Formula 380 SSC: A New Take on the Original Off-Shore Race Boat
My oh my how things change over time.
Formula Powerboats re-invented the offshore race boat way back in 1962 when Miami-area entrepreneur and boat racer Don Aronow came up with a revolutionary new design based around a powerful engine pushing a wave-splitting deep-V hull. Having already made millions in the construction business, Aronow set up a side venture called the Formula Boat Company and began selling his design as the Formula 233.
It didn’t take long before Formula established a name for itself, bagging one offshore race title after another. The 233 was just the first in a series of progressively larger and more powerful Formula boats that continued to dominate offshore racing well into the next decade. Not satisfied with just being the quickest boat on the water, in true James Bond spirit, Formula also set out to become the most luxurious, refining its designs to balance performance with luxurious comfort and modern amenities. That winning formula lives on today in the company’s all-new 380 Super Sport Crossover.
Stretching 11.5 metres in length and riding on a svelte deep-V hull form that’s only 3.5 metres wide, the appropriately bullet-shaped 380 SSC retains Formula’s legendary sea-carving stepped hull for jaw-dropping performance and acceleration. But more than just a go-fast speedster, the new 380 raises the bar on luxurious appointments for a day boat of this size, blending an inviting open-bow layout with the protection of a full-width hardtop and comfy overnight accommodation below.
That big hardtop opens, by the way, courtesy of an enormous glass sunroof that slides back at the touch of a button to flood the deck with sunlight and fresh air. On days when the overhead sun gets to be just a bit too much, just close the roof and hit the 18,000 BTU cockpit air conditioner. Of course there’s a fully equipped cockpit galley to allow easy alfresco entertaining, complete with an expansive Corian countertop, a fibreglass moulded sink with glide-away self-cover, a design-inspired Elka faucet, a stainless steel Isotherm pull-out refrigerator, and even thoughtful little details like a dedicated trash bin and a useful paper towel holder. There’s even a neatly concealed Cuisinart blender for mixing fruity ice cream drinks (you’ll have to bring your own little umbrellas, though). Most buyers will spring for the optional Kenyon electric grill and the available Yeti cooler that glides out from an under-seat compartment at the helm.
Although it feels like it should be an upgrade, the 600-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo with USB port, Bluetooth streaming, and no less than 10 JL Audio illuminated speakers is actually standard equipment on the 380 SSC. So too is the all-glass dash, which looks more like something from a private jet with twin Raymarine Axiom GPS widescreen colour chartplotters. Dual 30-centimetre screens come standard, which can be upgraded to twin 40-centimetre displays if desired.
Formula also provides owners with a number of power options, with twin Mercury Racing 520 sterndrives or triple Mercury Racing 450R outboards being the most popular choices. All offer digital shift and throttle for silky-smooth control, automatic trim for a smoother ride, and improved fuel economy, plus Mercury’s Joystick Piloting feature to make docking painless—even on gusty days.
A luxurious cabin belowdecks—complete with a full head and second galley—ensures that overnight stays or short breaks away from the daily grind will be enjoyed in absolute comfort. The 380 SSC comes with just about every imaginable amenity, but just in case, the company offers an eye-popping option list, including goodies such as multiple LED HDTVs fed by a satellite entertainment system so you can follow the big game anywhere, night vision cameras for after-dark navigation, gyroscopic stabilizers, a hydraulic extended swim platform, a safe, and even a central vacuum system.
Of course, being a Formula, it carries you and all those goodies to and from distant destinations pretty quickly, with its FAS3Tech multi-step hull reflecting the marque’s racing roots.
Quick, responsive, and luxurious, Formula’s brilliant 380 Super Sport Crossover ticks a lot of boxes for couples or families who appreciate having every modern convenience on the water. Such versatile boats used to be about effective compromise, but compromise is the only thing the 380 SSC doesn’t offer.
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