33'-35' Bowriders: BoatTEST Compares the Big Four - 04/06/2018
Sea Ray SLX 350
Sea Ray SLX 350
Four Winns H350
Four Winns Horizon 350
Chaparral 337 SSX
Chaparral 337 SSX
Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider
Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

This comparison includes bowriders from 33' to 35' (10.05 m to 10.67 m). All of these bowriders are huge -- and they can entertain more people than most pontoon boats can legally carry. In many ways, bowriders this size are the quintessential dayboats for serious watersports and entertaining. They maximize on-deck space, and they're big enough for entertaining with one group forward and the other one aft. They are powerful enough for watersports of all kinds and heavy enough to give guests a comfortable ride in most reasonable conditions. For owners who like to boat by day and stay ashore at night, they make good day cruisers.

THE COMPARISON STARTS HERE

The four boats in this roundup are all designed to maximize fun on the water, with the amenities you'd find on much larger cruisers. If day cruising is your thing, you won't go wrong with any boat from this foursome. Here are some details; find full info on each one in our Captain's Reports, and contact BoatTEST.com if you have questions.

The Sea Ray SLX 350, the builder's largest bowrider, is designed for folks with lots of friends: She can seat 18 people underway, and a few more at anchor, when the aft-facing stern lounges are safe to inhabit. With fewer guests, there'll be plenty of options for kicking back and catching rays on one of the lounges or swivel seats. Those not into UV rays will like the standard hardtop, with an optional retractable shade that covers the entire aft section of the boat. There's a sunroof option, too. The extended stern platform is great for taking a dip; there's stowage for an anchor, handy when mooring stern-in to a beach. A submersible platform is optional, and either platform can be decked in teak. An enclosed head compartment, with a VacuFlush toilet, pull-out shower and sink, makes day-long cruising more comfortable. Freshwater capacity is 30 gal. The boat's built with Sea Ray's Quiet Ride system that cuts down noise and vibration, and optional Active Trim keeps the boat trimmed for maximum efficiency automatically. Sea Ray offers many engine options; if you plan on filling all the seats, all the time, we recommend installing plenty of horsepower.

The Four Winns H350 has all the creature comforts of her class, and then some: A hardtop with sunroof is standard, and there's a cockpit galley with a grill, sink and cooler. Two helm and two companion seats both have flip-up bolsters for stand-up or seated piloting and observing. The walk-through windshield makes easy access to the forward cockpit; molded steps lead to the large swim platform, overlooked by a multi-position aft lounge. There's a small cabin suitable for Spartan overnighting for two, or for just getting shelter from a squall. It has an enclosed head with shower and a VacuFlush toilet. To some folks, the cabin makes the H350 a crossover rather than a pure bowrider; we think true crossovers have more accommodations than this. Nevertheless, if the weather goes sour the H350's small cabin will be welcome. At 35' LOA, 10'10" beam and 12,800 lb. dry weight, the H350 is the largest of these four boats (a big bigger than the Sea Ray SLX 350), so should have the most "yacht-like" behavior -- but her weight means that speed demons will want the most powerful engine package, too: twin 430-hp MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrives.

Chaparral's 337 SSX has a secret: Although on deck she's a full-blown bowrider, open the door in the portside console and you'll find a full-beam cabin and an enclosed head. (Mini-cabins like this are popular on bowriders in this size range, but most are not full-beam.) It's a cozy enclave for overnighting (the L-shaped couch converts to sleep two), cat-napping, or, with the addition of the optional air conditioning and flat-screen TV, simply vegging out at the marina. day cruiser into a bona fide overnighter. The Chaparral has a galley area in the cockpit that can be fitted with a gas grill, AC/DC refrigerator and a wet bar, so you won't go hungry either; pressure water is standard. Cockpit lighting and a premium sound system with Bluetooth creates atmosphere at night, while the fiberglass hardtop, also standard, keeps you from getting too much atmosphere during the day. The standard canvas package adds forward and side curtains. With twin 300-hp MerCruiser sterndrives, our test boat broke 42 knots, fast enough for most people, but optional power to twin 430s is available for those who need speed.

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider also has a mid-cabin, but what impresses us most about this boat is under her engine hatch: Cruisers includes MerCruiser Axius or Volvo Penta Joystick digital steering and controls with all available engines, even the base power, twin 300-hp Merc 6.2L Bravo IIIs. (Engines up to twin 380-hp Mercs or Volvos are offered; with twin 320-hp Volvos, our test boat topped out at almost 44 knots.) Both these systems make handling the boat in tight quarters much easier, even for folks with average boathandling skills, thanks to the joystick: Move it in the direction you want the boat to go, even sideways; twist it to change the boat's heading. But docking isn't where the fun is: Cruisers designed and built the 338 Bow Rider for easygoing day cruising, and for offshore adventures. The forward cockpit is deeper than most, a step down from main-deck level, to provide more security for folks seated here when it's choppy. There are stainless steel grabrails, too. (When it's too choppy, we recommend moving aft -- plenty of seats there, too.) Cruisers delivers the 338 Bow Rider with a Bimini top, but the optional Sport Arch will provide a good base for mounting a radar and antennas, and as a frame for a full canvas enclosure. Add some optional creature comforts to the cabin, and the 338 Bow Rider would make a great three-season overnighter for owners in cooler climates. There's room for a 4-kW genset, too.

As always, don’t hesitate to drop BoatTEST.com a note if you have a question about any of the boats in this comparison.

Ask a Question About Any of These Boats

Sea Ray SLX 350

Sea Ray SLX 350 Interior Sea Ray SLX 350 Interior
  • LOA: 34'6" (10.5 m)
  • Beam: 10'6'' (3.2 m)
  • Draft: 3'0" (.91 m)
  • Displacement: 11,787 lbs. (5,347 kg.)
  • Deadrise at Transom: 21-degrees
  • Standard Power: 2x 250-hp MerCruiser Bravo III
  • Maximum Power: 2x 380-hp MerCruiser Bravo III
See the Full Video and Report Dealer Contact Do you have a question?Have A Question About This Boat?

Four Winns Horizon 350

Four Winns H350 Interior Four Winns H350 Interior
  • LOA: 35'0" (10.7 m)
  • Beam: 10'10" (3.30 m)
  • Draft: 3'5" (1.04 m)
  • Displacement: 12,800 lbs. (5,800 kg.)
  • Deadrise at Transom: 19-degrees
  • Standard Power: 2x 300-hp MerCruiser Bravo III
  • Maximum Power: 2x 430-hp Volvo or MerCruiser sterndrives
See the Full Video and Report Dealer Contact Do you have a question?Have A Question About This Boat?

Chaparral 337 SSX

Chaparral 337 SSX Interior Chaparral 337 SSX Interior
  • LOA: 33'6" (10.21 m)
  • Beam: 10'0" (3.05 m)
  • Draft: 3'2.5" (.98 m)
  • Displacement: 12,000 lbs. (5,443 kg.)
  • Deadrise at Transom: 22-degrees
  • Standard Power: 2x 300-hp MerCruiser Bravo III
  • Maximum Power: 2x 430-hp Volvo or MerCruiser sterndrives
See the Full Video and Report Dealer Contact Do you have a question?Have A Question About This Boat?

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider

Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider Interior Cruisers Yachts 338 Bow Rider Interior
  • LOA: 32'11" (10.03 m)
  • Beam: 10'10" (3.30 m)
  • Draft: 3'6" (1.07 m)
  • Displacement: 11,340 lbs. (5,144 kg.)
  • Deadrise at Transom: 22-degrees
  • Standard Power: 2x 300-hp MerCruiser w/Axius
  • Maximum Power: 2x 380-hp Volvo or MerCruiser sterndrives
See the Full Video and Report Dealer Contact Do you have a question?Have A Question About This Boat?

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