Formula's 240 Bowrider squarely targets the trailer-boat market providing boaters looking for an easily trailered runabout the quality and upscale features Formula has become synonymous with. It's available in two versions; a "regular" and "sport" version with the standard model adding many more standard features.
- 10-year structural warranty
- Imron graphic A, B or C with cockpit accent striping
- Dash panels with wood or brushed graphite and metallic finish
- Tilt steering wheel with wood or silver brushed metallic accents
- Extended integrated swim platform with concealed 316L stainless ladder
- Clarion stereo with waterproof dash-mounted remote and 4 speakers
- L-shaped aft lounge seating with Igloo cooler below
- Removable cockpit table
- Portable head unit in cabin
|Length Overall||24' 0'' / 7.32 m|
2.51 m (w/ tower)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.6 sec.|
|0 to 30||9.2 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 9/10 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||84 deg., 67 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG
1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0 MPI ECT Bravo III
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG ECT Bravo III
1 x 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG ECT Bravo III
1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT Bravo III X
1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG High Output ECT Bravo III X
4 single Volvo Penta V8 Duoprop engine options
Formula created the 240 Bowrider targeting the trailer-boat market so that customers wanting a smaller, easily trailered, runabout would not have to compromise on quality and upscale features. On many small lakes 24' is a good-sized boat and for those who want the prestige of a Formula, the 240 is the boat to own.
- Five-year Formula Guard Protection. This covers all the components on the boat that normally have a 1 year protection plan. Formula Guard kicks in after the initial one year to protect for an additional 4 years. The program is transferable. Again, this is indicative of a company standing behind its product.
- Imron Graphics. While it's rare for a boat not to have some graphics on the topsides, they are nearly always decals. Naturally these will start to peel after several years of use, and it's not uncommon to see dirt collect at the edges. Formula's graphics are applied with Imron, a polyurethane paint and a difficult process to apply. All of the problems with decals are thus eliminated.
- High-end Finish. It's very easy to pick a Formula out of the crowd of boats going by. They generally have a much higher gloss and shine to their finish that makes them stand out above the rest. This is because Formula dedicates so much time to polishing its finishes to perfection.
- Self-bailing Cockpit. We think that all sportboat cockpits which are higher than the waterline should be self-bailing, and this one is. It means that the boat takes care of herself when uncovered in a torrential rain at the dock.
- Automatic Fire Suppression System. This is an important safety feature in the engine room and Formula makes it standard.
- Available in Two Versions. The 240 Bowrider comes in either a "regular" or "sport" version. The sport version adds many more standard features, some of which aren't even available on the standard version.
In short, it's the tricked-out version with all of the bells and whistles.
Our test Formula 240 Bowrider had a LOA of 24’ (7.32 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m) and a draft of 36” (91 cm). With an empty weight of 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg), 54 gallons (204 L) of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 5,744 lbs. (2605 kg). With the optional 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HO engine turning a Bravo III outdrive we reached a top speed at 4700 rpm of 53.6 mph. At that speed fuel burn was measured at 32.5 gph giving the 240 Bowrider a range of 89 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 31.1 mph. That lowered the fuel burn to 10.65 GPH which the 240 could keep up for just over five hours and 157 miles. In both cases we calculated a 10% fuel reserve. We reached planing speed in 3.6 seconds, accelerated through 20 mph in 6.2 seconds, 30 in 9.2 seconds, 40 in 11.8 seconds, and continued cruising through 50 mph in 16.6 seconds.
Heading out to the test ground I noticed that at no-wake speed the windshield frame was directly in my line of sight from the seated position. At cruise, however, she rises to a five-degree bow high attitude which had me looking directly through the windshield. Naturally, up on the bolster visibility is excellent both at idle and at speed. Upon accelerating the 240’s bow comes up 16-degrees which brings it to a level just below the horizon line, so there's no concern about loss of visibility.
Once at cruise speed, just a couple of shots of up-trim are all it takes to get the 240 into her cruise mode. Operators will notice the spray moving from the helm to the stern quarters, and the boost in speed can easily be felt. If the trim is brought up anymore then the 240 exhibits operator induced oscillation rather than ventilating the propellers. When putting the 240 into a turn she tends to dig her shoulder in creating a tight turn with the pivot point being right at the helm. Maximum bank angle was 16.5-degrees. Finally, when power is taken off the 240 settles back into the water stern first, this again, brings the bow up with no loss of visibility to the horizon.
Starting at the bow, the 240 BR features a standard four-step beach reboarding ladder nestled above anchor storage. Pull up cleats are to either side of the bow with combined nav light located at the forepeak. With the bow hatch in the closed position a stainless grab handle aids during the reboarding process.
The bow seating is much as one would expect with seats wrapping around the bow section, all with storage underneath. Armrests are contoured and a stainless bow rail lies outside the armrests so it doesn't interfere with the comfort zone. To both sides are stainless steel speaker grilles over dual stainless steel drink holders. In the center of the deck is a base for the cockpit pedestal table. There are no accommodations for bow filler cushions to create a sun pad but there is an alternative at the stern.
The walkthrough windshield is held in the open position by a latch, as opposed to the typical strap and snap. The windshield frame is anodized aluminum lined with stainless steel at the header. The opening portion is gasketed to prevent vibrating while underway and while in the closed position the door to the starboard console acts as an air dam to block the wind on cool days. Inside the helm console is ample storage, as well as the stereo and an access port for servicing electronic installations behind the helm.
The port console features a molded fiberglass door held in place with a full length piano hinge. The door frame is gasketed all the way around. Inside the compartment is 3'7" (1.09 m) of headroom. A portable head is available and Formula will even connect a dockside pump out ($395).
The helm is a full fiberglass module, with the panel colored grey to reduce the glare effect, and a subpanel colored black makes a classy contrast. Dual SmartCraft gauges are nestled into molded mounts at the top of the panel and the starboard gauge includes the SmartTow feature to hold speed while maneuvering with a skier. Four lower ancillary gauges are mounted in between a depth gauge and fuel gauge. Waterproof rocker switches are to the lower right, the stereo remote, ignition horn and optional trim tab ($1,060) controls are to the left of the three-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel mounted to a tilt base.
In the center of the two consoles is a sole storage hatch held in position by a piano hinge to the starboard side and a gas-assisted strut. I'm a big fan of the latches that Formula uses on all of its hatches as they open simply by lifting instead of having to lift and turn. These mechanism solves a lot of potential problems and in my opinion is the best way to go. (Hey, all it takes is money.) The opening is guttered and the base of the compartment is lined with a rubber mat. To the starboard side are clips to hold accessories such as the anchor light and canvas support posts.
The cockpit seating is much as one would expect with L-shaped seating to port and a single jumpseat to starboard, all with storage underneath. The L-seating also has dedicated storage for a 25 quart (23.7 L) carry-on cooler and a fire extinguisher. The jumpseat also includes the main battery switch and main circuit breakers. A second battery which includes a selector switch is available as an option ($635).
The stern is accessed via a transom walkthrough to starboard and an aft facing rumble seat provides a great location for relaxing at any time the 240 is not underway. The aft seating converts to a sun pad in seconds. Trunk storage lies to port. Twin courtesy lights are located to both sides of the swim platform and a stereo remote is mounted to the starboard bulwarks. In the center is a mount for the optional ski tow pylon ($945) which has dedicated storage in the port trunk, and a three-step reboarding ladder is concealed under a flush mounted hatch.
The engine hatch is raised by electronic actuator controlled from the helm. Standard engine is a Volvo Penta V8-270 with a Duoprop outdrive. Eight other engine choices are available up to the 430-hp 8.2 MAG HO ECT turning a Bravo 3X outdrive ($120,050). The installation is roomy enough for me to step inside and gain access to all sides of the engine. The starboard side features dedicated storage for the cockpit table. As noted, an automatic fire extinguisher is standard.
The Quality Component
While the 240 BR is the smallest boat in Formula's line, there has been no cutback in the quality of the materials used. In fact, for the most part they are the same as used in the largest and most expensive Formula boats. Let's take the 240's all-weather upholstery for an example. It is made with a high-grade and thick vinyl with a PreFixx coating and DriFast foam cushioning all assembled with UV resistant Tenera thread. Below the surface in the substructure the builder uses StarLite XL synthetic marine panels which will not rot or soak up moisture and will last as long as the boat. Its fabrics are easy to clean up and will stand up well to UV. Another small example of Formula's quality is its cleats that are all cast with the Formula name, custom forged for the 240 and not something off the shelf. Formula installs six 316L stainless-steel cleats where some builders will save by only having two cleats at the stern and two at the bow. Formula knows it takes six to properly tie a boat up at the dock.
The 240's windshield is tempered, tinted curved glass with a well braced center walkthrough. Typically when testing the Formula sportboats, BoatTEST captains do several dead lifts on the open windshield to test the braces. This time showed no flexing or creaking. Formula boats are built to be abused and keep on ticking. Hull laminates are thick and vinylester barrier coats are employed to prevent blistering. One-piece stringers are laminated in with chemical bonding which will not come loose. The decks are put on with the same chemical bond, plus there are rivets at close intervals. All deck hardware is backed with plates to spread the load. The 240 has a complete liner in the entire cockpit. Interior components all have liners and fiberglass hatches are resin infused on both sides for a smooth finish. Formula uses a Perma Panel structural hull matrix and foam filled hull cavities adding flotation and sound deadening. Even the interior of the engine room has been sprayed with gel coat to provide a smooth clean surface.
Systems Installation is Critical
Most boats look good at first glance, and many run well the first year or so. But the biggest bugaboo in recreational marine boat construction is the reliability of the ship's systems after a few years of exposure to the harsh marine environment. It is here, in the systems, that gremlins fester and grow, until one day they literally turn out the lights, keep the engine from starting, or otherwise play havoc. Formula's management is the second and third generation boat builders and have been in business for over 50 years. They have gone through the learning curve, and the company is famous in the industry for its "best practices" system installations. The wire runs and the plumbing behind the bulkheads are done with care. It is this kind of TLC in the construction process that keeps the gremlins at bay.
The Imron Finish -- Highest Quality in the Industry
The full, hull-side color is optional and I recommend it. Formula uses a high-quality gel coat, but then it paints over it. The company uses Imron paints, a polyurethane DuPont product, that is technically difficult to apply, but creates the foundation for what is probably the best, highest gloss finish in the industry. But Imron paint, as good as it is, is not enough to create the remarkable gloss that is seen on Formula topsides. That is thanks to hundreds of man-hours of buffing, compounding and polishing with electric buffers, and by hand. All of this ensures that the luster will last and require a minimum of maintenance to keep looking good.
The 240 BR has been designed by the same man responsible for all of the other Formula models, John Adams. John has been designing boats for Formula since before we can remember and he only designs boats for Formula. In fact, we think that most boaters' eyes have become accustomed to John's soft flowing, unostentatious lines, and many of us subconsciously think that that is how a beautiful sportboat should look. The 240 BR Sport has the same striking lines and is designed to take advantage of the same performance-oriented hull characteristics as her big sisters.
MSRP pricing for the 240 starts at $97,520 for the boat powered by a 270-hp Volvo Penta V8-270c and runs to $120,050 for the largest engine on the options list, a MerCruiser 430-hp 8.2 L MAG H.O. ECT Bravo III X system. In between are seven other engines made by both Volvo Penta and Mercury. The Formula 240 is probably the most expensive boat in class which reflects her build quality, materials and warranty. Formula's cost more when purchased and typically sell for more when they are sold. In fact, on the used boat market Formulas have historically commanded prices that are about the same as other sportboats that are three to six feet longer. In addition to the build quality, there are two other obvious reasons for that phenomenon. First, because of the Imron-painted hull the used Formula usually looks better than a used boat with gelcoat that has oxidized over the years. Second, there are simply not that many of them on the used boat market. Because they are relatively rare, they command a higher price.
Finally, the Formula 240 has a 20-degree deadrise at the transom which puts her at the deeper end of the hull-shape range. She also is at the heavy end of the range of boats in class. These two factors, combined here with slightly higher freeboard mean she is better suited for big water than some other boats her length. Indeed, the builder drives most all of its boats across the Gulf Stream to Bimini for its annual photo shoot, and the 240 is no exception.