POWER-Cruiser520SC250The 520 Sports Coupe cockpit is almost entirely covered by a hard fiberglass roof with glass windows and a power sunroof to deliver an open-air feeling. The evolution in express cruiser thinking has expanded the cockpit (which is really the primary living area) with an open aft end and little in the way of canvas to zip off in order to get going.

In today's world, the often dual-income couples who buy a boat like this want to get going quickly. Spending half an hour zipping off and stowing big sheets of canvas is not time well spent. With the 520 Sports Coupe, you step onboard, open the sunroof, a section of the windshield, open the side glass, then as you warm up the engines, get ready to cast off.

Another important benefit of the coupe design is the full bridge heat and air conditioning. Extend the seasons and be comfortable every day. That is the idea.

Another recent development that makes a boat like this possible was the introduction of pod drive systems; in this case, triple Volvo Penta IPS 600 engines, each producing 435 hp. The electronically controlled, six-cylinder Volvo diesel engines sit level in the bottom of the boat for maximum efficiency and they are placed well aft near the transom. This leaves more interior space for the aft master stateroom. Rather than driving a long shaft and propeller under the boat, the IPS pod drives mount on the running surface of the hull and have electronic steering and forward facing counter rotating prop sets.

In total, three engines of 435 hp each driving a total of six propellers for simply astonishing grip on the water. The result: at 3,600 rpm, with an “as tested” weight of 44,506 pounds, we hit 40.5 mph. Zero to planing speed is a mere 7 seconds. It accelerates like a ski boat. Optimum cruising speed is 3,200 rpm with the boat doing over 33 mph. At any speed, you can crank the wheel hard over and the Cruisers 520 tracks around with a sporty feel and soft dry ride.

The great impression starts the second you step onboard. First, the swim platform is a very substantial size – big enough to carry a dinghy or with room for a whole gang of people to go swimming. Treat it like a patio. Stand out there as darkness falls; put on the optional underwater lighting and the 520 turns your mooring into a huge aquarium.

Other features at the transom include cable retractors, hand-held shower and an aft-facing rumble seat built into the transom so you can watch the kids swimming. There are both port and starboard transom walk-throughs with small doors.

One of the cleverest features involves the aft settee. The curved bench across the transom slides on a track to connect to another section of seating stretching forward. With its elegant, high-gloss cocktail table, this makes a large dining area. Also, the high/low table folds down and filler cushions convert this into a giant sun lounge, sheltered from the winds by the hardtop.

Then, on the starboard side, Cruisers has equipped the 520 Coupe with what amounts to a complete second galley. It has a grill, refrigerator, icemaker, bottle storage and even an optional 26-inch LCD TV that lifts into view. Although it has no sink, there is counter space for food prep and we expect many families will enjoy most of their meals here.

The engines are under the cockpit sole and access is very good. You would have no problem servicing these engines or maintaining the systems. It's not a cramped or a hostile environment.

From the cockpit, it's up a couple of steps to the helm under the power sunroof, with an angled footrest, tilt steering wheel, binnacle mounted controls and a symmetrical instrument layout. Our test boat had the Volvo Penta engine data panel mounted directly ahead and with the compass ahead of that again making it very convenient to monitor the vital systems and steer a course as you go. On either side are Raymarine E120 display screens for all of your navigation information. To port, closer to the companionway are the VHF radio and autopilot systems as well as rocker switches and other frequently used controls. On the opposite side is the IPS joystick control for low-speed maneuvering. The system makes docking in tight quarters an absolute breeze.

There is a companion seat and Cruisers has a windshield walkthrough with handrail and steps, making it significantly safer and more convenient to go forward, even when underway, to enjoy the foredeck chaise lounge and sun pads or to reach the anchor locker.

Things are equally impressive below decks. The companionway stairs lead down to the salon with a large wraparound settee, two pedestal-mounted cocktail tables and center section recliners with swing-out foot rests. Directly across the salon is the 32-inch LCD television mounted in the galley area.

The galley is spacious and as well equipped as you would expect in a 52-footer; it has elegant features like a lighted bottle rack and matching veneer cabinets in American cherrywood to give it a rich look and feel.

There is a comfortable and well-equipped head off the salon with a full shower stall; ahead of that is the forward vee berth. This feels spacious, has three drawers under the queen-size berth, a generous hanging locker, separate door into the head and a big hatch overhead as well as to opening port holes on either side.

The aft cabin is done as a full beam master stateroom with two hanging lockers, built-in dressers, three large opening port holes per side from light and ventilation and there is a master head with convenient separate shower stall. All of the heads boast elegant, bowl-type sinks that make the best use of the available counter space as well.

Throughout, this is a beautifully finished and elegant boat but the innovative cockpit layout and amazing performance for a 52-footer is what really sets the Cruisers Sport Coupe apart.

PERFORMANCE

TEST BOAT ENGINES

Triple Volvo Penta IPS 600 EVC/EC diesels, 435 hp each, 336 ci/5.5 liters, electronically controlled turbo diesels, pod drives with counter-rotating prop sets.

ENGINE (RPM)            SPEED (MPH)

Idle 600            6.6

1,000            7.5

1,500            10.7

2,000            13.2

2,600            21.8

2,800            26.0

3,000            30.1

3,200            33.4*

3,400            37.0

3,500            39.5

3,600            40.55

* Cruising speed

Performance data supplied by Cruisers Yachts

SPECIFICATIONS

LENGTH OA 52’3”/15.9 m
(with swim platform)

BEAM 15’6”/4.7 m

WEIGHT 42,000 lbs./19,051 kg

FUEL CAPACITY 500 gal./1,893 L

WATER 150 gal./568 L

HOLDING TANK 75 gal./284 L

PRICE (as tested, base, etc.)            $1,000,000.00 US

Test boat provided by Cruisers Yachts

www.cruisersyachts.com

To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com to check listings!

By Andy Adams

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Grady White Freedom 235 Dual ConsoleBy Jill Snider

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