The Schaefer 400 is an express cruiser coupe with amenities for both dayboating and overnighting aboard. Comfortable seating areas and a main deck that opens up with a huge sunroof will gather guests and family, while a two-stateroom, two-head layout simplifies overnighting. Sterndrive power combines with Lenco trim tabs to provide excellent trim control for comfortable performance.
- Main-deck social area
- Two staterooms
- Volvo Penta sterndrive propulsion with joystick control
- Lower-deck salon with galley
- Transom grilling station
|Length Overall||40' 2'' / 12.24 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||5.9 sec.|
|0 to 30||15.0 sec.|
|Load||5 persons, 1/2 fuel, water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||87 deg., 74 humid; wind: 0 mph; seas: 0|
2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta D4 B3
2 x 370-hp Volvo Penta D4
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Contents of Report
- Distinguishing Features
- Features Inspection
- Swim Platform
- Transom Console
- Stairs to the Side Decks
- Side Decks
- Aft Deck
- The Main Deck
- Helm Station
- Master Stateroom
- Guest Stateroom
- Engine Room
- Performance Test
- Optional Equipment to Consider
The mission of the Schaefer 400 is to gather family and friends for good times on the water, be it with a larger group for day-boating adventures, or a smaller group for overnighting. This is an express cruiser coupe with a main deck open all the way from the helm station to the swim platform. With a large group on board, everyone will be able to sit together while the boat is running, filling the seating areas of the main deck, helm station, and companion seating. A pair of staterooms, each at either end of the belowdecks salon, and each with its own head, ensure that the owner and guests will enjoy privacy.
• The main-deck seating area consists of a large, curving U-shaped settee with an additional curved settee opposite.
• Finely lacquered marine-grade wood used throughout for a clean, finished look that stands up to fingertip inspection.
• A deep cooler and bottle bar with custom stemware are ready to entertain.
• A custom owner logo treatment ranges from the insignia appearing in key spots on the main deck, belowdecks, and in the master stateroom. This is personalization as we have never seen it before.
The Schaefer 400 features a swim platform that is 5’8” (1.73 m) long, with an aft 3’6” (1.07 m) long section that can be lowered hydraulically beneath the water.
One operational aspect of the swim platform: The engine ignitions must be turned on to lower the platform, since that first step also lowers the sterndrives.
Designed to be accessed from the swim platform, the transom console has a wide grab handle to help the crew keep their balance on the platform. There’s also stowage in lockers underneath.
Concealed beneath a hinged lid is an outdoor food-prep station with a grill and sink with folding faucet. The lid has a stainless steel backsplash to guard against heat damage, and is held up by gas-assist struts at either end.
Stairs to the Side Decks
Stairs from the swim platform to each side deck have courtesy lights. Nearby 10” (25.4 cm) cleats for docklines may also serve as a grabrail in a pinch. The fuel fills are also here.
Useful grabrails on the aft end of the hardtop make it easy to step up onto the side decks with confidence. The side decks are 16” (40.64 cm) wide between the house side and the rail that’s 20” (50.8 cm) tall alongside the house.
The foredeck is surrounded by a bowrail that’s 28” (71.12 cm) high. The sun pad measures 73” (184.5 cm) long and is 84” (213.4 cm) wide at the head and 51” (129.5 cm) wide at the foot.
To manage the ground tackle, a windlass is concealed under a hatch and has a chain stopper, a washdown, access to the chain locker, with rugged cleats to secure the chain, and room to stow a fender. There’s even a light for tending ground tackle in low-light conditions. Foot control switches are on the deck to starboard, near one of two 10” (25.4 cm) bow cleats.
Back on the swim platform, the stainless steel gate has a latching mechanism where the whole gate is lifted to open it. Pass through the gate to get to the main deck social area.
A large social area is the centerpiece of the aft deck. A rounded, U-shaped settee to starboard has room for plenty of guests. A folding teak table, manufactured by Schaefer in-house, is on a fixed pedestal, and there’s another curving settee to port so even more friends can join the party.
The Main Deck
Forward is another area consisting of the helm station and divan opposite, providing companion seating. The hardtop over this section has a sunroof that opens wide to the sky and provides fresh air. There’s 6’5” (1.95 m) of headroom on the main deck, and the sunroof that measures 6’3” (1.91 m) wide by 6’1” (1.85 m) long opens up the whole helm area and forward part of the main deck to the sky.
A Note About Sunroof Safety: The sunroof on the Schaefer 400 opens and closes quickly, so the builder added an “electric eye” safety stop forward. If the sunroof is closing and the system detects an obstacle, say a hand or head sticking out, the system stops the sunroof.
On our test boat, just ahead of the aft seating area was a clever shelf with all-around rails. Next to that is a shelf with an acrylic insert for bottle stowage with a rail around it that doubles as a grab handle.
A built-in insulated cooler on our test boat was deep enough to stow plenty of cold drinks. This cooler can be ordered with a chiller plate installed or be replaced with a front-opening refrigerator or freezer.
A settee is positioned forward of the cooler box and is well situated to serve as companion seating opposite the helm station, with a recess in the seatback for stowage.
A note about customization: The owner of the Schaefer 400 we tested had requested that a customized logo for the boat be used, and Schaefer placed it on the front of the cooler box console and the companionway door, and we noticed it repeated elsewhere throughout the boat.
The helm station is positioned just to starboard of the centerline. It’s a raised helm, a 12” (30.48 cm) step up to a teak deck with a teak-finished, angled footrest. On that platform, standing headroom is 5’7” (170.2 cm) and headroom above the seat is 3’11” (119.4 cm).
The helm console is well laid out with a compass on top that lines up with the steering wheel. Above the wheel is a 9” (22.86 cm) Raymarine Axiom multifunction display, flanked by tachometers, oil pressure gauges, temperature gauges, voltmeters, and trim gauges, as well as the Volvo Penta engine monitors. Electrical switches are on the port side of the leather dash with stereo control.
To starboard of the wheel are trim-tab controls, engine ignition, electrical switches, and the VHF well out of the way of the helmsman’s knee.
The helm seat is double wide with custom stitching and a thick, flip-up bolster finished with dimpled vinyl.
A Note About Driving Position. Many boaters enjoy the option of sitting or standing while driving. The Schaefer 400 offers those options, but in a slightly different way.
A sliding acrylic door opens to the lower deck. There’s a four-step companionway down and the space has 6’6” (1.98 m) of headroom.
The galley is to port with a solid-surface counter with covered trash receptacle. There’s a stainless steel sink, a two-burner cooktop, and an opening port. A microwave is built-into the lacquer-finish cabinetry above. Additional stowage is in drawers and lockers, and a refrigerator is aft.
Opposite the galley to starboard and forward there’s an L-shaped settee beneath a single round hatch in the overhead that acts as a skylight and opens for ventilation. Above the settee is stowage in built-in lacquered-wood lockers. More ventilation and natural light is admitted by a pair of opening ports. A teak table is crafted inhouse by Schaefer on two stainless steel pedestals.
A console built-in to the aft bulkhead has a 32” flatscreen TV, a Blu-Ray player and stereo control head, and stowage beneath.
In the salon, fabric wall coverings are complemented by marine-grade wood with a fine lacquer finish. Schaefer encourages its buyers to ask about customization of features.
The master stateroom is located forward, and features an island berth that measures 75” (190.5 cm) long and 60” (152.4 cm) wide, with 37” (93.98 cm) of headroom over the berth, and, to either side, opening ports and stowage in lacquer-finished overhead lockers.
Customized bed linens continue the detail we saw on the main deck as do monograms on the lacquered lockers.
The head is placed just abaft the master stateroom and is accessed from the master stateroom, through a door in the aft bulkhead. A vessel sink is placed atop the vanity, beneath an opening port for additional ventilation. There’s a round opening hatch in the overhead and a medicine cabinet with a mirror above the sink. The shower has an acrylic door and a euro-style wand. The toilet is placed in the shower.
While the master stateroom has private access, this head has a second, inward-opening door to the salon, so it serves as the day head.
The door to the guest stateroom is located to starboard of the salon entertainment console and measures 5’2” (157.5 cm) tall and 2’8” (81.28 cm) wide. Inside, a pair of berths are situated athwartships and measure 76” (193 cm) long and 25” (63.5 cm) wide with 28” (71.12 cm) of headroom over the berths. The overhead in the sleeping area is 41” (104.1 cm) above the deck.
A filler cushion can turn the twin berths into one wide berth, and there are large hullside windows at each end of the room for natural light. A lacquered door leads to the guest head.
The guest head is a wet head and features a large mirror, vessel sink, and a large side window with opening port for ventilation.
The engine room is accessible through a large hatch in the aft deck that raises on electric rams and opens wide to show the service points on the Volvo Penta D4-300s. Engine-oil dipsticks, filters, and strainers are readily accessible.
In the stoop-height forward section of the engine room, electrical panels are under acrylic covers on the forward bulkhead. To starboard is a 7.5-kW Cummins generator with service points, including its strainer and fuel-water separator, as well as the starboard engine separator placed within easy reach. Fuel tanks, each holding 105.5 gallons (399 L) for a total fuel capacity of 211 gallons (799 liters) are mounted saddle style to either side.
The Schaefer 400 has a LOA of 40’2” (12.24 m) and a beam of 12’8” (3.86 m). With an empty weight of 20,944 lbs. (9,500 kg), 50% fuel and five people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 23,187 lb. (10,517 kg).
With the twin Volvo Penta D4-300 matched to DPH Duoprop sterndrives powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 34.3 knots or 39.5 mph (63.5 kph) at 3500 rpm. Best economic cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 27.2 knots or 31.3 mph (50.3 kph). It was at that speed that the 22.0 gph (83.3 lph) fuel burn translated into 1.2 nmpg (0.60 kpl) and a range of 234.6 nm.
From a standing start, the Schaefer 400 got onto plane in 5.9 seconds and accelerated from zero to 20 mph in 7.7 seconds. She went from zero to 30 mph in 15.0 seconds. During hard acceleration she did not exhibit excessive bow rise, and the trim could be easily controlled from the helm with both the sterndrive trim and the electric trim tabs.
Sea conditions were calm on our test. The hull design features a transom deadrise of 17.4-degrees, with a hull shape that gets progressively sharper moving forward. We ran through some wakes from our camera boat and saw she had excellent penetration through the waves, with the strakes extending forward to the bow and knocking down spray.
This boat runs and steers well if trimmed to capitalize on that bow design, so we used the trim control offered by both the sterndrives and the Lenco trim tabs to dial in her attitude for the easy conditions.
As we put the 400 through some turns, she exhibited a comforting inward lean that is sure to inspire confidence.
Using the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick for docking, we were able to maneuver her side-to and place her gently against the sea wall where she could be tied up.
Optional Equipment to Consider
The Schaefer 400 has a range of optional equipment to consider, but boat buyers should keep in mind that custom modifications are also considered.
• Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick ($7,875)
• Windlass with remote, stainless steel anchor, swivel, and chain ($4,588)
• 7.5 kW Cummins generator ($18,723)
• Hot water heater ($1,436)
• 5,200-BTU air-conditioning for master stateroom ($3,996)
• 12,000-BTU air-conditioning for lounge and guest stateroom ($4,752)
• Electric barbecue grill ($1,134)
• Hydraulic swim platform ($20,424)
• Underwater lights ($3,644)
• Manual awning ($2,191)
• 21” (53.34 cm) LED TV with Blu-Ray player for master ($1,082)
• Microwave in galley (generator required) ($290)
• Electric cooktop ($838)
• Stern canvas enclosure ($888)
Base price for the Schaefer 400 with twin 300-hp Volvo Penta D4 diesels linked to DuoProp DPH sterndrives is $553,529.
Express cruisers perform the 80/20 role for many boat builders, where the large majority of time spent aboard is dayboating, but the boat is large enough that it also carries room for overnighting with the trappings of accommodations, including a complete head (or two), a galley, and private lounging space. The Schaefer 400 embraces each of these roles with aplomb, with a main deck built for enjoying a day on the water, right down to her expansive sunroof, which opens the forward end of the main deck. A foredeck adds true sun pad space and combines with the optional hydraulic swim platform to expand the utility of the entire boat by not requiring open space on the aft deck for bathers and sun worshipers.