When a lawn-mower dealer’s fortunes faltered, he turned to boats. It proved to be a winning formula.
Sydney’s Macarthur Marine has a new showroom and what a ‘room’. The floor is larger than a football field and has the capacity to hold more than 100 boats under the one roof.
The background behind all this expansion has more to do with grass growing than marine growth! Turns out that Macarthur Marine’s holding company is Australia’s leading Toro lawnmower dealer and as the drought hit, so did some of the mower trade, so three years ago, owner Eric Gilleland decided to expanded into boats.
After some hard work Macarthur Marine have built up an import range that includes Formula Boats, Ebbtide, Rinker, Grady-Whites and Larson.
But it doesn’t stop there. Macarthur Marine also sell locally built Stacer Boats, Western Australia Razerline, Mustang, Yamaha outboards and they are also Sydney’s only combined Yamaha/Stacer dealer.
On the map of Sydney, Camden NSW, is not close to the water, so why set up there ? Peter Squire explained that: “Macarthur Marine are in a position where we can keep a huge amount of stock on one site from tinnies right up to large powerboats and we are an equal distance from all of Sydney’s waterways all only about 50 minutes away.”
With all these new imports on offer the Modern Boating team felt like kids in a new lolly shop. We decided to test the Formula 27PC because of Formula Boats high performance reputation. Macarthur Marine is also Australia’s only Grady White dealer so I reckon one of those well-reputed fishing platforms will be on the agenda for a review soon.
Macarthur Marine have arranged to keep some of their stock on the harbour so we met up with Macarthur’s Peter Squire at Carreening Cove Boat Brokerage right on the harbour at Milsons Point. Once all the covers were off, it wasn’t long before we had the twin-engined sports cruiser powering down the harbour towards Rose Bay.
The Formula 27PC is promoted as offering cruising comfort and superior performance in an innovative design. “The swept-back look is accomplished through the curved glass windshield and streamlined exterior styling. The 27ft deep-vee hull is designed to slice through the waves, delivering the exciting performance which always defines a Formula.”
Formula Boats have a history of producing top-notch performance powerboats and the 27PC certainly offered first-rate power out of the hole, combined with some awesome performance in the turns.
With twin 320hp Volvos DuoProp petrol sterndives, this vessel wound out to close to 40 knots where the craft delivered a dramatic ride. The vessel’s deep-vee and modest beam explained why attention to the trim tabs and leg trim were essential to keep her well balanced.
The Formula we tested liked to porpoise at various points across the rev range, but we found that this was ironed out in the turns and when boat speed was changed.
Overall we found some useful cruise speeds in the high 20s around the 3000rpm-3500rpm range and this is where the vessel would be most efficient.
The timber look helm offered a nice array of instruments and offered good visibility from the twin bolster helm seat. A Garmin GPS navigational system with color chart plotter provided useful data whilst the Kenwood Hi Fi with iPod jack added a bit of jazz to the cruise.
The up-top layout was designed for fun in the sun with a wet bar, sun lounges and step through windscreen bow access. The carpeted swim platform was unique and the whole rig had extensive clears that covered everything. Some of the standout creature comforts included lots of handy drink holders and the tuck-away cockpit table that fitted alongside the helm when not required.
The Formula 27 follows the sportboat trend of having no walkways, which makes some of the boat work a bit tricky, but it also increases volume down below. Hence, a few steps down revealed a saloon with accommodation for four, in two twin berths, a walk-in head and well-positioned galley.
The cabins’ key features include timber and ultra leather finishes, deck hatches offering lots of natural light and a cherry wood galley featuring an electric cooktop, fridge, microwave and Corian bench tops. Other below deck creature comforts included a cedar-lined closet, halogen down lights and two LCD TV’s.
The vessel build is supported by a transferable five-year Formula Guard Limited Protection Plan. The craft also featured generous amounts of stainless steel, removable carpets, a radar arch and a swim platform shower.
The engine room houses twin Volvo 320hp XDP petrol freshwater-cooled engines. The XDP engines use Volvo’s Nutrasalt system to bolster engine longevity and the inclusion of the Kohler generator in the engine room certainly fills the space.
This Formula 27PC would appeal to the family man looking for a few thrills and spills. She is not going to be the most comfortable vessel underway but her top speed that will certainly get the cobwebs out of your system.
The tested vessel would cost roughly $350,000 and that price includes lots of extras such as the 4Kva generator, saloon air-conditioning, bow spotlight and several fridges.
And now there’s less lawn to mow, there’s more time to enjoy life’s little luxuries, like messing about in boats.
WORDS : ANDREW RICHARDSON