Let’s just start with this: The 378 SE likely has the most livable berths and head in any open-bow day cruiser available today.
Stepping below via the wide hatchway, there are two steps down from sole to sole where we met a wide settee along the starboard side and a forward bulkhead equipped with the house system’s electrical control panel, voltage monitors and a microwave. Recline in the settee and you’re facing a 40-inch TV with a sound bar and subwoofer, all secured in dedicated compartments. Aft of the settee, the queen berth boasts plenty of space and full headroom for climbing into the bed. Put your kids on the settee — it slides out to make a double berth. The head is accessible from a separate hatch across from the salon hatch. Both hatches face each other in the wide walk-through to the bow seating area. The head is roomy compared to those aboard other day cruisers, and there is cheery light in the all-fiberglass compartment. A shower plus a china commode make the vessel just like home.
At the helm, we found a power-adjustable dual seat. We felt it could accommodate a skipper and two mates. Flip bolsters add stand-up space or ergonomically comfortable seating for driving. The portside console boasts a wide matching seat but with the added amenity of a footrest for long-range comfort.
The helm station itself is a thing of beauty. On center is a Raymarine display, flanked by VesselView LCD gauges. Flush, lighted push-button switches activate pumps, lights and even the windlass. (Monterey’s first-ever through-stem anchor davit keeps the 378’s sleek lines uninterrupted.) The windlass switches blend into the touch-button panels instead of requiring another gauche control panel. The switches are ergonomically positioned and offer a sleek, easy-to-clean look. Monterey has made the back of the helm easy to access through a convenient bulkhead hatch in the salon below.
When we pressed the throttles forward, our tester’s twin 430 hp MerCruiser engines snapped the 378 SE on plane in 4.7 seconds and powered it to 30 mph in 9.5 seconds. If you’re not impressed, note that this boat weighs 9 tons — a hefty weight that knocked down seas with a nonchalant shrug. Electronic throttles are smooth, as is the power steering. With both in hand, the 378 SE responded like a sports sedan, carrying itself through sharp turns without dumping speed. The 378 SE topped out at 50 mph and did so in waters rough enough to loosen teeth, yet we never heard her creak or groan and never heard a cabinet door, hatch or hinge utter a whimper of protest.
In big bowriders, your next best bet comes from Four Winns, which offers the H350, and then jumps to a massive 44-footer. The H350 ($310,115 comparably equipped) offers dual front seats for the helm and port console. The latter seats are on a stanchion to swivel fore and aft. One of the skipper seats swivels aft to complete a conversation area. You’ll weekend comfortably with the sleeping quarters and head compartment, but you’ll notice the difference a few extra feet makes. The H350 boasts exemplary styling on board and a track record for quality construction.
Monterey’s signature cockpit seating arrangement includes firm, crisply sculpted wraparound lounges that extend from the portside console seat to the starboard-side transom door. The transom seating consists of fore and aft couches that convert into an aft-facing lounge or a full, flat sun pad for stretching out. A starboard-side rumble seat snaps easily out of the coaming to add an extra lounge aft of the entertainment galley. Topside, galley service is completed with a freshwater sink, refreshment center and slide-open refrigerator. The entire cockpit of our test boat was protected beneath a carefully contoured hardtop that blended beautifully with the lines of the hull.
The engine compartment proved easy to access, and we found plenty of space around the power plants for maintenance. You enter easily after raising the hatch and aft seats at the touch of a button. Our tester was equipped with a genset, also open for inspection once its cowl is removed. Likewise, seacocks were in easy reach.
On a Monterey, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the luxury, comfort and sexy lines. You have to step back and look at it carefully for a few moments, though, and wonder why it has such a special gleam. Then it strikes you: the hardware. Pull-up cleats are logo-embossed. Hinges are polished to a mirror finish and through-bolted with hardware heavy enough to use to lift an average runabout. Louvers aren’t cowled with plastic but are mirror-smooth stainless steel, and if a grate is needed, it’s that bright as well. The sturdiness runs all the way through the hardtop, supported with a ladderlike support of stainless steel designed for beauty, not just durability. It complements the 378 SE’s lines and DNA.
Monterey sees its 378 SE as a mega-yacht tender, and we could easily imagine it delivering crew and guests to such a gangway. But many more will be christened on bedroom boating communities all over the U.S.
Anyone can make a big boat with lots of living space and plenty of power, but what’s always impressive about Monterey Boats is the polished style and platinum ride.
Comparable Model: Four Winns H350