37 Performance Cruiser — By Tim Clark
|Wind-in-your-hair boating on a versatile express cruiser.|
While testing a Formula 37 Performance Cruiser last August out of Total Marine in Norwalk, Connecticut, I was reminded of a particularly American, and somewhat nostalgic, automotive concept: the long, strong, top-down touring car. I'm not alluding to sports cars per se--an Austin Healey or an Alfa Romeo may be exhilarating to drive, but you've got to be a yoga master to stay in one very long. I have more in mind the big-engined, broad-bodied, open-to-the-elements cabriolets you'd imagine barreling down a coastal highway in 1935.
Vestiges of this concept survive in automobiles, but in Formula's performance cruisers it remains central. Getting there with the wind in your hair really is half the fun, especially if once you arrive you can enjoy comforts a touring car couldn't possibly provide (perhaps a motor home could, but then kiss good-bye any fun behind the wheel). But even with her substantial amenities below decks, the 37PC is first and foremost a topsides boat. An expert above-decks layout enhanced by many thoughtful design details makes this clear.
For example, between the helm and the transom there is easily enough seating to entertain 10 passengers in comfort. The U-shape cockpit settee wraps around a two-piece adjustable table where, if you throw in a couple of folding chairs to port, as many as eight places can be set for dinner. Forward, the skipper can share half of the helm benchseat with a significant other while enjoying the company of another couple relaxed on the starboard-facing, loveseat-like settee to port.
There is an impressive versatility built into these spaces. Given that 14 drink holders placed strategically about the topsides make the settee tables expendable during a cocktail party, one or both of them can be removed to provide more room for guests. (Consider this possibility, and immediately the image of awkwardly stacking them on the dock or stashing them below comes to mind, but Formula has eliminated such hassles by molding in a "trunk" on the transom with space dedicated not only for table stowage but also for tie-up lines and fenders.) In another adaptation, these same tables can be lowered in place and covered with cushions (from the transom trunk) to make an area large enough for three or four sunbathers to recline. When you picture this spot put to such use while another sun worshipper sprawls on the forward settee and an additional pair loll on the foredeck pads...well, it's a level of leisure that's hard to match.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.