As a crossover vessel, the 380 SSC can fulfill multiple missions, and do it all with a heightened sense of cool.
As I walked down the dock, half in a daze, a voice bellowed from behind: “You must be Tom!” I’m not sure but I think the camera bag slung over my shoulder was a dead giveaway, since everyone else was carrying coolers and beach toys. It was Vic Spellberg, my Formula Boats-appointed captain for the day. Half startled, we exchanged greetings as we walked toward the new Formula 380 Super Sport Crossover.
My daze wasn’t hangover related, but rather induced by my just having seen a vision. Before Spellberg woke me from my semi-trance, I spotted the 380 down the ways, displaying a beefy side profile and a proportional house-to-hull-size ratio and glistening under the morning sun. I wanted to learn more and get underway.
Understand that the name tells a lot about the 380 SSC. As a Super Sport Crossover, the 380 (and the builder’s other SSC models) is designed by Formula to do just about anything owners desire. The SSC’s mission is to offer boating of many different kinds, from dayboat versatility to watersports enjoyment to overnight/weekend comforts. Add into the equation performance, seaworthiness, and fantastic speed and handling when needed, and it’s apparent that Formula has created a high coolness quotient for the 380.
A single-level main deck is surrounded on three sides by an integrated framed windshield and side windows that support a stout hardtop that features an electric sunroof. There’s protection from the elements here and sunning areas fore and aft on the 380 SSC.
Take a Bow
Access to the open bow is noteworthy. Many boats offer access to the foredeck via a center walkway. Formula offsets the path to port, which creates a nearly perfect circular seating area up front and maximizes space utilization in the lower cabin. That’s right, a lower cabin in a bowrider. More on that shortly. A sliding windshield panel — no fighting a flopping hinged window — and a lower clear door offer access to the bow area and create a much cleaner look.
Seating on the bow is generous. A C-shaped settee offers comfortable lounging for at least six adults. Two Corian-topped pedestal tables can be dropped into floor holders, with one or both utilized at any time. The tabletops can be used to fill the open area and filler cushions can be installed atop them to make one large sunpad. Stereo controls with dedicated speakers and a subwoofer, a dedicated cooler, six drink holders and a sunshade with stainless supports are all available.
A cutout in the forward-facing seat in front of the helm contains a fixed window to the lower cabin. A blackout screen to keep out the morning sun is included. While this is a slide-over screen, it would be nice for Formula to place it on the inside of the cabin, not the outside, for easier access.
At the Con
Amidships to starboard is the helm, whose angled dash houses twin 16-inch Raymarine Axiom multifunction displays in a Liquid Black floating panel. The console houses a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, a Mercury Marine SmartCraft VesselView engine monitoring display, several banks of switches, an ICOM VHF, a Rockford Fosgate stereo controller, three AC vents and more. To the right are Mercury digital throttle controls, Mercury Joystick Piloting features and a Bennett trim tab controller. Everything is within reach and easy to operate. Wide enough for three people, the helm seat offers exceptional support and adjustments for standing or sitting.
A grabrail is mounted across the front of the dash, and I found that to be a smart touch, because this is a spry vessel.
When Spellberg fired up the twin Mercury Racing 520 hp gas engines — they feature multiport electronic fuel injection and on our test boat were connected to Bravo Three sterndrives — I heard the throaty rumble of the high-performance powerplants, just enough growl to let everyone know something special lurks under the hood.
The cruising sweet spot on test day was at 3000 rpm, at which the boat was traveling 22.6 mph (average from reciprocal runs on flat water) and the Mercs were burning a combined 33.4 gph. At wide-open throttle we were moving at 50.1 mph and the engines’ burn rate was 81.2 gph. The ride was effortless as we skimmed the light chop, and bowrise was minimal.
With his kill switch clipped on, Spellberg performed a few tight turns at near top speed. The 380 SSC heeled over and really dug into the water thanks to its sharp entry, lifting strakes that keep the bow up, and 21 degrees of deadrise at the transom that hold the boat to a true course. The 380 is surprisingly responsive and agile — not bad at all for a boat that weighs 20,500 pounds. Formula says an outboard version of the 380 SSC is coming.
When a builder has a history of building fast, high-performance boats for more than 60 years, it’s possible to take some of the best features from the go-fast crowd and carry them down to the production line. Formula incorporates FAS3Tech multistep hull technology it has perfected with its go-fast models into its production boats, and it integrates boatbuilding advances such as a molded structural grid, to ensure solid performance and rigid construction.
I found several examples of ways Formula builds “coolness” into the Formula 380 Super Sport Crossover. To port is an outdoor kitchen with a molded sink that includes a glide-away self-cover, an Elka faucet, an Isotherm refrigerator with drawers and a trash compartment with a garbage pail mounted to the door for easy access. Storage compartments forward of the kitchen house a Cuisinart blender and the cockpit’s flat TV, a great idea for keeping it out of the elements or away from prying eyes. Aft to port is a grill station with a Kenyon electric grill.
Hidden under the helm seat is a dedicated space for a Yeti Tundra 35 cooler, complete with slide-out guides and a recessed insert. It’s a smart idea for keeping the cooler out of the way and retaining deck space. Additionally, the bow’s sunshade stainless supports fit into the forward railing posts.
In the cockpit is a U-shaped settee to starboard. A couple of things happen here. First, there are two separate Corian cockpit tables, which can be used together or individually. For ease of access, the tabletops stow in dedicated slots under the seats. Second, the tabletops can be used to support filler cushions and turn the settee area into another large lounge. In addition, the two aft seat backrests flip forward and create an additional sunpad/lounge oasis with an aft-facing view, which is perfect for watching action in the water. Additional seating is to port.
Closer to the water is a boat deck that steps down to a fixed swim platform that is integrated into the hull. This itself should be sufficient, allowing for access to the water or to tie up the boat, but Formula takes it one step further with an optional hydraulic platform right behind the swim platform. Adding it provides easier access to the water and creates a mini beach area.
As I mentioned, a full-beam cabin belowdecks is mainly situated under the helm station. Able to accommodate four people, the cabin has 6 feet, 5 inches of headroom; it’s a great feature, especially on a bowrider. Forward is an Ultraleather lounge seat that converts to a dining area with a high-gloss wood table, and converts quickly back into a berth.
More sleeping space is hidden aft, under the deck. It’s a crawl-in queen berth but has room for adults and kids.
To port in the forward cabin is an Isotherm refrigerator with drawers next to a pullout pantry. Across is a Muave microwave, a 32-inch LED TV and a Corian recessed sink with a glide-away cover. The head includes Corian countertops, a molded sink with a Moen faucet, a Dometic Vacuflush toilet and wet-head shower wand with a spray curtain.
Chock full of features, the Formula 380 Super Sport Crossover also comes with dual USB charging ports seemingly everywhere, 26 cupholders, 10 JL Audio lighted speakers, precision stitching and recessed lumbar areas in all the seats, 13 separate storage compartments, a SureShade extendable shade from the aft hardtop and much more.