Photos: Cigarette Racing
Is it the journey or the destination?
For some yachtsmen the sound of halyards tapping against the mast and the wind whistling through the stays is nirvana, while for others the sitting around involved is quite the opposite.
Getting to the destination before anybody else is what drives some – what they lose in tranquility on the journey, they gain by reaching an anchorage before anybody else. And getting there fast can also be a thrill – especially when fast means speeds up to 117 knots or 217km/h.
Okay, there’s a little cheating with that top speed. The Cigarette Racing 50’ Marauder AMG GT S, announced last year, was fitted with twin Mercury Racing 1550 QC4v sterndrives, and the big V8s only make their rated 1,550hp when running 112 AKI race fuel. Otherwise owners of the US$1.2m boat have to make do with a mere 1,350hp from each engine running 98 RON petrol.
For 2016, the Marauder 50’ and 50’ SS have been updated again, with the cockpit moved further back to make that foredeck look even more like an aircraft carrier. The v-bottom hull is stepped, naturally, for more speed.
Standard engines are from Mercury Racing, with twin 1100s or twin 1350s. Either way, performance is not going to be an issue, but if buyers are worried their Cigarette isn’t the fastest in the region, Cigarette Racing can fit the 1550 engines to order. Top speed with the 1350s should be around 96 knots, or 177km/h, so you’re still going to get wherever you’re going rather quickly.
Whichever engine is chosen, the basics are the same: a 9.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, with quad overhead camshafts, four-valve heads, dry sump lubrication, and peak power at the 6-6,500rpm redline. The 1350 version requires minimum 98 RON fuel, while the 1100 can run on 95. The 1100 makes use of the Mercury Racing NXT6 stern drive, while the 1350 requires the more rugged M8 unit. Both feature surface-piercing propellers designed with high performance in mind.
In order to keep the hull profile relatively narrow, the engines are staggered, with the port side engine mounted further forward. An additional benefit of this layout is improved weight distribution.
Interestingly, Cigarette Racing has achieved better performance with the twin-engine configuration than it used to get with the triple engine configuration that has been the performance option for the Marauder model since its debut a decade ago.
Partially, this is thanks to weight reduction in the engine bay – the 1350 QC4v engines weigh-in at 782kg each – and partially thanks to the use of composite materials, which has also improved vibration dampening and structural rigidity.
Plus, the QC4v engines pump out more power than the units they replaced. A new engine-bay hatch provides more fresh air for those hungry engines as well.
Offshore racing speeds necessitate heavy-duty hardware, particularly for passenger safety, so the powered bolsters are CNC machined billet alloy, as are the grab handles on the passenger console and bolster backs. The driver and front passenger also get CNC machined billet footrests with rubber tread inserts.
Rear seat passengers don’t miss out on all the fun, with speedometers mounted on the rear of the front seat bolster backs.
Information for the driver and front passenger is more detailed, with twin Garmin 8212 helm displays, with 12-inch high-definition touch screens and full system integration. Alongside those are twin 4-inch Mercury Marine VesselView displays for engine information and diagnostics. Plus there’s an LED trim tab and drive indicator, dash-mounted battery switches and carbon-fibre dash panels and gauge cluster. Throttles and shifters are digital items from Mercury Racing, and the stainless steel helm is adjustable for tilt.
It’s not all about performance – there’s a custom-designed audio system from JL Audio, with a Bluetooth interface to the Garmin system, a freshwater transom shower and a shorepower connection with mains voltage outlet in the cabin.
The custom paintjob – a Cigarette Racing specialty – is included in the purchase price, and while that often means a fairly busy design in red, white and blue, it really is up to the buyer how far to go with it.
The Marauder is neither shy nor retiring, and neither are most of the paintjobs commissioned, though it is interesting to note that this is not because of ostentatious American buyers – most sales are made to Europeans. Cigarette originally launched the 50’ Marauder model to satisfy European demand. Luca Formilli Fendi, scion of the Fendi luxury fashion house and offshore racer, owns one, for instance.
Born in the offshore racing world in the 1960s, Cigarette Racing began production of customer boats in 1970, and counts world leaders and royalty as customers, which is somewhat ironic given the Cigarette name was borrowed from an outlaw rum-running speedboat from the prohibition era.
But along with Cigarette Racing’s acceptance in establishment circles has come refinement, and greater attention to quality and luxury, even if speed is still its raison d’être.
This story was first published in Davison Vol. 32.