|LOA||48 ft., 2 in.|
|Beam||13 ft., 11 in.|
|Engines||Twin Volvo 600 IPS|
|- Twin Volvo 600 IPS engines
- integrated bow platform
- concealed anchor davit w/fiberglass chain locker electric windlass w/chain counter and remote control
- motorized coupe-top sunroof
- full-width swim platform
- transom shower A/C in salon and master
- 120v water heaterRaymarine GPS nav system w/E120 chartplotter
- 11.5 kw diesel generator
- QL trim tabs and much more
|- Hydraulic swim platform/PWC lift system w/remote
- 3 blue LED underwater lights
- Gaggenau electric cockpit grill
- Volvo dynamic positioning system
- washer/dryer combo
- fuel system crossover valving and much more
|Formula, Decatur, Ind.
(800) 736-7685, formulaboats.com
|West Coast Dealer|
|- Tahoe Vista Sports, Tahoe Vista, Calif.
(530) 546-8248, tahoevistasports.com
- Malibu Marine, Kelowna, B.C.
- Sicamous Marina Inc., Sicamous, B.C.
- StanCraft Marine Center, Post Falls, Idaho
Posted: August 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Sportboat performance with yacht appointmentsFormula was founded in Miami by Don Aronow in 1962. Thunderbird began building fiberglass boats in 1956, also in Miami, making it one of the earliest producers of fiberglass boats in the U.S. Through various corporate mergers, buyouts and corporate sales, both builders were united and now build Formula boats in Decatur, Ind.
However, the Formula logo contains the Thunderbird crest, reminding the current builder and the public of the blended traditions of two of the early glass-boat pioneers. In fact, the Thunderbird crest will be familiar to those who watched the 1960s’ TV series “Flipper.” The park ranger’s boat, one of the first boats to “star” regularly on television, was a 23-foot Thunderbird, and that crest appeared regularly as the boat was used on the show.
With a lineage like that, it’s no wonder the Formula 45 Yacht is smartly designed, with flawless glasswork and an interior finish as good as any boat in its market segment. It looks fast, even tied to the dock.
We tested the Formula 45 Yacht on West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay, the mainland terminus of the B.C. Ferry route to Vancouver Island. It was a snotty day for a boat test, with pouring rain and plenty of wind. Constant ferry traffic moving in and out was the only good thing about the location, since we were guaranteed good wakes for testing.
The coupe style of the enclosed bridge, a first for Formula, guarantees excellent visibility all around, and a center walk-through windshield provides fresh air at the helm and allows quick and easy access to the foredeck. A dropdown clear curtain aft of the hardtop keeps the bridge protected in case of rain. The hardtop boasts a power-operated sunroof that keeps the bridge relatively bright even with the sky overcast like it was during our entire test.
Since the vessel, like a number of other coupes coming onto the market, has no vertical transom, access is via the large swim step. It’s a couple of quick and easy steps up to the twin-seat helm station. This “open” access is excellent for boaters who like to play with water toys, since they can be run right up onto the swim grid. Fishermen will also like this feature, since it will make landing larger fish quick and easy.
All controls fell easily to hand from the helm seat, and a curved bench seat along the port side allows sit-down space for extra guests. A wet bar, with a refrigerator underneath, allows you to entertain topside. The lower cockpit, just aft of the helm station and in the open air to allow in plenty of sun, features a settee and a removable table. The main deck of the Formula 45 Yacht is well laid out for either entertaining or family fun.
Time to Perform
Our test boat is powered with twin Volvo 600 IPS. They flashed up without smoke or rattling and ran smoothly without vibration. We tested the noise level at the helm station, and it was 73 decibels, compared to 70 for a normal conversation, but this was not a fair test, because the helm station was open aft, and we were getting outside sounds as part of the test. However, testing as we did gave us a good idea of how quiet the vessel really is.
We eased away from our berth and idled out into open water at 600 rpm, making 4.1 mph and burning 1.1 gph. At 800 rpm, we were making 6.6 mph and burning 2 gph. The vessel handled the slop well, and we tracked dead straight. With the rpm upped to 1500, we made 9.9 mph and burned 14 gph. As we advanced the throttle to 2000 revs, we came on plane at about 24 mph, at which point we were burning 22 gph and going 17.4 mph. Handling continued to be excellent, and the vessel knifed through the slop without pounding or banging. At 3000 revs, we made 21.7 mph and burned 33 gph. WOT gave us about 33 mph with a fuel burn of 42 gph.
The above information is useful, but it does not tell the full story of how this boat handles under way — more like a sportboat than a yacht. It carves high-speed turns like an Olympic slalom skier, accelerates like a vessel half its weight and powers its way through a running sea like an ocean racer. Even though I expected good performance — this is, after all, a Formula — I did not expect it to be as good as it was, particularly as we smashed through large ferry wakes. Even in the worst of the conditions, there was no indication that the vessel was in any way stressed. When we caught some air coming off the wake of a 5,000-ton ferry, the vessel landed softly, thanks to its deep-V hull, and under complete control. The Formula 45 Yacht is an excellent performer.
After we finished playing at ocean racing, and with the dealer at the wheel, I went below. This is a two-stateroom boat with the master forward. It has a queen bed with an enormous amount of storage underneath, twin hanging lockers and plenty of storage drawers. It has an en suite split head. The stateroom also features an LCD TV/DVD combo. The aft stateroom has twin berths, but they can be converted to a queen.
The galley is in the main salon and features a Corian countertop, a two-burner stove and a double stainless sink. Standard equipment also includes an upright refrigerator and a combination convection/microwave oven. The solid countertop makes cleanup a breeze, and there’s plenty of cupboard and drawer storage. A lighted showcase with a wine rack and storage for the stemware that comes with the boat is located under one end of the counter.
A U-shaped settee to starboard features a well-finished solid wood table. The settee can convert to a sleeping space if necessary.
The whole interior is tied together with top-quality wood finish and designer fabrics. The impression is of a modern lounge in a first-class club.
The problem with the interior of many vessels designed like the 45 is lack of natural light below. Formula has tackled that problem head-on. There are two large, rectangular skylights in the salon, which allow natural light to flood in. Oversized portlights along each side also bring natural light into the salon. Even though it was a lousy day weatherwise, I did not get the feeling I was in a cave.
Given the adverse conditions we faced, our test vessel performed very well. The design allows for a variety of uses, from traditional cruising to spending hours playing with water toys. The Formula 45 Yacht works well for a family where Mom and Dad want to keep an eye on the kids, and it has plenty of speed to outrun the weather or just to get to a distant dock before it fills up with other boats. The finish is excellent, and the boat is smartly styled and will certainly stand out at the dock. The warranty is transferrable in the first few years, which helps any vessel hold its value, and this vessel is a good value to begin with.
The owner of our test boat was on board — the 45 Yacht being his fourth Formula — and when I asked him why he continued to buy a Formula, his answer was straightforward: “You’ve just tested this one. Why do you think?” The man had a good point.