Chris-Craft Launch 27: A Bowrider Fit for a Yacht

By Lenny Rudow

February 15, 2014

When it comes to modern Chris-Craft boats, you can boil down their essence to one word - beauty - which becomes obvious when you look at a First Look video of a Chris-Craft Corsair 27. You can see it on the Launch 27, too, whether on the inside when you lift an engine hatch or open a compartment, or on the outside when you view the Launch 27 sitting next to another bowrider. Practically any other bowrider; the Launch 27 simply out-classes other boats of this nature.

See what we mean, when we say the Chris-Craft Launch 27 is a beautiful boat? Yeah—we thought so.


Beauty is not, however, only skin deep in a boat. If it is, that beauty will quickly fade as the gel coat, wood, and stainless-steel wears, breaks, and tarnishes. No such worries, here. The Launch is built on a fully-finished liner that incorporates a foam-filled grid system, so all of the interior compartments—even the engineroom—are fully finished inside and out. Now flip up a deck hatch; note that they all shush open on gas-assist struts, and are fully-finished on both sides. Chris-Craft even goes the extra mile to gel coat over the hinge-fastener holes, a touch you rarely see on production-built boats of any clas.

Now go ahead and try to find the Bimini top. The boat does come with one, but unlike other 20-something bowriders with Biminis, it doesn’t just sit on the gunwale. Instead, in this case it fits into a slot molded behind the aft seats, and in the stern, underneath the engine box. This has its plusses and its minuses. On the plus side it’s hidden from view (thus maintaining the boat’s extravagantly good looks), out of the way and out of the weather. On the minus side, you’ll have to raise the engine hatch a bit every time you want to deploy or stow the top. Fortunately, raising and lowering the engine box is a zero-effort affair—just flip a switch. Surprise: you don’t hear the usual electro-whining and grinding noise of a worm gear. That’s because Chris-Craft uses a pair of hydraulic lifters that make almost no noise, as they operate.

Another way Chris-Craft keeps the Launch 27 looking great: the use of top-end fabrics for the two-tone upholstery (you get to choose the color mixes), which is thoroughly resistant to both sun and rain. And the teak work on this boat, on the swim platform, at the bow, and in the trim, is just oooooh, gorgeous. The description that comes to mind is again “out-class,” because that’s what you’ll think when you look at this platform side by side with just about any competitor. And you should expect it, considering how much goes into the Launch 27—and how much you’ll pay for it. Few 27’ bowriders break the $145,000 mark, but rigged up like our test boat with the Volvo-Penta 380-hp stern-drive (which hits a top-end of 48.9-mph and cruises at about 38-mph), this one does. Can you really put a price on art?

The devil may be in the details, but on the Launch 27, the WOW is in those details, too.


Although launches are traditionally intended to serve as tenders for large yachts, plenty of people will want to use the Launch 27 for day-trips, kicking around the bay, and even watersports. Our test boat had an unusually deep swim platform and one touch I really liked was the flush-mounted, pull-up grab handle back there. It’ll make getting into and out of the boat a lot easier, but when pushed down, doesn’t interrupt the smooth, sexy teak platform’s eye-pleasing lines.

To make day use more comfortable, Chris-Craft also builds a head into the port-side console. It’s pretty cramped, which you have to expect on a boat of this size, and when you swing the door open it does hit the driver’s side console. A rubber bumper would do wonders here, to prevent the smack of fiberglass on fiberglass. Inside, the head is once more a cut above. It has a sink—a rarity on a boat of this size—and the stereo head is mounted into the cabin-side, a smart way to keep it 100-percent protected from the elements. This part of the boat deserves a closer examination, which comes through a bit better in a visual form. So check out this short video of the passenger’s side console and amidships area of the Launch 27.


The bow is pretty much status-quo for a boat of this nature, although again, you’ll be struck by the fit and finish. The custom stainless-steel bowlight hardware is curvaceous and yes, here comes that word again, it’s even sexy. It’s also uniquely Chris-Craft. The anchor locker hatch opens aft to expose the windlass, which handles the chore of pulling the rode into the through-hull hawse. Whether you look inside or outside of the boat, you won’t find a cleaner bow and anchor rig on the water. Period.

Specifications

Length

26'8"

Beam

8'6"

Draft

1'8"

Deadrise

20 degrees

Displacement

5,105 lbs

Fuel capacity

85 gal.

Fuel capacity

9 gal.


Off the dock, the Launch 27 has oodles of pep. Ours came darn close to 50 and popped onto plane within 75 yards of the “no wake” marker. The 20 degree deadrise hull carved out sporty turns and ate through a one foot chop without throwing a hint of spray. When we pushed farther out into Sarasota Bay and seas grew into the two-foot range, the hull always came down solidly and continued to keep us dry. One more thing about running this boat: when someone else wants a turn, you won’t want to give up the captain’s chair. Literally. It’s an over-sized, stainless-steel framed, flip-down bolster affair, and it’s extremely comfortable.

Peruse the virtual pages of Boats.com, and you’ll find plenty of other Chris-Craft reviews to read. We’ve run the Catalina 26, the Catalina 30, the Carina 21, and the Corsair 27. All have their own designed purposes, but all also share one thing in common: unusually good looks. The Launch 27 upholds this trait, and then some. It is, in a word, a beauty.