“In Europe, starting in Scandinavia, there is a revolution going on in fast-commuters, and this boat is at the top of the category.” A phrase caught during a rehearsal by an Australian colleague in Cannes during the Yachting Festival, who, with an unmistakable accent, and at the quiet speed of 45 knots, told his audience in a video what it was like to be at the helm of the Wellcraft 355. Sometimes broadening the horizon and stepping out of the usual point of view is helpful to better understand one’s environment as well. And it is true: from northern Europe began, a half-dozen years ago, a real revolution that is changing the look of boats entering the market today. Versatility, the multitude of uses in all-season units, is now the focus of a great many powerboat manufacturers between 8 and 15 meters.
Wellcraft was framed as the right brand, among those part of the Beneteau group, to interpret this instance present among more and more boaters worldwide. The reason is quickly stated: Wellcraft hulls are synonymous with high-speed solidity with U.S.-made offshore fishing as their natural habitat, but not only that. In Europe the approach is more focused on cruise use, that is, not strictly fishing or offshore, but that is the underlying DNA.
“When in America,” Martin Meyer, new product marketing manager for Wellcraft and Four Winns, told Boats to Motor, “at a test in Florida, trying out this hull, they told me it had true American seaworthiness, I knew we had done well. Combine that with, precisely, that European influence on line and livability, and the result, having tried it, is absolutely remarkable. Performance in this hull is central and stems from a stepless hull designed by Michael Peters. Why no steps on the hull in a segment in which they are increasingly prominent?
“No steps in this hull because they don’t serve,” Martin Meyer continues, “what we want to achieve. We have goals that with steps we would not have had in terms of glide-in speed and top speed. That’s a choice; it doesn’t mean the steps are wrong, let’s be clear. This model, however, expresses top performance like that.”
Expanding to a new market is never a trivial task. Wellcraft has an industrial giant like Beneteau on its side and a long design effort to arrive at the first Wellcraft 355. Important design names such as Pawel Denert and Camillo Garroni collaborated on this powerboat from the development point of view, in synergy with a hull guru such as American naval architect Michael Peters.
The goal? To create a boat capable of sailing in all kinds of seas, as comfortable as an owner demands from such a type of boat. It was anticipated at the Cannes 2021 boat show, now we finally see how it is thought of.
Wellcraft 355 – Blanket
From the bow we find a three-seater sundeck offset by a seat, elements that characterize this area as a relaxation area. On either side of the aft cockpit, however, are two side openings that simplify access aboard, since there are three outboards aft. The shipyard focuses strongly on the connection between the wheelhouse and the cockpit both through the window on the right and with a door on the left.
Inside we find an L-shaped sofa with table behind the wheelhouse and a galley in front with various storage spaces. The dashboard accommodates two people close together, and a sliding side door on the helm provides convenient access to the side passage and front cockpit.
Wellcraft 355 – Below Deck
Below deck, however, is a forward cabin with a double bed and private bathroom with separate shower. Up to 4 people in total can sleep on board.
Wellcraft 355 – Motorization
The standard configuration of this model includes three outboard engines, Mercury or Yamaha, capable of providing up to 1,050 outboard horsepower. In the version we tested, with 900 total horsepower given by 3 Yamaha 300 hp, the top speed was 44 knots with a cruising speed around 28 knots at which the boat consumes less than 130 liters per hour overall.
Let’s break away from the numbers and talk about feelings. A blade that cuts through water but still gives the feeling of solidity and stability. This is what I feel at the helm even as I tack at considerable speeds and pass over waves raised by the various motor yachts that crowd the sea around Cannes during the Boat Show. Feelings of maneuverability, like being in a powerful 4×4 jeep capable of pushing in the straight ahead, but also getting by in tougher conditions with grip and maneuverability. To be improved are the closures of the two aft side hatches, which on hard turns made quite a bit of water in the cockpit, probably due to a faulty sheathing.
For full details or to ask for information, visit the site of
Data Sheet of the boat: Wellcraft 355
|Length F.T. /
|Draft / Draft||0.84 m|
|Displacement / Displacement||7.]*317 t|
|Water Tank /
|Fuel Tank /
|Outboard Engine /
|3x 300 hp* tested|
|Vel. Maximum / Top Speed||44 kn|
|Vel. Cruise / Cruising Speed||28 kn|
|Bathrooms / toilets||1|
|Michael Peters / C&D / Camillo Garroni|
|CONTACTS / CONTACTS||www.wellcraft.com|
SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER!