Formula 350 CBR
At a Glance: A headturner wherever she goes, Formula calls the 350 a "Crossover Bowrider" (CBR), part open-bow runabout and part express cruiser. She combines the overnight accommodations of a cruiser, the huge seating area forward of a deckboat, and an express cruiser bridge deck, cockpit and stern. It's a clever combination, and the sheer size of the 350 makes this the ultimate open-air entertainment machine. Two-person cabin below the helm deck offers very luxurious overnight accommodations for two with posh double-wide lounge, enclosed head, and mini-galley with pull-out refrigerator. In the cockpit, the wraparound lounge seats six and it's aft section converts to a recliner for two. The aft-facing transom lounge converts to a large sun pad. Twin 430hp Mercury I/Os top out at close to 50 knots. Quality like this doesn’t come cheap.
Best Feature: Luxury-class cabin for two.
Price Range: From the low $200s to $350K-plus.
March 30, 2017
There are more bowriders sold every year in this country than any other category of boat. No surprise, then, that these open-bow fun machines are getting bigger and bigger every year. Indeed, it wasn't all that many years ago that a 30-foot bowrider was about as big as anyone ever thought a bowrider would get. To fully appreciate where things are headed in this red-hot segment of the market, take a few minutes and become aquainted with the eight big open-bow cruisers profiled below. All embody state-of-the-art styling and design, and all are big enough to feature a sleeping cabin and seating for the largest of families.
Formula 330 CBR
At a Glance: A scaled-down version of the Formula 350 CBR. A premium day boat in the Formula tradition — excellent performance, superior finish, and aggressive styling. The deck layout with facing L-shaped settees, removable table, and built-in refreshment center is similar to many big bowriders, only way more luxurious. Note huge storage lockers under portside lounge seat and in the port console. The aft sun pad converts into a pair of chaise lounges. A cooler is forward between the bow seats — very thoughtful. Small cabin under the bow seating (accessed from a door near the helm) includes a double berth, mircowave, and enclosed standup head/shower. Imron paint really stands out. Joystick controls make the 330 CBR easy to dock in tight spaces. About 40 knots top with 430hp MerCruiser I/Os. Did we say expensive?
Best Feature: Awesome fit and finish
Price Range: Around $280K–$320K new.
Sea Ray 350 SLX
At a Glance: Stay out longer, invite more friends, and steer toward open water in confidence — with a bowrider this big there are few limitations to your boating fun. Bold styling is accented by extended side windows and hullside windows. Open-air seating for as many as 12–14 passengers includes a double-wide companion seat that swivels to face aft. Stylish fiberglass hardtop features a large (optional) sunroof and retractable sunshade that shelters the entire aft section of the cockpit. Below the starboard console is a small sleeping cabin with single berth and sitting headroom. Teak decking on the extended swim platform is a nice touch. Note retractable teak cockpit table and clever aft-facing transom seat that converts to several positions. About 40+ knots top with 300hp MerCruiser I/Os.
Best Feature: Perfect for dockside entertaining.
Price Range: Low $200s to high S200s.
Chris Craft 36 Launch
At a Glance: A unique boat with a large center console and well-appointed cuddy cabin below an elevated bow area is unlike any other bowrider on the market. Named "Boat of the Year" in 2014 by Boating Magazine, they described the 36 Launch as "a versatile day boat perfect for cruising or overnighting." Behind the triple-wide helm seat is a fully equipped open-air galley complete with ceramic cooktop, icemaker, sink, and grill. Two curved sofas occupy the rear of the cockpit, and the cabin is ringed by recessed side decks. Instead of facing bench seats, the bow area has a huge sun pad with forward-facing recliners and an aft-facing bench seat at the bow. There are five berths below (including a mid-cabin aft) as well as a full-sized head and shower. Offered with stern drive or outboard power.
Best Feature: Over-the-top materials and finish.
Price Range: From the high $200s to mid $400K.
Cobalt 336; Cobalt R35
At a Glance: Cobalt got it right with the 336 (called the R35 beginning in 2016), a sporty big-water bowrider loaded with premium amenities. The aggressive styling is accented by panoramic side windows, and Cobalt's signature rumble seat is built into the transom. The seating layout of the 336 can accommodate as many as 12 people while underway. At once snug and expansive, the cabin — which lies below the helm — is bright, open, and extremely well appointed. A 9-foot leather sofa seats three or four people and converts to a double berth for sleeping. An enclosed head is to port with electric toilet and shower. Additional features include a doublewide helm seat, transom rumble seat, cockpit galley, L-lounge cockpit seating, bow scuff plate.
Best Feature: Posh wraparound cockpit seating is comfortable and space efficient.
Price Range: From high $100s to the mid $200s.
Chaparral 327 SSX
At a Glance: One of the early big bowriders over 30 feet — considered an innovative boat when she was introduced in 2012. Spacious forward seating area with lots of leg room is a great place to hang out. Double-wide helm and companion seats allow four people to face forward while underway. Notable features include full-service wet bar, aft-facing stern seat (converts to sun pad at the push of a button), extended swim platform, in-floor storage locker in cockpit. Standard side-mount table can be used in the bow or cockpit for entertaining. Stylish fiberglass hard top shades much of the forward cockpit area. Deep-V hull with relatively high freeboard gave this Chaparral the muscle to run offshore where most smaller bowriders fear to venture. Close to 50 knots wide open with 430hp MerCruiser I/Os.
Best Feature: Compact cabin for overnighting.
Price Range: From the low $100s to about $180K.
Crownline 320 LS
At a Glance: Stylish, affordable, and easy on the wallet, this deep-V bowrider is a lot of boat for the money. Introduced in 2006 before the market for big bowriders was firmly established. The large size allowed Crownline engineers to include a double sleeping berth and microwave within the enclosed head/change compartment to port. The transom features dual walk-thru entryways for easy boarding, and the starboard transom entryway has filler cushions to create U-wrap cockpit seating. The aft bench seat converts to a sun pad. Standard features include a cockpit wet bar with refrigerator, large sun island aft, and an extended swim platform. Built on a solid fiberglass high-performance stepped hull. A lot of boat for the money, the Crownline 320 LS will cruise at 35 knots with twin 300hp MerCruiser I/Os and reach 45+ knots top.
Best Feature: An attractive price.
Price Range: From to low $50s to around $80K.
Monterey 328 SS
At a Glance: Dramatic styling plus innovative design equals something different in the world of kingsize bowriders. All of the features of a full-size bowrider with the added versatility of a small cabin with sleeping berth, TV, and microwave in the portside console. Styling-wise, the 328 stands apart from the rest of the big bowrider crowd. LED accent lights are installed in the engine vents, around the swim platform and around the perimeter of the aft lounge. The aft lounge adjusts into several different seating positions—very clever. Highlights include an articulating sun pad with multiple seating and lounging configurations, full head compartment with sink and shower (starboard console), pull-up cleats, cockpit entertainment center, trim tabs, and anchor chute. A well-finished boat, Volvo 320hp I/Os top out at 40 knots. Monterey sold a lot of these boats.
Best Feature: Very distinctive styling.
Price Range: From the low $100s.