- Put the throttle down and the pickup is tremendous …
- … the Cross 75 BR is precisely what it needs to be – a truly convincing flagship for a very impressive range.
- … if there’s nothing here that could reduce you to tears of rapturous joy, neither is there anything that is deserving of unqualified criticism.
Yamarin Cross 75 BR
Alex Smith visits Finland to witness the unveiling of the undisputed flagship of Yamarin’s Cross line …
I love aluminium. I love it because it’s light, strong and resilient, and if you’ve owned an aluminium boat you will know exactly what I’m talking about. You can prang it on a pontoon, ground it on shale or douse it with warm, fermented fish bait and it will still come back for more. It doesn’t splinter, rot, split, burn or delaminate – and while it might pick up the odd dent or a bit of surface chalk, it is simple, cheap and idiot-proof to fix. In short, if you buy yourself a good aluminium boat, you may well begin to wonder what people see in the delicate, preening glamour platforms of the fibreglass world.
But of course, the irony is that it’s precisely that glittering catwalk polish that people continue to love about fibreglass – and it’s precisely its absence that puts people off aluminium. So Yamarin (being Finnish and therefore pragmatic to the point of clinical oddness) decided to mix the two materials on a single platform. By fusing a supertough hull built from high-grade 5083 aluminium with the clean, leisure-friendly finish of a GRP deck and topsides, they created the Cross range. In just five short years, sales in Scandinavia have already outstripped those of Yamarin’s conventional GRP fleet – and with the recent launch of an uncompromising 50-knot bowrider, that burgeoning Cross line has a bold new flagship to take up the fight …
From bow to stern
With five bowriders in the Cross range, plus a pair of centre consoles and a cabin boat, the new 75 BR is not just the biggest bowrider in the Cross range but also the largest Cross platform Yamarin currently build – and it’s not just the scale of this boat that sets it apart. As the high-performance model, Yamarin have also kitted it out with ‘rasterised’ carbon-effect fabrics and materials, making the whole of the inside, from the seats to the deck, look faintly pixelated. Coupled with impudent ‘A-Team’ colourways of granite grey, black and blood red, it lends this boat all the explicit posturing you would expect of a performance model – but perhaps at the expense of enduring stylistic longevity.
In any case, the layout is very typical of a Yamarin bowrider. Certainly, you get the traditional division of cockpit and bow space by means of a wrap-around screen and a pair of consoles, but the bow itself lacks the fixed V seating section you might expect. Instead, you get a compact fixed seat in the forepeak that doubles as a point of access to the step-through bow – plus a pair of lateral Buster-style storage boxes just below the screen. Again, they can be used as steps as well as storage boxes and seats – and the fact that they come with simple finger bolts means you can empty the deck and leave them on the pontoon if you fancy a day catching fish rather than entertaining people. This versatile modular concept is plainly a winner, but I would like to see them slightly better built, and I would also like to see a more thoughtful and better-finished terminal on the integrated threads.
Head back aft via that lovely, non-heating chequer-plate deck and you are greeted with a similar approach to the cockpit seats. The big U-shaped seating section comes with a pair of permanently mounted folding lateral platforms that can operate either as seats or as embarkation steps to aid those getting on and off amidships, just aft of the abruptly terminated screen. The stanchions for the easy-erect canvas, meanwhile, are neatly contained behind a secondary cushion section – and while that slightly limits the internal breadth, it means that every one of this boat’s cockpit passengers gets a proper backrest. With the optional infills in position, both the bow and stern can be turned into decent sun decks – and for storage, the two-tiered space inside that aft bench is truly cavernous, particularly in terms of its depth. Yes, it houses the batteries and their associated switches, but rarely will you see a space of such useful shape and scale on an open boat of this length.
The 75 also has a pair of rubber-lined anchor boxes, plus a large bathing platform with additional aluminium shelves underneath, which are ideal for an anchor winch. Of course, on a flagship boat where such effort has been lavished on style as well as function, the cheap plastic handle by the swim ladder seems extremely incongruous – but with seven dedicated embarkation points, four removable seats and plenty of storage, the layout of this nine-man bowrider is very satisfying indeed.
A helm and a half
There are not many helm stations that warrant an article in their own right, but this is exactly that. For a start, the swivelling sports seat is super-supportive, with plenty of adjustability and a well-positioned foot brace, plus a bolster and twin armrests as standard. There is also a dedicated elbow rest for your throttle arm, and that means that, even when driving hard on a lumpy sea with a 300hp outboard engine on the transom, you can make very accurate adjustments indeed.
In addition to this happy set-up, the newly designed steering wheel is thick, grippy and well weighted, the glare-free dash leaves plenty of space for a large plotter and there’s also ample room for a driver’s heater. You also get a pair of 12V outlets, plus a two-tiered Windy-style screen with integrated grab rail that leaves plenty of room to get a proper grip without trapping your hand. This usefully elevated unit is also equipped with a pair of wipers, and in addition to its impressive construction (thick pipes of polished, acid-proof steel and glued, pre-stressed glass), you also get a sturdy partition between the consoles to keep the wind out, plus a neat pop-up cleat for single-handed helming.
The spaces inside both consoles are also well used, with storage to starboard and a tightly integrated fridge to port, exactly where the skipper (if not the cockpit dwellers) would want it. Both are tucked away behind acrylic doors and equipped with Abloy locks as standard. And to save space elsewhere on the boat (and again to aid the single-handed skipper), there are cleverly recessed fender storage units by each of the two helm seats, providing instant access without inhibiting the seat’s ability to rotate aft. In short, while the driver’s position might not look like the last word in luxury, it is about as close to perfect as any leisure boat helm station could be.
The same old story
With that excellent non-slip deck, big screen and elevated grab rail, the 75 feels like a very safe family boat. Of course, we already know that Yamarin hulls are some of the most idiot-proof and leisure-friendly on the market – but even with the top-end F300 in place, this high-performance flagship remains very approachable and ingratiating.
Put the throttle down and the pickup is tremendous, launching you through a flat hump to a fast-moving plane within 2 seconds and speeding on to 50 knots inside 10. Like most Yamarin sports boats, it will take care of you even under quite severe provocation, but it does love to respond proactively to the input of the keen driver. At the top end, for instance, you can wash off more than 7 knots simply by dropping the nose on the trim switch. Release the hull again and up goes the speed, but the cruising efficiency with that aluminium hull is also very worthy. At a mid-range setting of around 3200rpm, with 28 knots on the clock and a fuel flow of 28 litres per hour, you get a range of 220 nautical miles – and that’s with a 10% margin still in reserve.
As its repeated awards nominations suggest, the 75 is a fine driver’s boat – but if it doesn’t quite make sense for you, then take a close look at the new Cross 64 BR. It’s a slightly more moderate and affordable bowrider but it is still able to seat eight and hit 45 knots with just the F150 on the transom. In fact, with styling that may also prove a bit easier to live with, it makes a very compelling case.
The modest but effective Yamarin formula has always been about three key things: good design, exhaustive on-water testing and sound build. Here, as elsewhere in the range, those crucial pillars remain powerfully intact – and while you might argue that such a sage and workmanlike approach rarely results in a boat that has you quivering with sensory delight, I have to say that the Cross 75 BR comes much closer than most. More to the point, if there’s nothing here that could reduce you to tears of rapturous joy, neither is there anything that is deserving of unqualified criticism. In short, the Cross 75 BR is precisely what it needs to be – a truly convincing flagship for a very impressive range.
- Excellent concept
- Versatile layout
- Robust build
- Outstanding helm station
- Great pickup
- User-friendly hull
- Plastic grab handle aft
- Lightweight bow boxes
- Questionable colourways
- Does the Cross 640 BR make even more sense?
- LOA: 7.53m
- Beam: 2.47m
- Weight: 1350kg
- Deadrise: 22 degrees
- Hull material: 5083 aluminium
- Fuel capacity: 244 litres
- Load capacity: 855kg
- People capacity: 9
- Power: 150–300 hp
- Speed: 37–50 knots
- Engine: Yamaha F300