Our resident used boat expert Nick Burnham picks out 4 of the best 45ft sportscruisers available on the secondhand market.
Boat buying is the world’s greatest compromise. Beyond the great size/age/price triumvirate, you can begin drilling down to engines (single or twin, petrol or diesel), specification (is a boat with a generator and air conditioning really worth that much more?) and condition (it’s tatty, but it’s cheap!).
And then there is whether to opt for a flybridge cruiser and trade increased accommodation for ‘pipe smoker’ looks, or go for a heart over head decision of a sportscruiser for its looks and performance but often at the expense of ultimate space. Thankfully, a 45ft sportscruiser allows you to have it all as it offers sleek looks but still has plenty of room inside. Like these…
Beneteau’s GT46 has its roots in the Monte Carlo 42 of 2009. That boat made way for the Gran Turismo 44 and it’s a refinement of that boat that you see here in the form of the Gran Turismo 46, launched in 2016.
There are a few interesting details to the lower deck. For a start, it could be ordered with either a two or three cabin layout, the latter swapping the dinette opposite the galley for a third cabin with twin bunks.
Up forward, the VIP in the bow could have scissor beds that swap between two singles in a vee configuration to a centreline double. And all models got a full-beam master cabin aft. There’s standing headroom as you go in that drops across the bed and the floor is multi-level but it makes for a nice cabin for a mid-40ft sportscruiser.
Up on the main deck it gets very clever. The cockpit has a hard top with a solid sliding roof but an intriguing option (that this boat has) is bi-fold glass doors that turn three-quarters of the cockpit into an effective deck saloon. This boat has the (£8,000!) reclining cockpit seat option, and relocating the outdoor grill to the bathing platform frees up more cockpit space.
Beneteau offered this boat with either sterndrive or IPS engines. We tested the boat with the same twin D6-370 370hp diesel engines that this boat has and achieved about 32 knots, lightly loaded and with a clean hull.
The GT46 glides along on Beneteau’s Air Step hull, said to reduce drag, increase acceleration and deliver a softer ride. It’s difficult to put precise numbers on how effective these are as there’s never an exact ‘like-for-like’ without the steps, but in challenging conditions off Palma it attacked a head sea in a surprisingly impressive manner.
LOA: 48ft 6in (14.8m)
Beam: 13ft 9in (4.2m)
Draught: 3ft 9in (1.2m)
Displacement: 10.5 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 900 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D6-370 370hp diesel engine
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When Sealine launched the S48 at the Southampton Boat Show in 2001 it was the largest sportscruiser the company had ever built and came with a host of brand-new features that were quickly adopted by other manufacturers, such as the ‘watersports platform’ on the transom that slid into the water to launch the tender – are there any 40ft+ sportsboats that don’t have one of these on the options list today? Even the teak on it was ‘a new plastic product’, again now very commonplace.
For a circa 45ft sportscruiser (the hull length is actually 46ft 8in), the interior is vast. The master cabin is forward with a central double berth and the loo and shower split into two separate compartments. Well, the brochure said master cabin, but a case for the mid cabin being the master could easily be made, since it also features a double berth and ensuite. Between them, the roomy saloon has up to 6ft 6in headroom and features a generous galley.
Solar Protection System was Sealine’s rather fancy name for a GRP hardtop, complete with a solid sliding opening section. As well as providing shade, it makes the canopy system easier – you just have to hang side curtains from it. The cockpit itself is split into two sections, a ‘business end’ at the front with a double helm and an angled run of seating.
Another unusual feature is the side door straight out onto the side deck. Further aft are acres of lounging space, proving that the large interior imposes no compromise on the exterior.
Two engine options were offered on launch: twin Volvo Penta TAMD 74P 480hp units or larger and more powerful Cummins QSM11 635hp engines. The latter were aimed at the American market; most European boats got the Volvos. We tested both, achieving a credible 31.6 knots with the Volvo Pentas, and 36 knots for the Cummins boat.
Conditions were not challenging when we tried the boats, but we reported that “we certainly couldn’t find any obvious handling quirks”.
LOA: 48ft 7in (14.8m)
Beam: 13ft 4in (4.1m)
Draught: 3ft 8in (1.1m)
Displacement: 14 tonnes Fuel capacity: 1,545 litres
Engines: Volvo Penta TAMD 75 480hp diesel
Sunseeker 46 Camargue
The early Nineties were interesting times for Sunseeker, a business with a very different model range compared to its current superyacht focus. A glance though a brochure of that period reveals a Mustang 20: a 20ft sports boat you could tow behind your car – unimaginable from Sunseeker today.
There’s a Renegade 60, a 60ft sports boat running huge water jets that expel almost 150,000 litres of water every 60 seconds at full chat! The unutterably gorgeous Thunderhawk 43 with a race- derived hull good for 60mph and the Camargue 46 with a layout unlike anything you’ll find on the market currently.
At the front of the boat the cabin arrangement on the lower deck is fairly normal. There’s a master cabin forward with its centreline double berth, and aft of that is a semi-circular dinette to starboard that converts to a double berth and a galley opposite. There’s also a heads with toilet and shower.
Where it gets less conventional is further aft. Head up to the cockpit, lift a cushion on the aft sunpad and you’ll find a lift-up hatch. Open it to discover a stainless steel ladder heading down into the bowels. Here you’ll find an entirely separate cabin with a pair of single beds and an ensuite.
The exterior is classic Sunseeker of the era. A curved stainless steel windscreen frame swept back to a forward-raked radar arch with Sunseeker period winglets. The cockpit has a double helm seat plus a further seat adjacent, and behind them a large dinette opposite a wet bar and a massive sunpad aft above that unusual aft cabin.
Sunseeker fitted twin Caterpillar 425hp or Detroit 550hp diesels. Most owners went for the larger latter option, for which Sunseeker quoted a maximum speed of over 40 knots. Fast today; incredible for a mid-40ft sportscruiser at the time.
The engines sit well forward, ahead of the aft cabin and beneath the cockpit floor. Drive is conventional shafts and the result is a well-balanced boat that helped cement Sunseeker’s reputation for great seakeeping.
LOA: 45ft 6in (13.9m)
Beam: 13ft 6in (4.1m)
Draught: 3ft 1in (0.9m)
Displacement: 10.7 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,455 litres
Engines: Twin Detroit 550hp diesel
Contact: Sunseeker Brokerage
Cranchi Mediterranee 43
Italian builder Cranchi has always been a little avant-garde. One of the first to add hardtops to sports cruisers (it was an option on this model), it was also an early adopter of Volvo Penta’s IPS pod drive system. The Mediterranean 43 was launched in 2007, only a couple of years after IPS was introduced to the world, yet it was the only option offered on this boat.
The Italian flair for design is very evident in the cabin – all pale woods and deep brown upholstery and accents. There are two generous double cabins – rare indeed on a sub-45ft sportscruiser, especially one that doesn’t look overly voluminous on the outside. You do pay for it with a rather snug saloon but the clue is in the badge – Mediterranee. The idea is that you’re mostly outside.
Despite its obvious Mediterranean leanings, Cranchi has resisted the temptation to add a huge space-sapping sunbed at the aft end of the cockpit. As a result there is plenty of seating around the cockpit table plus a decent wet bar. Up forward at the business end there are triple helm seats putting the skipper right in the centre of the action. Head to the bow and you’ll find the sunpads on the coachroof.
Cranchi fitted those twin IPS units in either 350hp IPS500 spec or 435hp IPS600 spec. When we tested the boat in Mallorca (don’t feel bad for us, we cope) we hit 35 knots in a realistically loaded boat.
The joystick control allows you to fully utilise the benefits of the IPS drives – independent vectoring of each pod allowing neat tricks like being able to push the boat completely sideways. During our original test we discovered that you really need to press on past 25 knots to get the boat fully levelled out on the plane and that it will “happily skip over the top of a typical Solent sized chop”.
LOA: 45ft 3in (13.8m)
Beam: 13ft 6in (4.1m)
Draught: 2ft 9in (0.9m)
Displacement: 10 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,100 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta IPS600 435hp diesels
Contact: Moore Yachts
First published in the December 2020 issue of Motor Boat & Yachting.