You can stop looking, because we've found the ultimate accessory for your iPod: a Formula 45 Yacht. With two places on board to plug and play, it's nice to see a builder taking the digital music revolution seriously; as we've found time and again, from small boats to mega-yachts, having favorite tunes while under way is a necessity. On this boat, a docking station inside one of the salon cabinets hooks up your iPod to a Bose Surround Sound audio system (and recharges it); there's also a jack at the helm to connect with a Kenwood stereo's six cockpit speakers and subwoofer.
What's more, when you buy the boat, the Kenwood system comes with a six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. For even more connectivity, you can plug your laptop computer into the salon's 37-inch widescreen LCD TV.
The 45 Yacht is one wired boat.
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Being wired isn't all that's different about the 45 Yacht. This is Formula's first offering with an enclosed bridge, and the Indiana-based company did an exceptional job. The hardtop has curved glass windows on three sides and a clear drop curtain aft. Visibility is unobstructed in all directions, with the center windshield panel opening for ventilation and as a walk-through to the foredeck. Air also comes into the bridge deck through a large, power-operated sunroof above, and through side vents that scoop in the air while under way. For the ultimate in climate control, you can install an optional air-conditioning unit that's dedicated to the bridge deck.
Although there appears to be a minimum of vertical support for the hardtop, the construction is solid. Two large pillars are behind you so as not to obstruct sight lines while driving. Under way, I didn't hear any squeaks or creaks. All controls were within easy reach of the helm seat. Our test boat had a pair of Raymarine E-120 displays on a panel directly above the steering wheel.
Controlling environmental conditions allows Formula to offer optional Ultraleather upholstery for seats in the forward cockpit. The helm seat has two separately adjustable sections, and there's a curved bench seat along the port side. The wet bar located behind the helm has a standard refrigerator. The lower cockpit, which is outside the enclosure area, has a U-shaped settee with a removable table.
The 45 Yacht measures just over 48 feet LOA, yet she handles like a boat half her size. The ride is impressive. Our test boat had a pair of 575 hp Volvo Penta D-9 DPH diesels that got her on plane in just under 16 seconds. There was a slight bow rise, but not enough to lose the horizon. I measured a top-end speed of 36.9 mph on my GPS. Formula offers a choice of two engine packages for the 45 Yacht, the other being twin 540 hp Cummins QSM 540 diesels.
Helm response was immediate — just touch the wheel and you can feel the boat start to turn. I did slalom moves that I wouldn't even think of trying with a motoryacht this size. There was a stiff breeze creating some short-period chop the day we tested, but the ride was smooth, even when we crossed a few substantial wakes.
The interior of our test boat was decorated with the optional Ralph Lauren fabric package, which contrasted richly with the cherry wood cabinetry. The downside of most express-style boats is a lack of natural light in the cabin to show off the fabrics and furnishings, but Formula overcame this by putting two large, rectangular skylights in the salon. These, coupled with oversized portlights along each side, show off the interior brilliantly. Outside, you'd never know the skylights were there. They are just forward of the windshield, and from a distance they blend almost invisibly with the deck gelcoat.
The galley, along the port side, has an L-shaped Corian countertop that holds a two-burner stove and a double-basin sink. An upright refrigerator and combination microwave/convection oven are standard. The galley flooring is teak and holly. Under one end of the countertop, there's a lighted showcase with a wine rack and storage for the set of tempered stemware and tumblers that comes with the boat. The U-shaped settee to starboard has an inlaid solid cherry dining table. The seating converts to a sleeping berth if needed.
The 45 Yacht has two staterooms. The master is forward and has an en suite split head. The queen berth comes with a custom bedspread, shams and linens. There are two hanging lockers, four drawers and an under-bed storage compartment. The 15-inch LCD TV/DVD combo here is standard, as is one just like it in the aft stateroom, where you'll find twin berths that can be converted into a queen with a filler cushion. The toilet and the shower are in an enclosed compartment. A vanity sink with a Corian countertop is on the port side of the suite.
There's another thing worth mentioning about connectivity and TVs. Formula offers wireless LCD TV. This optional accessory interfaces with the DVD player in the salon, so you can take it anywhere on board and enjoy your favorite movie or TV show on a bright, sunlight-viewable screen.
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