Most 37-foot boats have fairly large cockpits, but the new Stamas 370 Express features a huge open 'pit rivaling those found on many 50-footers. It's an impressive use of space that will provide lots of elbow room. But wait a minute, you say; doesn't such a huge cockpit mean that Stamas had to scrimp on the cabin? After all, there is only so much space with which to work.
The answer is no, because the Stamas designers figured out a way to provide the best of both worlds. They pulled it off by cleverly using the space they had and coming up with a rather innovative design that makes double use of the center portion of the boat.
A raised bridgedeck serves as the helm and passenger seating area, but it rises considerably higher above the cockpit than on a conventional express boat. It's two steps up from the 'pit to the deck, and the extra height provides exceptional visibility from the helm, while at the same time allowing the skipper to be near the action.
This unique setup also creates additional cabin room, which Stamas uses to provide a mid-berth stateroom beneath the bridgedeck. Several outboard boats feature such an arrangement, but not many inboards can pull it off because that's where the engines would normally sit. So, where are the engines?
They are located under the forward end of the cockpit. The sole consists almost entirely of two large, offset hatches that open outboard to reveal the engines. Talk about easy access! With these hatches raised, everything in the engine room is right in front of you, and there's nothing to remove, even during engine replacements. It's the best setup we've seen as far as maintenance goes, and Stamas lines the hatches with rugged gaskets to keep water out.
Fishermen, of course, will love the cockpit for its size and features. One nice touch is that the engine hatches are offset, so you can mount a full-size fighting chair on the larger one. Other fishing features include a transom box that contains both a live well and a fishbox. There's a transom gate to starboard, and coaming pads (standard equipment) to save your knees while fighting a fish. An in-deck hatch just forward of the transom provides access to the inner hull and fuel valves. The 370 has two fuel tanks and a sophisticated valve system that lets you channel fuel to either engine from either tank.
The aft end of the bridgedeck houses a seat with a cooler below and a bait center/tackle station to starboard. The station features a sink, bait-rigging tray, knife-and-pliers racks, and tackle drawers. The helm is to starboard and features an arced overhead area that is large enough for the flush-mounting of ten-inch electronics. A wraparound aluminum windshield cuts down glare without impeding visibility.
Belowdecks, Stamas wanted to get away from the utilitarian look that many boat builders have pursued lately, so they designed a cabin rich in wood trim. This is one beautiful space. It features a teak-and-holly sole with a centerline storage bin that holds four fishing rods, and a rich wood veneer on the bulkheads and cabinets.
A forward queen berth lies behind a privacy door (wood, of course), and the berth in the mid-cabin is a double. A settee to starboard converts to a double berth, so theoretically you can sleep six. The head features an acrylic shower stall and a molded sink and vanity, and the galley has a custom Granite Coat molded countertop. The boat also comes with a sink, microwave, AC/DC refrigerator, and lots of storage room.
To top it all off, the boat is a great performer. It comes with diesel options from Yanmar, Cummins, Caterpillar, and Volvo Penta. Our test boat featured twin 420-hp Yanmar 6LY2-STE diesels, the top-of-the-line engine option, and was a real rocketship, cruising at 29.8 knots at 3000 rpm. Yanmar says you can actually cruise these engines up to 3200 rpm, where you'll be going 32.3 knots. Push the throttles all the way forward and you'll hit 34.5 knots at 3500 rpm. The boat gets on plane incredibly quickly, and feels fast in all maneuvers.
The 370 Express comes with the Stamas family's renowned reputation for solid construction, backed up by a seven-year limited structural hull warranty. The same family has been building boats since 1952, and the 370 is the culmination of all those years of boat-building experience. It shows!
Stamas Yacht, Tarpon Springs, FL; (800) 782-6271.