By Captain Steve Larivee
The mission of the 37 PC is to create an upscale cruiser capable of providing luxurious and classy overnight accommodations for 4-6 people, as well as provide a roomy entertainment platform on deck for day boating -- all at speeds that are more typical of a sportboat. And like all Formula boats the 37 PC makes a statement about styling, quality and the connoisseurship of the owner.
How easy it would be to simply put decal stickers on the side and call it a day, but that’s not how Formula does things. The polyurethane paint will not only last the lifetime of the boat, but with proper care will look like new for most of that time. •
Pressure-treated Perma Panel.
Interior bulkheads and other wooden structures are made with Perma Panel, the trademarked name for a "best practices," kiln-dried marine resin and wood matrix that provides protection against fungal decay and rot and has a lifetime warranty. (See the section on "Construction" below for more details.) •
Electric Windlass with Chain Counter.
Formula is one of the few builders that provides a full length of anchor chain -- 200' of chain to be exact -- plus a polished stainless steel anchor chute, and chain counter, which is invaluable when anchoring at night. All standard equipment.
Bomar Hatches with Integrated OceanAir System.
Bomar hatches are the highest grade in the industry and the OceanAir rollout SKYscreens & privacy shades and integral frame are the best in the business, in our opinion. •
Standard 7.3 kW Gas Generator or 7.6 kW Diesel Generator.
It is unusual for a builder in this class of boats to offer a generator as standard, but Formula takes that one step further and offers a choice of either gas or diesel. Typically, an owner will match the fuel type to the main engines so fuel can be drawn from the same tank. The gas generator is a Kohler Low-CO emissions unit which is the best way to go for gas generators in our opinion. The diesel generator offered is a Westerbeke with sound shield. •
Under Seat-Lockers Fiberglass Lined.
All storage compartments are fitted with their own integral fiberglass liners which are easy-to-clean.•
18,000 BTU Reverse-Cycle A/C.
Again it is unusual for a boat in this class to come standard with A/C and digital climate control. Another 16,000 BTUs is available as an option for the cockpit. Since it is reverse cycle this option turns the boat into a 4-season vessel. •
WalVac Sweeper System.
Easy-to-access plates in bulkheads around the boat make keeping the interior clean a five-minute chore with no lugging of a vacuum sweeper around.
Automatic Fire Suppression System.
All boats should have them, but many builders make them an option. It comes standard on the Formula 37 PC.•
Optional Imron-Painted Hull.
Formula is the only boat builder I can think of in this class which offers the option of a polyurethane-painted hull panel. The way Formula sands and buffs and sands and buffs, the paint job is probably the best in the industry and gives the boat a shiny appearance that is recognizable half a mile away. See our video on the process… •
5-Year Formula Guard Program.
Formula has a 5-year comprehensive service contract program that covers most mechanical items on the boat, and only a handfull of builders offer anything like it. For complete details…•
Exclusive Designer John Adams.
Designer John Adams has been creating boats most of his life and for the last 30 years he has worked exclusively for Formula. His distinctive styling has set the trend for boats in this class for years. His meticulous attention to detail and his early adoption of new technologies has kept Formula on the cutting edge of boats in the sporty cruising class.
The Formula 37 PC has a length overall of 38'5" (11.71 m), a beam of 12’ (3.7 m) and a draft of 34” (.86 m). With an empty weight of 17,500 lbs (7938 kg), 70 gallons of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 18,340 lbs (8319 kg) (265 L). Our test boat was powered by a pair of MerCruiser 430-hp 8.2 L MAG High Output ECT DTS engines with Bravo III drives. This is a step up from the standard engines which are the 380-hp 8.2 L MAG versions. The more powerful engines are only $15,450 more, so I would go with them. Top speed was at 4800 rpm and 46.7 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 67.5 gph giving us a range of 147 miles. Best cruise came in at 3500 RPM and 32.2 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 33.25 gph which the 37 PC could keep up for 6 hours and 24 minutes and 206 statute miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve. We had a time to plane of 4.8 seconds, accelerated through 20 mph in 6.6 seconds, 30 in 11.6 seconds, and continued accelerating through 40 mph in 18.8 seconds
Upon accelerating the bow of the 37 PC comes up 12-degrees and because the bow was so far forward I did lose sight of the horizon for a short time. She leans approximately 10-degrees into a turn which I found quite comfortable. She's has a sporty feel and good responsiveness to the helm with 2-1/2 turns from lock-to-lock on the steering, but she doesn't turn so quickly that the turns become uncomfortable. When taking power off she settles back into the water stern first, which again brings the bow up just above the level of the horizon. Overall the 37 PC provided a solid ride and outstanding handling characteristics that I’ve come to expect from Formula… and have yet to be disappointed. I think a big part of the reason for this consistency of handling characteristics with all Formula boats I have tested over the years is because they have all been designed by the same person -- John Adams. He has found the groove and stays in it.
When at idle speed and sitting on the seat I was looking through the windshield. At cruise speed the five-degree bow high attitude again gave me good visibility when sitting, and when standing I could easily see over the windshield frame. At either idle or cruising speed sitting on the bolster did not work for me as in both cases my eye level was right at the windshield frame. This situation was fine with me as I'd rather be sitting on the seat or standing in any case. Standing headroom was more than adequate, even for a skipper well over 6' tall. Standing, of course the helmsperson will be looking over the windshield, and in the rain through the isinglass which comes with the standard Bimini top or with the optional hardtop such as on the boat I tested. Windshield wipers are standard.
Because the 37 PC has a hardtop, operators are naturally going to have an obstruction when making any turns to port. But an interesting feature is how the overhead hatch also serves to provide visibility of the horizon through the hardtop. Her 12-degree roll into the turn brings the hatch down to the horizon line.
One of the most impressive features with the 37 PC is her close-quarters capabilities, particularly with the optional Axius Joystick ($17,400). There couldn't have been a better place to test the functionality of the joystick system than where she was docked. Pulling in and out left only inches to spare at the bow and stern and literally no room for error. However, I was able to maneuver her into position with surgical precision, and without coming against any of the pilings and certainly without touching any of the boats around me. Let there be no doubt, my years of experience have nothing to do with this precision. All the credit goes to the boat/joystick combination.
The deck-to-hull joint is chemically bonded and thru-bolted. The chemical bonding joins both hull and deck as a single unit with no flexing or creaking under load and is as strong as it would be as a single piece of fiberglass. Stringers are preformed and are chemically bonded to the hull in the same way.
As mentioned above, the bulkheads and wood sub-structures are made of Perma Panel, which is a superior Douglas fir marine-grade plywood product that has a minimum of 30% resin content instead of the 19% that is typical in most marine-grade plywood laminates. All the panels are kiln dried to an ideal moisture content of from 12% to 15%, according to the manufacturer. This wood is guaranteed against delamination or breakdown of the glue for the lifetime of the panel.
The gelcoat finish on the 37 PC is second to none due to both the quality of the gelcoat resin but also because of the compounding, buffing and waxing process that goes into every boat. It must be seen in the factory (as I have) to be believed. Making a good thing even better is the option that Formula calls the Flagship Imron Graphic. This is the wide band of color painted on the hull sides. It is a $6,290 option on the 37 PC, and worth every penny to anyone who wants the best-looking cruiser in the marina.
Starting at the stern
, the full beam swim platform comes out 3’ (.9 m) from the transom. Our test boat was fitted with the optional wood grain vinyl decking on the swim platform ($4280) and that decking can also be combined with the same treatment in the cockpit ($12,770). A three-step reboarding ladder is concealed under the hatch in the center of the platform.
Trunk storage has dedicated space for the cockpit table, fenders and lines. The hatch is held open by two gas assist struts and it's gasketed all the way around to keep the compartment waterproof and prevent the hatch from vibrating while underway. Connections for shore power cords, TV and phone lines are to starboard just above the city water inlet. Standard courtesy lights are located just below the trunk storage.
The cockpit entry
is located to the port hand side. The cockpit deck is 9” (22.9 cm) above the swim platform and a standard hot/cold transom shower is nestled into the bulwarks. An acrylic gate keeps the walk-through safe. It has a positive close against a full-length molded frame which prevents the gate from accidentally opening should someone fall against it. Immediately to port is a step leading up to the nonskid caprail which, in conjunction with the stainless grab rail mounted to the hardtop support, will allow guests to board the 37 PC from a fixed pier.
The cockpit features
J-shaped seating with storage underneath all the seats. Pedestal bases will accommodate the standard cockpit table. A day hatch is located in the center of the deck for daily engine checks. For more involved maintenance a larger hatch is electrically actuated to provide full access to the engine compartment.
A refreshment center
is located to the port side with a sink plumbed to the 55 gallon (208 L) water tank. A pedestal base is fitted to the solid surface counter on our test boat to accommodate the optional LCD TV ($2120). Below was the optional dual voltage cockpit refrigerator ($1690) and that can be swapped out for a cockpit icemaker ($1915).
The helm deck
is up two 6” (15.2 cm) steps and features a lounger to port and a double wide helm seat to starboard. The lounge has storage under the center seat cushion and a rounded door is under the aft seat and it swings out. Part of the storage will be taking up if owners opt for the optional 16,000 BTU cockpit air conditioner ($6960).
The helm seat is double wide and both seats have flip up bases that form leaning posts. A convenient perk to this setup is that having the captain seat in the lowered position, and the observer seat flipped up the captain gets a convenient armrest.
The helm features a complete lack of clutter thanks to the multifunction screens set into the faux burl wood panel. A SmartCraft vessel view is off to the port side with the dual fuel gauges located just above. The panel is laid out to accommodate the optional Raymarine E-125 12 inch GPS map system ($5515). Formula offers an option to add radar ($11,625) and a radar/autopilot combo ($20,140) to the GPS functionality. Sirius satellite weather is also available ($1850). Above the autopilot display on our test boat were the dual trim gauges and chain counter for the standard windlass. Overhead was the optional hardtop ($19,940).A radar arch with masthead light is standard.
The bow can be accessed
by either transiting the narrow side decks or utilizing the windshield walk-through. The walk-through is accessed via molded steps next to the helm. A stainless grab handle provide security and peace of mind against slipping. The opening windshield has latches that are interconnected; a feature I always like to see as I can never reached the lower one. The foredeck features three opening hatches providing light and ventilation to the cabin below. To either side of the center walk-through are dual sunpads measuring 6'10" (2.08 m) in length with backs that lift up into chaise lounge position.
Rail height goes from 19” (48.2 cm) at the windshield to 27” (68.6 cm) at the working end of the bow. Fully forward a flush-mounted hatch opens to reveal the standard windlass with foot control switches and chain stopper leading the stainless steel anchor chute that runs out the stem. An access port is just to starboard of the windlass itself for accessing the rode under the deck in order to manage tangles. I very much appreciate that the latch on this hatch latches simply by closing the hatch as opposed to having to close and then turn the latch. Time and again I have to stop a test in order to go up and manually latch a bow hatch because someone didn't turn a latch. This problem is never an issue on Formula boats.
Formula created a nicely laid out cabin with the overhead measuring 6'4" (1.9 m). The galley is located to port, a dinette to starboard. The galley features a coffee dock behind a frosted glass door. Overhead cabinets are not quite big enough for full-size plates. A microwave is recessed into the forward end of the upper cabinetry. An opening portlight adds natural light and ventilation. A two-burner stove is recessed into the counter beneath a hinged lid that is connected to a micro-switch that shuts off the stove when in the closed position. A trash receptacle is located just outside of the single basin stainless steel sink. A dual voltage refrigerator freezer is below along with additional storage.
The sofa is crescent-shaped
and upholstered in a combination of Ultraleather and suede. Formula made excellent use of space with the cabinetry above while still accommodating room for two opening portlights. An optional LCD TV is mounted to the aft bulkhead ($1560).
The mid cabin.
A separate "sitting room" with 5’ (1.5 m) of headroom is located just behind the stairs and it adds another gathering area in close proximity to the main salon. Another LCD TV is mounted to the port bulkhead in this cabin. This area will also convert to a berth with a privacy curtain closing the area off.
The forward stateroom
features an island berth measuring 6'2" (1.9 m) in length with headroom just before the berth also measuring 6'2" (1.9 m). Natural light comes in through the overhead hatch and two opening portlights to either side. Storage is beneath the berth as well as to both sides in cedar-lined cabinets. I would also like to see cabinets in the overhead surrounding the berth in the bow flare.
The Formula 37 PC has a base price of $513,350 when equipped with twin 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 L MAG engines turning Bravo III outdrives with DTS controls. Power options include the 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 L High Output engines that we tested ($528,800). Diesel engines are available from Volvo Penta. Twin D6 370-hp diesel engines ($615,700), twin D6 400-hp DPH ($632,580), and twin 350-hp IPS 450 pods with joystick ($617,970). A bow thruster ($8880).
I think her sporty handling characteristics combined with her comfort level make her a fine step up from a sportboat, pocket cruiser or smaller express to a real cruising boat. She has, or can have, virtually everything a weekend cruiser could want. As a day boat, she is fast and she is comfortable both on deck for as many as 10 people and below decks for as many as six. As we always note when testing Formula boats, she does not come cheap. Formula has not stinted on the quality of materials or the amount of standard equipment that most builders leave on the option list. Formula management knows how its buyers use their boats, and they know the options that are nearly always selected, so they just cut to the chase and include them in the base MSRP. Obviously when comparing apples-to-apples equipment the gap between other boats and the Formula 37 PC will narrow. However, there are some elements of the 37 PC that the others don’t have, like the 5-year protection plan, the paint options and the multitude of man-hours and TLC that go into her finish, so comparisons can only go so far. People looking for the least costly boat in class should look elsewhere. People wanting something special, a boat with real sizzle, that will impress peers who know something about boats, then the Formula 37 PC should be on their list.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Formula 37 PC (2013-) is 46.7 mph (75.2 kph), burning 67.55 gallons per hour (gph) or 255.68 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Formula 37 PC (2013-) is 32.2 mph (51.8 kph), and the boat gets 0.97 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.41 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 206 miles (331.52 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HO.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|10 Years Yes|
|5 Years Yes|
|2 Years Yes|
|5 Years Yes|
|ISO Certification NMMA Certification||Yes|