Chaparral’s new SSi 23 OB steps up the heat in the race to capture new boaters, and it’s offered in both outboard and sterndrive versions.
Outboards open the cockpit for spacious wraparound seating; thanks to this Chaparral design, it still offers a convenient swim platform ideal for slipping your feet onto a ’board or flopping into a tube. Tow points for tubes are on the transom, but the electric wakeboard tower is ideal for skiers and wake riders.
Our tester was equipped with optional SeaDek snap-in floor mats, though the transom mats are fixed in place. Beneath the mat is a nonskid deck.
Bow seating is roomy with coaming bolsters plus tall, reclining seatbacks on the console bulkheads. A cocktail table is optional, as is a center cushion to convert the bow seating into a sun pad.
For 2020, we are seeing more ubiquitous GPS displays, most notably, Garmin GPSMap series. On our tester, it was connected to the Yamaha outboard serving as instrumentation in addition to analog gauges on either side. Clarion’s head unit is in a recessed coaming pocket, so it’s not brushed by passengers, yet it’s quickly accessible for changing tunes. We recommend the optional remote on the transom. The captain gets a bucket seat with bolster, a tilt wheel and a throttle armrest upholstered into the coaming.
Dry storage abounds, most notably under the aft sun pad where once a sterndrive engine block would reside.
Outboards provide that storage advantage plus maintenance advantages, such as easy flushing after saltwater use, and the ability to fully trim the motor out of the water. While maximum horsepower is 250, you’d have to go to a heavier V-6 to get it. We were content with the in-line four-cylinder 200 horsepower. It gave a perfect balance of torque for pulling skiers, top speed and fuel economy.
There is a custom trailer for the 23 SSi, which makes it easily towable behind midsize SUVs and some mini vans. That’s another big advantage offered by the lighter outboard, and it provides a savings on the highway—you can budget for just the boat, instead of factoring in a truck too.
⋅Electric-lifted tower lowers for bridges and storage, reducing clearance by 2 feet.