Formula 400 SS Update
By Capt. Rob Smith
For 2009 Formula has added a few new features to the 400 Super Sport. Starting right out on the hull, you have more eye-catching appeal which is one of this premier builder’s hallmarks. The optional designer hull design includes polished stainless steel and Imron Designer colors, not gelcoat. Formula uses the Imron process rather than the usual gelcoat process because the Imron color will last far longer, and stay brighter and clearer than gelcoat. All thru-hull fixtures are high grade stainless, much of it custom cast and all of it has backing plates, never lag bolts.
I believe most of us have marveled at the beauty well maintained teak can bring to the cockpit sole. Anyone who has had a lot of teak can also tell you the back-breaking work it takes to keep it looking that way all the time. Formula offers, as an option, a low-maintenance flexible teak treatment vinyl decking on the swim platform and cockpit sole. This stays looking good longer, and saves your back.
What has been a stern trunk in the past has morphed into a multi-functional aft seating system. It converts in seconds into a large sunpad and sets up just as quickly into an aft facing lounging seat to enjoy the view at anchor. Speaking of the stern, Formula shows they are not just boat builders and designers, they also use their boats. One of the most frustrating things I have experienced when boarding a cruising yacht is getting my big feet tangled in the crossed docking lines on the stern. Formula mounts two custom heavy duty cleats low on the stern platform so that the lines lay flat on the platform rather than up at your knees.
In the driver’s seat
The helm offers a silver burl or wood and bright metallic finish. Personally, I like the silver burl better. It is easier on my eyes. The dash has tons of room for displays like a Volvo Helmview, Raymarine E120, Mercury SmartCraft and more. Formula is already looking to the future with this dash. When they begin to offer joystick operation for pod drives, the joystick will replace the stainless drink holder at the driver’s starboard side of the dash. This way, the entire dash doesn’t need a makeover. When it comes to setting up the instruments and gauges at the helm, of all the builders I’ve seen Formula is one of the best. The display to the port side of the wheel is angled to the driver and the panels are all tipped up, or back depending on how you look at it, at the perfect angle to read them from standing, sitting on the bolster, or sitting down on the helm bench seat. For maximum protection, the 400 SS has an optional hardtop.
New in the interior
Stepping into the salon, there is really only one significant change. The galley has been redesigned with a different shape that, to me, really opens up the room. The cabinets still have the high gloss deep cherry finish. There is also a new metallic finish on an appliance garage. Formula is one of the few premier builders that take the time to build furniture grade cabinetry with dove-tailed drawers. Check it out for yourself and see how few use dove-tailed drawers! Countertops are Corian and the appliances include just about everything, including the 5-speed Krups blender for margaritas.
The interior is plush with ultraleather upholstery that simply absorbs you into its luxurious grasp. The standard décor package is their Morning Sand Décor, yet they offer a Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren Décor package as options. Other options include a Sapphire Décor, Tropical Sunrise and Mystic Cove Décor. As you can see, you can be creative and design the interior to fit your taste.
Formula, as a premier builder, sets a high standard. I have always admired the solid construction techniques that allow them to offer a 10-year structural warranty and a 5-year transferrable Formula Guard warranty that covers things from stem to stern.
Formula has a very long and impressive list of standards and options. The standard windlass has a chain counter and 150’ of chain and a polished anchor with thru-hull yacht stowage system. Rails are 316L stainless steel welded rails with stanchions that are mounted with backing plates. Twelve matching custom forged heavy duty cleats are right where you need them. Cockpit tunes have 600 watts of amplification through 6 speakers and a 200W subwoofer. Cockpit seating is designed with DriFast foam and PreFixx treated vinyls to insure that they are long lasting and easy to clean. StarLite XL panels are used to build the seating so there is no wood to break down in the humid environments every yacht lives in.
In the cabin there is lots of wood. Steps are solid wood, and the cabinets are American cherry with dove-tailed drawers. Entertainment systems include a standard LCD HDTV/DVD and Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo with 10 disc changer and 400W amplifier. You will keep your cool with a standard 16,000 BTU air conditioner inside.
The 400 Super Sport is 41’6” length overall with an 11’ beam. She weighs 18,100 lbs. with diesels and hardtop and draws 40” with diesels. Her fuel capacity is 250 gallons and water capacity is 50 gallons. Her bridge clearance with hardtop and antennas is approximately 12’6”.
It was a busy day, but I did have time to retest the 400 SS. This one had twin Volvo Penta D6s with 370 hp each. They produced a top speed of 47.8 mph at 3450 rpm burning 40.6 gph. At 2750 rpm she was running 34.7 mph, burning 22.9 gph for a full tank range of 341 miles. Sound levels remained very reasonable with a maximum of 87 dBA.
The 400 SS will continue to be a class favorite. The changes and extra options only enhance her position as a premium boat anyone will be proud to show off in any marina world-wide.