By: BoatBlurb Staff
Wellcraft has seemingly entered a new era. The Cadillac, MI boat builder was a major name in the 80's under Bob Long and Irwin Jacobs, while Don Johnson, who played the imitable Sonny Crocket in the TV megahit Miami Vice, catapulted the brand into the mainstream aboard his Wellcraft Scarab 38 KV. Her twin 440 hp inboards became the soundtrack to 80's boating glitz and glam, with a whole new generation of white blazers and Ray Bans filling up marinas.
The company has been stable and relatively consistent in the years since, but 2022 will seemingly mark a noticeable departure with respect to their design and layout. Under the ownership of Groupe Beneteau since 2014, Wellcraft has been a constant presence, but now appears poised to enter new territory and away from their current catalog of centre console fishing boats.
This week the company announced the unveiling of the all-new 355, and it is a stark departure from earlier generations of Wellcraft. With a noticeable European flair from bow to stern, stylistically it brings to mind the aesthetics of some Scandinavian builders who are currently plotting the course for the next generation of midsize cruisers.
The decision to reinvent the 355 may also be part of Beneteau's ambitious plans to release 21 new models across its portfolio in the near term.
The 355 won't be a slouch, either. She'll be offered with triple Mercury or Yamaha outboards and will bring a top speed over 50 knots or 60 mph.
The hull comes from respected designer Michael Peters Yacht Design, who has an impressive portfolio that spans Chris Craft, Bertram, Hodgson, Valhalla, Magnum, and more. The 355 is undoubtedly a performance boat for freshwater cruising or offshore adventuring.
In a company statement, Martin Meyer, Product Manager at Wellcraft stated "the Wellcraft 355’s rugged and functional design is built to withstand any weather. To go anywhere. To do anything,"
From Brand Director Nick Harvey, "there is a new breed of enthusiastic performance boaters. They want to see the world from a different perspective. Instead of gazing at the sea from shore, they shove off and never look back.”
The spacious wheelhouse with fully equipped galley provides comfort for five. A sliding side door at the helm grants convenient access to the side passage and front cockpit. Three large sunbathers, with a spacious bench in the bow, create a luxurious place for relaxing. On the either side of the aft cockpit, two large side gates enable easy boarding access. The 355 also has an en suite head and separate shower.
You can get a firsthand look at the new 355 in the video below: