Chaparral may be a production-boat company, but when we walk through the boats it makes, they look all custom. This new 300 OSX we tested in Miami this past March proved no exception.
In today’s labor market with hopscotching staff, too often the good assembly team members get away, but we saw no evidence of this in the fit and finish of the 300 OSX. The shoe-box-style deck fit perfectly to the hull, and the rest of the many parts were secured in their places with even joints and firm connections. That solid construction was proven in our performance testing on the choppy, wind-stirred Biscayne Bay.
Electronic fly-by-wire steering was super smooth, making the big bowrider-cruiser crossover handle like a runabout. Magnetic feedback gave just the right amount of resistance for smooth control. In the sharpest turns, made easy by the power steering, the 300 came around like a cross between a Kentucky Derby horse and a rodeo cutting horse—nimble and quick. Of course, that was assisted by dual-outboard power and the exciting top speed (55 mph at 6,000 rpm) and acceleration it produced (8.2 seconds to 30 mph).
Testing boats in Biscayne Bay can be dicey because the shallow open waterway is easily stirred to anger by prevailing winds, and all but the most solid boats tremble on its surface. But the OSX 300 tamped down the turmoil, giving a smooth ride, even in the spacious bow lounge accessed by the wide walkway to port of the helm station. Creature comforts at speed in the first-class section make crews happy.
That lounge is nicely contoured for comfort, with grab handles (which we didn’t need that day) nearby. And seating aboard the rest of this day cruiser was equally accommodating.
The centered helm with a three-person seat behind it is unique. It’s divided: two seats in one bench with a single next to it. Armrests fold away, bolsters tilt up or down and, if you drive seated, a folding footrest on the seat base accommodates shorter riders, but a step in the helm station also accommodated the skipper and crew. We found either driving position, sitting or standing, comfortable with an unobstructed view forward. There is stowage underneath the seat module, and just when we thought we’d seen it all, our representative from Chaparral clicked a latch and swiveled the entire seating pod to parallel the starboard gunwale. Now there was wraparound seating from starboard midship across the stern and up the portside gunwale.
Swiveled back to the driving position, a door to the cabin below is to starboard. Two steps down give access to a V-berth, sink and head. There is surprising volume in this area, given the expected intrusion from the bow seating area.
Astern is a back-to-back lounge with the unique capability to convert to a sun pad by splitting the back-to-back seatbacks, moving one fore and one aft. They move electrically, and you can tilt one up to face aft or the other up to face forward.
Boarding options include a walk-through transom accessed from a spacious swim platform that offers single-level access past the motors from port to starboard. Checking the oil and fuel filters from this platform will be a cinch.
Then there is a side door to starboard that opens inward, making it easy for boaters to step aboard from a floating dock without climbing the gunwale. Hinges are polished stainless steel and as solid as submarine doors. An optional ladder can be fitted to the doorway, offering divers another way to get aboard.
Regal powers its 33 SAV with outboards and offers an optional hardtop for $358,320. The cabin below boasts more windows, but it lacks the centered helm and nifty swiveling helm seat pod found on the Chaparral.
The 300’s hardtop has an electric sunshade extending to the transom seat. A skylight is shaded, or you can slide back the shade for more light. Stereo speakers are set in the top, and for audiophiles that’s a benefit that can’t be ignored.
Access to pumps and plumbing is wide, and the battery switches are handy, along with circuit breakers. The seat-cover hinges are leveraged to hold the seats up and out of the way while boaters access gear inside.
There are many color options for the 300 OSX, which include either boot stripes or wide-band side colors. Add engine color options from Yamaha, such as white or gray, and accent the upholstery to your taste, and this top-shelf production vessel can be delivered to your dock with the benefits of reliable production techniques and the excitement of custom colors.
- Anchor windlass and custom stainless-steel anchor lend a rich look to the 300 OSX.
- Wide walkway to the bow is enclosed with a curved glass windshield so that when inclement weather hits, it makes the cockpit more comfortable.
- Sleeping quarters below are larger than expected in a bowrider.
- Pair of small portholes belowdecks offer scant natural light to the cabin, but they do enhance privacy.
Price: $294,833 (with test power)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engines: Twin 300 hp Yamaha outboards
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha SWS II 15″ 20-pitch 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 80 gal.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Chaparral Boats – Nashville, Georgia; 727-595-2956; chaparralboats.com