I view boats through two lenses. using a wide angle, I look for how suited the boat is to its mission: Does it have the right stuff? Zooming in, I assess the details of that stuff. Applying both views to Formula’s new 290 Bowrider, I rate it A-plus. such high marks don’t come cheap. The 290 BR is the priciest 30-foot bowrider going. Is it worth it?
Featuring a bow lounge that converts from forward-facing recliners to seating facing abeam, to seating around a table, to full-on sun pad, the 290 BR’s flexible forward arrangement covers every scenario an owner might want.
Zooming in, I found that the courtesy lights feature glare-deflecting brows. These, like the drink holders and other metal accessories, are chrome-plated stainless, a glossier alloy that isn’t subject to the surface rust of unplated stainless. Such fittings make for an easier-to-maintain boat that looks sharp longer. A scupper in the sole ensures easy cleanup.
Inside the port console is a head, complete with a screened port for ventilation, a wood sole and a faux-stone vanity with recessed sink. Sitting headroom is generous, and a drain makes cleanup a snap. I wish there were a latch or strut to hold this door open. Someone’s bound to leave it open eventually — likely just before a wake slams the door shut. The faux-granite top isn’t just cosmetics: If scratched, polishing it is a simple DIY project as opposed to refinishing the more common gelcoated fiberglass counter.
I sat comfortably atop the double-wide helm seat, allowing myself and a mate to easily share skipper’s duty. The seat adjusts electrically and boasts dual flip bolsters, so I could stand while my companion sat. Seated, standing or “kicking back,” I never had to stretch for the wheel or controls. Very ergonomic. Bullet gauges add pizzazz.