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Cruisers Yachts 328 SS Running

By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

I have had the pleasure of going through the Cruiser's Yachts design department in Oconto, Wisconsin on more than one occasion as I travelled there to review newly released designs. They are creative bunch!

The company seems to really have its finger on the pulse of the changing boating tastes and yet their 328 SS model really took me by surprise. Cruisers Yachts calls this a Sport Series yacht. You might also call it a day boat with overnight accommodations, but it seems that many buyers are calling it their get away machine. 

Testimony to the originality of the design, after the debut of the 328 SS at Fort Lauderdale in late 2013, the American boating press gave the 328 Sport Series their coveted Boat of the Year award for 2013. Editors named the 328 SS "Boat of the Year" after reviewing performance data and commentary from the magazine's Tech Team. In all, that group assessed approximately 100 vessels between 30 and 70 feet. Each test considers a boat's construction, design, styling, performance, and adherence to the standards set by the American Boat and Yacht Council. Boats in contention must also meet the demands of the mission for boats in their category. The 328 SS was chosen because it led all others in innovation and excellence in a brand-new boat category.

Cruisers Yachts 328 SS microwaveAfter 18 months or so, this pioneering design has now been widely followed and the 328 SS has proven performance in the marketplace. It's a strong seller and also delivers strong performance on the water. That’s clearly part of the attraction.

John Armstrong was our test pilot and he was wowed by the new MerCruiser 8.2 litre big block stern drives. The 328 SS is fairly light at 11,000 lbs for a boat that's nearly 33 feet in length overall on a 10'10" beam, but it’s still a lot of boat. No problem for the new Mercury engines. 

It planed off in under 10 seconds, much like a much smaller runabout and then hustled on up to a breath-taking top end of over 56 mph. It’s such a big boat that the speed is not uncomfortable but the 328 SS gets from A to B in record time. It has the acceleration to pull a skier or wakeboarder and you could certainly wake surf behind it too!


The runabout comparisons don’t stop there either. John discovered that this hull with the MerCruiser Bravo 3 drives could carve a tight high-speed turn effortlessly and then at dockside, the big 328 handles like a smaller boat again with the twin engines making it a breeze to back into the slip or into the fuel dock. And after all that speed and load-hauling muscle, the big MerCruisers do better than one mile per gallon at almost all sane cruising speeds. Cruisers Yachts has designed a real thoroughbred in the 328 SS.

Cruisers Yachts 328 SS Helm

The performance is a big part of the fun and all your friends can come along for the ride. The bow area delivers the wind in your hair thrill ride and it’s a big spacious area.  Wraparound seating with the option of a table that can be used upright or dropped down into a sun lounge position makes this space very versatile. 

The bow features its own private stereo system, a 48 quart removable cooler and a recessed trash can, plus big storage under the seats. The two table positions let you use the table to serve food and beverages, or you can drop it down, fill the space with cushions and create an even bigger lounge area. We like the convenience of the  hinged seat bases and Cruisers also recessed the anchor storage locker below deck.


Rather than a centre walk-through that would have compromised the cabin layout, the 328 SS has a port side passageway from the cockpit to the bow seating area. The benefits are not just extended interior space in the galley, cabin living area and head, it accommodates a three-section door to a mid-ship storage space for bigger items. 

The cabin area is quite surprising for a boat that looks fast just standing still. The lines are quite attractive and contemporary. The low sleek appearance masks the fact that the boat has a cabin below decks with six foot headroom and some unexpected amenities.

Cruisers Yachts 328 SS Bow

This cabin also serves a couple of very important purposes. The concept of a big day boat means that you're out onboard the boat all day, probably with a group of people. During the day, people are going to want to use the head, or to go below and get changed so the cabin is very useful.

Access is down a few teak trimmed steps and thanks to the port side walk-through, you enter the cabin at about the centreline with much of the space situated below the helm. The u-shaped seating layout includes a clever "magic" bed with a disappearing centre cushion that converts into a berth with ease. The AC/DC panel is conveniently located by the entrance, there is a built-in refrigerator, a trash can and an optional flat screen TV and microwave. Keeping it bright and comfortable, there is a window on the starboard side and a skylight above.

Most importantly, the 328 SS includes a full head compartment with five feet five inches of head room, a mirrored vanity, and storage above and below the vanity unit. Cruisers added even more comfort to the space by raising the toilet off of the floor and to wash off the sunscreen or salt water after swimming, the 328 SS has a full, curtained off shower area.

Above decks, an arch with Bimini is available to give some shade at the helm and over the main seating area and that’s just the start of the great features for entertaining family and friends.

The dashboard is truly the best in class. Carefully engineered and well balanced, Cruisers Yachts included space for a complete array of instruments, full electronic and navigational systems like a Raymarine E97 hybrid/touch screen and great ergonomics.

Cruisers Yachts 328 SS Speed

An optional wet bar is available with a sink and a refrigerator. The wet bar is mounted directly behind the helm seat.

Cruisers Yachts’ designers have created the largest sun lounge in the 32 bow rider segment. This unique lounging area expands 5' wide by 6'4" long and has four separate back positions. Boaters have the option to enjoy transom seating facing aft over the swim platform, face forward into the interior or lay it flat for a huge sun lounge equipped with a stereo remote and two speakers. 

To accommodate even more guests, there is L-shaped seating that runs portside all the way up to the companion seat with an incredibly large storage underneath.

For spirited running, the cockpit can seat four adults all facing forward. With a beam spanning 10' 6", Cruisers was able to include two double wide seats facing forward with flip up bolsters and arm rests plus, as an option, you can add swivel seat bases so both can be turned to face inward when moored. 

The full-width swim platform is where most people will want to sit though and there’s a four step stainless steel ladder when you want to dive in.

The unique features, handsome design and modern functionality of the 328 SS will ensure it continues to be a hot seller! 

 

Performance:

Engines: Twin MerCruiser 8.2L Mag H.O. ECT engines, 8.2 litre displacement, 380 hp each, V8 engines with Multi-Point Fuel Injection running Bravo Three drives.

RPM  Speed MPH

600 4.9

1,000 5.7

1,500 9.0

2,000 11.50

3,000 31.0

4,000 45.0

4,950 56.30

 

Specifications:

Length Overall including swim platform 32’11” / 9.98 m

Beam 10’10” / 3.3 m

Weight 11,000 lbs / 4,990 kg

Fuel Capacity 154 gal / 583 L

Base price with optional power: $277,370 US

 

Photo Captions:

Photo 1 - Cruisers Yachts 328 SS - Pioneering Design and Now, Proven Performance

Photo 2 - Extended interior space in the galley.

Photo 3 - The helm is like a high perfomance boat with great ergonomics and full instrumentation.

Photo 4 - The bow area is the breakthrough - huge space, cooler, storage, sound system and a convertible dining table.

Photo 5 - Speed is a big part of the equation - get there and back fast to maximize your fun times.