Cruisers introduced the Cantius 48 Sports Coupe to the world a few short weeks ago, and henceforth, no one will ever be able to plausibly accuse this company of failing to innovate—period. This boat is so unique, so unusual, and so darn innovative that it’s likely to set trends in boat design that will last for the long term.
Why use such strong words? Because the Cantius held me rapt from the moment I first spotted it, at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. All other temptations within view—convertibles and cocktail bars, hotrods and hotdog stands, even bowriders and boat show bikini babes—faded into the periphery. The boat’s raised profile grabs the eye first; the one-piece cabin liner is raised across the engineroom and full-beam mid-cabin, providing 6’6” of headroom below. This elevated attitude transitions seamlessly into the aft cockpit, boosting the deck a foot or so higher than normal and eliminating the need for steps into the salon. Sit at the cushy transom seat (with room for six around the teak table, which drops down into a sunlounge), flip burgers at the port-side integrated grill, or fix a drink at the starboard-side icemaker. Then pop open the deck hatch to access the twin Volvo-Penta IPS drives, and you’ll discover an elbow-pleasing 44 inches of room between the powerplants.
Is there a down-side to raising the deck’s altitude? Sure: increased elevation results in a higher center of gravity and a resulting decrease in stability. In this case, I’m pretty darn sure the views and the headroom are worth the trade, and I certainly didn’t notice any lack of stability while onboard. Cruisers brought the COG back down to Earth by placing the 400 gallons of fuel capacity—weighing 2,800 pounds, fully loaded—under the mid-cabin sole. Centering all that weight down deep in the boat was yet another smart move.
The next eye-grabber on the Cantius is the fully enclosed upper salon and helmdeck, because the enclosure is essentially see-through. All four sides and most of the overhead is glass, 165 glorious square feet of it, with solid fiberglass only in the four corner supports and surrounding the gigantic sunroof. As a result, the interior of this boat is bathed in bright, beautiful sunlight.
Yes, you can find other boats with good natural lighting in the upper cabin, but the Cantius’ forward-thinking design really shines through when you walk down the stairs into the lower cabin. The entire area around the companionway stairs is open, leaving a big gap between the helm and the windshield. This allows that natural lighting to shine down into the lower cabin, too. In fact, it’s nearly as bright down there as it is on the helmdeck of most enclosed expresses. The effect is similar to that of cathedral ceilings in a house, and the open companionway also makes it possible for two people to hold a conversation between the two cabins without shouting or even losing eye contact.
This lower salon houses the galley to port, including an upright refrigerator/freezer, oven, stove top, microwave, and double-basin sink. On the starboard side there’s a four-seat dinette which pulls out to create an extra berth. (Just in case the queen berths in the two staterooms don’t already satisfy you and your crew.) The forward stateroom has a queen on a pedestal, and the mid-cabin master has a queen in the center and a vanity with sink and mirror on one side. Both of these staterooms have their own fully enclosed heads with showers. Both also have cabinets and drawers lining the sides, and recessed overhead lighting.
The interior throughout is finished in Wenge, a dark tropical wood which has a partridge pattern that glows under the varnished finish. The epic sunlight versus the dark finish sets off a visual conundrum throughout the boat, and every now and again you catch yourself noticing the bright darkness all over again.
There’s another thing you’re sure to notice on the Cantius: the performance of a boat designed exclusively for pod drives. Equipped with a pair of 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS600 diesels, Cruisers says they’ve managed to squeeze over 36-mph out of this 32,700-pound pleasure machine. And fuel economy hovers right around one mile per gallon, which is excellent for a boat of this size and weight. Added pod drive bonus: since the iron horses are under the cockpit, not under the helmdeck as they would be in most traditionally-designed expresses, both vibration and sound levels at the helm are minimal.
Pioneering boats like the this don’t come around very often, which is no wonder when you consider the fact that it took Cruisers two full years of development to create this Cantius. Unique? No doubt. Unusual? Yup. Innovative? You betcha. A trend-setter? Time will tell—but I know where the smart money’s going.