Formula strapped 1,600 ponies onto its brand-new 430 SSC for the model’s formal introduction at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. “Go big or go home” seems to be Formula’s, ahem, formula, with this new boat. And, judging by the crowds surrounding the 430 SSC at the show, Formula will have no trouble selling this model.
Speaking plainly, making a boat go fast isn’t any great feat of engineering. But making a boat that’s fast, predictable, safe, and has innovative exterior and interior layout takes some deep thought to pull off. Based on our observations of the 430 SSC at the show, Formula’s created one of the fastest, most comfortable express cruiser on the market—at any price. That’s a bold claim, we know, so let’s take a closer look at this “Super Sport Crossover,” or “SSC” as the models’ nomenclature denotes.
In lieu of the wedding-cake style, layered decking of many express cruisers, the 430 SSC contains its exterior decks and swim platform to only two levels. The hull Formula built the 430 SSC on means business, too, with a razor-sharp entry and steep 21-degree transom deadrise.
Despite having four Mercury Racing Verado 400-horsepower outboards mounted on the stern the 430 SSC’s swim platform has tons of space and made hopping aboard easy. Underfoot throughout is a synthetic decking material made to look like teak, but with gray planks and white accents. It does get a bit hot in the sun, but it’s overall very comfortable. To starboard at the transom is a large sunpad with a seatback that swivels forward and aft, and hydraulics raise and lower the whole affair to reveal or conceal stowage underneath. To port is a crafty centralized area that houses and conceals washdown bibs, control switches, shore power inlets, a shower, and more. It took some thought to centralize all of these deck fittings in one place, and it’s a nice change from the usual practice of scattering them about the transom and stern areas. An optional electric grill is situated just above it.
The bridge deck is only a small step up through a transom walk-through and is protected from the sun and weather by the 430 SSC’s expansive hard top. As with many boats in this class, the hardtop features a sliding glass panel that acts much like a sunroof in a car, and acts to open up the bridge deck space to the sky. Copious amounts of glass on the sides of the cabin house further improve the light and airy feeling of the area. The highlight of the bridge deck area is a U-shaped lounge-dinette to starboard, which has companion seating adjacent to it. Formula was smart to take some cues from the dayboat world and include a food prep area equipped with a sink, refrigeration, and plenty of counter space. After mealtime, the dinette table lowers to create a large but intimate lounge.
The walkthrough to the bow is plenty wide—it passed the “big boy” test, as one of our heftier reviewers was able to traverse it without turning sideways. Up in the bow, Formula has done an admirable job of creating an expansive entertaining area that is highly convertible. A cushy C-shaped seating arrangement is set around a pair of tables that raise and lower electrically, and also completely independent of one another. When completely lowered they look as if they’re simply part of the deck. When raised they create dining tables. Partially lowered they create a huge sunpad/lounge area with the addition of a few cushions. The show boat was equipped with four poles and a slab of canvas that quickly and easily snap in place to create a sunshade for the bow when the boat is not in motion. We wouldn’t order the boat without one.
Below, the 430 SSC has to compromise a bit on interior space because of the bow area and wide portside walkthrough, but there’s still enough volume inside for a couple and a kid or two to do weekender or semi-extended cruises. A U-shaped dinette is situated forward in the main saloon and the table can be lowered to form a large berth. Prime sleeping quarters are located in the midcabin tucked under the bridge deck, just behind the entry to an enclosed head and shower. The middle portion of the main saloon features a galley to starboard, with its refrigeration unit set adjacent to it in a cabinet to port. One advantage of the portside deck walkthrough is that it allows two opening windows to be installed on the port side of the main saloon, which enhances lighting and ventilation. An overhead hatch and starboard opening portlight further augment the light and ventilation theme.
Back up on the bridge deck is the starboard side helm, which has a dash that looks like something straight out of Star Trek. And don’t worry, that’s a good thing. It’s so expansive, in fact, that three 15” multifunction displays can be installed in it with room for two smaller units below them. The steering wheel and engine controls are pressed up against the starboard side of the cabinhouse and while the offset position felt a bit weird at first, we imagine it will only take a little getting used to. Once you light off the four Mercury Verados from here you can press the 430 SSC up to a top end of around 64 MPH and cruise at an amazingly fast 47 to 50 MPH.
So, is the 430 SSC a true crossover? Yep, you bet it is. Factor in the convertible bow area, portside walkthrough deck, and amazingly clever bridge deck area you’ve got a boat that pulls duty as a bow rider, express cruiser, dayboat, and much, much more. Did we mention that it’s fast? Yes, it’s fast—very fast.
Other Choices: There are few boats of this size and type to choose between, but another cross-over is the Four Winns H440. It puts more emphasis on the cabin, and less on performance.
For more information, visit Formula.
See Formula 430 SSC listings.
|Fuel capacity||500 gal.|
|Water capacity||52 gal.|