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All-Weather Fun

The express sedan has arrived

A new breed of express boat has emerged: the express sedan. Also known as express coupes, these cruisers deliver the speed of an express, the style of a sport yacht and the protection of a full deckhouse, which typically houses the saloon, galley and helm areas.

Hinckley Talaria 43

Essentially, the express cruiser and express coupe serve the same purpose: delivering the crew and guests to their destination in fast, comfortable fashion.

Upon arrival, they can enjoy all of the creature comforts of home. The hardtop/windshield design is one of the features that distinguishes the two types. The coupe’s windshield, side windows and hardtop are one integral unit, with the window framing joining the hardtop on three sides. Large aft glass doors seal off the enclosure. The conventional express cruiser’s hardtop and windshield might be separate units, connected with see-through vinyl sheets secured by snaps and zippers, and the side windows are smaller, extending aft only a few feet.

“Today’s typical express has a walkthrough windshield with a big, long bow,” says Jon Viestenz, Cruisers Yachts vice president of marketing. “We wanted to create a helm and companion area surrounded by a fixed structure where you weren’t messing around with curtains across the top of the windshield or Bimini brows. We’re creating a different environment above deck, from the swim platform all the way to the helm.”

The conventional express is designed for maximum ventilation with some weather protection. The coupe raises that weather protection to another level.

“The pleasure of this boat style is that it is all-weather,” says Bentley Collins, vice president of sales and marketing for Sabre Yachts and Back Cove Yachts. “Freezing cold, rain, extreme heat — and the crew can relax in climate-controlled comfort and still have a great day on the water. No canvas, no Isinglass, just windows. Of course, on the beautiful days, windows, hatches and sunroofs can be opened to get the same effect as the express style.”

Back Cove 41

Overexposure to the sun weighs on a lot of people’s minds, says Collins. “These designs allow you all of the pleasures of the outdoors with none of the risk.”

The boats included in this roundup range from 34 to 50 feet. The group consists of a mix of traditional-styled yachts from MJM, Hinckley, Back Cove and True North, as well as contemporary-looking boats from Tiara, Cruisers and Carver. Most are powered with twin diesels with conventional shafts or pod drives, although the True North is outboard-powered and the Hinckley has waterjets. Most offer two staterooms and two heads, and the main saloon and galley are on the same level as the helm station.

The coupe boats from Tiara, Cruisers and Carver bring a more modern look to the genre with their aerodynamic shapes. The more traditional-looking models have squarer lines, although they may have softer edges than similar boats from 20 years ago. Some of these yachts also fall into the Down East-style category, with their raised trunk cabins, tall bow rails and predominantly blue hull color.

Most of the boats rely, in part, on an opening hardtop for ventilation. You’ll be hard-pressed at this fall’s boat shows to find one that doesn’t have a retractable space overhead. (On one of these models about 75 percent of the hardtop disappears when fully open.)

These builders put on their reporter’s hats and found out exactly what boaters are looking for in their next purchase. As a result, the interior layouts, especially seating arrangements, make all the sense in the world. “The accoutrements you would expect to find in the boat are all there, but we have rearranged them, based on a lot of owner input and dealer input, to fit with today’s social-centric boating lifestyle,” says Tom Slikkers, president of S2 Yachts in Holland, Michigan, the parent company of Tiara and Pursuit. “So when you look at the [coupes], you will find a galley central to the saloon area that feeds the saloon and aft cockpit seating area.”

Tiara is poised to introduce its second coupe, the 44, to join the 50 Coupe that debuted last year. The 44 will be unveiled in August to the media at a special event on Lake Michigan. Like the 50, the new boat will be bathed in natural light. “A lot of the input from owners we received said give us as much natural light as possible in all areas of the boat,” says Slikkers. “I think we were creative in how we have been able to do that in areas like heads and certainly the staterooms — we were able to infuse a lot of natural light there.”

Both styles are generally similar in power and performance, but the deck designs tend to vary and helm stations are farther forward with coupes because more living space is below deck and abaft the helm. Joystick options are offered on all of the boats, even on some of those that are outfitted with conventional drives. Horsepower ranges from a total of 500 to about 1,400, depending on the boat. Top speeds hover near 35 knots, and most of the boats cruise from 25 to 30 knots.

Noise is another factor. “Express models experience 80 to 90 decibels of sound levels on their helms and in their cockpits,” says Collins. “Coupes are quieter, with sound levels in the low- to mid-70-decibel range.”

Why are we seeing this genre’s rapid acceleration? “Everyone seems to have less time to spend on one activity,” says Bob Johnstone, president and owner of MJM Yachts. “Motorboating now is less about living aboard for the summer and anchoring out in remote coves for days at a time. Now the primary use is entertaining and day trips — watching the races, going out to a dock restaurant, sunset cocktail cruises in the harbor, anchoring off a beach, maybe an overnight or weekend short cruise, eating out. And with high fuel prices … nobody is going very far, fast.”

MJM 50z
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True North 34 Outboard Express

True North Yachts will debut its first outboard model at the fall boat shows, the TN34 Outboard Express. Twin Yamaha 4-strokes will be engineered into the stern, but the boat will retain its distinctive reverse transom.

“With its 2-foot-6.5-inch draft, it’s a great shallow water boat, perfect for Southern waters, the shallow waterways of the Chesapeake and Long Island’s skinny backwaters,” says Sarah A. Fawle, vice president of marketing and communications. “We’ve had the 34 inboard for a while, but the new 34 outboard will also debut a completely revamped interior styling we are rolling out across our entire line of 34- to 50-foot boats.”

The new model will be displayed at the fall shows along with a new TN38, both featuring bold interior fabrics and reconfigured layouts aimed at increased seating and an easier flow from cockpit to saloon to stateroom. To be sure the new boats catch the eye, optional hull colors (other than traditional navy blue) will be showcased — all designed to show consumers True North can “think outside the box while retaining our boats’ elegant and stunning looks. The lines are still going to be gorgeous,” Fawle says.

The TN34 Outboard Express promises more storage space on board and improved fuel efficiency with the 4-stroke outboards. A new cockpit side door to facilitate easy boarding and a bow thruster and joystick are options.

LENGTH: 34 feet • BEAM: 12 feet, 2 inches • DRAFT: 2 feet, 9 inches • POWER: twin Yamaha F250s • SPEED (estimated): 39 mph top, 21 mph cruise • PRICE (estimated): $335,000 • CONTACT: True North Yachts, Warren, Rhode Island, (401) 247-3000.

Cruisers 390 Express Coupe

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The 390 Express Coupe follows on the heels of the successful Cantius series of express coupes for the Wisconsin builder. “We wanted to provide the best above-deck day boating accommodations under 40 feet while still providing living quarters below,” says Jon Viestenz, Cruisers Yachts vice president of marketing. “We’re stepping out of the norm for an express boat and creating a different environment above deck.”

The company is calling the boat a hybrid because it has elements of both a larger coupe, with ample living accommodations and an enclosed helm area, and a smaller express that emphasizes cockpit seating. The big and versatile cockpit’s port-side seating can be moved to the centerline to join the starboard seating and fashion a large U-shape. Unlike the Cantius, the 390 has no fixed aft deckhouse enclosure, but it can be sealed off with thick, clear vinyl curtains and filled with heated or cooled air, Viestenz says.

Below you have a full-beam amidships master stateroom; the forward dinette seating area converts to a secondary stateroom. Equipment includes a genset, electronics, and bow and stern thrusters.

LOA: 39 feet • BEAM: 12 feet, 8 inches • DRAFT: 3 feet, 3 inches • POWER: twin 430-hp MerCruiser sterndrives with Axius joystick • SPEED: 30 knots top, 24 knots cruise • PRICE: $525,000 • CONTACT: Cruisers Yachts, Oconto, Wisconsin, (920) 834-2211.

MJM 50z

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The MJM 50z can be powered with triple Volvo IPS600 pod drives or triple 370-hp Yanmar diesel sterndrives and has a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer system as standard equipment. Making its debut at the Newport International Boat Show, the new boat becomes the flagship of the MJM fleet, which includes the Doug Zurn-designed 40z, 36z, 34z and 29z (and explains the “z” in the nomenclature).

There is seating below in the forward cabin and a “great cabin” that converts to a twin or double guest stateroom with an en suite head/shower. The boat sleeps as many as seven by including a double and single on the bridge deck, when enclosed by privacy curtains, says Bob Johnstone, founder and CEO of MJM Yachts.

“The design of the yacht’s main deck, in terms of visibility and fresh air flow, retains the preferred upper flush-deck all-weather flybridge of a 65-foot motoryacht,” he says.

Boston BoatWorks builds the boats in a new facility at the Charlestown Maritime Center using prepreg epoxy, Kevlar, E-glass and Core-Cell. “We’re working to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio for better fuel efficiency, handling and ISO Category A ‘Ocean’ stability on a boat that rides comfortably and is dry,” Zurn says.

LOA: 54 feet, 10 inches • BEAM: 15 feet • DRAFT: 3 feet (twin IPS); 3 feet, 10 inches (triple IPS or sterndrives) • POWER: twin or triple IPS600s (435 hp), triple Yanmar 8LV 370-hp sterndrives • SPEED: 38 knots top, 34 knots cruise (triple IPS600s); 31.5 knots top, 28 knots cruise (twin IPS600s) • BASE PRICE: $1.67 million (twin IPS600s); $1.85 million (triple IPS600s) • CONTACT: MJM Yachts, Boston, (401) 862-4367.

Back Cove 41

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She’s the only single-engine boat in our group. “You can cruise very economically at 10 knots or go a little faster and still maintain cruising range around the 400-nautical-mile mark,” says Bentley Collins, vice president of sales and marketing for Back Cove and sister brand Sabre Yachts.

The largest and latest yacht from Back Cove, the 41 is perfect “for couples who want to get into some serious cruising,” Collins says. “The owners can invite another couple and cruise with four very comfortably and have complete privacy.” The two staterooms each have a private head.

The boat comes with a 9-kW genset, a Fusion stereo system, heating and air conditioning, and a bow thruster with joystick from Side-Power. Collins says the Lenco Auto Glide Boat Leveling System with automatic trim tabs has proved popular. “It gives you the ability to keep the boat at optimal running angles for efficient speed and increased visibility,” he says.

The helm’s twin Stidd seats allow the cruising couple to take in the view together through the large windows in the deckhouse.

LOA: 41 feet, 8 inches • BEAM: 13 feet, 10 inches • DRAFT: 3 feet, 11 inches • PRICE: $546,000 (with 600-hp Cummins QSC8.3) • SPEED: 26.6 knots top, 22 knots cruise • CONTACT: Back Cove Yachts, Rockland, Maine, (207) 594-8821.

Tiara 44 Coupe

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The 44 is the second coupe in the Michigan builder’s fleet of “next-generation” yachts, which break away from some of the more conservative designs of previous Tiaras in favor of modern styling and functionality. The new boat will be unveiled in early August to the media and dealers at a special event on Lake Michigan.

“We surprised everyone with the 50 Coupe, and that same reaction should hold true when they see the 44. They are going to say ‘wow,’ ” says Tom Slikkers, president of S2 Yachts, Tiara’s parent company.

Slikkers says a few customers bought the 44 before the first boat was built. Customers and dealers wanted a boat like the 50 but with two staterooms and two heads, Slikkers says. “The boat is in direct response to what [boaters] and dealers told us they were looking for,” he says.

She’ll hold 350 gallons of fuel and ride a modified-vee hull with 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom. The boat promises excellent visibility in all directions, from the cockpit to the helm. An inline galley sits on the starboard side abaft the two-person helm chair, and a large L-shaped settee with a table is opposite.

The cockpit arrangement includes two aft-facing seats in the forward corners and a stern seat flanked by port and starboard boarding doors. Below, the master stateroom is forward with its own private head and a separate shower, and a guest stateroom with twin bunks is abaft the companionway stairs. There is also a second head with a shower.

LOA: 45 feet, 6 inches • BEAM: 15 feet • DRAFT: 3 feet, 9 inches • POWER: twin Volvo Penta IPS600s (435 hp) • SPEED: unavailable • PRICE: $903,704 • CONTACT: Tiara Yachts, Holland, Michigan, (616) 392-7163.

Carver C37

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The C37 is a two-stateroom boat with a low-profile deckhouse. Designed with family in mind, the boat can sleep as many as six and features a large integrated swim platform; the cockpit has stern seating with dry storage and an optional refrigerator and teak cockpit table. Framed double glass doors (the port-side door is a bifold) can be fully opened, blending the cockpit, saloon and galley spaces. On the starboard side, the galley sits across from a large wraparound. The galley has a two-burner range, a convection oven, a refrigerator and a stainless steel sink. The windows and sunroof let the sunshine in. The skipper drives from a starboard helm station. The forward master stateroom and a starboard-side guest stateroom and head with a separate shower comprise the cabin accommodations.

LOA: 37 feet, 8 inches • BEAM: 13 feet • DRAFT: 3 feet, 6 inches • POWER: twin 320-hp MerCruiser 377 Mag ECT Bravo 3 sterndrives • SPEED: 35 knots top, 25 knots cruise • PRICE: $376,195 • CONTACT: Carver Yachts, Pulaski, Wisconsin, (920) 822-3214.

Hinckley Talaria 43

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The Talaria 43’s deckhouse can be fully closed like the other models here, but instead of manually operated doors, Hinckley uses an aft glass enclosure with a half-door and windows that retract under electric power.

Two L-shaped settees with integral storage fill the majority of the cockpit. A sink and refrigerator forward of the starboard settee round out the cockpit components.

The T43 has oversized powered side windows. Identical L-shaped bench seats in the saloon face each other. A port-side galley sits across from the starboard-side helm, with its two Stidd seats. Teak and tulipwood in gloss varnish cover the pilothouse and cabin soles.

The cabin arrangement starts with a master stateroom forward with a queen berth. A second stateroom with twin berths is on the starboard side at the bottom of the companionway steps. A head with a separate shower stall is to port.

Twin 550-hp Cummins diesels coupled to Hamilton jetdrives are the standard propulsion system. The builder also offers twin Volvo Penta IPS600 diesel pods (435 hp). The company says it will offer IPS power as an option for Talaria and Picnic Boat models.

LOA: 43 feet, 9 inches • BEAM: 14 feet, 6 inches • HULL DRAFT: 2 feet, 4 inches • POWER: twin Cummins QSB 6.7-liter 550-hp diesels, Hamilton 322 jetdrives • ESTIMATED SPEED: 35 knots top, 30 knots cruise • PRICE: $1.587 million • CONTACT: The Hinckley Co., Southwest Harbor, Maine, (207) 244-5531.

September 2014 issue