Wellcraft 435 Yacht Review

Wellcraft 435 Yacht Review

Pictures are not always to be trusted. When I saw the first photos released of Wellcraft’s new flagship 435, it appeared to be but a slightly larger version of their 355, a boat that debuted the year prior. A look at the specs further enhanced my inaccurate perception. According to the tale of the tape, the newcomer is 7 feet longer and boasts a 1-foot, 8-inch beam advantage. Multiply the two and, in my head at least, I thought I had this boat pegged as mostly, just a step up in size of the same boat.

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And this is why you should never buy a boat off a social media post or an online listing alone; boaters at large know this, or I wouldn’t see so many of you on the boat show circuit. No, when it comes to evaluating a boat, you have to step aboard, climb through and feel the spaces (sight unseen has no place in matters of the heart). I had the chance to do just that when the 435 debuted at the Cannes show in September. Stepping aboard, I realized immediately that the Wellcraft siblings were not nearly as close in age, I mean, size, as I originally thought. In fact, sitting side-by-side the 435 looked substantially … the best word I can think of is beefier. And that sensation begins, as often is the case, at the transom. The newcomer sports triple, 350-horsepower configurations, which should easily allow for speeds north of 40 knots. In keeping with the brand’s high-performance DNA, a hull bottom from Michael Peters should ensure that those speeds are achieved without compromising grip or stability.

Climbing into cockpit and salon, I could immediately feel how much higher the freeboard was and how much wider she was, even with the fold-down gunwales to port and starboard in the upright position. With her high freeboard and those wings down, she would offer a true infinity style access to the water.

Similar to her sistership, the 435 sports an asymmetrical hull, meaning side deck access to port is very limited, traded instead for interior volume—a fair tradeoff in my mind. A nice touch that remedies that narrow access is a massive salon window to port that allows you to tend to the midship cleat or hang a fender while taking only a couple steps from the helm. An above-average size side door to starboard also aids in docking, especially when you’re using the standard joystick. Other standard options include a generator and upgraded air conditioning package; a Seakeeper 3 is optional too.

Wellcraft 435

Belowdecks is where further differences between the 355 and 435 come into focus. Where the 355’s ethos is more of a modern commuter, designed to get you from A to B quickly and overnight in a pinch, the 435 is a proper yacht designed by Camillo Garroni (who has made such an indelible mark on Wellcraft’s sister company Prestige), with two staterooms, two heads and the level of luxury touches that parent company Groupe Beneteau has such a strong reputation for. The midships master is full beam with a settee to port. I could easily see myself and my family spending a couple weeks aboard this boat at a time.

It’s pretty amazing to watch how the Wellcraft brand has evolved so much despite the fact that they’re on the eve of their 70th anniversary. Yup, 70…that’s like 700 in boat builder years. Countless manufacturers the world over would be at peace if they hit a milestone like that. But thanks to bold new models like the 435 that challenge what you think you knew about Wellcraft, I won’t be surprised to see them continue to grow and hit the coveted century mark.

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Wellcraft 435 Specifications:

LOA: 43’11”
Beam: 12’6”
Draft: 2’8”
Displ.: 23,100 lb.
Fuel: 340 gal.
Water: 66 gal.
Power: 2 or 3/350-hp outboards

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This article originally appeared in the March 2024 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/outboard/wellcraft-435-yacht-review

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