Captain's ReportBy Capt Rob SmithLearn about the back story of Cruisers Yachts here...
First, let me say that while Cruisers Yachts calls this boat their 330, she is in fact as large or larger than other boats on the market which are called 35-footers. Her actual LOA is 35' 6'' (10.9 m), her beam is 11' 8'' (3.58 m), and her displacement is 16,500 lb. (7,500 kg.). Like all boats from this builder, the 330 is a "yacht", not a blown up sportboat.
The 330 Express meets the needs of the family ready for more cruising. Most buyers stepping up to the 330 are experienced with smaller boats and want room to start entertaining and to feel at home for an overnight or two without thinking they are using a pop-up Coleman camper. Cruisers Yachts' designers have done a fine job of opening up space, adding a big boat feel and piling in the big boat amenities and options. You will feel at home racing across the water, relaxing off the swim platform watching the sun set or pulling up to the local tiki bar and restaurant for dinner. Most important the Cruisers Yachts 330, and the whole Cruisers line for that matter, is designed for people who want a "yacht" instead of a boat that looks like a plastic fantastic.
Construction & Power
What really sets Cruisers 330 Express apart from her dozen North American competitors is that the builder insists on carrying the high quality theme from the smallest boat in its line, a 30-footer, to the largest, a 56. In fact most of the components and equipment are interchangeable from the 330 to the 560. For example, the steering wheel on the 30-footer is the same as the one on the 560. That is something that few builders do, simply because it makes the smaller boats more costly. Cruisers has consistently delivered exceptional joinery, top-shelf equipment and the latest technology and the 330 Express is no different. Case in point: Our test boat was powered with the optional Volvo Penta 8.1Gi sterndrives with joystick. While everyone else fawns over the pod drives and cowers at the expense, the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick system makes docking almost as easy as it is with pod drives -- but for a lot less money!
When entertaining, most everyone will be topside. Cruisers uses an open design to maximize the space available. Whether they relax and enjoy the beam- width swim platform, large C-shaped aft seating or the port side lounger up front, everyone can find their own place to hang out at anchor. If you really want to do a lot of entertaining, opt for the refrigerator or ice maker in the port wet bar.When it is time to grab lines and fenders, you don’t have to worry about anyone going over the end of the swim platform opening the stern trunk. Cruisers has designed the aft section of the bench to open into the trunk so your crew can stay safely in the cockpit until you ease up to the slip or dock.When taking a peek at the engine and drive system, we noted how conveniently the hatch comes up well out of the way. This makes it easy to enter the engine spaces to check your fluids.
Hard or Soft Top
We have tried both the standard canvas and isinglass enclosure and the optional hard top enclosure. If you want the most comfort, least hassle and better resale value, the hardtop is definitely the way to go. But we spent a great deal of time looking over the canvas system the last time we checked this boat out and you really can’t lose if you like canvas and want to save the extra money for other options.
You may not be on the Starship Enterprise, but the helm does offer the same futuristic appeal and room for many electronics and touch screens of your choosing. Ergonomically designed and clearly visible in daylight, well lit at night, these touch screens are the latest in dashboard electronic navigational features. The addition of the joystick controls to the right of the wheel not only add to the next generation feel, it makes you look like the pro you are as you slide up to the docks while everyone wonders why you weren’t throwing dock lines and orders at them and your crew.
Below Decks Accommodations
When you want to get away from it all, you will find a comfortable, open space below. Cruisers does a very good job of using open design to make a 35’ long boat feel like 40’. The galley and dinette are center with a queen sized island berth forward and the head and a spacious seating pit abaft and under the cockpit. Rather than position the television in a bulkhead which would be mainly visible in one area, the designers built it into the face of a galley cabinet that swings out to face the forward cabin or remain closed for viewing from the sofa, berth or seating pit. Another flag that this is not your typical express is the 16,000-btu A/C unit that is standard on this model. The air handler is under the hanging closet across from the head so if you are sleeping forward, you don’t have to listen to the "whoosh" of air. If you just want the cool tropical breezes, the companionway entry also has a screen to keep the bugs out and let the breezes in. The galley has a standard microwave (1.2 cu. ft.) and you can keep the food cold with the 4.3 cu. ft. Nova Kool refrigerator/freezer.
Handling and Performance
We tested the 330 Express on a blustery day on Lake Michigan near Green Bay, Wisconsin. Putting the joystick in action immediately to hold station while the crew pulled the last lines proved another benefit of joystick operation. Not only can you slide effortlessly into a slip, you can keep the boat in place in windy conditions while the lines are handled. You can also hold position while waiting for the ready signal from a skier behind you.The day’s weather included a steady breeze of 11 mph and gusts to 17 and waves in the 1-2 foot range. The 330 hardly noticed them. In head seas, beam seas, quartering seas and following seas, the reaction was the same – steady on course. Even when underway, I could let the wheel go and she would hold a steady course. She easily sliced through the waves and wakes we crossed without crashing and jarring fillings. No stressing noises or creaking was heard.Bow rise on a full power startup was about 14 degrees and the horizon remained visible from my standing position. Time to plane averaged 6.7 seconds and time to 30 mph averaged 10.5 seconds. Hard-over turns were without cavitation or ventilation and were smooth and safe. It takes a little more room to turn to starboard than port.We recorded a WOT top speed of 48.9 mph at 4700 rpm while a comfortable and economical cruising speed of 33.3 mph at 3500 rpm getting 1.11 mpg and a range of 231 statute miles.
The Cruisers Yachts 330 Express is a nice step up for most people from smaller express cruisers or even sportboats. The experienced eye will immediately pick up on the lavish use of wood and designer fabrics that are simply not found on lesser brands. The 330 Express handles well, especially with the joystick operation. We have tested this model with both the standard sterndrives and the joystick and you can’t go wrong with either. I think the openness of her design is one of the 330's best features. For a 35 foot yacht, you have the feel of something much larger. If you are ready to move from a production boat to a larger, more refined yacht, then I think the Cruisers Yachts 330 should be on your list of boats to see.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Cruisers Yachts 330 Express (2011-) is 48.9 mph (78.7 kph), burning 64.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 242.24 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Cruisers Yachts 330 Express (2011-) is 33.3 mph (53.6 kph), and the boat gets 1.11 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.47 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 231 miles (371.76 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 375-hp Volvo Penta T-8.1 Gi Gas DP.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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