There's a fine line between bowriders and crossovers: At what point does a basic shelter cabin become "accommodations?" We think that sleeping facilities for two adults, a fully enclosed head, and at least a rudimentary galley make a bowrider a functional “crossover.” All of these boats have all of these, either as standard or optional. Cockpit wet bars that can be accessorized with cooktops or grills become bona fide galleys the equal of those found on most boats in this size range.
Each of these six boats also have all the on-deck amenities expected of bowriders of 30-plus-feet -- these are big bowriders, after all, with room for more people than most of us want to go boating with. Crossing over into Crossovers doesn't take anything away, but just adds more features.
The 430 SSC sounds like she's too big for this roundup, but a large swim platform takes up nearly five feet of her LOA. Nevertheless, there's still room for the most complete accommodations of any of the boats in this sextet. With 6'6" of headroom, the 430 SSC's forward cabin loses nothing to the deep forward cockpit just above. Most of this cabin is taken by a U-lounge with table; it converts to a berth, but there's also a mid-cabin with a double berth tucked behind the companionway. Tucked between the cabins is a compact but complete galley with a microwave oven, electric stove, and refrigerator; a Keurig coffeemaker is optional. A TV, stereo and other electronics are also standard.
The head has a VacuFlush toilet, a Corian countertop and shower. Hullside windows and a skylight bring in the outdoors, preventing the "cave effect" common aboard boats like these. And although our focus in this roundup is living spaces, we can't close without noting the 430 SSC we tested ran almost 60 knots with quad 400-hp Mercury Racing Verado outboards. Her level of fit-and-finish both inside and out is first class.
The H350 has a cabin suitable for overnighting or short cruises, with a mid-berth behind the companionway steps and an enclosed head with shower and VacuFlush toilet. The lounge to port converts to a berth with optional fill-in cushions. Air conditioning and a flat-screen TV/DVD are also optional. We think the H350 would be fine for a night or two, and even if the cabin is a bit tight we always prefer sleeping aboard than in a hotel.
On deck, there's a cockpit galley with a grill, sink and cooler (refrigerator optional), and the standard hardtop provides shelter for the cook. A cockpit awning is optional. The walk-through windshield makes easy access to the forward cockpit, a great place to enjoy a dinner, by adding the optional bow table. The fit-and-finish of this boat must be seen, as she is one of the largest boats in the Four Winns line-up and the builder is putting its best foot forward.
The 337 SSX has a full-beam cabin, unusual for a boat this size, and an enclosed head with a shower. There's no fixed berth: The L-shaped couch converts to sleep two. Air conditioning and a flat-screen TV are optional, as is a microwave oven in the compact galley area. However, we'd cook in the fresh air by outfitting the on-deck galley with the optional gas grill, AC/DC refrigerator and wet bar; pressure water is standard.
A fiberglass hardtop, forward and side curtains are standard, so the cockpit becomes almost a saloon when buttoned up. Cockpit lighting and a premium sound system creates atmosphere at night. 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 want to get to the next anchorage ASAP. FYI – Chaparral was one of the first builders to introduce the “crossover” concept.
The Freedom 375 is not technically a “bowrider,” but rather a “Dual Console” -- nevertheless she has all of the bow-riding characteristics of the other 5 boats in this list. Since she comes from the saltwater fishing community we thought she would provide a good benchmark in this comparison. She combines the company's fishboat DNA on deck -- plenty of gunwale rod holders, storage racks and a livewell --with cushy seats fore and aft, and overnight accommodations in two air-conditioned cabins accessible through the dual consoles.
To port, there's a fore-and-aft settee that converts electrically to a double berth with a slide-out filler cushion, and a single berth aft. The head with shower and a microwave oven is in the starboard cabin. At first we thought the head compartment an odd location for the microwave, but that's where the sink is, so it can be a galley, too. (There's a wet bar in the cockpit with an electric grill, refrigerator and sink; an 8-kW diesel generator is standard.) She comes complete, including the hardtop with sunroof and enclosure, bow thruster, anchor windlass and air conditioning in the cabins and at the helm. There are only a couple of options -- outriggers and upgraded seating aft.
The 350 CBR is a smaller version of the 43 SSC, but still has a well-equipped galley, VacuFlush head, Ultraleather lounge seating and an athwartships berth with a memory foam mattress in the mid-cabin. There's a wet bar with fridge in the cockpit; a transom-mounted grill is optional. The forward cockpit has dual-height tables for dining or noshing, and can be converted to a sun pad
The standard boat is well equipped, but joystick controls, an arch or hardtop, and air conditioning are options. Formula builds the 350 in CBR and FX versions, with twin sterndrives or twin or triple outboards; the FX boat has fancier graphics, some upgraded equipment, and can be powered with race-bred Ilmor 430-hp engines (standard sterndrives are Mercruiser 430-hp 8.2 MAG Bravo IIIs). Like all Formula boats, her optional high-gloss paint job will set her apart from anything else on the water.
The 338 BR is the smallest boat in the Cruisers Yachts big boat line up, but she still has a cabin with standing headroom. However, there's no dedicated berth; the L-lounge to port converts. The bones of the cabin are in place -- stowage, seating, an enclosed head with electric-flush toilet -- but the details are left to be customized by the buyer: Refrigerator, microwave oven, air conditioning, etc., are options. Buyers who expect to use the cabin only occasionally, maybe for napping during the day or an overnight or two every summer, don't have to pay for equipment they won't use; those who want the works can have it.
Add the options, and the 338 Bow Rider would make a good three-season overnighter for owners in cooler climates. There's room for a 4-kW genset, too. One thing Cruisers Yachts does include is digital steering and controls, with a joystick, with all available engines, even with base power, twin 300-hp Merc 6.2L Bravo IIIs. This is technology that all boats should have, in our opinion. Cruisers Yachts builds boats up to 60’ and uses the same material in this boats as in the their largest one. The gray South Beach Edition of the 338 BR is a head-turner.
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