John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.

Chris-Craft Roamer 40
JULY 2007
Length overall  43'6"
Beam  14'
Draft  37"
Displacement  25,200 lb
Fuel Capacity  400 gals
Water Capacity  95 gals
Base Price  $569,874

When I got the call to review the Chris-Craft Roamer 40, I was delighted. Originally introduced in 2004, the Roamer is currently the flagship of the Chris-Craft line. I was particularly interested in testing the current model, because Chris-Craft has equipped the 2007 Roamer with the new Volvo IPS system. The IPS (Improved Performace System) is an exciting new technology for twin-engine powerboats that uses steerable drive units beneath the boat, eliminating the need for propeller shafts and rudders. The system greatly improves maneuverability, speed and efficiency and reduces noise by up to 50 percent.

At the Miami Boat show I had witnessed a fairly large sport fisherman powered by an IPS scoot sideways across a fairway and stop on a dime, then rotate 180 degrees in place. I was looking forward to trying that little maneuver myself. Moreover, having recently done some close quarters jockeying in a 2004 model Roamer, this would be a great opportunity to compare the IPS to the conventional inboard shaft and prop arrangement on the same model boat.

New technology aside, when I first spotted the test boat tied-up at the dock, I couldn't help noticing her lines. The 40-foot Roamer exudes retro styling that harkens back to the early days of American pleasure boating. Her stylish look and character set her apart from other express cruisers. To add to the attraction, this Roamer was one of the Heritage Editions, which includes a teak cockpit, swim platform and bridge.

Down below, the Roamer has very comfortable accommodations, ideal for family cruising or entertaining. There are two staterooms and two heads, (one with a stall shower). The master stateroom is forward and has a double bunk, while the aft stateroom is furnished with twin beds. The galley is well laid-out and equipped.  

Up on deck, our test boat was fitted with a hard top. A crescent shaped settee sits to port across from the captain's chair and has a small teak table for drinks and snacks. The large cockpit has additional seating aft along the transom. The integrated swim platform is actually part of the hull and adds additional deck space, making this a very large 40 footer.

Underway, the boat was a dream to drive. In the marina I used the IPS joystick to twist, shuffle and generally run the boat around. Compared to the earlier model Roamer that was equipped with conventional inboard shafts and bow thruster, this new boat, coupled with the new technology, was a hands-down winner, in my book. Not only is the difference remarkable, it is by far the easiest maneuvering system that I have used, and I've used plenty. Out in the open, the IPS system continued to impress me. From idle to plane, the Roamer never dug-in. The boat leapt onto plane and maintained excellent maneuverability at all speeds. The Chris-Craft Roamer and the Volvo IPS make an impressive pair for powering into the 21st century and beyond.