Chris-Craft’s retro runabout

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Chris-Craft pulled the cover off its new 21 Capri this summer — a throwback to the original, with a tumblehome transom and bow with a stainless steel covering.

“With this boat we are connecting with the origins of the company,” says Nick Karpuck, marketing coordinator for Chris-Craft, referring to the 21 Capris of the 1950s and ’60s.

With its standard single 270-hp Volvo Penta sterndrive (a 5-liter engine with an SX drive), the boat tops out in the mid 50-mph range and cruises at 30 mph, Karpuck says. I drove the 21 Carina — virtually the same boat but with an open bow — and it excelled in its handling, acceleration and tracking. Throw the wheel in any direction, and the boat responds precisely. The driver can take the helm seated in the bucket seat, on its flip-up bolster or standing.

From the steering wheel to the gauges, the helm layout is pure retro. I particularly like the mahogany wheel. A wood-trimmed stainless rail surrounds the perimeter of the aft sunpad that covers the engine hatch, adding to the throwback appeal while increasing safety.

Chris-Craft installed its top-shelf hardware with great attention to detail — for example, a flush-mounted swim ladder stainless grab rail. All lockers and compartments are gelcoat-finished. The engine cover opens wide, and there’s plenty of room around the engine for accessing filters, fills and fluid-level sticks.

The 21 Carina debuted earlier this year, and the 21 Capri will make its grand entrance at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Oct. 31-Nov. 4. The 21 Capri, which measures 21 feet, 2 inches overall with a 7-foot, 11-inch beam, is $67,296 with standard power. Chris-Craft, Sarasota, Fla., (941) 351-4900. www.chriscraft.com

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October 2013 issue