WHAT OTHERS SAY
Bayliner has developed a new low-maintenance lifestyle cruiser that’s accessible to a wider range of people. Not so big it will break the bank, require special driving skills, or need a fistful of dollars to run, the new Ciera 3055 Sunbridge is perhaps best described as amenities rich.
Down below is head and shoulder room, a kitted-out galley, and twin double beds. Outdoors is a comfortable lounge offering water views and bar facilities. Underway the boat is so zippy that you will be pressing the ‘down anchor’ button before you know it.
Boasting European styling, the 3055 Sunbridge was introduced last year (1999) to Bayliner’s mid-sized Ciera sport scruiser range to put a new spin on sports cruising. It is the biggest Ciera you can buy, but just as maneuverable as a 20-footer.
Whether it’s a big, small boat or a small, big boat, I’m not sure. What is certain is that you should spend more than just a token day aboard. The 3055 Sunbridge is more than a day-boat. It’s a floating apartment made for modern living on the water.
MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
The most visually appealing thing about the 3055 Sunbridge is its styling. Bumps and curves and a better integrated radar arch take the look from contemporary American to chic European. Considering the way other sports cruiser makers are going, the 3055 couldn’t have come soon enough.
Bayliner says that it has ‘powerfully fluid lines’ but that doesn’t mean that practicality takes a back seat. On the contrary, the boat seems to have an abundance of space.
There’s a full-width boarding platform (high enough above the water so you won’t get your feet wet when stepping aboard); wide side decks backed by handrails on the targa arch and bow rail; and a centre-opening windscreen with steps moulded into the dash providing an easy way in for guests.
Deck hardware has been integrated. The anchoring gear and optional electric winch are hardly discernible, the deck cleats and an aft fender locker are where you need them, while the optional spotlight adds to the boat’s appearance. There is also recessed lighting and weatherproof stereo speakers.
The fully-moulded cockpit is large, with comfy seating for four around a removable table which converts to a sun lounge. The skipper’s bench seat and passenger’s seat on the raised bridg edeck are useful for additional seating should you have a party aboard.
And then there are the amenities. Outdoors, there’s a handheld transom shower and a moulded wet bar with sink and pressure water. You’ll even have plenty of shade once some canvas is fitted. Though there isn’t a cockpit fridge, there are drink holders everywhere and room for an Igloo icebox under a cockpit seat.
Underway, the skipper’s vision and helm set-up rate right up there with the best Euro sports boats. The big wraparound windscreen gives protection, yet the view forward remains clear, even during the short-lived transition from displacement to planing speeds.
You can drive standing or seated, and with the factory-fitted Advantage Pack comprising tilt steering, wood-grain dash panels, digital depth sounder and VHF radio, the dash module will look doubly dashing.
While the co-pilot seat is also elevated for a clear view when traveling, the captain will find the helm set-up most comfortable. The twin throttles are located exactly where your right arm comes to rest, along with trim-tab buttons and spotlight controls. And a drink holder, of course.
Down below is where the apartment living really takes over. The open-plan interior creates a sense of space beyond all expectations. Coupled with over 195 cm of headroom and modulated furniture in a 3.36m beam, you can easily move from one end of the boat to the other.
The finish meets production boat standards and, once again, is reminiscent of a luxury apartment or hotel suite. Light buff and champagne wall coverings and bed heads combine with white-lacquered joinery, lots of natural light, and an easy-clean moulded fiberglass liner in the head. Bayliner says it has ‘expansive, abundant comfort’.
The head is located immediately to port as you descend the companionway steps. It is close at hand for day boating, but pleasantly separate from the sleeping quarters. Inside are a mirror, towel rack, headroom, vanity cabinet with sink and storage space, a manual pump-out loo with a deck filler for the holding tank, and a handheld hot shower.
The European influence is apparent in the galley, where the fridge is oversized and integrated in glossy cabinetry enhanced by wooden trim, chrome door knobs and black perspex facias. There’s sufficient waste-high formica bench top for assembling lunch, a microwave oven as standard, and a two-burner stove and big square stainless sink on a lower level. Storage space is particularly generous, with additional lockers dotted about the place.
Opposite is an elevated dinette with a semi-circular lounge. The cushions are deeply-padded and delightfully wide so you can slump down and read a book or, perhaps, gaze across to a television mounted above the galley. You can also convert the lounge and dinette into a sofa bed.
But the master cabin in the bow is the most tempting of all. While there is a privacy curtain, I liked the unrestricted access and the way in which the giant offset mattress offers space to stretch out. You’d be hard pressed to find a more comfortable perch than up against the big bed head, blanket over your legs, as the sea breeze drifts through the opening portholes and overhead hatch.
Should you get caught with guests or kids aboard, there is a mid-berth aft. While there is plenty of space above the pillows here, air conditioning is an option worth considering if you plan to run the 3055 Sunbridge in warmer cliamates.
While the interior is the feature which will probably sell this boat, performance is also enlightening. Twin 325 hp gas engines are a listed option, coupled with Bravo Two outdrives, the boat seems smooth and quiet, but then throaty and agile.
There’s little transition to planing speed and then, when you plant the throttles, you get the kind of responsiveness sports boaters look for. Cruise speeds are fast. All the while, the power-assisted steering is light but direct, so you know exactly where you are. But most impressive is the way this sports cruiser turns. With a moderate 17° dead rise, it doesn’t bank over alarmingly and wash off all its speed. It simply leans into the bend and shoots back out again something like an overgrown road bike.
Bayliner deserves full marks for its 3055 Sunbridge. The company has concentrated on the high-use areas of a sports cruiser rather than trying to create a caravan down below. If you like the new look and the amount of space, you will definitely need a reality check after taking the wheel.
Digital Depth Finder
AC Air-condition w/ Heating
Marine Head w/ Holding Tank & Macerator
Integral Swim Platform w/ Boarding Ladder
Smart cockpit layout and wet-bar
Galley w/ fridge, stainless steel sink, cabinetry, and counter space
Aft cabin accommodates two additional adults.
Private head compartment with toilet, sink, faucet, shower, and a porthole offers natural lighting