Tested: Formula 350 CBR Outboard – Quimby's Cruising Guide

Tested: Formula 350 CBR Outboard

Formula rocked the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last fall with a dynamic new spin on its 350 CBR (Crossover Bow Rider). Listening carefully to its customer base, which echoed strong industry consumer demand, the Indiana-based manufacturer launched a re-dress of the sophisticated bowrider-slash-express design with outboard power.

Having tested the 350 CBR Outboard, I can tell you it definitely sports the right mix of ingredients to take owners almost anywhere they want to go in speed and style. The new outboard package — available in triple Mercury 300 or 350 Verado configurations — amps up the power and efficiency of the 350 CBR, offering an affordable and versatile vessel that provides an ideal day in the sun, or overnight.

Yes, I said overnight. The boat’s unique layout features an expanded bow and amidships cabin space that maximizes entertainment and comfort options for all your boating adventures. “It’s part of the cruising luxury day boating lifestyle,” Formula designer John Adams said.

Through the clever utilization of space, this balanced combination extends the fun into the bow entertainment zone without giving up the all-important flush cockpit. And there’s easy access to move around the boat, too, as the bow and cockpit are one level.

While the bow is decked out with wraparound lounge seating and a pair of tables for those delightful al fresco dining moments, it can easily be converted into a spacious sun pad via lowering the tables and using filler cushions. At the other end of the boat, a spacious, aft-facing sun lounge and extended swim platform (or “the patio” as Adams calls it) brings your on-water adventures up close and personal.

Drive Time
The 350 CBR’s helm boasts a molded fiberglass dash in a choice of colors, with handsome black instrument panels and an array of bells and whistles including Ritchie compass, Garmin 547 GPS color chart plotter, digital depth sounder and Mercury DTS with SmartCraft Vessel View. The contoured seating has supports in the lumbar and knee areas, offering all-day driving comfort, and ample under-seat storage. A dash-mounted Clarion stereo control, iPod/MP3 port and eight 6.5-inch speakers with 600-watt stereo amplification, polished stainless grilles and a subwoofer keep the music pumping.

In addition, a trio of dual USB charging ports — two in the aft cockpit and one in the bow — make sure your mobile devices remain powered so you can stay in contact with the rest of the world. A molded cockpit wet bar with sink, Corian countertop, trash receptacle and 17.5-quart carry-on cooler meets the refreshment needs of passengers in the cockpit. And there are 24 — count ’em, 24 — drink holders placed throughout the boat to keep your beverage always close at hand.

Inside Story
The cabin affords all the creature comforts of home with plenty of room to stretch out and relax. Boasting a layout perfectly suited for overnight trips or simply taking a break from soaking up rays, it welcomes you with standup headroom, a private aircraft-style galley, double settee, full-size memory foam berth and, a mainstay of the Formula line, a cedar-lined hanging locker.

The spacious enclosed head compartment incorporates a VacuFlush toilet, molded vanity, custom sink with faucet, retractable showerhead and exhaust fan, with wood-grain-finish flooring.

Added Touches
There’s ample storage for your boating gear throughout this large bowrider, including under-cushion bow storage, bow in-floor storage, portside gear storage locker, a dedicated portside storage locker for bow filler cushions and forward in-floor wakeboard/ski storage.

While the 350 CBR is designed for the ultimate in fun and comfort, a cockpit fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector in the cabin provide safety in case of an emergency

And for those who want to add those “extra amenities” to their boat, no worries. There are several additional options, such as a HDTV with Blu-Ray player and antenna and cable access in aft cabin, bed linens and towels, blue cockpit and underwater LED lights, wood-grain vinyl decking on the swim platform, an electric windlass with chain and stainless-steel anchor, and a power retractable sunshade in black.

“It’s quite simple,” commented Adams. “It’s about creating the correct DNA to build beautiful boats.”

Length Overall: 37’11”
Beam: 10’9”
Draft: 3’3”
Dry Weight: 14,672 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 250 gals.
Water Capacity: 29 gals.
Base Price: $488,840


Author: Bobbye Miller Kenyon is a regular contributor to HeartLand Boating magazine

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