DIFFERENT STROKES. At 4,800 lbs. the Crowne is 1,200 pounds lighter than the Signature. This, in part, is due to stringers that are foam-cored and coated with 24.08 stitched mat as opposed to the Signature's glass-wrapped XL plywood stringers. Both the Crowne's and the Signature's transoms are XL ply, also coated with 24.08.
The Crowne's layup consists of alternating layers of 1.5-oz. chopped strand and 17.08, 23.15 and 27.10 bi- and tri-axial knitted fabrics. Pounds are saved using varying cloth weights of these stretch- and distortion-resistant multi-directional fabrics (the heavier weaves are used in the strakes and bottom). The Signature, for in-stance, depends on a heavier 36-oz. woven roving as the mainstay of its layup. Both are proven construction techniques. Chaparral claims its weight makes the Signature stronger and more seakindly. Chris says its multi-directional weaves provide strength without the added weight. The bottom line? Some boaters like the wave-smashing feel of a heavier boat. Others appreciate the easier towing and fuel-savings of a lighter one. It's your call.
WINDSWEPT. Sarasota Bay went from a flat calm to a stiff breeze while we were testing the Crowne, and after a couple of hours we faced 15-17 knots with a 2' to 3' chop. Breasting the chop and running downwind, the Crowne didn't slam or bow-steer. There was no cavitation in tight turns, and running broadside to the breeze there was just a hint of a lean - not surprising with its near-deep-V, 20-degree transom deadrise. A touch of the standard tabs straightened us right out. Those tabs fit fishboat-style in molded-in recesses instead of sticking out like a pair of sore toes. That way the tabs won't be snagged by swimmers or a submerged, leaning piling when - as happened to me once - you're backing into a transient slip.
CERTIFIED TEST RESULTS Chris-Craft 25 Crowne
|Advertised fuel capacity is 86 gallons. Range based on 90 percent of that figure. Performance measured with two persons aboard, full fuel, no water. Sound levels taken at helm, in dB-A.|
That kind of thinking also went into the cockpit and deck layout. The two steps that get you through the windshield are a generous 9" wide, although I would like to see a deeper nonslip than their sand-like finish. The shield's supporting struts are solid stainless instead of the bendy tubular aluminum used on earlier models. With the flush-fitting foredeck anchor locker hatch secured, there's no toe-stubbing deck projections. Under that hatch there's plenty of room for the windlass, anchor and 200' of line ($2,400). A stainless-steel gel coat-protecting anchor strike plate is a first-class move.