37 Performance Cruiser — By Tim Clark — December 2001
|Part 2: Formula 37PC continued|
To keep such a crowd hydrated on a summer day, there's a convenient port-side wetbar covered with about four square feet of Corian countertop next to a small sink. Under the counter our test boat sported an optional U-line icemaker and a cabinet fit with a built-in garbage pail and a fire extinguisher. I took special note of a single grounded all-weather 120-volt outlet whose destiny seemed clear: "juice" for a daiquiri blender.
Taking drinks forward through the tinted, tempered-glass windshield would be easy only so long as you first unfasten both clasps on the centerline door. The top clasp is no problem, but I had to lie on my back on the dash to reach the lower one. Once through, though, I was pleased to find that an 18-inch-wide nonskid gangway split the sunpads--no pesky detours for line and windlass handlers.
That little detail about the windshield clasp, trifling as it is, came as a surprise, given the many examples of adroit engineering I'd encountered elsewhere. Among these, I was impressed by the hinges on the seat cushions that cover stowage bins beneath the cockpit settee. It's a great, simple idea that eliminates tossing cushions about the deck as you search for stowed items, and the hinges themselves look superbly manufactured and extremely tough.
The 37's construction on a larger scale is also durable. Her hand-laid FRP hull is trussed with a stringer system whose fiberglass-encapsulated marine-plywood core is pressure-treated with Osmose CCA, a chemical that fights fungal decay. Under the engines Formula further reinforces the hull by bonding fiberglass braces athwartships. The deck and cockpit are molded as one piece and bonded to the hull using Plexus, a tough methacrylate adhesive that bonds chemically. Then, for good measure, the joint is bolted every 18 inches with stainless steel bolts through metal backing plates.
This structure shelters a below decks space that can sleep up to six in a double island berth at the bow, a convertible dinette amidships, and a convertible settee at the stern. While some boaters who particularly value their privacy may never entertain so many guests overnight (only the aft berth can be closed in with a partition), the impressive volume of stowage I found here would be more than enough to accommodate the belongings of three couples. Even the port-side galley--with two-burner Kenyon stove, under-counter Norcold refrigerator/freezer, and microwave oven--includes a generous number of cherry-veneer cabinets and drawers.
Thanks to three screened Bomar hatches and six portlights interspersed along the hull sides, natural light is plentiful in all but the aft lounge area. Amid chiefly good quality materials and fittings, I was a little taken aback to find portions of the bulkheads (albeit less than 20 percent) covered with a Formica-like sheathing that harks back to around 1970. I hope that soon Formula finds a warmer, more contemporary substitute.
Back topsides, raising the hatch of the engine compartment with the press of a button had a distinctly modern feel. As I plugged an electronic diagnostic tool into the port-side 375-hp Volvo Penta 8.1Gi V-8, I could crouch comfortably in the service alley with the sun still shining on my face. Idling south in the Norwalk Harbor channel, I noted that although the skipper's seat converts to a bolster, you enjoy commanding visibility even when it's in its conventional position. The foredeck's subtle downward sweep helps in this regard.
In calm seas on a late summer day on Long Island Sound, the sea trial was a pleasure. The 37 gets up on plane quickly--given her 18,500 pounds--and so smoothly that the transition is hardly discernable. Piloting this boat is heady without being hair-raising. When I write that making a tight turn at 40 mph felt like peeling a jet fighter out of a flight formation, I exaggerate the boat's responsiveness but not the satisfaction I took behind the wheel. While the modified-V hull cuts chop well, responds sensitively to trim tab adjustments, and tracks aggressively during turns, its nearly 12-foot beam and comparatively moderate 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom promote stability. Handling the 37PC at her top end--more than 47 mph at 4500 rpm--may have some of the flavor of driving an eight-foot-wide, 24-degree-deadrise rocket, but she's less skittish and more forgiving. For a lot of boaters that may be nearly the same as saying she's more fun.
Although I can't responsibly recommend it, you could conceivably cruise with one hand on the wheel and the other stretched across the back of the benchseat over the shoulders of your first mate. And while keeping a wary eye on traffic, you might allow yourself to perceive the similarity of your posture to that of Gary Cooper 70 years ago, taking a corner above Malibu in his J-Model Duesenberg Tourster.
Formula Phone: (800) 736-7685. Fax: (219) 724-1103. www.formulaboats.com.
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This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.