Skip to main content

Sporty transformers

Popular coupe-style cruisers are up for anything

Carver C43

Marketing folks throw a dizzying array of model monikers at boat buyers. Add “coupe” to the list.

These speedy cruisers with swooping lines share certain characteristics: flush decks; upsized electric-powered hardtop hatches, sometimes referred to as “sunroofs”; large, well-ventilated windshields; opening side windows; and glass aft deckhouse doors. They also share a purpose: When they’re closed and dogged-down tightly, these coupes morph from dayboats to all-weather vessels.

Tiara’s Q 44: An SUV for the water By Chris Landry For decades, powerboaters have been satisfied with their wet bars, cockpit dinette tables, swim platforms and freshwater showers when they dropped the hook for a summer afternoon or spent an overnight in a new harbor. “But that’s not the extent of boating anymore,” says Tom Slikkers, CEO of S2 Yachts, builder of Tiara (and Pursuit) boats. “They want to day-boat, but also want to cruise for a weekend to some nook and cranny, and they want to have everything with them, like paddleboards, kayaks, folding bikes — you name it. How do you accommodate all that without hurting the boat’s natural look?” The Slikkers family has answered the question with the Q 44 — a high-end sport utility vehicle of sorts geared toward active boat owners. Built on the same hull as the Tiara 44 Coupe, the new boat expands storage space and maximizes safety on deck and access to the water without sacrificing the luxury of a coupe, says Tom Slikkers. Tiara designed a 360-degree walkaround layout on a flush deck with enough room for the crew to move about freely — and room for the tools of their recreational endeavors. There are doors on the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse, as well as a rack on the hardtop for kayaks, paddleboards and other toys. There’s also a full-beam “cellar compartment” beneath the forward portion of the cockpit deck. “What do you want to put in there — six folding bikes, deck chairs, scuba tanks, portable air compressor?” says Slikkers. Of course, conventional equipment also can be incorporated, such as rod holders and tackle storage. When it’s time to relax, go to the island galley in the cockpit for a drink or lunch, or unwind with a cocktail in the bow seating area. Tiara created the Q 44 after talking to hundreds of boaters at rendezvous, dealer meetings and boat shows, says George Hetzel, S2 Yachts vice president of sales and marketing. “We do a pretty good job of listening and figuring out what boaters are looking for,” he says. “In the Pacific Northwest, we heard about 2-4-6 boating. They cruise as a couple, they’ll do an overnight with another couple, or have six or more for social entertaining.” The Q 44 hits the water this summer and makes its first boat show appearance in Newport, Rhode Island, in September. “I think we’re going to catch them off guard,” says Slikkers. Pricing was unavailable, but Slikkers says the Q 44 will sell for less than the 44 Coupe ($903,704). LOA: 45 feet, 6 inches BEAM: 14 feet, 11 inches DRAFT (estimated): 3 feet, 9 inches FUEL: 350 gallons POWER: twin Volvo Penta IPS600 pods (Glass Cockpit, joystick), twin Cummins QSB550 diesels (Garmin electronics, joystick) CONTACT: S2 Yachts, Holland, Michigan, (616) 392-7163.

“Those doors really make the difference for me,” says Pat Perih, who piloted his 2015 Carver C37 coupe, Perihdise, in 4-foot seas from Key West to Marco Island, Florida, this spring with his wife and three children. “It was quiet and dry and a stress-free ride.”

Perih says he would have been unable to make the passage in his previous boat, a 2000 Carver 360 Mariner with an open flybridge helm. “We were taking waves over the bow, but it was no big deal with the coupe,” says Perih, who lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and keeps the boat at his Marco Island home.

The coupe bridges the gap between conventional open express cruisers and boats with flybridges, builders say. “The coupe is enclosed 100 percent, while the express pretty much remains open between the cockpit and foredeck,” says Cruisers Yachts director of marketing Matt VanGrunsven.

Perih exemplifies a boater who made the flybridge-to-coupe switch. Both designs may still rely on canvas and clear vinyl enclosures for wind and wave protection. “After 14 years of consistent boating [on the Mariner], you get tired of cleaning, repairing and replacing canvas and Isinglass,” says Perih, explaining his satisfaction with his doors.

The coupe emphasizes day boating, interaction and socializing. Builders are creating smaller galleys and staterooms, dedicating more space to the deckhouse and other areas that aren’t below deck. It’s there that these boats have the same comforts that were only seen below previously, such as air conditioning, galleys and big dining areas.

Today’s boaters want the ability to get out of the sun without feeling cut off from their surroundings, so ventilation and shade have become a driving force in the coupe design. The hardtop often extends beyond the deckhouse to cover a portion of the cockpit, where a retractable awning takes over.

Layouts offer wide-open spaces filled with seating and lounges that can be configured in virtually every imaginable way. Larger coupes can hold two staterooms and two full heads, while smaller models typically have one stateroom and a second berth under the bridge deck. Some have full galleys below, but we’re seeing more galley-up alternatives.

Powered with diesels or gas sterndrives, the coupe matches its sporty looks with serious speed (35 knots), especially in boats that exceed 50 feet.

We take a look at coupes from 36 to 47 feet from Bavaria, Monterey, Carver, Cruisers, Sea Ray and Tiara. Their contemporary looks may not please traditionalists, but these models do pack a lot of function behind their flash. As Perih says, “All you do is open the doors and go.”

Sea Ray 470 Sundancer

Sea Ray 470 Sundancer

The 470 Sundancer incorporates design changes that Sea Ray owners have asked for, including a flush deck, upsized electric-powered sunroof, a large windshield and side windows, and glass doors that enclose the deckhouse, says Ron Berman, vice president of product engineering.

A dual-level atrium connects the upper and lower saloon areas, pulling light into both spaces. “When boaters are below they want to still feel connected to the outside, and this atrium, which is also featured on the 510 Sundancer, allows us to achieve this.”

Compared to the previous 470 Sundancer, this model has a 50 percent larger aft stateroom, with a queen berth and larger hull-side windows. Plus, the sunroof is 40 percent larger.

The builder has increased natural light inside all of the enclosed living spaces, calling the effort its “SkyFlow” design. The deckhouse’s three sliding doors can be stacked up to the port side for a double-door opening or maneuvered for a single center walkthrough. A SureShade powered awning to cover the cockpit is an option.

The 470 has two full staterooms below, with private heads, and a full galley. Twin 480-hp Cummins diesels coupled to Zeus pods power the 470, delivering cruising mileage numbers of 0.9 nmpg from 23 to 34 knots for a range of about 240 nautical miles. The boat also is available with V-drives.

LOA: 47 feet, 3 inches BEAM: 14 feet DRAFT: 4 feet, 3 inches (V drives), 4 feet (Zeus pods) FUEL: 350 gallons POWER: twin 480-hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels (Zeus), twin 526-hp Cummins QSB6.7 (V-drive) SPEED: 34 knots top, 23-28 knots cruise PRICE: $1.06 million (526-hp Cummins) $1.14 million (480-hp Cummins, Zeus) CONTACT: Sea Ray Boats, Knoxville, Tennessee, (865) 544-0600.

Cruisers 45 Cantius

Cruisers 45 Cantius

The 45 Cantius is the only coupe in this roundup with a hydraulic swim platform. It submerges 2 feet, making it ideal for swimming or launching and retrieving a tender. In the cockpit, the aft portion of the wraparound seating converts to a full sunpad or aft-facing lounge.

Step over a raised threshold to enter the deckhouse, with its portside galley-up. The companion and helm seating are raised, which enhances visibility. “We do want to go entirely without steps and [raised] thresholds on future models — the flush deck is what people want — but still provide those sightlines,” says director of marketing VanGrunsven.

The U-shaped galley is abaft the companion seating, with half of its counter directly forward of the deckhouse entryway, making the chef the center of attention.

The builder dedicates the layout below to a pair of full staterooms, each with its own head and separate shower. The aft stateroom has two berths — a master and a secondary that serves as a seating area, too. The forward stateroom is plenty big, with an island berth.

Cruisers powers all of its boats 40 feet and larger with Volvo Penta IPS pod drives. IPS500s or IPS600s are available with the 45 Cantius. The boat gets about 0.85 nmpg at 22 to 26 knots for a range of about 275 nautical miles.

LOA: 45 feet BEAM: 14 feet, 6 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 5 inches FUEL: 362 gallons POWER: twin Volvo Penta IPS500s (375 hp), IPS600s (435 hp) SPEED: 27 knots top, 23 knots cruise (IPS 500); 30 knots top, 26 knots cruise (IPS600) PRICE: $908,520 (IPS500), $955,350 (IPS600) CONTACT: Cruisers Yachts, Oconto, Wisconsin, (920) 834-2211.

Bavaria 360 SC

Bavaria 360 SC

The German-built Bavaria 360 Sport Coupe is the smallest coupe in our roundup that has a fully enclosed deckhouse, with its three-section doors separating bridge deck and cockpit. “It takes 60 seconds to open the three folding deckhouse doors, the side windows and the sunroof to become a superb dayboat,” says Dirk Boehmer, national sales director for Bavaria’s U.S. division.

Even at 36 feet, this coupe has two separate staterooms — a master forward and a full-beam stateroom aft. Between the two, the builder has neatly placed a full galley, dinette table and settee, and a head with a separate shower.

A high level of workmanship is evident in the teak cabinetry below, the teak accents at the helm and companion stations, and the deckhouse doors, says Boehmer. “The woodwork manufacturing process is automated to produce yacht-like joinery and finishes that are accurate to the last millimeter,” he says.

The starboard helm and double companion seats, dinette, wet bar with refrigerator and a grill are all on the Bavaria’s bridge deck, which is flush with the cockpit. The fiberglass sunroof slides aft to create an 8-by-3.5-foot opening.

Diesel sterndrives provide the standard power on the Bavaria 360, and gas sterndrives are optional. Cruising at 22 knots with standard diesel power, the boat gets 1.3 nmpg.

It will be on display at the fall shows in Newport, Rhode Island; Annapolis, Maryland; and Norwalk, Connecticut.

LOA: 38 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 11 feet, 9 inches DRAFT: 2 feet, 3 inches (drives up); 3 feet, 9 inches (drives down) FUEL: 137 gallons STANDARD POWER: twin Volvo Penta D3 220-hp 3-cylinder diesel sterndrives SPEED: 29 knots top, 22 knots cruise PRICE: $422,767 (includes East Coast delivery) CONTACT: Bavaria Yachts, Dania Beach, Florida, (954) 639-7976.

Monterey 360 SC

Monterey 360 SC

Safe passage from the swim platform to the bow was a priority when Monterey designed the 360 SC coupe. “With families, children will likely walk fore and aft quite a bit, going from the bow sunpads to the swim platform, so a single flush deck was crucial,” says Mark Owens, vice president of design and engineering.

The center portion of the windshield retracts into the hardtop to allow access to the bow area, an impressive feature (patented by Monterey). The sliding centerline companionway door has molded steps with non-skid for an easy and safe transition to the bow.

The deckhouse’s aerodynamic design rivals that of a sports car, with virtually no visible transitions as the surfaces change from glass to fiberglass. The versatile seating lets you face forward or aft in the helm and companion seats. Monterey has also built in a wet bar on the starboard side, and there’s a removable table that can be mounted at the L-shaped lounge for cockpit lunches or drinks.

“We don’t see people sleeping on their boats like they used to, and if they do they are likely in a 50-footer,” says Owens.

The 360 SC caters to day boating, but there is no lack of amenities below. You’ll find a V-berth that converts to a dinette area, a full galley to starboard and an enclosed head with shower. There’s also a twin berth aft and a standard central vacuum. Although there is no hard aft deckhouse enclosure, this area can be closed off with canvas.

At 30 mph, the boat gets 1 mpg for a range of 225 miles with twin 380-hp engines.

LOA: 37 feet, 10 inches BEAM: 11 feet, 11 inches DRAFT: 2 feet, 3 inches (drives up), 3 feet, 6 inches (drives down) FUEL: 250 gallons POWER: twin Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrives from 320 to 430 hp SPEED: 41 mph top, 32 mph cruise (320-hp MercCruiser/Volvo), 46 mph top, 32 cruise (380-hp MerCruiser/Volvo) PRICE: $375,357 (320-hp MerCruiser) CONTACT: Monterey Boats, Williston, Florida, (352) 528-2628.

Carver C43

The Wisconsin builder’s Marquis brand brings more luxury to its vessels, but the Carver C43 delivers function without sacrificing comfort, says Carver Yachts vice president of design and engineering Josh Delforge.

The C43 easily transforms from an enclosed, air-conditioned all-weather vessel to an open, single-deck dayboat, says Delforge. “You can sit in the [upper] saloon or stand in the galley and still feel like you’re outside,” he says.

An electric-powered glass sunroof retracts inside the hardtop, and the large side windows open manually. And as with most of the other coupes in this group, there are glass doors that open to the cockpit and swim platform.

To maintain the flush deck, the cockpit and deckhouse soles are raised, which created additional space, including dry storage below the galley. Many boaters want more conveniences on deck and fewer below, so the C43 has a galley-up on the port side with a two-burner stove, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, icemaker and a dinette area for six.

Below, the master stateroom is forward, with a private head, an island berth and an opening overhead hatch (with emergency ladder). A guest stateroom with twin berths and a day head are on the port side. There’s plenty of headroom below, as well — 6 feet, 4 inches.

At 27 knots, the boat gets 0.84 nmpg for a range of 265 nautical miles using 90 percent of its fuel capacity. n

LOA: 42 feet BEAM: 13 feet, 10 inches DRAFT: 3 feet, 7 inches FUEL: 350 gallons POWER: twin 380-hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels SPEED: 33 knots top, 30 knots cruise PRICE: $571,650 CONTACT: Carver Yachts, Pulaski, Wisconsin, (920) 822-8686.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.