Chris-Craft 25: Easy Living

The Crowne 25 features fine workmanship and detail.

Chris-Craft 25

Chris-Craft 25

Chris-Craft 25

Chris-Craft 25

The older guy who’d been practicing putts on the lawn of the Hyatt in Sarasota, Florida, was dockside looking nostalgic when I poked my head out of the companionway of Chris-Craft’s new Crowne 25. From the faraway look in his eyes, I knew what was coming.

“First boat I ever had was a ’56 Chris bullnose,” he finally said. “Practically raised my family aboard that old woody.”

We chatted for a while about the days when scraping and caulking were the spring regime and dryrot was an affliction of cruisers instead of Congress.


There aren’t many long-time boaters around who don’t have a Chris in their history. My resume includes blood and sweat donated to an ancient 38′ Constellation as well as a 34′ Capitan.

HIGH POINTS: Spacious engine room and color-coded, well-loomed and protected wiring make maintenance a breeze. Practical foredeck anchor well.** **

LOW POINTS: Nonslip will work only with teardrops. Leaping over the bowrail is an agility-challenge. How do you reach the mid-cabin berth? Crawl.


Of course, the sleek lines of the modern Crowne bear no resemblance to those bygone boats. But families haven’t changed. Chris-Craft still aims for the heartland. The Crowne could well have come out of a demographer’s computer. If you’re a young couple with 2.5 kids and can afford about $300 to $400 a month – the company’s sales guide includes a payment schedule on a 20-year loan for this $34,855 pocket cruiser – you can consider yourselves targeted. Pocket cruiser? Absolutely. Everything the big boys have – except for twin engines – the Crowne has, too. Only it’s wrapped tighter. Our test boat sported the Volvo Penta 300-hp 7.4-liter EFI DP – the most horses you can get. This boat also packed the optional hot-water system with shower ($975), cockpit table ($180) and cruising package ($3,800), which includes a depthsounder, dual batteries and switches, full bowrail and windlass. The price? A reasonable $48,200. A reverse-cycle 110v air conditioning system will set you back another $4,435. You’ll have to plug in at the dock, though, since there’s no genset available.

The Crowne runs in good company. Chaparral’s Signature 25 (25’7″ LOA, 8’6″ beam, 6,000 lbs.) bases at $39,070 with its standard MerCruiser 5.7-liter Alpha One stern drive.

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| | |SPEED|FUEL USE|EFFICIENCY|OPERATION| | | | |% of| |% of|naut.|stat.|n. mi.| |sound| |rpm|knots|mph|max.|gph|max.|mpg|mpg|range|angle|level| |1000|6.1|7.0|10|3.7|11|1.64|1.89|127|1.0|68| |1500|7.8|9.0|20|5.5|16|1.42|1.64|110|3.0|69| |2000|8.7|10.0|22|8.1|24|1.07|1.23|83|6.0|73| |2500|18.9|21.7|48|8.7|25|2.17|2.49|168|4.0|76| |3000|25.7|29.6|66|12.1|35|2.13|2.45|165|2.0|80| |3500|30.8|35.4|79|16.5|48|1.86|2.15|144|2.0|84| |4000|36.5|42.0|93|29.4|86|1.24|1.43|96|1.0|81| |4500|39.1|46.9|100|34.3|100|1.14|1.31|88|1.0|98| 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.

The optional bowrail, which is part of the cruising package, I could do without. It’s at just the right height to trip you up when you jump from the boat to the dock with a bow line. With the only boarding gate starboard aft, you’ll have to hustle when docking shorthanded. The bowrail prevents you from going through the windshield, to the foredeck and onto the dock. The standard boat includes a pair of low stainless mid-foredeck grabrails, and they’ll do just fine.

HOME ALONE. Headroom at the companionway entrance is 6’1″ and 6′ in the separately molded modular head with stand-up shower. The galley area is spacious and includes dual sinks and a Corian-like mottled gel-coat counter top. The forward berth is a generous 7’2″ by 4’1″ topped with 3’1″ headroom.

The price you pay for that roominess is a back-crunching crawl space (2’2 1/2″ headroom) to get into the mid-cabin berth. Those 2.5 kids will love it. If you have to shovel adults in there, they’ll find a full 6’9″ by 6’2″ bunk.

The Crowne’s machinery space is very roomy for this size range, and a plastic-shielded spark-proof engine room light is a quality touch. More pluses? Carefully loomed wiring with corrosion-protected ends, rubber chafe guards where wiring goes through bulkheads, double-clamped hoses and a separate compartment with swing-up door for the battery switch. Yeah, that switch and the dual batteries are an option, part of that cruising package, but pass them up at your peril.

The Crowne is generations away from the days of bullnoses and planked cruisers, but the workmanship and attention to detail that made those old Chrises memorable is a family trait – one worth introducing to your family.

LOA………25’8″ ** **


Draft………3’2″ ** **

Displacement (lbs., approx.)……4800

Freeboard forward…….4’0″ ** **

Freeboard aft……….3’9″ ** **

Bridge clearance…6’5″ ** **

Fuel capacity (gal.)……..86 ** **

Water capacity (gal.)………20 ** **

Base price (w/standard power)…….$34,855 ** **

STANDARD POWER: single 215-hp Volvo Penta 5.7-liter V-8 gasoline stern drive. ** **

OPTIONAL POWER: single gasoline and diesel stern drives from OMC/Volvo Penta to 300 hp.** **

TEST BOAT POWER: single 300-hp Volvo Penta 7.4-liter gasoline stern drive with 454 cid, 4.25″ bore x 4.00″ stroke swinging an F4 stainless-steel Duoprop set through a 1.78:1 reduction.****

STANDARD EQUIPMENT: Analog engine instrumentation; two bilge pumps w/automatic float switches; AM/FM cassette stereo; tilt wheel; ss deck cleats; adjustable trim tabs; integrated swim platform w/ss ladder; pressurized water system; ice box; two-burner alcohol stove; 12v cockpit courtesy lights; electric horn; carbon monoxide monitoring unit; snap-in cabin carpet.