Ahh the Life
I'm often asked why a boat is so expensive. Were you to ask me about the 350 Sun Sport's retail price, higher than the Regal's or Cobalt's 323 ($261,858 with twin 420-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HO Bravo Three XR stern drives), I could point to any number of reasons. Standard Imron hull graphics, which won't lose adhesion or droop in hot weather, is one. My test boat's Mercury Sea Core engines, with their enhanced ability to endure saltwater service, are another. Formula's upholstery, a combination of Pre-Fixx vinyl wrapping Dri-Fast Foam and Starlite XL Marine Panel that makes the seats as rot- and stain-free as possible, is another. Then add in the racing-style external drive tiebar, which provides increased safety and control.
But before you even consider those benefits, look in the stowage lockers in the head. The hatches are just 12"-by-15", yet they're secured by full-length stainless-steel hinges, requiring 16 screws each. Sixteen. Many boats can't boast that kind of fastening scheduled for structurally critical stuff. Yet the 350 Sun Sport has a pair of hatches secured better than most boats' hull-to-deck joints. Labor-intensive detail is why expensive boats are expensive.
Accommodations are bred for fun and driven by ease. The cockpit lounge seats eight, and its aft section converts to a recliner for two. There's stowage beneath, although it needs a drain. Formula says it'll look into it. Integral dive tank stowage is below the port lounge. The wetbar includes a sink, cooler, and trash bin. A 12-volt receptacle is at the transom. On the bow, the windlass serves an all-chain rode, providing quicker holding and fewer tangles compared to a rope/chain rode. Two pairs of spring cleats grace the topsides, enhancing fendering and mooring.
The companionway features a bug screen. Slide it open and head down the cherry steps. Use the aft berth as a playpen or for mass stowage. Kick back on the Ultraleather salon sofa. The forward berth seats six and offers comfy sleeping for a couple. This berth's two large cushions are upholstered to resemble the separate cushions on a home sofa. It's a fresh look, complementing the copious use of mirrors, polished chrome, and matte silver trim, all of which gives the 350 Sun Sport a decidedly non-boaty feel.
The galley offers a sink and a single-burner, covered stove with automatic shutoff. There's a microwave and plenty of stowage for consumables and utensils. The stainless-steel drawer refrigerator is beneath the entertainment center, a good use of space. Call me crazy, but even with more headroom, a larger aft berth, and a two-burner stove, I wouldn't cruise a 35-footer with more than two adults. Two for the weekend, a bunch for the day. That's the 350 Sun Sport's mission.
Extra Point: Check the swim ladder's hinge: A custom spacer keeps the ladder's rail tops below the edge of the platform, preventing toe scrapes.