Overall, this boat is great fun at speed, or at rest. It's a package that delivers everything you would expect from a 32-foot Express Cruiser and more.
Issue: March 2005
Heading out towards the BMB 32DC in the small tender, the Modern Boating team begin to chat about this new boat.
Then, after some consideration, the tender driver asks the obvious question. Ah, what's the DC stand for Don't Care. Draws the Chicks. Day Cruiser. No, you're all wrong ' this acronym stands for Deluxe Cockpit. Unlike the other vessels in the BMB range, this boat boasts more features topside and forsakes a few below. The debate over which Express Cruiser configuration is better will continue until the cows come home, but this boat scores well on both fronts.
Our first impressions are that the BMB32DC is a slick day cruiser, but scratch the surface a little deeper and you find a boat that retains a good balance between open cockpit space, below decks facilities and power too boot. Bad weather delayed this test by a week, but today a quick trip out from the Clontarf Marina has us messing about in the slosh and swell near Middle Head ' a top spot for a sportboat review. Out here, the boat reacts extremely well to the helm. In next to no time we have this moderate beam, twin-engine boat trimmed for a balanced ride in the varying conditions. But the BMB32DC is also fitted with Lenco digital trim gauges, so fine-tuning both the sterndrive legs is a snitch.
Up and running, the twin engine BMB32DC Express Cruiser performs well. The Volvo engines' noise is moderate at full throttle, but things quieten quite considerably at cruise speeds. The team found a couple of good cruise speeds between 23-27knots in the mid 3000 to high 3000rpm range. At full stick the GPS registers 35.5knots, which is enough to ruffle your feathers. As mentioned earlier, the boat is easy to trim and out through Sydney Heads there is a fair amount of chop, but the rig feels stiff and everything holds together well. The Modern Boating team have been on some Express Cruisers that, when pushed in rough conditions, some fittings have come lose below decks, so it is a good sign if everything remains neat as a pin after some hard work in the rough stuff.
In turns the modest deadrise hull offers good balance and control and in general the rig is quite responsive for a 5000kg package. As far as layout goes, the bolster helm seat is designed for two ' a nice touch on a 32ft boat. The dash features a complete range of VDO instruments covering, digital speed and log, temp, tacho, volts and oil for both engines. There are also controls for the bow thruster, a VHF radio, engine kill switches and a whiz-bang handheld remote for the anchor.
This is great for keeping a close eye on the anchor during retrieval, so you don't scratch the gelcoat at the bow. Even with the full instrumentation, BMB has allowed plenty of room to the left of the steering wheel to mount a quality GPS/ Chartplotter of the owner's preference. The twin seat at the helm has a full-length stainless steel footrest and there is a single seat on the portside. Behind the helm station is an outdoor settee for six. The alfresco dining table can be packed away under the aft pad, which converts the area into a luxurious double sunlounge. Across from the settee is a wet bar with sink, cupboard storage, fridge and a hatch that acts as a serving bench.
This boat is to have a teak serving board fitted to this bench top prior to delivery. The whole area is framed by the Targa arch, which houses halogen lighting, speakers and nav lights. The generous teak swim platform has a boarding ladder and a deck wash/shower with hot and cold water. Getting around this boat is easy, because the walkways are quite wide and the bowrail extends back more than two thirds the length of the hull. Once forward, there are drink holders and space for a sun pad. The bowrail is open at the bow, so it is easy to climb on and off at the beach, which is a feature we have noted on the other BMBs.
Storage topside is abundant with large lockers located under the sun lounge and in a massive locker big enough to hold a person under the cockpit floor. There are also lots of smaller well-thoughtout areas close to the helm, under the wet bar and below decks. All Express Cruisers should have grab handles liberally scattered around for the security of passengers and this BMB Express Cruiser is no exception. Down below, there's a large forward vee-berth bathed with soft halogen lighting and natural light from a deck hatch over head. This berth had cherry wood lockers for personal effects, portholes and a curtain that separated the bed from the rest of the saloon.
Throughout the saloon, plenty of natural light also floods in through hatches over the galley and the settee. However, all hatches are fitted with blinds if nature needs to be shut out. So, with the blinds closed, it's left to halogen lights to create the mood in the saloon. The use of cherry wood, light vinyl upholstery and synthetic teak-look flooring give the saloon a cosy, bright atmosphere. The galley has its own porthole albeit small a stainless steel sink, pressurised water, an electric cooker and refrigerator. There is plenty of galley storage in the drawers and lockers above the bench. Similar style lockers are also located above the settee on the portside.
The head and shower are located near the steps into the saloon on the starboard side. Inside, there is fluoro lighting, storage hidden behind the bathroom mirrors, grab handles and a hand basin with shower nozzle and bracket for stand-up showers. Before this test, the test craft was being prepared for delivery, so features such as the 15" flat-screen LCD TV, camper covers, harbour covers, carpets, showerhead bracket, BBQ, DVD player, a $500 safety equipment voucher and antifouling are all included in the final price. Overall, this boat is great fun at speed, or at rest. It's a package that delivers everything you would expect from a 32-foot Express Cruiser and more.
The increased focus topside in the cockpit is fantastic for Australian conditions and at $248,000 she's well priced for her class.
Words and Photos by Andrew Richardson