We Say: Here is a small boat that’s big on opulence but presented in as elegant a way as possible. The Chris-Craft Carina 21 (which you, our readers, helped name on Facebook) is a boat that combines the best of modern construction with the classic appeal of yesteryear. The vertical bow (you could also call it a plumb bow) evokes memories of old Chris-Crafts and works in concert with the tumblehome that rounds out the transom.
Our tester featured the optional Heritage Package, which means it was decked out with teak sole, deck rails and gunwale accents. The driver and passenger seats feature polished 316L stainless-steel frames that match the teak in beauty. So does the craftsmanship underneath. A peek into the engine compartment revealed well-organized wiring supported in chafeproof looming and connected with waterproof Deutsch electrical connectors. The fixtures are through-bolted and mounted on a backing plate.
With 18 degrees of deadrise at the transom, this long, narrow boat handles bay chop better than most bowriders, and it handled extremely well during hard-over turns at 30 mph. With three adult men on board, we still climbed onto plane in 4.8 seconds, hit 30 mph in 11 seconds and reached a top speed of nearly 52 mph.
Who'd Want One: Small-boat lovers with refined tastes and supercharged checkbooks.
Another Choice: The Cobalt R3 ($80,827 with a MerCruiser 350 Mag) is longer and beamier.
Bottom Line: $79,307 with test power; chriscraft.com