessly during our sea trial.
The 5370's exterior lines suggest her high-tech heart. While Cruisers fans will find familiar styling elements, such as her reverse arch, she is not simply a reformulation of existing product. Her lines are far softer and more fluid than those of the Cruisers Yachts 4270, her nearest relative. Her sheer has a subtle sweep that flows together with her chine forward. Her superstructure is a blend of curves that sweep upward aft, creating an attractive and rather aggressive look.
Express cruisers are designed with a bias for the out-of-doors, and so is the 5370. Her cockpit is split-level. Helm and companion seating is part of an integral cockpit console that includes a sink and electric grill. A built-in refrigerator/ice maker is within arm's length. The console's walkaround island design is clever and makes it possible to leave the companion seat without disturbing the skipper. Aft, a large curved seating area with a table converts to a sunpad at the push of a button, thanks to a fairly complicated, electrically actuated mechanism beneath the seating.
Steps to port lead to the swim platform and an aft-facing bench seat with stereo controls and speakers. Obviously, it would not be wise to serve cocktails here while under way, but the spot will allow a unique perspective while at anchor. The platform is designed to carry a personal watercraft, and a small crane tucks out of sight in a transom compartment. Without the crane, the compartment can stow a passerelle for boarding stern-to.
Steps to starboard lead from the swim platform to the side deck and forward. A foredeck sunpad area has his-and-her stereo controls and drink holders. A hatch allows access to the windlass, chain locker and fender stowage. A forced-air induction system at the windshield's base ventilates the helm area while under way. In a nice touch, Cruisers added a blower that takes over while dockside.
Equipped with 800 hp Caterpillar 3406Es, our test boat recorded a top speed of 33.4 knots at 2330 rpm. This is a few turns more than the 2300 rpm recommended, so she should be perfect when fully loaded. At 2100 rpm, she cruised at 30.6 knots and the Caterpillar electronics indicated a fuel burn of 36 gallons per hour. Her hull has fairly full convex sections forward and a deadrise of 15 degrees at the transom. At speed, she rose above the moderate chop and seemed good-natured. She responds quickly to the helm. There was little smoke on hard acceleration, and she remained on plane down to 1500 rpm.
The 5370 is also available with 660 hp Caterpillar 3196Es and 700 hp Volvo D12-700s. The higher horsepower offerings are a good choice for this type of boat, providing a faster cruising speed and a higher resale value.
A sliding door leads from the cockpit to the main cabin. The galley has a dual-voltage refrigerator/freezer, a microwave/convection oven and a drawer-style dishwasher. The tiered counter is designed to allow dining for two, and stools are provided. A large, curved settee is fitted with dual recliners and positioned to take advantage of the 27-inch TV. Here again, Cruisers shows its penchant for novelty: Pushing a button folds back a portion of the cabin sole, from which a dining/cocktail table emerges out of the bilge.
Natural light is precious on express designs, and the 5370 has well-positioned indirect lighting and oversize portlights in the saloon. Each cabin has a queen-size berth with a box-spring mattress, and a head with separate shower. The forward head is also accessible from the saloon. The after stateroom would be my choice. Its walk-in closet is a rare commodity on this type of boat.
Her interior is finished in raised-panel, solid-stock American cherry and cherry burl. High-quality hardware and fixtures provide an upscale accent. This relatively conservative interior offers a rather pleasant contrast to other, more futuristic offerings in the express market.
Cruisers Yachts employs fairly conventional production yacht manufacturing methods. The 5370 is built in female tooling with a combination of woven roving and mat. Balsa-coring is used to stiffen the hull sides, superstructure and decks. A fiberglass-encapsulated wood stringer system, plywood bulkheads and web frames support the hull.
Forward in the engineroom, two aluminum tanks carry a total of 650 gallons of fuel. Engineroom access is from a cockpit hatch. Our test boat's Cats were coupled to Twin Disc V-drives. The configuration optimizes engine placement, and with the 5370's propeller pockets minimizes shaft angle and draft. The machinery space was well engineered, and access about the engines was good. Engine removal hatches are provided.
Cruisers Yachts has aimed for the upscale express market with the 5370, confirming the positioning with a $1,048,130 price tag. The cost includes significant equipment, such as air conditioning, generator and windlass, but plan to add about $60,000 for assorted goodies and electronics.
Contact: Cruisers Yachts, (920) 834-2211; fax (920) 834-2797; www.cruisersyachts.com.