Imagine a miracle fishboat chasing a marlin: Reverse steering would require simple turns of the wheel, the press of a button would swing the transom around as if it were on a hinge, and a joystick would make maneuvering a one-finger exercise. Imagine stationary spins and sideways movement. Imagine it’s real, because now it’s aboard the 43 Express by Spencer Custom Yachts, powered with a pair of 435-bhp Volvo 600 IPS Drives.
The handling advantages of IPS tractor drives shine bright in this boat, partially because of its construction. To keep the 43 Express light, Spencer stepped away from the cold-mold process and built the hull out of Corecell formed on a jig and then coated with several layers of fiberglass. The shape is reminiscent of traditional Carolina builds, with the sharp aggressive entry forward tapering back through a smooth transition to a low-degree deadrise astern. The results? The 43 Express plowed through a 3′ swell with a simple rise and fall. Speeding up into the oncoming head sea made no difference. Breaking 40 mph at full throttle, this boat will get you to the deep well before lines in, and with the money you’ll save by pulling back to 3000 rpm, burning only 31.8 gph and running 34.2 mph, you’ll have cash left over to enter all the calcuttas.
The boat’s aggressive forefoot does impact the interior, however. The forward master stateroom has a full-size berth, but due to that sharp bow entry the berth is elevated to chest level. There’s an abundance of drawers and twin cedar-lined hanging lockers. The placement of the engines under the stern decking leaves space for a roomy second berth under the elevated helm.
While standing at the helm, I had an easy reach to all the electronics under the hydraulic lift-assisted glass panel, as well as an unhindered view 360 degrees around the boat-even while throttling onto plane. Curved bench seating forward provides for the guests and keeps your crew mere steps from the 102-square-foot cockpit. Even with a large fighting chair mounted in the center, there’s room for a tournament crew to muscle a winning blue into this pit. With a tower above, luscious teak covering boards and decks, and a pearl-white finish, the boat also looks as good as it handles. Imagine that.