I found the new Chris-Craft Launch 28 GT a sportier, more versatile boat than its Launch series fleet mates.
Hull No. 1 was sterndrive-powered by a Volva Penta 380 CE engine, sporting an electrically retractable hardtop that folds down to the windshield — a new feature. I tested Hull No. 2, a topless version powered by a 350 hp Yamaha outboard. This boat planed in seconds, with no bow rise, and cruised comfortably at 27 mph.
Both models boast varnished mahogany gleaming from the steering wheel, helm and gunwales, contrasting the deep-blue metallic paint. Teak accents on the bow, footrests and swim platform complement snap-in woven sea-grass mats underfoot (a teak sole is optional). The leather-trimmed steering wheel accents a neat dash with a Chris-Craft branded gauge, push-button controls and a 12-inch Garmin navigation screen with CZone digital switching. The perforated stainless-steel trim highlights air vents, controls, the windlass/anchor latch and cleats, adding lots of shine and sparkle.
The buttery almond upholstery — a cushioned and coated vinyl — sports a new “wave” stitching, departing from the diamond pattern. Rounded seats and sun lounges in the open bow and aft deck add softness to the sleek traditional hull. The aft sun pad is a special feature; its backrest slides forward to lengthen the lounge, or back to create an aft forward-facing bench. Helm seats boast bolsters.
The robust dive door lifts and swings inboard, while the teak floor insert opens to reveal the swim ladder, with two others on the bow and swim platform, making water access three-way easy. Rods and skis can be stowed in-sole, while fenders or scuba tanks are stored in deep compartments to port of the aft sun lounge. More hinged stowage compartments are tucked behind bow lounges. Higher freeboard adds safety and enhances the flared bow’s dry ride.
A portable potty under the port cockpit is convenient, and a drawer refrigerator is behind the port cockpit seat. An additional refrigerator, sink and grill can replace the starboard corner seating behind the captain’s seat. Everything aboard screams luxury.
- Italian-designed Chris-Craft blends luxury materials for functional style.
- Higher freeboard accommodates walk-around room, a dive door, beach anchoring and watersports.
- Sliding aft sun-pad backrest adds seating and lounging versatility.
- Woven sea-grass deck lining looks green, adding barefoot comfort, but must be unsnapped and rolled to access the in-sole ski and rod stowage. Where to stow those water toys?
- Flip-up portable potty accommodates Mom, but she may not appreciate the lack of space and comfort.
The Cobalt 25SC (about $114,000 with a Mercury Verado 350) delivers similar features (the same 8-foot-6-inch beam and seating for 13). If you want to turn heads, check out the Riva Isleo 27 — for about $300,000. Capeesh?
Price (base): $184,990 (sterndrive); $189,950 (outboard)
Available Power: Sterndrive or Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F350 Prop: 14.5″ x 19″ 3-blade stainless steel Gear Ratio: 1.73:1 Fuel Load: 40 gal. Water Load: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 1,050 lb.
Chris-Craft – Sarasota, Florida; 941-351-4900; chriscraft.com