Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofWe’ve come to expect a lot of Formula. They have a reputation for building upscale boats that, yes… cost more, but you get more for those extra dollars, too. And, let’s face it, if everyone built boats with the same laundry-list of features, most people couldn't afford the boats. As her name implies, she goes fast, but more important everywhere we looked on this 34 PC (Performance Cruiser) we found items reserved for larger cruisers.
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Formula 34 PC (2009-2010 ) Line Drawing
Capt. Steve Says...
Try as I might, I’m never able to find much to be disappointed about in a Formula. So don't be too critical of me for not being critical -- believe me, I try hard to find things I don't like on this boat or that I would change.
You step aboard the 34 PC from the swim platform that measures 9’10” (2.99 m) across, by 2’6.5” (0.77 m). In the middle is the concealed re-boarding ladder and here’s where the Formula difference begins. It’s a four-step ladder (not three steps as most boats have), held on by massive stainless steel hardware, the lid is supported by two gas-assist struts (not one or none) and the recessed well that the ladder resides in is self draining (a small detail that shows Formula is constantly thinking).The transom door that leads into the cockpit is fitted with a micro-switch that prevents the engine hatch from opening when the door is closed. The push of a button lifts the electrically actuated engine hatch; once it's raised, you really appreciate the roominess of the engine compartment. Everything is done right here, and I mean everything. All electrical connections are sealed for a harsh saltwater environment, sea strainers are massive, all hoses double clamped. I even tried to shove the batteries with my foot and got nowhere. If you look at the aft quarters of this compartment, you can see extra bracing at the hull-to-deck joint, right where an errant captain may tag a piling in approach. Hey, even with joysticks it can happen.
Back up in the cockpit, all stowage areas are accessed by articulated stainless steel piano hinges for no-hands access. Nice touch. In those places where hinges can be seen, such as on doors or countertop hatches, the hinges are powder coated white.
The helm features dual flip-up bolsters, and I usually have trouble actually flipping up the bolsters on Formulas, but these worked flawlessly and easily. The layout was textbook Formula with a Garmin Chartplotter front and center and the MerCruiser Vessel View off to port. Engine controls were mounted on the 45-degree angle (which I usually don't like because it is not an ergonomic angle) but it wasn’t so bad on this boat because these were digital throttles and worked effortlessly. Just ahead of the engine controls were the trim tab rockers. Just ahead of the tab controls was the Axius Joystick. These were all lined up in a row as they should be so there is no fumbling.
Down below, Ultraleather is everywhere and oh-so nice to touch. The aft (or mid) cabin was well laid out and just a step down from the main salon. This makes for a great conversation pit, and because it’s wide open to the salon, it really keeps everyone in the thick of the gathering when there’s a crowd below. And of course there are filler cushions for converting to a berth. I found 4'9” (1.45 m) of head room, but the sole goes forward to the salon enough, before stepping up, that you’re never in danger of hitting your head.
The Main Salon
In the salon, between the dual overhead hatches, large portlights, and cabin door, plenty of natural light is allowed to enter. The 34 PC comes standard with an 18,000BTU air conditioner that worked marvels on our sweltering test day, but evenings tend to cool down to more tolerable levels and then the addition of a sliding screen in the companionway would be a plus. The settee is C-shaped, also Ultraleather, and converts to a berth. It faces the galley that is nicely appointed with a dual voltage 4.6-cu-ft stainless freezer/fridge, and a two burner stove recessed into the counter to keep pots from sliding; the cover has a micro-switch that shuts it off when closed. The upper cabinets are 13” deep so they will hold dinner plates. (You'd be surprised how many boat cabinets look nice until you try to actually use them!) This galley also has a feature that we see on all Formula cruisers now... a coffee maker garage. There is an outlet inside and the compartment holds the standard Krups coffeemaker. What I thought was going to be a wastebasket in the counter turned out to be wine storage for four bottles. It was not refrigerated so this will be for your reds, and use them before the corks dry out since they are standing up. (I think I will use this compartment for trash after all.)
The head is large enough to include a separate shower stall. I loved the contemporary faucet and Corian countertop. There is a portlight in the head that I’d like to see moved into the shower. The shower door is usually open so ventilating odors will still be effective and you’ll have the added bonus of allowing shower steam to be vented as well.
Up forward is an island berth that measures 6’4” by 5’9” (2 m x 1.5 m) and features a memory foam mattress and roomy storage below. The overhead hatch is screened and shaded to allow you to sleep in. The hatch also provides an emergency egress route. The two lockers to either side of the berth have shelves and internal lights on a micro-switch.
Handling and Performance
We tested the 34 PC on a (as usual) hot and humid day. She was powered by a pair of 375-hp MerCruiser 496 Mags with Axius. We reached a top speed of 46.3 MPH at 4880 rpm. This gave us a fuel burn of 63.6 gph or .73 mpg. Dialing it back to a more economical 3500 rpm turned in a 30.5 MPH speed. That generated a 28.8 gph fuel burn meaning 1.06 mpg and a range of 196 miles with the 206 gallon tank topped off and holding back a 10% reserve. Time to plane was 6.2 seconds and time to 30 MPH was 9.6 seconds. Handling was just like you’d expect from a Formula. She took to the maneuvers just like… well, a performance cruiser. Her deep V hull and 18-degree deadrise, coupled with her fairly light 16,510 lb. dry weight with hardtop kept her nimble and quick to respond to the helm. I did find the 34 PC to be sensitive to weight distribution (because of her V bottom) but nothing a tap or two on the trim tabs couldn’t correct with ease. That's what they are for. This is a sterndrive-powered boat so a couple of shots of up trim had us running nicely and at a good clip. Hard turns at speed showed no ventilation and the boat rolled into the turns comfortably so nothing got thrown to the outside of the turns. Jumping wakes showed no spray coming over the bow and we tended to go through the waves rather than over them. All in all, it was a nice experience handling this boat.
Of course with Axius, docking is a non-issue. If you are moving up from a sportboat and have any reservations about whether you can handle this boat or not, rest assured… you can, and so can your wife and kids. One thing though, the Axius system starts off in whatever mode you have the engine controls in. Therefore, a word to the wise, hit the “docking mode” button and then you can have a much more sedate and gentle approach to your docking. Also, don’t be heavy handed. Just use pulses of joystick controls as you approach and let the boat’s momentum take effect. What you don’t want to do is crank on the stick like you’re playing a video game. You have to consider that each time you hit the stick, you’re engaging mechanical gears. You wouldn’t throw the engine controls back and forth, and you shouldn’t do it here with the joystick either. Slow and steady works every time. This is a comfortable and great handling yacht that has a lot to offer. Not only does Formula add a lot of features that are typically reserved for larger yachts, but they stand behind their product with a 10-year hull and deck warranty. As I said in the beginning, what's not to like?
Test Result Highlights
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Pricing Range: $370,610.00
Price as Tested: $447,530.00 Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.