Viewing the new Chris-Craft Launch 22 as it sat tied off at a dockside restaurant, I thought the sleek, stylish bowrider lacked just one thing: a bumper sticker that read “My other boat is a megayacht.”
With the optional midnight blue hull paint ($5,081), red boot stripe and teak Heritage trim package, it looks like a modern classic, and, whether on tender duty or serving as your primary boat, its build backs up its looks.
I noticed the construction quality immediately upon opening the engine hatch. The compartment has a clean gelcoat finish, and all the basic service points are easily accessed. All the appropriate hoses are double-clamped with stainless-steel hose clamps, compared with the crimp-on clamps found on some more entry-level runabouts. But the wiring, more than anything, caught my attention. Chris-Craft makes its harnesses in-house, and every inch of it runs through corrugated plastic tubing. Every component that draws juice is attached to the electrical system by high-quality waterproof Deutsch connectors.
Other construction details: All fixtures are through-bolted through half-inch aluminum backing plates, and the rub rail is secured at the hull-to-deck joint with a wooden backing strip. What you can’t see? The stringer grid is bonded to the hull with a full layer of Weld-On adhesive, also used to bond the grid to the deck. All voids are filled with foam.
The build quality translated well during our test — the 22 felt secure in a confused bay chop, acting like a boat with more feet along the centerline. It notably lacked any flexing in the sole, creaks, rattles, shudders, pings or anything else suggestive of an inferior build. I did note, however, an unnaturally high bow rise while climbing onto plane, which temporarily restricted my vision until it settled.
As a passenger, I liked the redesigned cockpit seating. Chris-Craft eschewed a wraparound L-lounge along the transom in favor of a straight full-beam bench, which frees up cockpit space and has a more traditional, balanced look. Gone too is the starboard transom walk-through. Instead, there’s a full sun pad, with a lift-out centerline cushion for entry from the swim platform.
Comparable model: Formula 240 Bowrider Sport