There's so much going on in the Formula 45 Yacht that it's hard to know where to begin. She easily transitions between distance cruising, weekending for two couples or a small family, and entertaining a crowd for docktails and hors d'oeuvres. She's flat-out one of the most comfortable boats we've driven and the fit and finish, as with all Formula boats, is top-tier. And, of course, she is a status symbol extraordinaire.
- 10-year structural warranty
- Standard graphic and cockpit accent striping
- 12 custom Formula logo-cast cleats
- Twin diesel Volvo IPS 600 engine installation
- Raymarine GPS with E120 chartplotter and VHF radio with antenna
- Full-width swim platform and concealed swim ladder
- Aft sun lounge package with 2 dual-height tables
- Owners’ centerline bed with Sensus memory foam mattress
- Private guest stateroom with twin beds adjusts to queen
- U-shaped UltraLeather sofa seating converts to double berth
|Length Overall||48' 2'' / 14.68 m|
4.9 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||6.3 sec.|
|0 to 30||17.7 sec.|
|Load||3 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, gear 50 lbs.|
|Climate||85 deg., 31 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600 Diesel with joystick
By Capt. Steve
Mission of the Formula 45 Yacht
Formula had a successful run with its 48 Yacht, and set out to make ownership of such a fine piece of machinery available to more people by creating a smaller version. The plan worked and the 45 Yacht became so popular that it actually served to replace the 48 Yacht, which is now no longer in production.
Sport Coupe Design
Anyone who's read my reports long enough knows how I feel about the logic of spending over $1,000,000 on a boat only to have to look through plastic windows stretching from the top of the windshield frame to the bottom of the hardtop. With the sport coupe design the glass windshield goes all the way up to the hardtop and the only plastic that will be seen is the aft curtains, which are removable.
Formula was one of the first builders of express cruisers to adopt the coupe design in the U.S., so I am eternally grateful. But that is not the only place where they have been leaders in the boating industry. Because its boats are truly premium products the folks at Formula tend to try new things all of the time and when they discover a winning solution, they stick with it, often bringing other builders along the same path.
IPS is Standard.
While IPS used to be an option on the 45 Yacht, its popularity has proven that it's time to be relegated to the standards list. In the case of our 45 Yacht, the IPS600 has been chosen as the standard and only power plant. By mating the IPS600 system to the 45 Yacht, Formula has given it a lot more utility.
Joystick Comes with It.
This big yacht now has the handling of a runabout so the cruising couple who isn’t comfortable with a boat this size -- or just doesn’t want to sweat parking in tight slips with a crowd watching -- doesn’t have to consider their skill level as a deterrent. The cost can also be a positive with the IPS600 system, both in acquisition and maintenance. It takes less work to install during the build, and more space is gained to maintain the engine and drives. Formula could have taken the extra space gained for more interior room but elected to keep it in the engine space so one doesn’t have to be a gnome to comfortably work in there.
Surprisingly Expansive Standards List
– I'm not talking about items to get added to the standards list just to make it look longer (nav lights, stainless cleats… etc.). I'm talking about actual items that are rarely seen on any standard list. From the minor items such as electric windlass with 200’ (61m) of chain and polished stainless steel anchor, to the built-in central VAC system, to the 18,000 BTU reverse cycle air conditioner. And that's just scratching the surface.
Formula Guard Warranty Program.
Formula Guard is a Five-Year Limited protection plan designed to guarantee long-term satisfaction for Formula customers. Each Formula is protected by a combination of original manufacturers' warranties and supplemental product protection, which provides comprehensive coverage for a minimum of five years from the boat's original purchase date. In general, Formula and the boat's major component manufacturers (engines, transmissions, and generators) administer warranty for the first year of ownership. Thereafter, a supplemental product protection plan -- Formula Guard -- takes over, providing extended coverage for many factory-installed accessories and components, including the major items noted above.
Designer John Adams.
For over thirty years John Adams has been designing Formulas. He is quick to pick up on trends and, in fact, has created more than a few himself. He is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced designers in the world in this class of boat and works exclusively for Formula.
Because of the economy there are fewer company-owned boat builders in the U.S. than ever before. Yet some of the best builders in the U.S. are family owned, and Formula is certainly among them. Family-owned boat builders care about the reputation of their brand. They genuinely care about their customers and when something goes wrong they have an invested interest in putting it to rights.
Formula boats are among the most expensive in class no matter which size range they are in, and the 45 Yacht is no exception. All of those unusual items of standard equipment, the five-year warranty program, and the finish regimen do not come cheap. Nor does Formula do anything on the cheap. It uses the best materials, best practices and certainly has one of the best staffs in boat building on the shop floor where personnel average over 20 years with the company. It all shows in the product…and in the price.
We tested on a rather calm day and found the 45 Yacht to be a simple boat to drive. Out in the channel, she crossed wakes and took the chop without hesitation or noisy crashes and bangs. She has a nice wide flared bow that threw water out to the sides and kept low enough to ensure a nice dry ride. This is obviously a boat made for plunging through heavy seas. Hard turns were smoothed out nicely and recovery to full speed was quick. She displaces 32,500 lbs. (12,772.7 kgs.) which means she’s got the beef to handle the big stuff and give a good ride.
The twin 435-hp IPS 600 engines brought us to a top speed of 31.4 kn at 3550 rpm. At that speed fuel burn was measured at 43.5 gph for a range of 227 nautical miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 23.8 kn. At that speed fuel burn was only 30 gph for a range of 250 nautical miles with a 10% fuel reserve. We reached planing speed and 6.3 seconds and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 17.7 seconds
At the Bow
The ground tackle is concealed under a flush mounted hatch. The 26” (66 cm) high 316 SS bow rails have mid-mounted life lines for added security. Two DriFast loungers are on the bow for enjoyment at anchor, and these have multi-position backs. Polished stainless steel Bomar hatches allow light and air into the lower decks.
The hardtop coupe has a full-height windshield and dual wipers with washer spray nozzles on the blades. The windshield has optional multiple defrosters which means one will be able to pilot their 45 Yacht in foggy, misty or heavy rain conditions without having to have a cloth in their hand to de-fog the windscreen.
The ventilation comes from forward-opening side vents, a drop-down windshield at the top of the walkthrough door, and the large opening sunroof. I found that to be perfectly sufficient on our hot South Florida test day but if more is needed, go for it.
Close the windows and fire up the standard 18,000 BTU cockpit air to further extend the comfort, and the 7,000 BTU below. But if one really wants to get Arctic, opt up to the 30,000 BTU A/C ($10,640). Since these are reverse cycle units they also will provide plenty of heat if the boater is in cool climates or travel between the two.
And let's not lose sight of the advantage of having the opening sunroof that allows one to just observe the stars at night.
The 45 has an 11.5 kW generator with sound shield and dedicated battery to keep the A/C humming.
At the Helm
The helm seat is a split bench with dual bolsters and Ultraleather upholstery with deep comfortable cushions. Between the seats is a box large enough to store the electronics covers. The large Volvo Penta EVC display is to the left beneath the autopilot and depth gauge. These are part of a Raymarine electronics package that also includes the twin 12 inch displays ($18,440 – $46,105).
State-of-the-art Volvo Penta QL trim tabs with indicators are standard. To starboard and on top of the side panel are the IPS Joystick and Volvo Electronic Throttle and Shift controls for complete ease of operation.
Across on the port side is a large lounger for the family, or an additional couple, to join the captain and the Admiral as one heads to the next destination. Under the seat is a large storage compartment. Seventeen stainless steel drink holders are peppered around to manage the drinks. Throw pillows are tethered to keep them on the lounger.
The Bar Is Open
Behind the helm is the cockpit wet bar/galley. The Corian top has a concealed sink, trash bin and carry-on cooler for clean ice to keep the drinks fresh. I really liked how the covers for the sink and cooler are hinged, saving one less item needing to be stowed.
Our test model had an optional electric cockpit grill ($3,675) and the optional cockpit ice maker/refrigerator. An aft canvas curtain separates the chilled bridge deck and aft cockpit seating, and opening it up really brings the outdoors in.
The centerline cabin entry has teak and the wood steps with rubber anti-skid treads leading into the salon/galley. The port side L-shaped galley is gourmet-quality with rich deep gloss cherry cabinetry with furniture-grade dovetailed drawers and Corian counters. There is plenty of room to store food and dry goods, including a sole locker. Galley equipment includes a double-burner stove with vent fan, convection microwave oven, brushed stainless steel sink, coffeemaker and upright refrigerator/freezer. In the end of the cabinet is a nifty lighted showcase wine rack complete with tempered stemware and tumblers… all standard.
This entire galley/salon area has 6'11" of headroom. The salon has a large U-shaped lounger with solid wood table and barstool. Deep gloss cherry cabinets surround the lounger, housing storage space and the entertainment center. Among the standard features is a Bose Lifestyle surround sound home theater system for the 40 inch widescreen LCD TV. On our test boat, the 40 inch widescreen was also rigged to display images from the helm nav system, right down to the thermal imaging camera.
The mid cabin stateroom has twin beds with storage under the steps, a drawer in the end of the forward bed and a quick-fill, flip-over filler to convert this into one large bed. An LCD TV is mounted on a storage door which allows the TV to swing out for viewing from the berths. There is standing headroom between the bunks, at least for my 5'8.5'' (1.73 m) height.
This stateroom has its own separate combination head and shower. The vanity and sink are outside the head so two people can get ready for night on the town at the same time. The power distribution panel is in a wall closet just as one enters the room.
The entry to the master stateroom is via a solid core door. The centerline bed has a step up and matching port and starboard hanging lockers. Our test model had a safe mounted in the port locker and the stereo CD stacker and iPod cradle mounted in the starboard locker.
The in-room LCD/TV with DVD player is mounted on the starboard side for private night-time entertainment. The Bose sound system has a zone system to pipe the surround sound into one's private space. This stateroom also has a separate shower and head compartment so it's not necessary to tie up the head while taking a shower.
Price and Observations on the Formula 45 Yacht
The suggested retail price of the standard 45 Yacht is $1,112,120, pretty nicely loaded, including VHF radio, chartplotter, and the Raymarine ST-70 graphic information display. All one needs is radar for night running, or operation in foggy areas.
She was a pleasure to operate in and clearly has the capabilities to become a home away from home, or a very classy weekend getaway. And in that respect one can think of her as a weekend waterfront cabin -- a movable one of course.