Cigarette Racing Team's 49 Grand Sport will be the boat of choice for many players at poker runs. Why? With a pair of Mercury Racing HP 850 SCi Dry Sump Six engine/drive packages, the boat runs 82.8 mph and will flatten any wave that comes at it. Although almost every other boat in the Cigarette line has an 8' beam, the 49 Grand Sport is a whopping 10' wide, giving it yards of passenger space. Add the 4'3" of cockpit freeboard, and you won't find a roomier boat for high-performance cruising.
Yeah, but the first thing everyone's going to ask is "How does it run?" Any 16,800-pound boat that hits 82.8 mph is impressive, but I was equally awed by my test model's agility. Because the 49 Grand Sport is so big, the effect of the twin steps during turns isn't felt. The boat's hull design is pretty conventional, with two sets of alternating 1"-tall and Â,,¼,,"-tall steps, plus four lifting strakes that run through all the steps. It carves through every maneuver like a classic offshore V-bottom. In 4' seas, I ran the boat with the 380-S K-planes dropped to about -3 on the indicators and the drives trimmed out just above neutral. The ride was so comfortable, I wouldn't think twice about bringing my wife and kids along.
Other big wave crushers include the OuterLimits 51 Sport Yacht, Hustler 50 Performance Yacht, and Nor-Tech 5000 V, but their appearance and beam width are more conventional. With its 9'3" beam, the OuterLimits is the widest of these three. It runs 100 mph with twin Mercury Racing HP850 SCis and Dry Sump Sixes ($1.2 million with custom paint). The 9'-wide Nor-Tech runs about 90 mph on the same power. Its retail sticker is $856,000. The most svelte is the Hustler at 8'10", which hits an estimated 90 mph on staggered HP850 SCis with Dry Sump Six drives.
True to Form
The construction of the 49 Grand Sport is pure Cigarette. Aside from wood-cored stringers beneath the engines and the head module in the cabin, the balance of the stringers and bulkheads are fiberglass with Prisma composites. The transom is formed out of 2"-thick polyurethane. The hull bottom, sides, and deck are cored with balsa, and the hull-to-deck joint is bonded with fiberglass around the perimeter.
A markedly quiet exhaust system includes stainless-steel tailpipes that curve down from the transom to the water's surface like the top part of a question mark. When the boat is on plane, the exhaust exits freely, but at lower speeds, the exhaust is aimed at the water and muffled. Twin Hardin Marine water intakes are positioned just forward of the V-pad keel to ensure maximum flow.
Push a button and the fastest engine hatch I've ever watched flies open. Strainers are forward as are step plates. From the bulkhead to the front of the motors, there's 4'5" of space if you want bigger power.
On our test boat, the dry sump tanks and filters are outboard on custom aluminum panels with the steering reservoir to starboard. Cigarette battery boxes are outboard on each side, through-bolted to the partial bulkhead. At the front of the compartment, three fender holders per side enhance convenience. So does a glovebox-style hatch over the sea strainer for the genset. There's also a deep aluminum locker that's perfect for extra oil, gear lube, or cleaning products.
You'll find the trim pumps in a separate locker on the transom abaft the engine compartment. Outboard of this compartment on each side are separate lockers with the freshwater flush system for the motors to starboard and the genset and air conditioning to port.
Moving into the cockpit, the 49 Grand Sport's 4'3" of freeboard is superior to virtually any other offshore performance boat. I felt most comfortable standing to drive. I like the look and function of the 1"-thick acrylic windscreen. Behind that windscreen, I was comfortably supported in the power bolsters. The Livorsi Marine instruments are in carbon-fiber panels with the tachometers up top flanking the 100-mph speedometer. Mechanical trim indicators are forward of the individual switches for drive and tab trim. For basic trim functions, use the switch on the Latham Marine throttles. The dash should be finished in something less glaring than bright white. The boat has a SmartCraft Race View display, but still boasts a full complement of Livorsi gauges. The only feature missing from the dash area is a glovebox.
About 5' aft of the bolsters, you can seat six on the bench seat and side jumpers that fold out of the gunwales. There's a large locker in the base of the bench. One problem: The bottom cushion is hinged forward, so when you raise it, it's so high that most guys can't reach in to retrieve the contents.
You'll forget you're in a Cigarette when you enter the 49 Grand Sport's cabin, which feels like a luxury hotel suite. There's a large locker aft to port that's 4'-by-1'3"-by-4'. The light-colored wood and upholstery makes the cabin feel rich and large. To port is a galley with a cool entertainment center forward. It includes a Sharp flat-screen TV and Kenwood stereo.
You might never have expected to cook food in a Cigarette, but in the 49 Grand Sport, you can. The galley includes a pullout refrigerated drawer, plus dry stowage in two lockers on heavy-duty rollers.
To starboard, the head features a standup shower and pump-out commode with ample seated headroom. The drain areas are compartmentalized and the towel rack is sturdy enough to hang on to in rough water.
Out in the open belowdecks area, twin facing lounges have excellent headroom and comfort. The bottom cushions are 9" thick, and when you recline they're 1'8" deep. I could fall asleep on these lounges while watching a movie on the flat-screen TV.
Up front, the 5'7"-long V-berth is wider than you'll find on a typical offshore go-fast, but what I liked most was that the V-berth was angled to elevate your head, which is perfect while you lie there dreaming of holding that winning hand at the next big poker run.