Schaefer 400 profile 400Bring the beach!

By Andy Adams

Considering the features and amenities that today’s power yacht buyers are looking for, we think the Schaefer 400 represents an impressive choice. It’s a stylish 40-foot express hardtop yacht, featuring a simply huge swim platform, sweeping lines and a host of appealing features.

The Schaefer 400 has a very nice Master’s cabin forward, versatile VIP aft cabin athwartship's, two fully enclosed heads and a salon equipped for comfortable dining for two couples, an audio/video entertainment system and more.

Recently, day boating has become the big design driver in power yachts up to the 40-foot range and even above, but we applaud Schaefer for designing the 400 with cabin accommodations for cruising and living aboard. The party can continue after sundown aboard the 400.

Schaefer 400 Swim PlatformApproaching from the dock, the first thing that you will discover on the Schaefer 400 is the huge swim platform and continuous seating area in the cockpit. It’s like you can bring the beach with you! The swim platform is equipped with a hydraulic lift system that's surprisingly quick. Schaefer has used massive stainless-steel hardware and there is an alarm that sounds a warning when the platform is being raised or lowered. We loved the built-in, self-deploying teak steps that fold out automatically as the platform is lowered, making it easy for someone to step back into the cockpit while others continue to use the swim platform for swimming.

The glorious Brazilian teak decking enhances the aft deck and swim platform living area.

There's a swim ladder under a hardcover and I noted that it was accessible from the water which is an important safety feature. For those days when the summer sun is more than you want, a full-width awning can be deployed using a manual crank system. It's simple and foolproof. An electric version is optional.

Schaefer 400 helm 400Another aspect of the huge swim platform is that it's rated to lift up to 500 kilograms so you could easily carry a personal watercraft or a dinghy. This swim platform is really your teak beach for the summer.

With the tilt wheel. Foot rest and flip-up seat bolster, the helm is very accommodating and has room for two.

Across the transom is a refreshment centre that includes a lid with a stainless-steel backsplash over top of a Kenyon electric barbecue grill and with a sink beside that. I'm pleased to see that this has a stainless-steel railing where you can brace yourself and there is generous storage underneath and a fire extinguisher as well. The steps up from the cockpit to the side decking have LED Footlights and they are capped with beautiful Brazilian teak decking. In fact, the test boat featured teak all the way through the cockpit – very handsome and lovely to walk on.

For access to the bow, or for docking, there are side decks on port and starboard that are more than 6 inches wide at a minimum for sure footing. There are bow rails all around plus, handrails on the cabin trunk.

Schaefer 400 adjustable cockpit 400Cockpit features

The circular layout is delightful and inviting. A versatile h/lo table that hinges in half, has stainless steel rails and a wide range of adjustments so that it can accommodate your needs including outdoor dining. This part of the boat is very nicely laid out and we estimate up to 10 people could gather and talk. Schaefer has included a cavernous icebox that we're told can carry three cases of 24 and three bags of ice! It's properly drained for your convenience.

The circular seating arrangement and adjustable cockpit table along with the refreshment centre in the foreground give the Schaefer 400 outdoor accommodations like many dayboats yet it still has sleeping cabins and two heads!

Opposite, in the helm seat base, is a glasses cabinet and there are fiddles and drink holders to ward off spills and to keep small items secure.

Schaefer has included an engine inspection hatch in the floor by the cockpit table. For full engine access, there's an electric lift for the aft bench seat revealing the twin Volvo Penta 380 V8 engines. We noted that it only took 30 seconds to close this cover and the sound deadening was quite effective. The engines were very quiet with the cover closed.

Schaefer 400 refreshment centreHelm

The Schaefer 400 has styling that promises performance and we think that merits an excellent helm design. In this case, the helm is raised for good outward vision and with the generous electric sunroof open, the boat feels really airy and fresh. Open it a little, a little more, or all the way.

With the cover and backsplash open, you can see the Kenyon electric grill and sink in the refreshment centre. We appreciate the rail and the abundant storage in the base. Note the transom shower in the lower right corner.

We also liked the double size helm seat with a flip-up bolster to sit/stand higher, an angled footrest plus, a leather-wrapped Isotta tilting steering wheel to make any captain comfortable. The helm lies over the entrance to the second head and VIP cabin. This puts the driving position closer to the centreline which we like for driving and docking. It also means there's a lot of dashtop space for loose items or where you could lay out charts or a Ports cruising guidebook. The dash top is finished in French-stitched gray leather panels to minimize glare; very handsome.

Our test boat was equipped with a 12-inch Garmin MFD as part of the Volvo Penta Glass Helm package. It displays all switching, engine and navigation functions in one place. The test boat also had the Volvo EVC Joystick system to simplify docking. This sets the boat up with almost all the parts you need to add autohelm for very little additional money – a great deal for cruisers.

The Joystick docking control is on the top of the dashboard near the main engine controls and relatively few switches are needed to control the electric anchor windlass, the interior lighting and other features.

Opposite the helm is a rear-facing companion lounge seat for sunning and conversation with the captain; another very nice feature.

Schaefer 400 dinette 400Cabin space

While the Schaefer 400 layout really supports the dayboat lifestyle, the amenities below decks make this a very versatile and comfortable cruiser. The salon is down four steps and immediately to port is a complete galley including an Isotherm refrigerator, Philco microwave and a Kenyon 2 burner cook-top. The round sink by Franke is a useful size and there's a covered trash locker in the countertop. We appreciated the three drawers and the Silestone counters that have fiddles to keep things from landing on the floor.

Located on the starboard side of the salon, the dinette offers space for four or more, storage under the seats and in the overhead lockers as well as hull side windows and an opening porthole too.

Storage lockers below the counter are joined by an overhead locker and then a fitted cabinet on the centreline for glasses and dishes.

This cabinet also houses the audio/video systems with a big Samsung TV that is well-located for enjoyable viewing. The main electrical panel is also here.

On the starboard side of the salon is an L-shaped dinette with table, overhead opening hatch and more hull side glazing. The settee could seat four or more people around the table.

Schaefer 400 galley 400A big feature of the Schaefer 400 is that it includes two heads; one in the salon ahead of the galley which is also accessible to the Master cabin. This head has a Jabsco toilet as a wet head in the shower stall. Schaefer has included a bowl-style sink, mirrored medicine cabinet a two-door locker and drawer under the sink, an opening overhead hatch plus windows in the hull side to make this very bright and nice.

In the foreground is the big Samsung TV and the audio/video equipment that is easily visible from the dinette and from the Master (with the door open). The nicely-equipped galley is on the port side.

The forward master also enjoys a sweep of glass in the hull side plus port and starboard opening portholes and a big overhead deck hatch. There are port and starboard hanging lockers, plus an overhead storage area with four lockers in the centre. The test boat was finished in off-white plush carpeting.

We were impressed that the VIP aft cabin has a second head. It's a wet head/shower with another Jabsco toilet, bowl sink and includes an opening porthole.

You can set up the VIP cabin as a conversation area and although the headroom is relatively restricted, cushions are removable for a foot-well or, fill them in and have a double sleeping area that includes cross ventilation through two opening portholes. This cabin also has two lockers in the side and storage under the bunks.

Schaefer 400 master cabin 400Our test boat included dual air conditioning systems for a separate A/C forward as well as vents at the helm for comfort. Powering this was a 7.5 kW Cummins generator and other items in the equipment inventory include a Fireboy system, Fusion stereo, the large screen Samsung TV in the salon and the boat is already wired for Wi-Fi.

The Master cabin features opening port holes for flow-through ventilation, a big overhead deck hatch, overhead lockers and two hanging closets as well.

Performance

The twin Volvo Penta 380 EVC stern drives are smooth, quiet and powerful, plus they don’t interfere with the great teak swim platform and living area aft. The Joystick docking was effective and at all speeds up to WOT doing 6,000 rpm and almost 38 mph. The best cruise without tabbing down hard is about 4,500 rpm at 25.6 mph depending on the load. Acceleration is fully up to towing watersports toys or planning off a big load of guests and the ride and handling are comfortable and reassuring.

Schaefer 400 head 400Schaefer is a big builder in Brazil exporting yachts globally, from their 303 model at about 32 feet up to their 25M model at 83 feet and construction is vacuum infusion process.

The head off the Master has an enclosed shower shared with the toilet.

With designs like the Schaefer 400, we expect to see a lot more Schaefer yachts in Canada in the coming years!

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINES: Standard with twin Volvo Penta V8-380HP EVC DPS Gas, joystick docking

Performance

RPM SPEED MPH

1000 5.2

1500 7.1

2000 8.6

2500 9.9

3000 10.9

3500 13.7

4000 18.9

4500 25.8

5000 30.8

5500 34.5

6000 37.8


Length OA: 40’2” / 12.25m with integral swim platform
Beam: 12'8" / 3.88m
Dry weight: 20,944 lbs / 9,500 kg
Fuel capacity: 211 gal / 800 L

Price: Starting at $499,000 USD for 2023 model

Test boat and price provided by: Yacht Solutions, https://theyachtsolution.com/

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