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New Formula 380 SSC With Triple Mercury Racing 450R Engines Impresses

Last month, the team at Formula Boats in Decatur, Ind., announced the release of a new outboard-powered version of the 380 Super Sport Crossover the company unveiled a year ago. Shortly thereafter, speedonthewater.com test driver John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine in North Miami took Formula’s demo 380 Super Sport Crossover powered by triple Mercury Racing 450R engines for a test spin alongside longtime Formula representative Vic Spellberg.

With triple Mercury Racing 450R engines supplying the power, Formula’s new 380 Super Sport Crossover is even sportier than its twin sterndrive-powered predecessor. Photos courtesy Formula Boats

It was particularly noteworthy to get Tomlinson’s feedback on the sportboat-meets-cruiser 380 SSC since he got the chance to run a 38-footer powered by twin Mercury Racing 520 engines and Bravo Three XR drives last summer and was pretty impressed with it (read the story).

Thanks to an extra 310 hp behind it, the outboard-powered boat was definitely more in line with Tomlinson’s style. Of course everything in terms of aesthetics, functionality and creature comforts were as praise-worthy as that of the sterndrive-powered boat he ran last year, but Tomlinson said the 380 SSC felt more responsive and active with the three 450-hp engines versus the twin 520-hp inboard engines.

“For its size, the boat gets on plane quickly,” Tomlinson said, noting that it took less than 8 seconds without any tabs and that its minimum plane speed was around 20 mph. “It cruises very nicely anywhere between 30 mph to 50 mph. The boat took approximately 17 seconds to run from 20 to 50 mph.”

Tomlinson added that the 380 SSC reached a top speed of 65.5 mph at 6,200 rpm and that the engines consumed 50 gallons per hours while the boat was cruising at 40 mph.

“Turning the Formula was very easy—you can turn it very sharp into a U turn and it holds the turn well,” he explained. “Overall, the visibility was excellent all the way around and the helm was comfortable thanks to easy access to the steering and controls.”

Check out the slideshow above for more images of the new Formula 380 SSC.

The ease of access to the water and boarding from the expansive platform in the rear impressed Tomlinson.

“The side platform ‘wings’ on each side of the engines make it easy to board and not worry about the propellers,” Tomlinson said. “Those side platforms also make it easy to work on engines in the water if needed. I thought the slider front window was pretty cool, especially because you don’t have to open the window on a hinge like other models. Typical for Formula, the interior design and craftsmanship was well executed.

“The retractable roof is on a one-touch switch so you don’t have to sit there and hold a switch down while waiting for the sunroof to open or close,” he added. “Storage throughout the boat was great, particularly below deck. Without power in the engine compartment, all of the rigging, batteries, generator, hoses, valves, electrical and more is very accessible and easy to get to for service.”

Acknowledging that Formula seems to have improved upon its open-bow, full-cabin dayboat legacy without compromising much, if anything at all, by embracing outboard power configurations, Tomlinson said there’s one thing he hopes never changes.

“I told Vic the Formulas have that new boat smell like a new car smell,” Tomlinson concluded.

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