Wellcraft 355 Offshore Test: A Review by Dans Boat Life

“This could change the way you boat!


Ladies and gentlemen, or probably gentlemen if I’m honest, who are watching this video, welcome to the Pacific Ocean. We’re on the Wellcraft 355. We are in this boat’s natural environment, and today we’re going to be putting her through our paces. We’re going to be going down swell, upswell like we are right now, downwind, and upwind just to see how this boat feels, and you are coming along for the ride. You’re watching Dan’s Boat Life, my name’s Dan Jones. Subscribe if you haven’t already. If you enjoy this sort of content, then let’s do this!

We’re now coming around the corner, straight into some waves. So, I’m coming in at 33 knots. I’ll actually back that speed off a little bit to try and match our drone shoot conditions, and we’re going into a southerly swell. We have a Westerly wind today, blowing about 18 knots, probably gusting to 22, and I’m sitting on a speed of 29 knots through the water right now. I’ve got my trim tabs down just as I came into the swell. I’m actually going to raise them just a little bit because I don’t think I need them that far down. So, we’ll just go half trim tab setting. Speed at 30 knots. My revs are 4300 on the triple rig Mercury 4.6 litre V8s, we’re running on this one. I’ve got 130 litres consumption for the triple rig. Not bad!

“This boat has a Mercury 4.6L V8 engine.”

So here we go, this feels good! And if you’re coming through the walk-through video, I made my point already, and I believe this video might solidify that point. I don’t think this boat’s going for Axopars; I think this is a whole new demographic that you’re going to love. Because it’s the middle of winter here in Sydney, I’ve deliberately left the back door open for you to get the noise levels. We can close that to decrease those noise levels. But this is what it sounds like. I have the sunroof open, I’m going through waves at 29 knots, and I have no wind on me. I’ve got the warmth of the sunshine or, if I was in a hot climate, I could have the coolness of the air conditioning. So just think about that.

If you’re coming from a Boston Whaler 370 Outrage or 380 Outrage, or twin triple rig or any big American centre console, and your season gets cut short or you just don’t go out as much because it’s cold, I think that’s where this boat is going to be super interesting for you.

So we’re just about to be entering the inshore part of this drive. We’ve been going into the swell there, just super easy, incredibly dry. 20, 29, 30 knots the whole way, ranging from 130 to 120 litres in fuel consumption. And now my revs are hovering around that 4300 to 4200 revs.

We’re about to start going into the wind chop right now. And we’ll just run with that and let the cutting bow do her work. You can feel the extra weight of this boat doing her thing when compared to your lighter weight Scandinavian designs. I’m talking about the Axopar, so it really is not the same sort of feel. We’ve got that flat running wave piercing, yes, but we do feel like we’re on a more substantial platform. The thickness of the hull is evident where I’m going through these waves. You can feel it in the way the boat responds, and you can feel it as the water impacts with the hull. So just doing that at 31 knots, and I’m gonna get up into the protected part of the water, and we’re going to open this boat up to full speed.

We’ve got the electronic steering on this one because it has the joystick. If it’s your first time driving with electronic steering, it does feel a little bit different from your traditional steering with basically what many of you are going to be used to. So what I would suggest is to do smaller steering adjustments than large ones because the response is just a tad different, and it just takes 30 seconds of getting used to. And to me, that was the solution.

“We’ve got the electronic steering on this one with joystick control.”

Still driving with about one-third trim tabs down as we go into this wind chop. I’m going to raise that just a tad, so I’ve only got a little bit of trim tab now, and I’m coming in at 33 knots. Feeling good!

So just picture yourself based in the Whitsundays, tropical Northern Australia. Turn on the air conditioning, go and have a day trip, go and have an overnight out on the islands. Or maybe you’re in Florida, and you want to do the Bahamas run, which so many of you are talking to me about in the comments. Absolutely possible! Or you’re down here in Sydney or Tasmania or some cold climate, maybe up in England, and you still want to be out on a boat through winter. That is where this 355 Wellcraft, I think, is going to be super interesting to some of you because this is what it’s doing for us. It’s super comfortable. I’ve got everything at my hands, and life’s good.

I’ll go through the actual layout of the dash in more detail on the walkthrough video, separate to this because right now we’re just going to focus on going really fast. It is windier than an hour ago when we did the drone shoot, but it is what it is.

Coming in with a little bit of wind chop, you do lose some visibility when you do hard turns to port because of this lower roof design. Look, I think it’s necessary because it’s such a sexy boat. You do want that lower roof design, but just factor that in when you’re planning your turns.

Coming in at 33 knots, I’m going to really give it some now. I’m all clear on port. Ben, we’re going to be doing a hard turn. Ben’s helping me do some work experience again today. All right, coming through 4900 revs, increasing the power to 5000 revs with 34 knots and climbing. Trim tabs fully retracted, engine trim is still down. I’ll be raising that in a second. Coming through 36 knots, 5100 revs. Now let’s give it more power, 37 knots, 5500 revs. Engine trim up, going downwind. All clear. Full throttle. 42 knots, 6000 revs. 6050 revs going downwind, raising the engine trim. 43, 44, 44 and a half, 45 knots, sustaining 45. 45.2, yeah, this is awesome! Fuel flow 269 litres. Oh, that’s brilliant! I love it! Okay, let’s go do some hard turns inshore because you’re not going to do that all day. I’ll check back with you when we get there.


Well, that was a lot of fun, guys. I hope you enjoyed that. I’ve just come back to a more quiet and serene part of the harbour to give you my wrap-up as there were quite a few kids out sailing, and I thought I’d better not disturb them, so we’ll do the right thing.

What an awesome machine, cruising speeds of between 27 knots to 37 knots, burning from 130 litres to 190 litres total at those speeds. She really does feel like she’s in her groove at that 35-knot sort of speed. She really does feel quite comfortable on all points at that speed, so I would suggest that’s the boat’s happy place.

“She’s got cruising speeds of between 27 knots to 37 knots, burning from 130 litres to 190 litres in total at those speeds.”

Let me know what you think. I genuinely think, if you are used to a big open American-style centre console and the weather, the seasons, the style of boating that you’re doing would benefit from more protection and the ability for just you and your partner to have a really, really good overnight, then I think that’s who this Wellcraft 355 has been built for specifically.

Anyway, if you like the content, guys, please subscribe, support the Patreon. I spent about 20 hours per boat putting these videos together for you, so I do appreciate your support. If you’re interested in something similar, I’m going to pop a link up on the screen right now. My name’s Dan Jones. You’ve been watching Dan’s Boat Life. Thank you, I’ll see you on the next one.

Editorial Team

Our Editorial team is made up of local expert practitioners in their respective fields, such as Brokers, Dealers, Surveyors, Transporters, Delivery Captains and Skipper Trainers.