The Wellcraft 355, a completely fresh cruiser, represents a new dawn for Wellcraft Boats.
Wellcraft boats have been through a number of generational changes through the years, but their new 355 is nothing short of an evolutionary leap. Unlike anything the company has built in the recent past—or ever, for that matter—it signals a completely new direction for this iconic boatbuilder.
The 355 has the aggressive modern-yet-retro look of today’s Euro-boats, combining a raked-windshield pilothouse with a plumb bow, angular hullside windows, and a sheerline running unbroken to the transom then bolting down to the swim platform. Aggressive looks are one thing, but aggressive performance is another, and the 355 delivers it in spades. Carrying triple outboard engines (300-hp Mercury or Yamahas or triple 350 Mercs) speeds reaching well into the 50s are in store, and Wellcraft says max power can get you to the 60-mph mark. The razor-sharp entry stands ready to slice open the chop, while the Michael Peters-designed hull delivers close to a mile per gallon at cruise. The boat’s construction is just as modern as the look and performance, too, with vacuum infusion trimming displacement down to 11,636 pounds.
The 355 is designed to be an all-weather cruiser, which is clear the moment you step from the cockpit into the fully enclosed cabin. A dinette with an L-shaped settee sits aft to starboard across from the galley, and a pair of helm seats plus a passenger’s side seat sit forward. Surrounded by glass the visibility is 360 degrees, and when the weather’s nice the aft opening door and window plus opening side windows keep things light and airy. Note that the aft window swings up flush with the hard top overhang, so it’s not one of the forehead-banging devices you’ll find on some boats with similar designs. Both AC and diesel heating are options, too, so this boat could definitely see duty all 12 months of the year.
Speaking of year-round cruising: the forward cabin offers plenty of accommodations including a queen berth forward, a fully enclosed head compartment with separate stand-up stall shower, plus stowage compartments. A nifty feature you’ll appreciate down below is the long hullside windows flanking the berth, which will let in plenty of natural sunlight. When guests are aboard for an overnighter the upper cabin dinette converts into a double berth. Since the berths are located in separate cabins that can be closed off with a door, you get a lot more privacy between the sleeping spaces than most 36-footers can deliver.
All-weather cruising is great, but when the sun’s shining, we’ll want to enjoy the great outdoors, right? The choice spot aboard will no doubt be the forward lounger sitting atop the cabin, a triple-wide affair with high, comfy backrests and fold-down arm rests. Forward there’s another seat, and when it’s time for lunch on the hook you can add in the removable dinette table. Note also that Wellcraft designed in an extra-wide recessed sidedeck on the starboard side of the cabin as well as a side door at the helm, so the captain can pop out for easy access, and moving forward and aft is safe and secure.
The aft cockpit is one of the more customizable zones of the boat. You can have it with a teak deck or Seagrass carpet, with or without a three-person bench seat, and with or without a galley module with a sink, stowage, and drink holders. If the kids are into watersports, you can opt for the stainless-steel tow bar, and if some of your family members like to wet a line now and then, there’s also an optional fishing package with four rod holders and a cockpit module for stowing the tackle.
Savvy boaters who visit Wellcraft’s website may notice that while the 355 appears alone on the home page, it’s under the heading “Performance Cruiser Series.” Yes, “Series.” We don’t know what’s coming from Wellcraft next, but it seems a safe bet that the 355 isn’t just a new model—it’s an entirely new direction.
By Lenny Rudow
Wellcraft 355 Specifications:
Displacement: 11,636 lbs.
Max HP: 1050
Fuel Capacity: 264 gal.
Water Capacity: 42 gal.
Local dealer: Clarks Landing Yacht Sales in Annapolis and Stevensville, MD - (410) 867-9550
Contact dealer for pricing.