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Chris-Craft Launch 20

On the Launch 20 the word “premium” applies to more than looks.

June 11, 2010
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For a gallery of the Launch 20 in action click here.

We Say: When we’re sitting in a Chris- Craft, whether it’s a 40-foot Roamer or a model much smaller, we expect everyone around to know it. What might sound haughty is just reality, even aboard this new 20-foot-2-inch sport boat. Which is why the design, five years in the making, was such a challenge.

Chris-Craft’s hallmark bow flare is elegant because of its wide gunwales and teak inlays that turn with the lines. (It’s functional too — we know of no other 20-foot bowrider that can accommodate 6-inch cleats and walkaround footing for line tending.) This characteristic is expensive to accomplish, and on this boat the wide gunwales could have cost a few inches of interior space. So the builder raised the deck a bit and changed the angle of the gunwales to ensure the cockpit breathes easily. Now add the tumblehome transom, perforated stainless steel accents and a $4,000 Imron paint job, and you have an unmistakable Chris, from any distance.

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The word “premium” here applies to more than looks. We found heavier-than-usual hatches, a 1¾-inchdiameter rail formed to the shape of the bucket seats and an in-sole locker that’s molded as part of the deck rather than cut out of it. Our test waters were choppy, but the Launch came around firm in hard turns. The boat’s bottom is built wide, and every void is filled with foam. The result is a stately attitude, which is more important to the mission of the Launch than an extra 2 mph.

Who’d Want One: Boaters with appreciation for true quality and classic looks in a model ready for water sports.

Another Choice: Among sport boats, MasterCraft’s 200V also has a heavy build. With a 5.7-liter engine and teak platform, it retails for $61,920.

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Bottom Line: $55,040

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