Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider

The envy of the marina

by Alan Wendt
Boat shows are usually ideal venues to compare models.

Specifications

  • LOA: 35'
  • Beam: 10'9"
  • Draft: 39"
  • Weight: 13,850 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 222 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 29 gals.
  • Power:
  • Price: Contact dealer

formulaboats.com

However, you better hope you’re not the dealer selling next to the Formula guys; especially if the paint job on the 350 Crossover Bowrider (CBR) is a flawless Crystal Blue Metallic Axalta Chroma Premier basecoat and Imron Elite clearcoat, with custom matching Merc Verado outboards strapped to the swim platform. 
We’re talking stop-in-your-tracks beautiful.

Rock solid riding

When I arrived for the test ride, the 350-hp Verado trio purred like kittens, only I knew they were tigers luring me on-board with the promise of a rocket ship ride of nearly 60 mph.
Formula redefines crossover boats with this new model, smartly combining three functions in one ultimate platform: An expanded bow, comfortable overnight capabilities below and a yacht-like cockpit that bears the prestige of Formula’s 60-year family pedigree.

Just because a boat is fast doesn’t mean a wide-open throttle test is necessary. My days of carnival rides are over, and if I want my eyes to water, I’ll eat a jalapeño. Sure, it’s fun to throttle up and man the helm, but if your passengers’ knuckles match the white of the engine cowling, something is wrong. 

The 350 CBR is rock solid, and we ran in the high 50s on a fairly calm day with little boat traffic. Our best cruise was around 28 mph, translating into 1.2 mpg. Every seat — bow to stern — made me feel secure. I tried them all, easily moving throughout the flush-level cockpit while running at top speed. The lack of steps make this boat very accessible. Formula managed to create a running surface that expands the bow entertainment zone — without compromising the aft swim platform — by adding a beefy Armstrong positive floatation bracket to secure the outboard engine package. The results are higher speeds, greater fuel economy and full use of the traditional swim platform. Trimming the engines up is also an advantage in shallow conditions.

Limitless seating

One trend in aft/sunpad seating is the reversible, multi-position backrest. Formula’s version ever so gently extends over the woodgrain vinyl decking on the swim platform, where you’ll also find two upgraded JL Audio lighted cockpit speakers. Move the backrest further forward and behold a massive sunpad. Flip it back and the aft seat appears. All the plush seating is composed of DriFast foam and covered in weather-resistant Nautolex marine upholstery featuring PreFixx, an improved coating. PreFixx is easily maintained and offers superior stain resistance and improved wear properties that ensure your vinyl upholstery will look new far longer. This neat little package is all tied together — or shall we say sewn together — with Tenara element-resistant thread. 

A telescoping SureShade extends aft over the entire cockpit and retracts into the overhead sport hardtop, which includes recessed speakers and LED lighting. At least three couples can easily gather around a versatile table just an arm’s length away from the topside entertainment center, which features a refrigerator/icemaker and sink combo. Beneath each seat is ample storage for towels, purses and whatever else you bring on-board. Seating combinations throughout the 350 CBR include a portside lounger across from the dual-position helm. All the vitals for monitoring your boat and course are at your fingertips, including a Raymarine eS78 GPS color chartplotter, a digital depth sounder and a Mercury SmartCraft Vessel View 7-inch engine display. Our test boat offered Mercury’s latest skyhook-enabled joystick control. This third-generation joystick has an improved feel and response, providing full 360-degree control regardless of wind or current in close quarters.

Bow seating on this Formula shines thanks to a 10-foot, 9-inch beam. The extra foot is greatly appreciated for those of us who left our bikini bodies back at the dock 30 years ago. The space transforms into many configurations: Lounge seating, a full sunpad or seating around a color-coordinated removable table. A built-in cooler is located under the front seat, along with dry storage and cup holders recessed under both sides of the deck lip and grabrail. 

Storage galore

Innovative construction allows Formula to include a compact yet fully functional cabin in this luxurious bowrider. Enter the cabin through a molded door that appears to be part of the helm and step down into a narrow companionway. This companionway leads to what resembles a mini galley, complete with a refrigerator, a microwave and a sink. An enclosed head and shower are off to one side, and a queen-size Sensus memory foam mattress is tucked away behind the steps. Geometric magician engineers — undoubtedly Rubik’s Cube champions in design school — pieced together the layout that boasts a headroom of 6 feet, 2 inches.
 
Just about every space on this boat has functional storage for sunpad cushions, wakeboards or fenders. 

A-ha the fenders. Formula has strategically placed fender clips along key areas of the hull. Insert the push button stainless plug secured to the fender line, adjust for height and you are all set. There’s no competition with cleat space, and docking is a breeze.

There are many upgrades to consider, including a gas generator, an air conditioner, a flat-screen TV and a previously mentioned hardtop. One platinum option I’d recommend is the automatic outboard flushing system. After a long day of boating, the less maintenance required, the better. I want to enjoy a beverage with my guests back at the dock, not spend hours hooking up hoses and connecting one engine after another. 

While sterndrive models are available, space normally reserved for those engines creates a rather large mechanical room. Three AGM starting batteries, a low CO generator, hoses and hydraulics all are securely clamped to the stringer system. This will all save money during annual layup because mechanics can move about with ease.

With 222 gallons of fuel, ample speed and overnight accommodations, the Formula 350 CBR will be the envy of every marina.


DEALERS
Chicago Yacht Works
chicagoyachtworks.com

Lakeside Formula
lakesideformula.com


McGard
South Shore JUN17