MJM Yacht 53z - The World’s Largest Outboard-Powered Express Cruiser
Written by Christopher Hughes
I’m on board the MJM Yacht 53z, this is the world’s largest outboard-powered Express cruiser. And I’m going to put it through a full test. Let’s take her out, see how she does. By the numbers, she measures in with a length overall of 56’3”, a beam of 15’. Her draft with the engines down is 35”. Her overall weight with a full load is 33,669 pounds with three people, full water, and 800 gallons of fuel onboard we had a top speed of 48.6 miles per hour at 6000 RPM, with a fuel burn of 142 gallons per hour. When I ran the boat from Mamaroneck New York to Annapolis, I found myself cruising at 5350 RPM, averaging 44 miles per hour. While burning between 87 and 90 gallons per hour. The rides is very smooth, the responsiveness of the 53z to the helm is excellent, and we only drop barely a knot in a hard overturn, so we’re not bleeding energy at all. Operating the 53 couldn’t be simpler. It’s literally turnkey and go. Put our keys in for the engines, turn them on you can start it from here, or you can start them at the helm. There are really only two battery switches that your house battery, your engines, generator if you want it. All of our electronics laid out very neatly and we have the sea zone digital switching. Everything is self-explanatory.
At the helm, I’d like to point out a few things: a very clean layout, two large multifunction screens, a work area here with a fiddle. Got my generator start. Got my bilge pump switches.
A Distinguishing Feature On All MJM’s: Visibility
From the helm here I have a low console, my visibility forward is outstanding. We have huge windows they do open electrically. I can see everything forward. 360-degree views, but more importantly, I can actually see my corners. I can see the engines, and that makes the task of docking just that much easier and gives you the confidence in a boat that’s 56’ long. We do have a joystick for the mercury system, Skyhook for station keeping, and for a little added oomph, bow thruster. Maneuverability in the marina was excellent and the addition of the bow thruster with the joystick makes docking a snap. Our DTS digital throttle controls for Mercury, well-positioned. Our engine start and stop switch. Most importantly, our compass dead ahead with the driver.
If you’re using the 53 as a cruising boat, your companion also has a multifunction screen, a depth gauge, and a spot to put some charts or whatever else they need.
Access, Access, Access
We do have stern access doors port and starboard, they are a positive lock. So that way you’re not going to fall out. Good access out onto the back platform. Very easy to get yourself over and get the cowls off to check your oil. We also have access to our short power-on centerline, it is electric, getting to the mechanicals are easy, and well thought out.Here we have a separate head for access to your Westerbeke generator and get all around it. Plenty of room, everything is labeled and marked, very new. Because the engines are no longer under the deck there is a wide-open compartment. On centerline, we have the Seakeeper and port and starboard plenty of storage here we have some oversized fenders, also our battery access. This entire aft section opens up, you can see our Glendenning electric shore power again we have a tremendous amount of storage. Going forward looking at the side decks. We have a minimum width of about 11 inches and it gets wider as we go up and we have grab rails everywhere: on the hardtop, on the windows stanchions. As we move forward, our life rail, which has an average height of 29 inches, and it carries all the way forward up to the ground tackle.A cruising feature I appreciate is this high-intensity remote bow light. Having it all the way forward eliminates any possibility of glare off the floor deck that makes cruising, especially at night, much safer. The 53z carries 920 gallons of fuel and our fuel shutoff valves are easily accessible inside the pilothouse under this hatch.