Chris-Craft Boats: Retro-New

28 Мар 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Chris-Craft Speedster boat

Chris-Craft Boats: Retro-New

The venerable boatbuilder’s efforts to blend the grace of the traditional with the attitude and materials of the modern is working. very, very well.

Chris-Craft boats have been around for so long and are so darn popular that owners and fans have organized into the world’s oldest and largest antique and classic boat club in the world, .

The Chris-Craft Corsair 28 is a good example of the combination of retro-styling with superior craftsmanship and modern materials.

Sure, there are other boat brands that have a cult-like following, but when it comes to Chris-Craft there’s one major difference: the company is still in operation today, building brand-spanking-new boats that meld their classic looks with modern design and performance.

The Chris-Craft legend began in 1874—the same year Abraham Lincoln was elected President—and initially the company built a mix of self-propelled boats and steam-powered launches. Soon came a wooden boat powered by a two-horsepower outboard, and then the first in a long progression of “speed” boats; top-end on the first one was a whopping seven mph. Chris-Craft quickly grew into the largest builder of mahogany powerboats in the world, producing nearly 20,000 hulls a year. During World War II it built over 10,000 landing craft, and a Chris-Craft was one of the first American vessels to storm the beaches of Normandy. By 1972 the transition from wood to fiberglass was complete, and today’s models feature a mix of glass structural components with extensive wood accents and decking.

Okay, so the company has a long history—that’s neat stuff, but today’s boater is really interested in the current models: how well they’re built, and how good they look and run. After a speed bump in the company’s storied history (Chris-Craft changed hands several times and was owned by OMC in 2000, when the company filed for bankruptcy), new leadership inspired a new direction: Every model would be re-designed with a mix of retro styling and teak accents, cutting-edge hulls, and modern fiberglass construction techniques.

Take a close look at a modern Chris-Craft, and the intense attention to detail is immediately apparent. Survey the screws running down a rubrail, for example, and you’ll notice that they’ve been turned so the slots in each and every screw head are lined up. Examine the upholstery, and you’ll see that it’s double-stitched. Check out the bow lights, gauges, and windshield frames, and you’ll discover they’ve been custom-designed to match Chris-Craft’s styling.

Sure, looks may be in the eye of the beholder, but if you look at modern Chris-Crafts and don’t like the styling, there’s a good chance you’re one of those guys who thinks he looks cool in his Pontiac Aztec, considers The Donald’s hairpiece a nice touch, and travels to Vegas to take in the historic architecture.

What’s not so obvious to the eye is how well these boats are built. Hatches are resin-infused, for the best resin-to-glass ratio and a perfect finish on all sides. Stringer grids are molded, secured to the hull, and foamed in place. Gelcoat is backed by a layer of the more expensive but less permeable vinylester resin, and teak decks are solid wood—not a common veneer—which is epoxied in place.

The next-generation Chris-Crafts have deep-V bottoms and a mix of power options, including stern-drives and outboards, which offer performance that’s excellent by today’s standards. A 20’2” long Speedster can hit 58 mph when rigged with a Mercury 350 MAG; the beefy Corsair 36 rigged with a pair of Volvo Penta 8.1L stern drives hits 48; and Chris Craft’s incarnation of a fishing boat, the Catalina 29 Center Console, reaches speeds of 57 mph when powered by a pair of 250-hp Mercury Verado outboards.

If performance like this doesn’t meet your standards, they’re mighty high indeed. But considering this company’s history, it’s a fair bet they’ll keep trying to meet and exceed those standards, come what may.

For more information on the company’s history and current model line, visit Chris-Craft .

About the author:

Lenny Rudow

Profile Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including and With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards. Website Google+ Connect with Lenny Rudow on Google+

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