By Capt. Bill Pike
The MarineMax 484 Power Catamaran is roomy, versatile, and outdoorsy—not only is there a topside lounge area on the flying bridge, there are two lower, weather-deck cockpits for lounging as well, one forward and the other aft. Couple this sort of thing with an ample four-stateroom-four-head accommodation space belowdecks, a voluminous saloon/galley/dinette on the main deck, and a register of fuel-burn numbers that are decidedly wallet-friendly, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a coastal cruiser.
The expansive, four-stateroom interior is tops in practicality. On the main deck, there’s an immense saloon, with U-shaped dinette area forward on the port side (and a lounge opposite) and there’s also a galley aft on the port side, opposite a credenza, a chart table, and a stairway to the flying bridge. On the bottom deck, instead of centralized heads without proper ventilation (like you’ll find on some other power cats in this size range), the 484’s heads are outboard, with opening hatches and hullside windows. Moreover, the four staterooms on our test boat were lofty (headroom was near 7 feet), comfy (thanks to ample berths and soft LED lighting), and quiet, whether they were on the bow or close to one of the engine rooms—even at 15 knots, we recorded just 81 decibels near the aft bulkhead of a cabin in the latter category.
The hull and deck of the MarineMax 484 are resin-infused using vinylester resin. Foam coring predominates in most of the boat’s laminates except in way of the hull centerlines and around through-hull fittings where solid-glass prevails. Each hull features a crash bulkhead that is also resin-infused, as are most of the other bulkheads and small parts onboard. NPG gel coat offers superior UV resistance.
The 484 is economical (i.e., charter-friendly) in slo-mo mode—we recorded a fuel burn at 6.9 knots, for example, that was just 3.8 gallons per hour! Throughout the rpm register, her running attitudes were optimum as well and therefore indicative of perfect, performance-enhancing balance—trim angles (without tabs) never exceed 3.5 degrees. Moreover, the boat seemed to be about as seaworthy as a dolphin—the V-shaped, pod-like “central hull” molded into the underside of the web near the twin bows kept head seas from slamming and, parenthetically, produced enough interior space for an optional generator. And finally, there was the safety factor—we found that rails and handholds totally circumscribed the 484’s weather deck, facilitating movement virtually anywhere onboard in sporty weather or at night.
The engine rooms, of course, contribute to the aforementioned, performance-enhancing balance. Each was gratefully basic—with a centerpiece V-drive diesel, various plumbing and electrics features, and, on the port side of the boat, a fuel-transfer pump that facilitated moving fuel amongst three aluminum fuel tanks, two saddles, and another forward which feeds either the mains or the optional genset. The simplicity of it all is a tribute to Chinese builder Sino Eagle and designer, J&J Yacht Designs.
Our opinion? The 484 was purpose-built for charter, although MarineMax just debuted a retail version at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show with either a 3-stateroom (with a giant master) or a 4-stateroom layout. In either case, whether you decide to charter or buy, this decidedly practical vessel will hand you a really good time, without breaking the bank on fuel.
MarineMax Vacations, 888-461-5497; www.marinemaxvacations.com
: 47,620 lb.
: 461 gal.
: 206 gal.
: 2/330-mhp Volvo Penta D6 diesels
: 2/225-mhp Volvo Penta D4 diesels
: (RETAIL VERSION): $699,990 (W/Volvo Penta D4s, 3 staterooms/3 heads)
: 2/330-mhp or 2/370-mhp Volvo Penta D6 diesels
: Volvo Penta HS80IVE-Bs w/2.49:1 ratio
: 23 x 23 4-blade BT Marine brass
Air temperature: 78°F; humidity: 80%; seas: gentle swell: wind: 5-10 knots; load: 520 gal. fuel (includes 220 gal. in drums), 206 gal. water, 3 persons, 2,600 lb. gear (includes 2 RIBs). Speeds are two-way averages measured with Raymarine GPS. GPH taken from Volvo Penta display. Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels were taken at helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.