The 23 H2O Sport looks suave pulling up to the dock, and as the skipper, I looked talented beyond my skill — it responds well to the helm, even at slow speeds. When I pressed the throttle, the sterndrive pushed the boat forward onto plane in under 3 seconds, and it hit 30 mph in around 7 seconds. Then the top speed broke 50 mph. Even at that speed, the boat handled nicely over chop and in turns.
Part of that good handling comes from the confidence you gain from a well-designed helm station. A performance bucket seat is secure and comfortable (the first mate gets one too), and once it is adjusted for your legroom and arm-length preference, the wheel and throttle are comfortably positioned. You can brace your throttle elbow against the coaming bolster, but we wished for a little more commitment to an armrest on board. The instrument package was basic but ample, and the gauges are set in a wood-grain accent panel with the smaller gauges to the sides. At anchor or the sandbar, the bucket seat can be swiveled aft to form a conversation circle.
There’s a handy cooler under the aft bench seat, but rather than being a simple bench, this one fits into a semicircle of wraparound lounges that extends from the front passenger seat to behind the captain’s chair.
Bow seating is deep and comfortable, and the waterproof woven vinyl floor mat over the nonskid deck gives a soft touch to the toes.
A walk-through to the transom platform is concealed beneath the starboard aft seating. “Wings” that fold upward from the sun pad, either port or starboard, create a recliner with a backrest while at anchor.
In the bow and throughout, thick foam seats absorb the seas, and comfortable bolsters surround the seating for added comfort and protection. Stainless-steel grab rails are stylish and in easy reach.
Stereo speakers and cup holders were tucked in finished fiberglass coaming pods, both protected and out of the way.
We’d have to say the Chaparral 23 H2O Sport is a luxury ride and comparatively value-priced.
- There are no fewer than 13 exciting exterior color schemes available.
- It comes standard with a trailer, which can be deleted if not needed.
- Optional wakeboard tower folds electrically.
- Deploying the transom walk-through requires stowing the cushion.
- Sterndrive power requires a higher swim-platform position to clear the gear case.
Crownline bridges the 23-foot length overall with 22 1/2- and 23 1/2-foot models. They are available with a retractable tower and comparable fit, but you’d have to drop to the 225 to get in the Chaparral’s price range.
Price: $51,415 (with test power)
Available Power: Sterndrive
How We Tested
Engine: 250-hp MerCruiser
Drive/Prop: Bravo Three/ 24-inch pitch ss Gear Ratio: 2.20:1
Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Chaparral Boats - Nashville, Georgia; 229-686-7481; chaparralboats.com