By Tom Thompson
Cruisers 3275 Express: Sea Trial
Cruisers 3275 Express: Welcome to the family room.
Express cruisers are among the most popular boat designs on the water. Almost every boat builder offers at least one — but sadly, many are little more than “me too” designs. Outside, they may look sleek, sassy and futuristic — but inside, they’re a throwback to the days of the caveman: dark, cramped and lacking in refinement.
Cruisers Yachts took a different approach to designing its new 3275 Express. The Oconto, Wisconsin-based boat builder is best known for its motoryachts and larger express cruisers in the 40 to 50 foot range. At this size, designers have a lot more space to work with. The challenge was to take this expertise and fit the same type of amenities into a 32 foot hull, yet provide ample elbowroom to keep boaters comfortable.
We think they pulled it off quite well.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
The exterior of the 3275 Express doesn’t give you any significant visual clues to how different the interior is from a typical express cruiser.
You may notice that the typically skinny walk-around decks along the sides — seemingly made for a sure-footed mountain goat with sea legs — are missing. But if the 3275 isn’t berthed next to another express cruiser, you might miss the fact that it’s a bit beamier than most.
When you step on board and glance around the cockpit, you’ll definitely start to sense that something is different.
To begin with, the helm seat is triple-wide. The control and instrumentation layout is ergonomically optimal, and there’s a large panel to the left for your own electronics.
The portion of the seat directly behind the tilt steering wheel adjusts fore and aft — and it has a flip-up bolster, so you can stand up and see the entire boat when you’re docking.
Stand and Deliver
Speaking of standing at the helm, the canvas top has 6 feet, 4 inches of headroom underneath it. The top is constructed of Sunbrella, backed with a Seamark coating to minimize leakage through seams.
The Bimini top, which attaches at the aft portion of the radar arch, also comes with a full set of side curtains: a standard feature. In keeping with the way Cruisers Yachts outfits its big boats, all canvas supports and fittings are stainless steel.
The cockpit area of the 3275 Express has a pair of facing bench seats that convert to a sunpad when the table between them is lowered. What’s unique about this table is that it is made in two sections. You can use one when serving drinks or snacks, then add the other when it’s time to put out a big meal. Each piece is made of lightweight fiberglass for easy handling and stowing, and drink holders are molded into each corner.
To service the dining area, a portside counter holds an optional ice-maker and has a storage locker for serving supplies.
Aft, the 3275′s standard swim platform is only about 2 feet wide at its widest point. That’s enough room for handling lines and hooking up to shore power connections, but not so much that it gives the look of a boat with the “tail wagging the dog.” An optional extension is available that takes it out another 2.5 feet, should you prefer a larger platform.
Access to the foredeck is through the windshield. There’s a wide walkway, serviced by two steps up from the helm — and it has a handrail to steady you.
The foredeck is as clean an area as you’ll find on any boat, from both aesthetic and practical standpoints. There are no protrusions or bumps to mar the boat’s lines — or snag mooring lines, for that matter.
All of the ground tackle is hidden away under a hatch at the bow. The anchor retracts into a chute that is below the plane of the deck. Even the boat’s dual horns are recessed in the sides of the bow.
For sun worshipers, a double pad fits flush on the deck, with only a slight protrusion for a molded-in headrest.
For Spacious Sighs
The inside story of the 3275 Express begins as you enter the companionway to the saloon. If you’re thinking that you’ll have to duck your head as you go down the steps, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Once inside, you’ll find there is full stand-up headroom — wherever you stand in the cabin. At the highest point it’s a generous 6 feet, 4 inches.
The layout is fairly standard for an express cruiser. There’s a forward berth; a galley with a dinette opposite it, amidships; and an aft seating/sleeping area. However, the proportions are what struck me as most attractive.
The first thing I noticed was the aft area — mainly because it wasn’t the typical “crawl space” found on many express cruisers. There’s a full-size settee here, of all things.
It’s one step down from the main level of the cabin, and it still has standing headroom. When you sit on the settee, you have almost a foot of headroom above you and plenty of elbowroom for three adults. It’s a great spot to watch the television that’s positioned on a shelf, just forward of the dinette.
It’s just like the comfortable couch in your family room at home. However, when night comes, the settee pulls out to become a full-size twin berth.
The dinette also converts to a single berth by lowering the table and adding a filler cushion. There’s carpeted storage under the seats.
A big, 6-foot-tall hanging locker is located between the dinette and the aft sitting/sleeping area. Opposite it, just abaft the galley, is a full fiberglass-lined stand-up head compartment.
The forward berth is another marvel of proportion. It’s a giant berth with an amazing 7 feet of length along the aft edge and 6 feet, 4 inches along the forward edge. Storage lockers and drawers surround it, so you can stow all of your stuff for an extended cruise.
The galley on the 3275 is equipped with all the basics needed for meal preparation aboard. There’s a larger-than-normal 3.2 cubic foot refrigerator with a separate freezer compartment, a microwave oven and a single burner stove — and all are standard. A coffeemaker is optional.
The galley’s stainless steel sink measures 15 inches in diameter and is 5 inches deep. You can actually wash an entire dinner plate in it, rather than just dipping and wiping.
The 3275′s cabin is illuminated by three overhead hatches, with frosted glass that diffuses light softly over the space. One is placed just above the galley countertop, and it fills the entire work area with natural light.
Power Choices Aplenty
Taking the 3275 Express out for a spin, I found it to handle quite well. It’s an agile boat that quickly gets on plane, with negligible bow rise.
Crossing wakes, the spray was completely deflected to the sides. The windshield hardly got a drop on it the entire time we were aboard.
Despite its small size, this was a very quiet-running boat. Even the sound of the air conditioner doesn’t intrude, thanks to ample soundproofing and the latest technology.
Cruisers Yachts offers a choice of eight different engine/drive packages, including twin gasoline and diesel powerplants from MerCruiser and Volvo Penta — ranging from 159 hp to 320 hp.
Our test boat had a pair of 270 hp Volvo Penta 5.0L GXi Duoprop stern drives. Although they are at the middle of the power scale in the offerings, they moved our test boat along very well — to a wide-open-throttle speed of 42.2 miles per hour. You can do the “more power” thing if you like, but you’ll give up a rather thrifty 19 gallons per hour fuel burn at cruising speed.
The 3275′s low- speed maneuvering is good, too. Despite some stiff cross winds and a running current, I was able to back it right into a slip on the second try — and without any dings!
If you’re looking for an express cruiser that’s big enough and comfortable enough to accommodate the whole family — with a price tag that’s small enough to make your accountant happy, too — Cruisers’ 3275 Express fits the bill very nicely, indeed.
Cruisers 3275 Express
|Dry weight||12,000 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||200 gallons|
|Water capacity||40 gallons|
|Price as tested with twin 270 hp Volvo Penta stern drives||$165,370|
|Top speed||42.2 mph|
|Miles per gallons at 3,800 rpm engine speed||1.48|
|Fuel cost for 100 miles||$73.65**|
|Range at 28 mph cruising speed||267 miles|
|Sound level at cruising speed||81 dbA|
(Fuel cost estimate based on a fuel price of $1.09 per gallon.)
Questions for Your Dealer
What are the sound system options?
What choices are available for the head? ?
Can incliners be substituted for the convertible settee? ?
Can the forward berth be set off with a bulkhead for privacy?
Air conditioning, full cockpit canvas with side curtains, AM/FM/CD stereo with remote, microwave oven, refrigerator/freezer, depth finder, spotlight.
Options on Test Boat
Television/VCR combo, 7.3 kw auxiliary generator, foredeck sunpad, windlass, cockpit ice-maker.
For more information