To win Boating Magazine’s Boat of the Year award, you not only have to build a boat that changes or breaks beyond its category, you also need to exhibit exemplary construction. Out past winners have also met and exceeded ABYC standards and shown a willingness to go the extra mile for a quality build. Here eight ways Chris-Craft builds its boats that stand out.
Chris-Craft boats looks stunning because the company paints over its gel coat for a durable, high gloss finish. It paints its hulls with a Dupont Chromobase paint system that takes five steps to complete, from laying on the first coat to sealing it with a UV-resistant polyurethane. The paint holds up extremely well over time and resists oxidation that troubles most straight gel coat finishes. In addition, Chris-Craft uses vinylester resin in its gel coat, which resists cracking and osmotic blistering far better than regular polyester gel coats.
Transom Tumblehome and Flared Bow
This is more of a style point, but you can recognize any Chris-Craft you see as a one just by taking a glimpse at its transom. Tumblehome is when the boat curves in a concave manner above the waterline. This had practical applications for wooden navy ships in past centuries, but now it gives Chris-Craft a singular look. With the exception of the plumb bow on its Carina 21, Chris-Craft also builds in bow flare throughout its fleet. The bow flare gives it pretty lines while also serving to knock down spray and keep a wide bow while employing a sharp wave-slicing forefoot.
Chris-Craft uses 316-L grade stainless steel for all of its deck hardware. This type of stainless best resists corrosion in a marine environment. Cleats are through bolted and mounted to half-inch aluminum backing plates. The plates distribute the pulling load more evenly to prevent gel coat crazing and cracking and the part eventually working loose.
Poking around under the engine hatches and in the dark corners of bilges can tell a lot about a boat’s build. Chris-Crafts electrical harnesses are always neatly bundled to ABYC specifications, run through chafe-resistant grommets and loomed in plastic tubing in key places to prevent chafe. Also, note that all wires are connected with high-quality waterproof Deutsche connectors.
Double Clamped Stainless-steel Hose Clamps
This is an ABYC standard as well, but by using stainless-steel worm gear hose clamps, Chris-Craft ensures durability and reduces the likelihood of hose clamp failure compared to companies that use pinch-on hose clamps or less durable plastic versions.
One thing we’ve noticed in our years of testing Chris-Crafts is that we never experience flexing, shuddering or rattling underfoot while taking on heavy seas. That’s because Chris-Craft takes extra steps in its build process, like bonding the stringer grid to the hull with Weld-On adhesive, rather than just tabbing it in with fiberglass, so that—structurally—the two parts behave as a single solid piece.
You’ll note that all of the hatches aboard a Chris-Craft look just as good on the underside as they do on top. That’s because Chris-Craft builds them with a resin-infusion process that injects just the right amount of resin for maximum structural integrity while also reducing weight. The process means both side of the hatch come out finished.
The Hull to Deck Joint
In another nod to building boats for rugged use, Chris-Craft through-bolts the hull to the deck, which is the best method to protect it against sheering forces. The joint is backed with a wooden backing strip for extra bite and to prevent the bolts from working loose over time.