43-Knot Chic: Reliant X40 Express

The Reliant X40 Express successfully blends an axe bow, a razor sheerline and 43-knot speed.

Reliant Yachts X40 Express
Note the X40's sturdy portside steps, which should make boarding in rocky conditions much safer.Courtesy Reliant Yachts

There is no denying that there is a certain look to the tenders zipping about Port Hercules during the Monaco Yacht Show, ferrying ­buyers, sellers and brokers from yacht to yacht and dock to dock. The tenders have a European look: clean and open, axe-bowed and surprisingly burly.

A boat like that is exactly what I saw the first time I laid eyes on an image of the X40 Express from Reliant Yachts, and the styling was a surprise. I was expecting something more staid, a teensy bit more downeast-y from the Rhode Island-based builder of power and sailing craft. Reliant calls the X40 Express a modern interpretation of an express cruiser. To my eye, it's ready to impress all across the Mediterranean, from Antibes to Corsica and beyond.

Reliant Yachts X40 Express
Notice the amount of seating for guests above and belowdecks.Courtesy Reliant Yachts

The X40 was conceived as a tender that would live in the belly of a Med-based mega-yacht, so weight and height considerations were paramount. The carbon-fiber hardtop is ­removable, and the forward deck is flush. Keeping the deck flush made headroom a slight concern in the stateroom ­below, though as Reliant principal Jim Ewing told me dryly, "We think we did a pretty good job with that."

The X40’s owner began with the idea for a fast-looking boat with no house on top. “A challenge was to make sure the windshield would block the wind from the driver’s face, all of course fitting within our height parameters,” Ewing says. That windshield is also stylish, with three helm screens that, when the boat is not in use, become jet black and blend into the carbon-fiber dash for a nearly Spartan aesthetic.

Reliant Yachts X40 Express
The flush bow deck should help to ease line handling at the marina, with few spots to stub a tow.Courtesy Reliant Yachts

As for a speed pedigree, the X40 doesn’t disappoint. The builder says the boat hits 43 knots on the pins, and cruises between 27 and 33 knots, depending on how badly the owner is craving his favorite onshore nosh. To achieve these speeds, Reliant matched twin Konrad 660B sterndrives to a pair of 480 hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engines. The sterndrives not only provide power, but they also work well with the space considerations, and they slide up before entering the mothership for stowage. The choice of a sterndrive also allowed for more room on the accommodations level.

On that accommodations deck are dayboat staples such as a shower, galley and head. Hours can be spent away from the big boat without needing to return.

With modern construction, well-thought-out design and slick lines, the Reliant X40 Express is an eye-catching and well-­performing mega-yacht tender. The Monaco Yacht Show may have found its lightweight division’s newest contender.

Take the next step: reliantyachts.com