Formula Boats made big news with the 2022 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Debuts of the 387 Center Console Fish and the 387 Center Console Sport models. This builder has a long history dating back to its founding in 1962 by the famed Don Aronow, but it hasn’t built a center console model for decades. Since Formulas have long been known for performance it won’t be any surprise that these boats are designed for speed, and the models we saw at the show can break the 60-mph barrier — one as it heads for the fishing grounds, and the other as it heads for the party at the sandbar.
Before digging into each individual model, let’s take a look at some of their commonalities. Like all Formulas, the fiberglass hand-laid in the hull and deck is computer-cut biaxial and triaxial fabric. Resin is topnotch AME 5001, and coring is Corecell. Stringers and bulkheads are foam-filled, cross-frames are resin-encapsulated, and pultrusion structural reinforcements are use in critical areas of the hull bottom and gunwales. The hull-to-deck joint is chemically bonded with Plexus and mechanically bonded with stainless-steel through-bolts and backing plates. Put all of this together and it becomes clear why Formula’s boats ride without the hollow-sounding thumping impacts, excessive vibrations, or creaks and rattles that many lesser boats exhibit.
Another feature these models share is hull design. This is a twin-stepped deep-V, 38’7” from stem to stern with a 12’0” beam, riding on a 23-degree transom deadrise. Formula calls the design their FAS3Tech hull, and it’s their latest in-house design. Engine packages include triple 300 to 450 horsepower, or twin V12 Mercury Verado 600 horsepower outboards.
Finally, both models also have a substantial console cabin outfitted for overnighting and weekending. There’s a twin berth forward that converts into a dinette, a fully enclosed stand-up head with shower aft, and a galley amidships with a refrigerator, microwave oven, sink, and stowage. Headroom is a generous 6’4” belowdecks. The console is kept comfortable with an 8,000 BTU air conditioning system, which also pipes a cool breeze to the helm.
387 Center Console Fish
The 387 Center Console Fish is, as its name implies, an angling machine. But unlike many we see from boat builders accustomed to designing cruisers it’s primed for fishing through and through. When we first stepped aboard, the rod holders lining the transom, gunwales, and T-top, along with a pair of massive 40-gallon pressurized livewells in the transom, made it obvious. But as we picked through the boat we found that Formula had done its homework and there are uber-fishy details from stem to stern.
The twin in-deck 90-gallon tuna-sized fishboxes are one example. Even though they’re oversized we found that the hatches can be swung open with one hand, thanks to gas-assist struts. The boxes are fitted with macerator pumps to evacuate the scales and slime. And we spotted freezer plates lining the sides, so you won’t have to haul a ton of ice on every trip and melt-off won’t be a problem for weeks on end.
Even the helm itself is laid out for angling. There’s gobs of room for electronics, three-sided enclosure protection for those long runs to the offshore grounds, and uber-comfy bolstered seating plus arm and foot rests so you’re rested up and ready for action when you get there. Added bonus: other cool features we spotted at the helm include a cell phone holder/wireless charger, joystick controls, and lighted push-button switches.
The bow layout is another example. For a builder of pleasure boats it must certainly have been a temptation to load the bow up with a bunch of seating, but that gets in the way of fishing. Wisely, Formula leaves the bow uncluttered and wide-open. In fact, the only seating forward of the console is the doublewide lounger sitting atop the console cabin.
Whatever fishing feature or accouterment you’re looking for, you’ll find it. Integrated stowage for your five-gallon buckets; auto-retracting fresh and raw water washdowns; a leaning post rigging station with cutting board, sink, tackle stowage, and a slide-out cooler — all are present and accounted for.
387 Center Console Sport
For those who are more inclined to relax or entertain aboard as opposed to risk splashing fish blood across the reFLEX foam decking and 36-ounce PreFixx-treated vinyls, Formula has the 387 Center Console Sport. As one might guess this package expands the socializing space quite a bit by adding a U-shaped seat into the bow with a power-adjusting table. The forward double-wide lounger atop the console cabin remains the same, which was a great decision — we kicked back on it and found that between the multi-density fast-dri foam, thick vinyl, contoured back- and head-rests, and fold-down arm rest, it’s about as comfortable as any chair or lounger on any boat on the planet. There’s also a flip-down bench seat at the transom and an aft leaning post seat.
Tackle stowage gets traded in for goodies like a pull-out refrigerator and beverage center. Formula also extends the swim platform as compared to the Fish model, and adds “trunk stowage” in the transom. Additional entertainment goodies include a Rockford Fosgate stereo with JL Audio speakers, seven USB charging ports, over two dozen drink holders strategically placed throughout the boat, and a 32” LCD HDTV in the cabin.
Final Word on the Formula 387 Center Console Fish and 387 Center Console Sport
Whether you’re into fishing or day-cruising and entertaining, if you’re on the hunt for a high-performance center console just under the 40-foot mark one of these models is likely to fit the bill. They’re exceptionally well built, and designed specifically to fit each of these niches. Plus, while it’s certainly a subjective factor, we think these boats also have utterly fantastic eye-appeal.