Sail-World.com : Chris-Craft unveils 2011 model range
Chris-Craft unveils 2011 model range
'Chris-Craft’s Launch 28 proved an agile performer and has what it takes to generate broad appeal.'
When one dislikes winter as much as I do, belting across Sarasota Bay at 5500rpm aboard on of the soon-to-be-released 2011 Chris-Craft boats, in temperatures in the thirties (Celsius), has a lot going for it.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the ‘chosen few' invited along for the ‘sneak preview' of the company's latest at Sarasota, on the Gulf coast of Florida, not far from the Chris-Craft manufacturing facility.
Stephen Julius, Chairman of the Chris-Craft Corporation and Steve Heese, the company's President, together with their staff, proved admirable hosts for the launch.
The presentation of the new range and the hospitality offered throughout made this one of the most enjoyable new product launches I've attended.
Chris-Craft President Steve Heese (right) with Volvo Penta North America’s Bob Apple at the 2011 model launch. - - Bob Wonders Click Here to view large photo
Seven new models scheduled for a 2011 release were on show; they comprised the Launch 20, Launch 25, Launch 28, the Silver Bullet, Corsair 25, Corsair 28 and the Catalina 29 Sun Tender.
Chris-Craft will commence shipping the new models to dealers worldwide in September.
The Chris-Craft presentation was supported by a number of the company's supply partners, including Mercury Marine, Volvo-Penta, Garmin, boat transport specialists Peter and May and Teak Decking Systems.
Chris-Craft only uses engines from Mercury, Volvo-Penta and Yamaha for its range of boats and all leave the factory fully-rigged.
'We have found dealers want boats in virtual turn-key status,' Steve Heese explained.
'While many dealers retain mechanical personnel to handle warranty matters and general servicing, they don't want to be involved in the complete installation of engines.'
Needless to say, when a company such as the legendary Chris-Craft plans a new range of boats, it's the hulls that dominate design parameters.
After all, what's a boat without an efficient hull?
For its 2011 hulls, Chris-Craft called on the expertise of another Sarasota business and another deserving of the description ‘legendary' in the person of Michael Peters.
Peters heads Michael Peters Yacht Design, a company he established in 1981 and which has won worldwide fame for its highly efficient designs.
In case the name Michael Peters is unfamiliar, consider this; Michael Peters' offshore race boats designs have greeted the chequered flag first in more than 200 Class 1 offshore races and have won an astonishing 13 World Offshore championships.
The champion ‘Victory' and ‘Spirit of Norway' teams have all used boats designed by Michael Peters.
His company has outstanding expertise to call on, with various members of the team holding degrees in naval architecture, marine engineering and yacht design.
The 2011 Chris-Craft hulls are quite unique in many ways.
Typical deep vees in many ways, all cavities beneath their decks are filled with closed cell flotation foam, a feature which Steve Heese claims makes Chris-Craft boats 'virtually unsinkable.'
The Catalina 29 Sun Tender would be a perfect boat for Sydney Harbour-style boating. - Bob Wonders
'On the down side this is probably the most expensive method of building boat, but it delivers an extremely stiff hull and offers outstanding sound deadening,' he added.
Having the opportunity to board each vessel and take a close-up look, I can only admit to being impressed with almost every facet of each model.
Points which stood out included the standard of overall finish, the absolutely superb upholstery and the quite obvious attention to detail employed throughout.
Chairman Stephen Julius asked me to list what I did not like about the new range.
I answered as honestly as I could; 'I've seen nothing I did not like, but I feel one need spend an entire day, perhaps even an overnight stay aboard, in any attempt to discover shortcomings.'
I certainly remain convinced that Chris-Craft has unveiled some winners with the 2011 line-up.
Did I have a favourite?
Bit of a toss up, really, between the Catalina 29 Sun Tender (a brilliant rig for Sydney Harbour-style boating) and the fabulous Corsair 28 for more blue water boating.
What I really came to appreciate when discussing the company with the two Stephens (Julius and Heese) is their acknowledgement that Chris-Craft stands as a recreational boating legend, dating back in history to 1874 when an American by the name of Christopher Columbus Smith established the breed.
'We see this company as being the caretaker of a tradition of excellence dating back more than 135-years,' Steve Heese said.
'Chris-Craft has a reputation we guard jealously and our aim is that with each new model the company raises the bar and strives for new and higher standards in design and performance.'
Craftsmanship, classic elegance, total reliability and performance remain the company's aim.
'I believe our focus has always been on building boats which hold true to our cornerstone qualities of timeless beauty, agile performance, durable dependability and stylish comfort,' Steve added.
And I would be very surprised indeed if anyone can find argument with that.
For further information, visit the Chris-Craft website on www.chriscraft.com or for Australian inquiries contact Premier Marine, Rose Bay, Sydney, telephone (02) 9328-0999 or e-mail Dealer Principal Steve Hannes at steve(at)premiermarine.com.au
Chris-Craft’s Silver Bullet blasts through the spray as it shows its style. - Bob Wonders
Plush interior and concealed marien head aboard the delightful Corsair 25. - Bob Wonders
by Bob Wonders
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5:29 AM Thu 22 Jul 2010 GMT
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2010 Premier Marine News
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