When a boat like this can jump up onto plane in about 4.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 57 mph, it’s certainly an eye-opener. But when it’s a 38-foot day cruiser with a connection to the water that’s sports-car crisp (thanks to the Optimus 360 power steering with electronic throttle and shift), that’s downright startling. As we accelerated and trimmed up, the chines astern lifted nearly clear of the spray, yet the boat stayed hooked up and even accepted some authoritative rudder input, responding without complaint.
In port, the Optimus 360 Joystick steering gives confidence to dock this boat like a runabout. Nudge the stick in the direction of travel, and the boat crabs sideways; twist the stick, and the boat pivots steadily. Such devices are almost expected on luxury boats these days.
The 385SE makes its mark in the category called sport cruisers and will force the competition to step up its game. The deck design gives this cruiser a feel of sporty luxury and has seating for the largest of crews. On the starboard side, there’s a double-wide sun lounge with a fold-down armrest. An included filler cushion covers the synthetic teak sole to complete a double-wide sun pad. There’s a single-width lounge with folding armrest on the port side too. Without the center cushion the entire area could seat six to eight without crowding, and the cup holders are tucked in behind the cushions, under the bolsters, so drinks won’t be jostled.
Seating in the cockpit includes the first-mate double seat, with a fold-away step for stand-up options. An L-shaped lounge begins behind that seat, and as it turns the corner to the transom, the seat bottom widens to become a nearly 6-by-6-foot sun pad. It converts from a back-to-back bench to an aft-facing lounge.
The cabin below has a large berth, a galley area and an enclosed head with a shower — all practical and well-designed.
The Monterey 385SE with Yamaha power is exciting at top speed. It’s equally fun at rest when crews are relaxing to music from the powerful factory-installed stereo or knifing into the water with a perfectly executed dive from the transom.
- A locking cubby with spin-off cover is watertight and more secure than a glove box.
- The boarding ladder faces to the side, away from the props.
- The swim platform allows easy passage from port to starboard.
Price: $448,468 (base)
How We Tested
Engine: Triple Yamaha F300s
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Saltwater Series II 19″
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 125 gal.
Water on Board: 7 gal.
Crew Weight: 350 lb.
Monterey Boats – Williston, Florida; 352-528-2628; montereyboats.com