Formula’s 350 CBR is the only bowrider I’ve tested that comes standard with an all-chain anchor rode. Of course, no other bowrider displaces 13,500 pounds and measures 35 feet in length overall: The 350 CBR is the world’s largest bowrider.
Designated a crossover by Formula, topside there’s a bow lounge boasting seating for eight. Within the starboard-side console resides a cabin with berth, galley and enclosed head. Below the water? A deep-V hull in the Formula tradition: The 350 CBR rode smoothly and handled nimbly. In fact, proving the theory that you can “make the hull deadrise work” with more weight or more speed, the 350 CBR rode smoother in the confused slop generated by 20-knot winds at 50 mph than it did at 40 mph. The 350 CBR is going to be a big hit with big-water boaters.
Sharp-eye readers will notice that the helm is raised and that the bow walk-through is offset to port. Both design features provide the space for the cabin beneath the helm; the former increases cabin headroom (and raises the captain’s sight line, ensuring crew seated forward don’t block the view) and the latter provides more width belowdecks.
The cabin is entered from the helm. The double-size aft berth provided me with sitting headroom, and I’m 6 feet tall. The galley features a Corian counter, sink and microwave. There’s a TV, visible from both the settee that’s opposite the galley and the berth. The head is located on the starboard side and truncated — its sole raised above the cabin sole to allow for drainage and provide comfortable width (remember we are in the lower, forward portion of a deep-V hull; width diminishes both beneath the waterline and as you go forward). You take a step up into this loo to find a nicely appointed, not-quite-standing headroom compartment.
Topside, the bow lounge is separated from the aft cockpit by a solid door, so you can block off the wind blast, if so desired. The latch for this needs more “throw,” since the one fitted on our tester opened repeatedly during our admittedly abusive test run. Formula assured us it would fix the latch on production models.
Seating for a crowd is comfortable and luxurious. In fact, filler cushions convert this entire space into one big “playpen.” Take that, wakeboard boats. There’s a table, and stowage beneath the lounges. Pause for a closer look at the cushions while inspecting this area. We discovered rot-free backing boards and upholstery fitted with drainage vents and made with special foam that allows moisture to pass right through. Seats aboard the 350 CBR will last a long time and won’t produce a wet squish when butt meets cushion.
In the aft cockpit, Formula’s convertible lounge serves as an aft-facing seat, a forward-facing seat or a flat-out sun lounge, and can be arranged as a recliner. Another differentiator of Formula’s lounge versus other morphing lounges is that the stowage beneath it can be accessed from both the platform and the cockpit. The wet bar in the cockpit is large enough to be called a cockpit galley.
The aft lounge rises on rams, revealing the engines. Twin 430 hp MerCruiser Bravo Three X sterndrives provided the push on our tester. These were bolted to some seriously sturdy bearers and stringers; Formula is capitalizing on its racing heritage with respect to rigging. We also admired batteries secured in bolt-down boxes, diamond-plate step pads and a through-bolted hull-to-deck joint. You can tell a lot about a boat after just a few minutes in its engine space. The 350 CBR screams quality. Our only gripe is that we’d like to see a handle, or recessed grab, fitted to the engine hatch. While its rams are designed with free travel so you can lift it manually should the mechanism fail, you’d still need to lift this hatch a few inches to get a finger hold under its edge.
Comparison boats include Cobalt's 336 BR ($230, 045 with twin Volvo Penta V-8 300C Duoprop sterndrives), Regal’s 3200 ($229,254, with twin 380-hp Mercruiser Bravo Three DTS Sterndrives) and Monterey’s 328 SS ($252,820, with twin 430-hp Mercruiser Bravo Three X sterndrives). I’ve also been made privy to the line drawings for a big Cruisers Sports Series bowrider that may be available later this year, but pricing isn’t yet available. These boats don’t offer the sheer size of the Formula, among other things, but I assure you that their intended missions rate them placement on the short list of anyone considering the 350 CBR.
Most boaters with cruisers use the cockpit way more than they use the cabin. The 350 CBR is for the boater who’s had that “a-ha moment” and realizes the need for more cockpit, a smaller cabin and a wave-taming hull.