As far as ground tackle arrangements, however, the Crowne goes off the scale. First, the anchor stows hands-off, big-ship style on its stainless-steel roller under the pulpit. The pulpit itself is integrated with the deck, which gives you more room forward and eliminates the tongue depressor look. While the rode is inaccessible from below, a fist-sized hawsepipe allows you to reach down to untangle snarls. There's a hefty 10" cleat for tie-offs, and the whole shooting match, including the electric windlass ($2,575), is protected by a positive-latched, hinged hatch. An added treat: the molded-in nonslip, although sand-like, is just the right consistency to keep you from doing a barefoot slider. The forward-mounted spotlight ($535), though, is asking to be sucker-snatched by an errant dockline.
Engine access is also well thought out. A single electric ram brings the hatch up without the need to move deck furniture. There's plenty of room to do everything from maintenance to major surgery on the iron. The wiring and plumbing are well secured and corrosion-protected. The fuel lines are double clamped and there's even a light in the engine room.
HOME ALONE. The companionway steps are open-backed, which not only gives an illusion of spaciousness to the midcabin with its convertible double berth/lounge, but also allows its occupants to take part in the belowdecks socializing. While a curtain ensures sleeping privacy here, there's no privacy screening for the forward double berth. The rest of the layout below is par for the course: A convertible dinette/berth is in the main salon and there are separately molded Corian-like countertops in the galley. The head compartment, with its locking, solid-fitting door, is a separately-molded module. The fit and finish throughout are excellent; an easy eight on my scale.
CERTIFIED TEST RESULTS Chris-Craft 32 Crowne
|Advertised fuel capacity 200 gallons. Range based on 90 percent of that figure. Performance measured with two persons aboard, full fuel, full water. Sound levels measured at helm, in dB-A.|
We ran the Crowne on a moderately windy Florida day on Sarasota Bay. Like most of these big fellas, getting out of the hole didn't exactly equal the Space Shuttle's takeoff, although by putting the standard tabs full nose-down, we cut it to 5.6 seconds from a tabless near-eight seconds. With its standard 250-hp Volvo Penta 5.7-liter stern drives, our test boat's top end averaged 43.8 mph. You'll probably break 45 in flat water.
The Crowne sports a 21-degree transom deadrise, but it doesn't exhibit the chine-walking or crossbreeze lean that I've come to expect from near deep-V hull designs in windy and choppy conditions. Backing down, upwind or down, was smooth and underway handling was superb without any of the pre-plane mushiness endemic to high-deadrise bottoms. Another sign of good design is the Crowne's responsiveness to its tabs. While on some boats of this breed it's hard to notice much action from the tabs at speeds under 20 mph, the Crowne trimmed out with minute touches of the switch as soon as it was on plane. That helps when you have a load of side-to-side-wandering guests.