Chris-Craft's Carina 21 Blends Modern Construction with Classic Styling

By Craig Ritchie

March 29, 2016

For more than 140 years Chris-Craft has been known for building high quality powerboats that combine elegant styling, luxurious appointments and exhilarating performance. They quickly became the choice of wealthy and influential buyers, from industrialists like Henry Ford and William Randolph Hearst, to celebrities like Dean Martin, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

The retro “canoe” bow on Chris-Craft’s Carina 21 not only offers a visual tip-of-the-hat to the classic Chris-Crafts of the early 20th Century, but allows more seating room in the bow.

That aristocratic pedigree lives on today in Chris-Craft’s beautiful Carina 21 – a thoroughly modern runabout that celebrates the distinguished styling of its classic mahogany ancestors.

Stretching a hair over 21 feet long and with a beam just under 8 feet, the Carina 21 rides on a contemporary deep-V hull that sweeps elegantly back from its retro-styled “canoe” bow with a near-vertical stem, complete with stainless steel strike plate. Apart from offering a visual tip-of-the-hat to the classic Chris-Crafts of the early 20th Century, this design allows the full beam to extend much farther forward, cleverly providing far more seating room in the bow than one might expect to find in a boat of this size. The full wrap-around bow seat conceals generous storage in the seat bases for larger or bulkier items, while a stainless steel trumpet horn mounted to starboard is absolutely in keeping with the Carina’s refined style.

Upholstery work on the Carina 21 is top-notch, reflecting the Carina’s quality construction and Chris-Craft’s legendary attention to detail.

In the main cockpit we find twin bucket seats with flip-up bolsters for the driver and companion, plus a full-width bench seat with storage beneath across the stern. Chris-Craft’s optional Heritage Trim Edition, with real teak accents in the bow, cockpit step, footrests, engine hatch walk-over and swim platform, gives the Carina a truly unique look and sets is clearly apart from any other boat at the dock.

A large in-floor storage locker accommodates large items like skis, wakeboards and coolers.

Both the passenger and helm console provide ample protection from the wind and plenty of secure storage. Between them, a pair of large in-floor storage lockers with lids supported on gas struts accommodate large items like skis, wakeboards and coolers.

The helm blends classic styling with contemporary convenience, making the Carina 21 a true joy to drive.

The helm is neatly laid out with classic white-on-black, Chris-Craft branded gauges positioned right up top where they’re easily seen. An LCD depth gauge, a 12-volt accessory outlet, and a Rockford Fosgate, AM/FM/CD stereo with USB and auxiliary input remind us we’re in a 2016 model-year Chris-Craft, and not a classic from the 1920s. With four speakers and a concealed subwoofer, the stereo offers incredible sound. Four stainless steel beverage holders in the cockpit ensure a cold drink is always within easy reach.

A large sunpad over the engine hatch provides the ideal place to stretch out after a swim.

The aft seat neatly conceals a Bimini top, while the engine cover is capped with three soft cushions to create an expansive sun pad, with a wrap-around stainless steel grab rail for extra security. Remove the centre cushion to reveal the teak walk-through to the rear swim platform, as well as the pop-up ski tow pylon. The swim platform is generously proportioned, with a retractable three-step stainless steel boarding ladder and grab handle to starboard.

Both the passenger and helm console provide ample protection from the wind and plenty of secure storage.

A range of engine choices from MerCruiser and Volvo Penta allows owners to order the Carina 21 exactly as they wish. Our review boat was equipped with a 300 horsepower MerCruiser 350 Magnum, with digital throttle and shift. With two adults aboard in relatively calm water, the boat rises onto plane effortlessly in four seconds flat. Hold the beautifully finished mahogany throttle down and the speedometer quickly finds its way into the mid-50 mph range. Pull the throttle back and it cruises beautifully at around 30 mph and 3,000 rpm.

With its retro styling that recalls Chris-Craft’s classic mahogany racers and modern amenities, Chris-Craft’s Carina 21 looks great and drives beautifully.

Chris-Craft has always built a great boat. But with its retro styling that recalls the classic mahogany Chris-Crafts of days gone by, the Carina 21 stands alone as a delightful bowrider that looks great, drives great, and offers a level of class and sophistication that’s right off the chart.

Chris-Craft Carina 21

Length: 21’2”

Beam: 7’11”

Weight: 2,913 lbs.

Passenger capacity: 7

Fuel capacity: 34 gals.

Draft, drives up/down: 17”/34”