When I reviewed the Cruisers Yachts 42 GLS two years ago, I decided that GLS must mean “great little ship.” With the 50 GLS flagship, I know it means “greater little ship.”
It actually means Grand Luxury Sport, which is also an apt description of the Cruisers GLS “adventuring” series. Cruisers, now owned by MarineMax, has paid attention to how we use our boats. The 50 GLS is a bowrider on steroids, an express cruiser with entertaining ambitions, an overnighter with comfort and a performance boat (49.6 knots) with the oomph to yank skiers or tubers with aplomb.
The 50 GLS is powered by three 600 hp Mercury Verado V-12 outboards. When I put the hammer down from idle, I was literally shoved back into the comfy, Ultraleather helm seat. And the yacht has fold-down terraces (Cruisers calls them beach doors) on each side of the cockpit, whose beam expands from 14 feet, 6 inches to more than 21 feet. That’s about the beam of many 95-foot yachts. The combination—with the outboard engines being out of the way on the transom—creates a cockpit that feels like a ballroom filled with dining and seating options.
This is also a good-looking yacht, with a black slash on the topsides to conceal the windows, and a windshield that rakes steeply into the sleek hardtop with a sunroof. For passengers boarding from dockside, the transom platform is wide and one level to the cockpit. That transom on the 50 GLS that I got aboard had a pair of Kenyon grills (one is standard). This positioning means smoke from charred steak won’t intrude into the cockpit. Just forward of the barbecue is a forward-facing settee with twin removable tables for dining or cocktails.
In the forward corner of the cockpit are an L-shaped counter, dual Isotherm fridges, an ice maker and a sink. Opposite this space—on an 8-inch raised platform—is another dining table, this one facing a 55-inch pop-up TV.
A secure walkway to port leads to the bow, which has three seats with headrests and an electric table that rises for cocktails or meals on the hook. This cockpit is deep (40 inches) and safe for kids. A cooler with a chiller plate (read no ice needed) is tucked under a seat.
At the helm is an intuitive dashboard with three 19-inch Simrad monitors and a joystick linked to the Side-Power bow thruster. We used that Mercury JPO joystick to make painless work of a normally tough situation: a fierce side wind, a strong current and a skinny dock. Dock-watchers hoping for a Sunday afternoon show will be disappointed.
And the 50 GLS is about more than alfresco living. A sliding hatch (with a screen) leads into a bright cabin with overhead and side windows. A counter holds a microwave and a fridge for morning coffee and warm croissants without having to leave the cabin.
Forward is a stateroom, with a wider-than-queen berth, hanging lockers and privacy from French doors. Headroom is a surprising 6 feet, 8 inches, which adds to the airy feeling. Just aft and to starboard is the head, with a separate stall shower that is also oversize: 4 feet by nearly 3 feet.
Another stateroom is tucked under the cockpit with a pair of berths that can be configured as seats or as a “playpen,” with a TV on the bulkhead. This space is perfect for an afternoon nap for kids, and it’s comfortable (I stretched out with no problem) for adult overnighters, though it won’t encourage them to linger.
Underway, the 50 GLS is simply great fun. Hammer down, it came up fast and flat, regardless of whether we were using no tabs or letting the auto-tab system think for us. The boat topped out at 49.6 knots. For a 50-footer weighing some 19 tons, going 85 feet per second is impressive.
Even better, the 50 GLS felt solid, and I had a chance to check out the bottom before it hit the water. There are two full-length strakes below the waterline. Our result was a soft ride through a 2-to-3-foot wake when we circled back at full throttle. The spray was thrown far to the side, thanks to wide chine flats. This yacht begged to be treated like a 20-foot bowrider. We carved some swoops just for fun.
Those swoops were accomplished in silence too. My decibel meter read just 58 at idle (65 dBs is the level of normal conversation), and it got no higher than 85 at full throttle. The federal government’s safety agency says that’s the noise level of a vacuum cleaner.
The 50 GLS I got aboard had a Seakeeper 6 gyrostabilizer (we didn’t need it) and a 16 kW Kohler genset to provide air conditioning all day at anchor or at the sandbar. This equipage was under a hatch in the cockpit. Access via a ladder was outstanding, with room left to stow all the gear, from fenders to inflatable toys.
Everything said and done, the Cruisers Yachts 50 GLS is an on-the-water delight: fast and fun with varied entertaining spaces, thoughtful luxuries and the facilities for comfortable overnighting. This yacht truly is a greater little ship.
Mercury’s V-12, 7.6-liter engine is revolutionary because the lower-unit gear case is steerable. A two-speed transmission provides torque in first gear and efficiency in second, and the dual-prop design provides solid bite, even in hard turns.
The 50 GLS has power-operated “vent windows” like those on older cars, providing a steady flow of controllable air. Electric side windows add to the breeze, as does the opening sunroof in the hardtop. Opening ports in the staterooms are another fresh-air plus.
Cruisers Yachts uses a mix of modern and traditional methods in the 50 GLS, including hand-laid and resin-infused fiberglass for specific areas. The stringer grid that supports the interior components is wood-free with all-foam coring for a long-life, no-rot hull.
Take the next step: cruisersyachts.com