Captain's ReportAfter a great run of 15 years and more than 500 boats sold, the .38 Special is going into Baja's holster, replaced in 2006 by the all-new 405. This boat is combination of a high-performance machine and a very fast cruiser. She can sleep 4 in her unobstructed cabin, and seat 6 in her innovative cockpit.Starting first at the transom, the 405 has an extended swim platform with flip-down swim ladder that is non-integral with the hull. You'll find two shorepower connections here--one for the A/C, the other for the rest of the boat. Unlike most performance boats that simply have a sunpad covering the machinery space, the 405 has not just one, but two hidden storage lockers beneath the sunpad. The locker near the stern pops up easily with gas-assist struts and is a great place to stow lines and a few fenders. The forward locker is actually vented from the engine room by design...it's a great place to store wet items like ski jackets after use since the engine heat will act like a dryer. And when it's time to do your preflight checklist on the engines, the job is made easy thanks to an electric hatch lift which exposed--on our test boat--a pair of 425-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG HOs hitched to Bravo One drives. The engines are bolted atop the stringer portion of a molded fiberglass liner for strong structural support and a clean look. There is good room to get to all items around the engine (even outboard ones) and the space even has room for an optional genset, in this case a 7.5-kW Kohler which I would highly recommend if overnighting at anchor (and therefore, air conditioning and making coffee in the morning) are in your cruising plans.Baja always surprises us with their innovative ideas and the 405 is no exception. In addition to the lockers beneath the sunpad, this boat has a mid-cockpit seating arrangement more likely found on an express cruiser than a go-fast machine. Aft seating is courtesy of an L-shaped lounge with storage below, and a removable igloo cooler is standard here. There are stainless steel grab handles at either end of this lounge, and for those passengers in the middle, a rugged railing is just beneath the knees in the event the captain decides to catch some air. Across to port is a compact wetbar area complete with cold-water sink and optional U-Line icemaker, but what's most interesting is this wetbar is not a separate part, but actually molded in with the deck mold. That was one big goal on this boat...to reduce small parts. When you do that, you increase water tightness, decrease caulking, and greatly reduce the possibility of anything rattling. In fact, the helm is about the only "small part" that's NOT part of a larger deck or hull mold.Speaking of the helm area, when you walk up here from the cockpit you are suddenly in a very different type of boat--you've gone from an express cruiser to a high-perf machine. For example, now we're talking about two McCloud electric bolster seats--one for the navigator, one for the helmsman. These have seat bottoms that drop away at the push of a button for those times when you really want to air the boat out and run hard while standing. While the instrument cluster on our boat was fairly basic with all the usual gauges you'd expect, Baja says newer version of this boat (it was Hull #1) will have a redesigned helm area. The reach to the controls was easy, and I liked the in-handle drive trim button along with Mercury mechanical gauges that show both drive trim and trim tab angles. Also, the windshield does a very good job of deflecting wind over your head at speed.Moving back to the boat's utility as a fast cruiser, its a simple matter to walk up to the foredeck thanks to several molded-in steps in the companionway door. Once up forward, a single centerline stainless steel railing leads all the way forward to the bow. Here, you'll not only find an anchor locker (semi-rare on high performance boats) but an integral anchor windlass that deploys the hook straight thru an anchor chute in the bow! Talk about easy living.And speaking of living, let's head below to the cabin. The first thing that impressed me is how Baja was able to design an interior completely free of bulkheads, so its a straight shot from the stairway all the way up forward to the bow! They did this by putting a type of "stringer" system in the overhead for structural support. Smart.Upon your entrance you'll find a lounge area to starboard that converts pretty easily into a double berth. That's just across from the enclosed head/shower that Baja owners demanded at least 6 feet of headroom in, and they got that and a little more.Just forward is a compact galley area with microwave and undercounter Norcold refrigerator. There are no real storage cabinets for pots and pans, but hey, you'll be eating out at waterfront restaurants when you're cruising around on the 405.Forward there are two plush sofas to either side that unfold to create a full-beam double berth. There is more innovative design here in how the cushions flip out, but they're so heavily padded and close together it's not easy to make the berth...look for changes here in future models to make the process easier. Also interesting is the pneumatic table that raises and lowers, but again, it's not particularly easy to operate and it does not stow away when not in use...it's either up or down.The best part, I have to say, is the Nefertiti-looking Barca lounger all the way in the forepeak. This huge "recliner" has a molded in shape to keep your knees raised comfortably while you sip a beverage and watch the big flat-screen TV way back by the companionway. It is truly a luxurious place to be on a high-perf boat.In terms of performance, Baja's are known for their ease in getting up on plane easily and the 405 is no exception. Whereas most hi-perf boats tend to spin out and cavitate while getting on plane, you can just firewall this one and she'll come right up on plane without fussing around in 5.7 seconds. Then you're off to the races. Top speed turned out to be just under 61 mph with glass-flat water (the company says she'll do better with some chop and I believe them) and thanks to her 24 degree deadrise, she corners like a jet fighter AND never once spun out due to cavitation in a turn. In other words, a stable steady ride you can depend on, and you don't have to be a professional raceboat driver to run this boat like you are one.While we'll miss the .38 Special (which was one of the best running high-perf boats we ever tested) we welcome the new 405 as a terrific replacement since she now has the features, innovation, and technology they never dreamed about back in 1992.--Capt. Chris Kelly
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Baja 405 (2006-) is 60.7 mph (97.7 kph), burning 69.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 263.06 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Baja 405 (2006-) is 40.0 mph (64.4 kph), and the boat gets 1.40 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.6 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 291 miles (468.32 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 425-hp MerCruiser 496 Magnum HO.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Standard Clarion|
|Head: Fixed||Standard VacuFlush|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
|Cockpit Cover||Optional Sunbrella|
5-year Limited Warranty
Yes - Limited
||5-year Limited Warranty http://www.bajamarine.com/index.asp?display=ownerswarranty&tab=4&|
3-Year Limited Warranty
||3-Year Limited Warranty http://www.bajamarine.com/index.asp?display=ownerswarranty&tab=4&|
|NMMA Certification Other Certification||Yes IQ Certified|