Walking over the melting summer Florida blacktop at Intracoastal Marine, the world's largest Wellcraft dealer, I easily spotted the Martinique 3700 through the rising haze. Her curved, fluid lines and pleasing profile popped out in the crowded marina. As she wrestled at her docklines, I knew she would be true to her Wellcraft roots and provide peppy performance. Her spacious, functional interior was an added carat.
We pulled away from the 100-degree heat at the dock, headed toward Indian River and thankfully began to throw a breeze across the helm. I cooled off and relaxed quickly as I pushed the throttles on our test boat, equipped with the standard twin Merc 7.4L MPI VDs. She jumped rabbit quick out of the hole and sprinted to a plane at 2600 rpm with only a touch of the trim tabs. Her motion through the slight chop was solid, and the hydraulic steering with tilt wheel proved responsive as we wove through an imaginary slalom course. The side exhausts reduced noise and kept engine fumes out of the cockpit by dispersing them into the wake. We pegged the engines to maximum rpm and hit plateau at 30.6 knots with full fuel and water tanks. Expect a comfortable cruising speed around 24.5 knots with the 7.4s. If you want to add a little more speed, Wellcraft offers several horsepower options.
The double helm seat was comfortable. All the appropriate switches, cubbies and buttons were nearby, although the molded-in chart area appeared better sized for a folded road map than a chart. The 3700's helm deck is inviting, with a curved settee with table, a sunpad filler and drink holders. A straight settee opposite on the port side also was tempting. Deck lights can be switched on next to the transom door, making a late night arrival safe.
Wellcraft moved the helm deck area as far aft as possible to create a well-appointed entertainment area featuring a wet bar, a shower and plenty of stowage. Our test boat's bimini top connected to the aft raked radar arch, providing welcome shade to the helm deck and creating a racy profile. The walk-through windshield provides convenient access from the helm deck to the forward deck, but walking around the radar arch on our test boat to reach the 71/4-inch side decks aft was tricky with no handrails. It's not a place you want to be with a throttle jockey at the helm while docking. Wellcraft has changed this on subsequent models by placing two rails on each side of the radar arch to accommodate both short and tall boaters. Cruisers will appreciate the heavy-duty rub rail with stainless-steel insert, integrated anchor locker roller and spreader lights.
Belowdecks, the first impression is of openness, a paradox in a 37-foot boat when you consider forward bulkheads still provide a private forward stateroom and head. The dual-voltage, 6.4-cubic-foot refrigerator is prominent in the galley, to port. The two-burner electric stove, polished stainless-steel sink, microwave, stowage cubicles, portlight and conveniently located 110-volt outlets for appliances create a space that rivals many larger boats of similar style.
Opposite the galley are a curved settee and a teardrop table that drops to form a double berth. Stowage and a TV/VCR flank this area, though the TV on our test boat, behind the settee, was difficult to watch from some seats. It was in a space originally intended for one of three flat-screen TV stations, but the option's cost made it less than popular. Wellcraft now offers a 13- or 15-inch set in the same position with a swivel platform for easier viewing. Forward on the port side is a head with enclosed shower stall, a portlight, a molded fiberglass sink, a VacuFlush MSD and a mirrored stowage cabinet.
The forward cabin may make you think twice before taking a room ashore. Even with the door closed, there was a sense of space. The full-size island berth, four 61/2-inch deep drawers, two cedar-lined hanging lockers and separate air-conditioning zone should please even the most steadfast landlubber. An aft settee tucked under the cockpit can be curtained and converted into a double berth, or left open to the main saloon to expand interior lounging space. Cherry wood accents flow throughout the interior with vinyl-covered bulkheads, and there's 6 feet, 3 inches of headroom down the centerline.
All in all, the 3700 is a spacious performer and an affordable option for many boating families.
Contact: Wellcraft Marine, (800) 603-BOAT; www.wellcraft.com.
It's unusual to have the chance to test a boat with the standard base engines, which some builders include on their price list simply to offer an appealing base price. Our test boat, powered by the base twin Merc 7.4L MPI VDs, hit 30 knots with full tanks. If you want to stick with gas engines and enhance performance, Wellcraft offers the 3700 with the Merc 454 Mag MPI Horizon for an additional $9,000. Volvo 7.4 GIs are also available. If you plan on doing a little more extended cruising, you may consider one of the diesel packages: twin 350 hp Caterpillar 3126TA diesels or twin Volvo KAMD 63P diesels. To my thinking, the speeds we achieved with the standard base engines were impressive. -P.F.