By Capt. Bob Smith
Formula’s hit parade continues for 2006 with their introduction of the latest 400 Super Sport. They thrive on producing the most powerful, technologically advanced and fun to drive performance cruisers in the market and they certainly hit this one out of the park. Taking a cabin cruiser past 60 miles per hour is something most owners and builders consider out of the question. Formula does it with this Super Sport and the ride is fabulous!
New Features and Graphics
Formula took this popular performance cruiser and added a few things to pep it up, these features include an optional hard top that takes out the elements without taking out the view or the breeze. Besides the twin 525-hp Mercury Racing engines our boat was packing, you can opt up to the twin 600’s for even stronger performance that really leaves your friends wondering just how fast that sleek machine can go.Even the graphics on this model are striking. While they definitely allude to the racing performance hidden in the engine room, they don’t scream at you like the muscle boats they can keep up with. The hard top provides protection from the helm all the way back to covering most of the aft seating area for plenty of protection from the elements while enjoying the entertaining space topside.
Great access to the foredeck is built into the dash. I really liked the protective rail that keeps wandering feet from stepping into an open companionway. Yeah, I know. You are not supposed to have it open when going forward, but we all know that is exactly what happens, so Formula made it safer without making it difficult to get through the walkthrough windshield. The expansive bow area has plenty of room to stretch out at anchor with only four large hatches to break up the wide white space. These four hatches allow a lot of light and natural ventilation to enter the cabin below. The 400 SS has a good anchoring system up front with an anchor roller, chain system, and windlass to make setting the hook almost effortless.Strolling back to the cockpit, over on the port side from the helm is a large bench for several to join you as you cruise to your destination. Of course, the storage below the bench is tremendous so life jackets, throwables and other gear can be kept here in easy reach. The seat bottom is hinged for easy access and to keep it where it belongs, even in the roughest weather. Over at the helm, you have a split bench seat. The driver’s side is a power adjustable slide for effortless adjustments. Both the armrests have convenient cup holders built-in. You can keep your registration and your wallets dry and secure in the tip-out glove box below the helm.
The wood accents on this panel exude “craftsmanship” here! For easier docking, an added bow thruster helps you dance the boat into tight spaces. The joystick is mounted to the left of the wheel. Lavorsi throttle controls and shifters are to the right. Now if you have never used these, be prepared for some of the smoothest and most responsive handling you have ever imagined. The upper control panel at the helm houses the Raymarine display units along with Lavorsi gauges and a chartplotter. More analog gauges monitor the engine performance on the mid panel while the lower panel holds rocker control switches arranged for easy reach with the VHF radio.
Ready to Entertain
Since you are bound to be serving your friends and family, you need the refreshment center to be as functional as the helm. Over on the port side, the 400 SS has a great one with a large prep top. The right section has cup holders to manage the drinks while you prepare the meal, a covered trash bin to keep the wrappers under control while the center section has a nice sink for preparing the food. Below is the space to manage the carry-on cooler for ice, beverages and sandwiches topside. Our test boat had replaced the standard refrigerator with the optional ice maker so you can keep the blender busy! Across from the cockpit kitchen is a large wrap-around bench where the gang can all sit around and enjoy the music and the camaraderie. A two piece table can be set up for serving snacks or a quick round of Texas Hold-em, or lowered and adding filler cushions for a cockpit bed for an afternoon nap or catching some rays.An emergency access hatch to the engine room is in the stern bench, but I can’t imagine ever using it. In fact, I can see the bench seat being stuffed with gear if it ever became necessary to get there. At least, that would be my luck. Fortunately, the 400 SS has a great motorized lift with excellent access to the engine and components for pre-launch safety checks and light to moderate maintenance. The twin 525’s fill the space designed for them and the genset and batteries are tucked back under the cockpit behind the access ladder.
At the Stern
The expansive swim platform has room for just about everyone to join in on the fun in the water. The swim ladder is mounted under a cover in the center of the platform. Access to the cockpit is through the port side walk through. At the walkthrough are the stereo remote and the swim shower with hot and cold water. Shore power connections are routed through to the starboard side to keep them out of the walkway. The stern trunk has room for fenders, lines and cleaning and docking gear.
A Look Below
Wide steps lead into the spacious cabin. For easy access, they have mounted the control heads for the sound and video systems just inside the cabin on the port side. Next is a large refrigerator and freezer that can easily handle all the food necessary for a long weekend on the boat. The open galley is elegantly appointed with wood cabinetry. A covered single burner cooktop, trash bin, and sink are in the counter top prep area. Below these you have storage, a microwave cooker and drawers for the silverware and cookware.The forward cabin has plenty of room for the crowd to join you below or just to have your own comfortable space to get away from the noise and elements topside. Plush seats form the V-seating and convertible V-berth. Setting up the table requires three posts and three pieces of table top that are conveniently stored under the floor. Use shorter legs and it converts into the V-berth. Storage under the bench seats includes the vacuum in the starboard side on our test boat. At the starboard end is a cabinet with the power distribution panel and genset crossover controls. The main cabin also has a large flat panel TV in our boat as well as plenty of added storage spaces. A nice night stand is at the entry to the aft stateroom as well as a cedar lined closet to keep your clothes fresh while on board. The head on this model is comfortable for adults to freshen up for the day or evening.
Specs and Performance
This model is 41’6” length overall with a beam width of 11-feet. Adding the optional hardtop, she weighs in at 11,000 pounds including the gas engines. She requires 36” draft below her keel for clearance and can carry up to 250 gallons of fuel and 50 gallons of fresh water. We tested this model on the salt waters of Sanibel Island’s Intracoastal waterway. I found she was up on plane in just 6.9 seconds and racing past 30 mph in 9.8 seconds. She cruised at about 3000 rpm traveling 30 mph while she topped out at 61.2 mph running very smooth.If you are ready for performance without compromising style and ride, then the Formula 400 SS is waiting for your approval at your local dealer.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Formula 400 Super Sport (2006-) is 61.6 mph (99.1 kph), burning 85.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 325.13 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Formula 400 Super Sport (2006-) is 30.0 mph (48.3 kph), and the boat gets 0.87 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.37 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 195 miles (313.82 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 525-hp Mercury Racing EFI Bravo Three XR.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|10 Years Yes No|
|5 Years Yes|
|2 Years Yes Yes|
|5 Years Yes Yes|
|ISO Certification NMMA Certification||Yes|