Rayglass’s Cruisemaster range began with the release of the Cruisemaster 700 in 1999 and then the smaller 690 model in 2004 and now in 2008 comes the all-new Cruisemaster 850.
The Cruisemaster range is targeted at those who want a boat that is more thoroughly appointed as a true weekender, yet can still easily be used for fishing, should the need arise.
“The 700 Cruisemaster was certainly the flagship model in our Cruisemaster range, and over time there came a need to develop and offer a larger model to our customer base,” says Dave Larsen, sales and marketing manager of Rayglass Boats.
So what sets the new bigger sibling apart from the popular Cruisemaster 700? The Cruisemaster 700 is a big seller for Rayglass and in no way will the new 850 model be set to replace it; it simply offers the next step for people wanting to move into a bigger and roomier boat.
“The 850 has a number of features that set it apart from the 700; it has a lot more storage, the full clip-in carpet, two double berths, a fully equipped galley, a much bigger duckboard aft, the electric sunroof, and built-in and removable chilly bins. Essentially it’s set up as a more modernised and luxurious weekender.”
When I first stepped aboard the Cruisemaster 850 I soon was quite amazed as to actually how many features it has and the level of innovation the designers had managed to fit into the boat. It is true to say that the Cruisemaster 850 has a definitive accent on entertaining – something that is immediately noticeable when you step onto the huge boarding platform aft.
While Cruisemasters are definitely purpose-built weekenders, like all Rayglass’s they do have an element of fishability. While users aren’t likely to fish out of the cockpit area and risk getting blood and guts on the nice upholstery, they can fish out on the generous sized boarding platform, where mountings are provided for a bait board, rod holders and also a BBQ when the fishing is over. Underfoot, a large wet storage area is built into the boarding platform. It’s self draining, and can even be used as a catch bin or live bait tank.
For the kids who will inevitably clamber out of the water shivering from the cold, there is a hot/cold shower fitted at the transom.
Access into the cockpit is made every easy with a fold-down step in the transom. When back in the upright position the step then forms part of the rear L-shaped lounge seating.
Drink holders are scattered throughout the boat, and in keeping with a drinks theme, a chilly bin lives in a small compartment under the portside seating. This bin can be removed and taken ashore if you wish. A larger ice bin is located under the footrest of the helm seat.
Accessed from the cockpit area, the rear section of the helm seat base houses one of my favourite parts of the boat – the bar! This is great for cockpit entertaining as it comes complete with sliding glasses rack, bottle and additional storage.
The cockpit area on a whole appeared to be large and spacious, and I can foresee that with a number of people onboard, you wouldn’t often find yourself clambering over people’s legs. The clip-down carpet is removable, and the cockpit sole also features a mounting point for a cockpit table. The table is large enough for a good sized group to sit around, so where would you store it? Well, this is one of the clever innovations that Rayglass has thought of; a swing-down locker in the hardtop section houses the table when not in use. You can also drop the table down, fit a squab over it, and the cockpit seating transforms into a second double berth.
There is further storage underfloor in the cockpit, big enough for skis and bulkier items, as well as deep cockpit side pockets.
Access to the engine compartment is via the rear lounge seat. The Cruisemaster 850 runs a three-battery set-up – two house batteries and one for the engine. Combine that with the solar panel on the roof, and there will certainly be no shortage of electricity!
Home Away From Home
Down below, the galley provides everything you could want, plus more! The galley itself sits to port just as you step down into the cabin from the helm area. A two-burner stove sits on-top of the unit alongside a large stainless steel sink. Just above there is a storage locker for cups, plates, utensils etc, while just to the right is a fully functional microwave. Above that is a shelf with retaining bar to prevent any items falling off, and further above is a range hood, to extract any of those lingering cooking smells! A great feature for a boat of its size and style. Below the unit is a 75L fridge/freezer and further cupboard space alongside.
In keeping with the cooking and entertaining theme, further forward and to starboard is a bi-folding table, which can quickly be dropped down and convert the V-berth into a full double. Mounted on the forward bulkhead is a DVD player and flatscreen TV.
Immediately opposite the galley to starboard is the shower/toilet, which features a sizeable shower and a head which utilises a Vacuflush toilet system. The cartridge for the toilet is easily accessed and removed from under the forward facing dinette seat. Against the forward facing shower unit bulkhead is a hanging closet.
The helm seating position, as for every Rayglass I’ve been on, is very comfortable. Rayglass has always prided itself on listening to customer comments and suggestions so that it can provide the ultimate in comfort.
Vision forward and over the foredeck was excellent, and the engine throttle control is mounted to the right. The dash area was tight, tidy and compact, and while there wasn’t one fitted at the time of our test, there is plenty of room to flush mount an 8” multi function sounder/chartplotter display.
Power options are limited – you have the choice of just one engine! The 850 comes standard with the MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI with a Bravo 3 duo prop sternleg.
The 350 MAG is the perfect engine application for the 850 and I wouldn’t feel the need for anything else. It pushed the 850 along to a top speed of 46mph@5500rpm. Acceleration out of the hole was superb, and I was really quite amazed as to how easily the 300hp V8 did it.
Test day conditions were sunny and perfect for photographing the Cruisemaster 850 on the calm waters inside Motuihe Island, on Auckland Harbour.
Heading to and from the island, there was a brisk breeze of about 15-20 knots against the tide, whipping up a short, sharp chop. With its fine entry waterline length, the Cruisemaster 850 really ate it up.
On the return trip home, a small amount of tab was applied to port, and we trimmed the bow down and cruised home at a comfortable 28mph. The ride was very comfortable and most importantly, dry. In fact, we had the sunroof open for pretty much the whole test. The hull design ensures the amount of spray is minimal – we hardly managed to get a drop on the windscreen.
I really liked the positioning of the trim tab controls, just forward of the engine throttle where the tab controls are fitted on their own moulded base.
The Cruisemaster 850 is certainly a big boat, as it does measure in at nearly 9m. However it’s not too difficult to manoeuvre into those tight spaces in the marina or back at the ramp.
Overall, I think Rayglass has really hit the right mark with the new Cruisemaster 850. It’s going to be very popular not only with those who are perhaps moving down from a larger cruiser, but also those who are moving up from a 7m hardtop, as it is easily managed by two people, yet still has all the creature comforts of a larger vessel. It’s versatile enough to spend a very comfortable day exploring the Hauraki Gulf or Lake Taupo (where the boat tested is destined) with family or friends, or to spend extended periods further afield at places such as Great Barrier Island.
A great boat, that is going to appeal to a huge audience – Rayglass has created another winner!
- Price as Tested: $186,176
- Packages from: $181,000
- Designer : Rayglass Boats
- Material: GRP
- Type: Weekender Hardtop
- LOA: 8.9m
- Beam: 2.5m
- Deadrise: 20 degree
- Hull Configuration: Deep-V
- Trailerable Weight: 3300kg
- Height on Trailer: 3.1m
- Engine Capacity: 320hp
- Power Options: Sterndrive
- Fuel Capacity: 280L
- Water Capacity: 110L
Performance – MERCRUISER 350 MAG
|600 rpm||3 mph|
|1000 rpm||5 mph|
|1500 rpm||7 mph|
|2000 rpm||8.5 mph|
|2500 rpm||14 mph|
|3000 rpm||21 mph|
|3500 rpm||26.5 mph|
|4000 rpm||31.5 mph|
|4500 rpm||35 mph|
|5000 rpm||42 mph|
|5500 rpm||46 mph|