A Boat to Hang Your Hat On
The Bonadeo 368 Walkaround is rough, rugged, and ready. Plenty fast too.
The 368 Walkaround is a rousing testament to Bonadeo Boatworks’ unique sense of style. The family-run operation builds all its boats by hand and will customize them nearly anyway the buyer desires. The process is no race—proprietor Larry Bonadeo estimates that his vessels require up to ten hours build-time for every one hour spent putting together most production boats—but the juice, as they say, is worth the squeeze.
There is something unapologetically masculine, even virile, about the boat that doesn’t quite translate through a camera lens. With a cresting freeboard (5 feet 4 inches at the bow) and an acutely angled forepeak, she resembles nothing less than a dagger.
The Walkaround features wide-open, cambered, workmanlike decks reminiscent of a true center console and well-crafted, if not overly abundant, features such as a 50-gallon pressurized livewell in the transom and a cutting board space that can also be optioned into a grill. The triple 300-horsepower Mercs hanging off her stern did nothing to contradict the macho image, I should add.
However this particular boat is not completely red meat and ammo clips. Her console houses a very serviceable queen-size V-berth, and the cabin is adorned with an eye-pleasing, dare I say delicate, open-grain lacewood veneer that resembles snakeskin.
But that’s where the 368’s delicacy starts and ends. The boat has a monolithic hull that completely eschews the “gluing and screwing” build processes that can be found at other yards. She’s also Kevlar-lined and carbon-reinforced from keel to sheer break—a constitution that will serve her well as a tow-behind tender. Four beefy stringers and seven transverse bulkheads provide an endoskeleton that Bonadeo made sound like Wolverine’s—the comic-book character with unbreakable bones.
I put the boat through her paces in the glassy ICW and it immediately became clear that her rugged construction was not about to impede a sporty ride. She got up on plane nearly instantly and on the pins nudged close to 53 knots as the wind blasted us in the face. Exhilarating. What’s more, hardover at a cruise speed that flirted with 43 knots, the 368 came full circle just shy of two boat lengths, and powered back out of the turn and into a straightaway with the nimble ferocity of a high-powered Jet Ski.
All of this was well and good—better than well and good actually—it was a lot of fun. But I hadn’t yet gotten a feel for how the boat would perform in heavy water, so we headed out towards the notorious St. Lucie Inlet. The 368 handled the waves with aplomb at about 22 knots, cresting even the largest swells with authority and then nestling down gently and solidly into the trough. The aggressively flared hull, with 60 degrees of deadrise in the bow and soft, rounded chines, threw off the water not in a spray as many boats do, but instead in great sheets of solid whitewater. And while it may have been impossible to stay completely dry in a boat that size in seas like that, I certainly didn’t need the foul weather gear I had clumsily pulled on at the outset. The open water portion of the test was, in truth, a tour de force, both on the part of the Atlantic Ocean, and the Bonadeo.