As the bow of the Marquis 500 Sport Coupe turned toward New York Harbor, I sat back to enjoy the ride. Not that it hadn't been fun already- quite the contrary. I'd completed my diagnostics and boat-handling drills, and the Marquis had shown me a heady mixture of grace and speed. With triple 435-horsepower Volvo Penta IPS drives, the 500 SC showed off a bit: She tracked straight and true and responded briskly to the helm on turns and reciprocal course changes. The boat was smooth through the rpm range and topped out at 37.7 knots with a fast cruise of 35 knots. Imagine a BMW 750i designed for the water-size buttressed by substance.
So she moves right along, but I was curious to find out more about this yacht. As the larger stablemate to the sleek 420 SC (reviewed in the February 2008 issue), the 500 SC has received a similar Italian design treatment with a streamlined profile and raked windshield.
The impressive performance wasn't entirely unexpected since the hull of the 500 SC was designed with the exact engine setup-the capable IPS, in triplicate-in mind. The benefits of that propulsion system are apparent at speed, but almost more so in tight quarters, where one can never have too much maneuverability.
Once I had handed off the helm to Capt. Lou Kolesarich from Staten Island Yacht Sales, I took a little walk-no problem since the ride was rock solid at 32 knots. It was such a beautful day, I headed for the salon door leading to the aft deck. The starboard side door locks automatically and is held in position with a top latch. The other two panels fold to port, where they are held securely in place. With these doors open, the salon and the aft deck areas are one, with the latter transformed into a porch of sorts looking out on a great view of the rapidly receding seaway.
Combine that view and the indoor-outdoor space, and the aft deck is clearly ready for entertaining. At anchor, the swim platform offers plenty of room for water activities. The platform lowers for easy launch and retrieval of a tender or PWC as well as helping to get swimmers in and out of the water. And at a favorite gunkhole, the 500 SC turns on the charm for alfresco dining, thanks to a transom bench seat, a beautifully crafted dining table, and to port, a Gaggenau grill, refrigerator, ice maker, and sink.
The engine compartment can be found beneath a large hatch with gas-assisted rams in the afterdeck sole. I'm always surprised how manufacturers of express boats this size deal with the limited machinery space. But the engineers at Marquis had some advantages in this case. Working with IPS-a propulsion system known for freeing up cavernous stowage in boats typically equipped with conventional inboards-let the builder create an area that allows for easy and safe access to all critical maintenance, servicing points, and systems. And while the port battery boxes are accessible, I found the starboard boxes tucked behind a short ladder. No matter: The ladder is removable.
Kolesarich throttled down as we picked up the markers for the marina approach, so I headed forward on the side deck. Sturdy rails and wide walkways make for safe passage, while both port and starboard sides have another grab high on the superstructure.
The salon feels open and inviting, with large forward and side windows, and a sizeable sunroof overhead that opens with the push of a button. The interior is clearly influenced by the superyachts of Nuvolari Lenard and sets the tone for the rest of the boat with effective use of light and dark colors, both in the Brazilian cherry wood sole and Zebrano cabinetry. An entertainment center to starboard is flanked by a pair of barrel chairs, while a beautifully crafted leafing table adjoins a U-shaped seating area to port.
Moving forward, the helm is to port with bench seating for two and two large blanks for flush-mounting your choice of navigation electronics. The engine controls and IPS joystick are to starboard. All other gauges, readouts, and switches are mounted in positions that are easy to see and reach.
Opposite the helm is the galley. Outfitted with a two-burner electric cooktop, Corian countertops, a stainless steel sink, Gavinox refrigerator-freezer units, a microwave, and adequate stowage. Again, as with the aft deck area, food prep and service here makes entertaining in the salon a simple proposition.
The salon and deck spaces are geared toward on-the-water fun, but Marquis made sure the living accommodations were comfortable. The three-stateroom, two-head layout provides the owners and their guests with a serene escape. The well-appointed forepeak holds a centerline berth and ample locker space. The starboard over-under double features excellent stowage, and the port queen has plenty of entrance headroom.
With vast experience in engineering and design, the Nuvolari Lenard team, working with its American counterparts, has given the Marquis 500 SC striking lines, exciting performance and practical creature comforts.
And since the midfall day was sunny and mild, I could almost picture the owner of the Marquis 500 SC opening up the salon to the fresh air, allowing his family and friends gathered aboard to enjoy the view of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and New Jersey's Sandy Hook in the distance.
Marquis Yachts, (920) 822-1575; www.marquisyachts.com