Let’s take a look at the engine room first,” I suggested, shortly after coming aboard the new Cantius 46 from Cruisers Yachts. Over the years, I’ve decided there’s no better way to gauge a boatbuilder’s commitment to quality control than to give the machinery spaces a close inspection. As soon as I’d dropped through a cockpit hatch into the ER, I spotted a matched set of distinctively green, 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 diesels close-coupled to IPS units. Not a giant surprise, of course. If an American builder wants to offer joystick-enabled pod propulsion in a mid-range express these days, the big dog is Sweden’s Volvo Penta.
Access to the mechanicals was excellent, not only to the dipsticks and fuel and oil filters but to the boat’s Duracell maintenance-free batteries, her Bennett trim tab pump, her large-capacity Fireboy GA auto/manual fire-extinguishing system and her 13.5-kW Cummins Onan genset. I made a few measurements. Between the mains, the span was over 3 feet—easily the widest engine-room walkway I’ve seen on a mid-size cruiser in years. Clearances forward and aft of the engines were equally generous and the passages outboard were at least 2 feet wide. And while the stoop headroom was just 5 feet, 6 inches, I had no trouble getting around.
Ultimately, though, it was the smaller details that were most impressive. The labeled, spiral-wrapped electrical harnesses on the forward firewall had obviously been custom-made by Cruisers—there were no sags and no extra wires balled up and hidden away. And all electrics were daisy-chained with top-notch AMP connectors. Then there were the beefy bronze sea strainers for the mains, the air-conditioning system and the genset—each one bore an august, tried-and-true brand name.
Going topside, I found the layout of the salon to be quite conventional, with an L-shaped galley at the rear, a starboard helm station forward (with two Garmin MFDs, an extra-wide helmseat and both binnacle and joystick engine controls) and two long, opposing lounges. The lounge to port was two steps higher than the starboard one, and so offered loftier sightlines but also restricted headroom. The belowdecks spaces seemed conventional too, with a large master aft, a VIP forward and two en suite heads in between, each with its own shower stall.
I sea trialed our 46 on Old Tampa Bay with a wicked north wind hammering an incoming tide. Although the shoreside waters were skinny at the time, our skipper easily extricated the boat from her slip, while dealing with broadside zephyrs and a ripping current. Conditions in open water were equally challenging. Speed runs southbound, with the steep, short 4- to 6-footers behind us, were exhilarating. But charging back north, with very little flare in the bow to subdue spray, certainly gave our big, Roca pantograph windshield wipers a workout.
The average top end I recorded was a sporty 30.9 knots. Tracking seemed good, both up sea and down. Turns were broad and running attitudes maxed out at 6 degrees—fairly high for a planing boat—possibly because we had no trim-tab indicators at the helm, an issue the Cruisers folks said they’ll address in the future. Without indicators, it was tough to tell whether our tabs were giving us full travel or not.
Back dockside after our sea trial, I spent a few moments taking stock of our Cantius 46 from Cruisers. Comfortable, speedy and easy to handle in close quarters—yup, she’s all those things and sweetly engineered and outfitted too. —Capt. Bill Pike
Displ.: 37,000 lbs.
Fuel: 360 gal.
Water: 100 gal.
Test Power: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta D6-IPS600s
Price: $1.1 million
Cruise Speed: 23 knots
Top Speed: 30 knots