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Cruisers puts new 470 design to a vote

Cruisers Yachts has taken a fresh approach to the design of its new 470 Sports Coupe.

The boatbuilder turned to attendees and exhibitors at the Miami International Boat Show for input on the new model, allowing them to vote for one of four designs on display at the Cruisers booth.

"We had a 470 project that we had on track to introduce two years ago," says Jon Viestenz, new product and regional sales manager for the company. "But when the economy went downhill, the whole project was put on hold."

Oconto, Wis.-based Cruisers Yachts builds a line of 13 power cruisers from 30 to 56 feet, and Viestenz says the 460 Express - introduced five years ago - was showing its age. "People today want more amenities and more space to move around," he says. "That design simply didn't provide enough of that."

Viestenz says the four 470 Sports Coupe designs are very close, with slight variations in the lines and the shape of the windshield, but all feature more headroom and a sleeker look than the 460. "We had about 80 to 100 people polled, from retail customers to dealers," he says. "One of the designs on display was one we thought we were going to go with two years ago."

One of the design options featured narrower windows for an edgier look, but the public decided improved visibility trumps aesthetics. Voters also opted for a walkthrough windshield for easier access to the foredeck.

"We wanted to hear what people want," says Viestenz. "Then people's interests would help guide us, and that's what we wanted. I think we accomplished that."

Viestenz says the final design will not significantly change initial estimates for the overall cost of the project in terms of materials and labor. "We will have options for the vessel that people can add," he says. "For instance, some people told us they wanted a solid door separating the cockpit from the aft deck, while our original design didn't call for that." Other options include color themes for the interior, such as darker wood or fabrics.

Standard power for the 470 Sports Coupe is a diesel Volvo Penta IPS setup, with twin 600-hp IPS800 pod drives. Viestenz says Cruisers hopes to have a prototype for the 2011 model year by the end of July. The 460 Express will eventually be phased out, he says.

This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue.



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