Wellcraft 355

Wellcraft, acquired by the Beneteau Group in 2014, designs vessels that push the limits to allow boaters to go farther and discover new territories. The brand-new Wellcraft 355 combines speed, agility, and endurance with creature comforts and luxurious amenities to quickly get you from point A to point B. Southern Boating was invited on board the first hull of this adrenaline-filled model, which recently made her red-carpet debut at a private waterfront estate in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

“The Wellcraft 355 is a Scandinavian-style commuter boat built for adventure,” says Nick Harvey, brand director. “Buyers will know exactly what they get with this boat. Wellcraft is a brand that is built to last.”

What he means is that there are ways to customize the boat, but as is, the boat—and the brand—speaks for itself.

“The Wellcraft 355 is built to withstand any weather,” said Martin Meyer, product manager and our captain on this sea trial. Part of this is thanks to the dual-reinforced hull by world-renowned Michael Peters Yacht Design that offers stability and control through the roughest conditions. The other part is due to the enclosed wheelhouse that provides shelter from inclement weather or air conditioning on those hot summer days. “On the other hand, you could opt for heat in this space,” added Meyer, about those cruising north or to keep warm on a chilly night.

The modern design of the one-level wheelhouse includes three large helm seats with backrests in the cockpit—one to port and two to starboard facing the dual 16-inch Garmin MFDs and state-of-the-art controls on the dash. Between them, steps lead down to the forward cabin that features a full-size berth and ensuite head with separate shower. Large hull windows let in natural light. When not in use, a door can close off the cabin area, making for a full-beam dash.

Aft of the helm, guests can sit comfortably on the L-shaped settee that surrounds a small dinette. Drop the dinette, and the settee converts into another berth that sleeps two. Opposite is a well-equipped galley. A sliding door and hinged window open to the aft cockpit to create a seamless indoor/outdoor space. Two boarding gates on either side of the platform allow easy access.

A starboard-side walkway leads to the bow where sunbathers will rejoice. Huge triple forward-facing sunpads with armrests and an aft-facing bench offer plenty of space to sit back and feel the ocean breeze while listening to tunes through the high-quality JL Audio speakers placed conveniently throughout the boat.

The Wellcraft 355 can power up with triple Mercury or Yamaha outboards up to 1,050-hp to reach a top speed of more than 50 knots. Meyer proved it on our sea trial. “Do you feel that?” he asked. Indeed, I did. I was bouncing like a baby on grandpa’s knee. It was a thrill ride, but in a good way—like that feeling you get afterward when you say, “Can we do it again?”

Take the wheel and push yourself to the limit to see how far you’ll go. wellcraft.com

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