REVIEW: CHAPARRAL SIGNATURE 310

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE BATHROOM CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE BATHROOM
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE DECK CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE DECK
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE FRONT QUARTER CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE FRONT QUARTER
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE INTERIOR CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE INTERIOR
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE PORT CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE PORT
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE REAR CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE REAR
CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE SINK CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE SINK

The Chaparral 310 Signature is either a big-little boat or a small cruiser. Whichever way you look at it, this sporty conveyance will suit a wide range of activities for families looking for something extra.

The 310 has an overall length of 9.45m and a 3.05m beam, taking it out of the trailerable category but still small enough to be handled by entry-level boaties with a waterfront property or access to a marina or mooring.

 

CHAPARRAL IN AUSTRALIA

CHAPARRAL 310

In Australia, Chaparral isn’t among the mainstream brands, being more of a boutique name with a reputation for higher build-quality and innovative design. Much better known in its home country, Chaparral claims to be the world’s largest independent builder of sterndrive powerboats, with a list of industry awards spanning its 50-year history and a production run in that time of more than 300,000 boats.

Chaparral’s vision for the 310 was a sportscruiser that made maximum use of available space without compromising ride and handling and my initial inspection revealed lots of room in a hull that carried its beam well forward.

 

CHAPARRAL 310

CHAPARRAL 310 TURNING

The Chaparral 310 is a product of the company’s Wide Tech hull, used in its cruiser range of boats between 21 and 42 feet. The boat has a sharply raked bow, but with additional mouldings above the waterline the pickle-fork design at deck height makes the pointy bit wider, creating more usable space in the cabin. It’s only at some angles that this unusual bow shape is obvious and the silhouette of the boat offers a contemporary styling that is pleasing and well balanced.

Other Chaparral features are an Extended V-Plane Hull that in the 310 provides half a metre of surface area either side of the prop to assist with getting the boat on the plane more efficiently.

Below decks is a cabin that acts as a roomy entertainer when the weather is bleak as well as offering accommodation for two couples. Upstairs the seating converts for relaxing at rest or for cruising in style. The Signature series includes standard features like the hardtop, a wetbar, convertible seating and swimplatform that are often options on other brands.

 

SPORTSCRUISER

CHAPARRAL 310 SPORTSCRUISER

This style of midrange sportscruiser is generally considered a great dayboat and entertainer but the owners of this 310 saw potential for the boat as a coastal cruiser and embarked on an extended voyage over several months, hopping from port-to-port from Brisbane to the Whitsundays
and back.

The full-width boarding platform is 0.75m wide and has a removable stainless steel safety rail in the centre, leaving clear sections each side. A recessed swimladder is built into the starboard platform floor and there is a storage locker and rear-facing seat on the transom that is a pleasant place to relax. This seat converts to a sunpad over the enginebox at the flick of a switch and lifts to reveal a monster storage locker for water toys, fenders and lines.

 

COCKPIT

CHAPARRAL 310 COCKPIT

A small step up to the cockpit deck is where I found front and rear-facing lounges to starboard forming a roomy space that converts to a dinette with the addition of a table that fixes to the sidedeck. More storage is found under each lounge and there is a step to the non-slip gunwale for boarding from the side.

Many sportscruisers have a lengthways bench along the portside which can be an awkward seating position for crew underway. So I do like the layout of the 310 which has a wetbar and servery here and a twin seat alongside the helm. This allows easy passage around the boat as well as maximising forward-facing seating for passengers. Granite-look benchtops run the length of the servery, with openings for a sink and rubbish bin and good storage space and a 23lt carry-on icebox below.

 

CABIN

CHAPARRAL 310 CABIN INTERIOR

Three steps lead down to the cabin from the cockpit through a sliding door. The wide, timber steps blend with the teak floor and dark cabinets and complement the rich cream leather upholstery for a quality, classic feel below.

It’s in the cabin that the benefit of the Wide Tech hull is most obvious; it’s a great feeling of space, especially for a 31-footer. Up to eight people could cosy around the deep-gloss mahogany dining table on the lounge that meanders around the cabin aft of the bed.

To port is a minimalist galley with granite benchtop, sink with stainless steel mixer, 240V cooktop, small microwave and a 12/240V Isotherm fridge. Appliances can run from shorepower or two house batteries connected to an inverter. Opening ports over the galley and to starboard, as well as a hatch in the roof, give good airflow, while the generous 1.9m of head height adds to the roomy feel of the cabin.

 

ENGINE

CHAPARRAL 310 MERCRUISER ENGINE

Power for the Chaparral is from a pair of 260hp 5lt MerCruiser V8 engines attached to Bravo 3 legs driving duoprops. The engine cover lifts on a worm-drive rather than hydraulics, so it can be raised manually if necessary and I found lots of room in the engine bay and a set of stairs to assist inspection.

Settling into the helm I noticed the unusual square Chaparral gauges mated to the Mercury SmartCraft system and set into a grey non-reflective dash panel. Two gauges sit either side of a 12in Garmin navigation screen, with a pair of four-in-one readouts for engine condition and trim, a two-in-one for revs and a single speedo. Switches conveniently located on the dash include Lenco trim tabs, anchor winch, forward and aft bilge pumps, fire-suppression system and a remote for the Clarion stereo.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

CHAPARRAL 310 ON A SHARP TURN

Full throttle acceleration got the boat moving sedately at first but once over 2700rpm it started to rise onto the plane and boogied to a wide open throttle of 5000rpm and 35kts. By this stage it was up high on the running plank and felt light and nimble enough to go for a bit of trim from the tabs.

Cruising at midrange of 3500rpm delivered 23kts and a fuel burn from both Mercurys of 72lt/h. With 447lt onboard, that would deliver a cruising range of 128nm with 10 per cent of fuel in reserve.

The 310 has something of a Jekyll and Hyde personality in the handling department. Driven sedately in true cruiser style the boat behaves impeccably, turning smoothly and without undue lean into turns. Pretend it’s a 5.5m speedboat and it still behaves well but leans so far into turns that the wide bow starts to push water and occupants need to hold on tight. Even under this sort of treatment the boat turned without wallowing and the twin duoprops continued to bite without any cavitation.

 

THE VERDICT

CHAPARRAL 310 STERN VIEW

The Chaparral 310 Signature is a versatile sportscruiser that a couple or a family can really enjoy. And as the owners of this particular model have shown, it is capable of coastal cruising if the whim takes you.

 

HIGHS

  • High-quality finish and contemporary design
  • Good, predictable & sporty handling
  • Roomy for its size

 

LOWS

  • Air-conditioning is a good option

 

CHAPARRAL 310 SIGNATURE SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$280,000

               

OPTIONS FITTED

Upgraded engines, sunpad, spotlight, VHF, anchor winch, Lexan clears, and more

 

PRICED FROM

$250,000

 

SEA TRIALS

Twin 260hp MerCruiser petrol V8 engines 

RPM

SPEED

FUEL BURN

1000

4.5kts

9.8 lt/h

2000

7.4kts

23.4 lt/h

2500

9.5kts

49 lt/h

2900 (on the plane)

14.5kts

53 lt/h

3000

16kts

60 lt/h

3500

23kts

72 lt/h

4000

28kts

95 lt/h

4500

31kts

121 lt/h

5000 (WOT)

35kts

154 lt/h

*Sea-trial data supplied by the author. Fuel burn is combined for both engines.

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass hull, Kevlar reinforced keel                              

TYPE Monohull                 

LENGTH 9.45m 

BEAM 3.05m     

WEIGHT 4808kg               

DEADRISE 19°

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY)10

REC. MAX HP 600

FUEL 447lt

WATER 151lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x MerCruiser 5L MPI

TYPE Fuel injected petrol V8      

RATED HP 260 (each)

WEIGHT 433kg (each)

DISPLACEMENT 5lt (each)

 

SUPPLIED BY

Sirocco Marine North,

14/75 waterway Drive,

Coomera, QLD, 4209

Phone: (07) 5519 9653

Email: dylan@siroccomarinenorth.com

Web: siroccomarinenorth.com or chaparralaustralia.com.au

 

LAYOUT

Chaparral Signature 310 deck

Chaparral Signature 310 main deck

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #449, February / March 2014. Why not subscribe today.

Find Chaparral boats for sale.

 


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