By: Dan Trotter

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American-made Crownline bowriders are a relatively recent arrival on the Aussie domestic market, having appeared in earnest just a few years ago. However, in that time the brand’s market share has increased dramatically — and so has its band of loyal owners.



American-made Crownline bowriders are a relatively recent arrival on the Aussie domestic market, having appeared in earnest just a few years ago. However, in that time the brand's market share has increased dramatically - and so has its band of loyal owners.

I was pretty excited to meet a Crownline 19SS for the first time as I travelled to Lake Eppalock in rural Victoria. I'd heard a lot of good things about this boat and I was looking forward to winding up the revs and having some fun.

Oddly enough, the lake was until recently a dust bowl. Barely a trickle had run down the centre of the lake bed for close to a decade and according to a motocross enthusiast mate it had become something of a dirt rider's dream. Now it was at 105 per cent capacity and covering a vast, winding network of bays.

On first impressions the 19SS looked every bit the reviews I'd heard. Its tandem-axle braked Dunbier SRW 5.7m-13TB trailer (locally made obviously) means you can tow it anywhere while its solid build, with a glossy gelcoat finish, means everything about this boat shouts "Quality!"

Indeed, its moderate-vee hull - fronted by an aggressive pointed straight line bow, with strakes and strong reverse chines running all the way forward - belies the ride this baby delivers.




The Crownline has an interesting design modification in the form of a reasonably-sized anchorwell. It stows rope, chain and a sand anchor out of the way but is still within easy reach. The modification is made in the Crownline factory but it's actually an Aussie-inspired concept made for local conditions.

At the bow are curved cushioned seats that deliver indulgent comfort, a common theme throughout the 19SS. The padding is thick and has special stitching that not only feels luxurious but - according to the manufacturer - also reduces stress in the joins so the cushions can withstand more wear.

Two stainless grabrails and drinkholders are neatly positioned among the cushions. Under the bow cushion, a carpet-lined locker complements the larger sidelockers under the hinged bow-lounge cushions.

Moving through the walkthrough, the raked windscreen is held in place by two stainless steel supports. They're quite sturdy but sitting behind the wheel I'd have to say that a little more height in the windscreen would provide more protection from air buffeting your senses.

The practical prefabricated dash has a complete range of gauges, a Sony Marine stereo and a drinkholder for both the skipper and navigator. A large glovebox on the port side doubles as an Esky-type cooler/icebox with a drain, although that seems like a less than perfect way to incorporate a cooler into the overall design. The carbon fibre dash-inlay certainly looks modern and smart but there's something about woodgrain (which can be optioned to include the dash-inlay and the steering wheel) that I just love.

Running the length of the cockpit are sidepockets that provide plenty of storage for items that don't mind a bit of spray and being exposed to the elements. However, the padded coaming that forms the pocket could be better reinforced to take the rough and tumble of family outings.

The bench seat can be pulled forward to access a modest storage area for safety equipment and other items you'd like to keep dry while a full-length hinge again demonstrates Crownline's dedication to quality.

Lifting up the sunlounge provides access to the engine and further storage. There is, however, one thing that you should keep in mind - make sure that whatever is stored back here is tidily and securely packed away so nothing gets tangled in the engine.

At the very stern is an ample boarding platform that houses a hatch with a fold-away telescopic ladder, while pop-up cleats are concealed neatly on the transom's curved corners.




The rumble of the 220hp Mercruiser 4.3lt MPi V6 was very pleasing as we cruised into the chop luffing at the stained waters of Lake Eppalock.

The 19SS seemed to prefer a bit of power to a slow idle. Lift-off was pretty good with the throttle down but with only two people onboard the bow did rise a bit initially, before it came down and started to eat the white caps whipped up by a highland bluster. The ride was confident, stable and pretty quiet, although a few hull slaps and some windswept spray took me by surprise. At slower speeds the hull was prone to "porpoising", but in all honesty these boats are optimised to be driven and ridden with at least four adults onboard.

I've been fortunate enough to drive many bowriders over the years and in that time I've become quite comfortable with just how hard you can push some of them. With some encouragement from Andy from Victoria's BL Marine (who supplied the test boat) I gave the Crownline my all, and in turn after turn it delivered impressively. The rev limiter alarm was startling when it first sounded, but I think it's actually kind of comforting once you know it's there, seeing as all you have to do is trim down to reduce the revs. At flat-chat we boogied along at a very respectable speed, with better fuel consumption compared to the opposition, thanks to the Crowline's smaller block engine.

Let's face it, how often will you really be racing around at top speed (okay, forget I said that - "as often as possible" is the likely answer if you're anything like me).

As I drove the rig back onto its Australian-made Dunbier trailer I was impressed by the design considerations integrated into the layout. I could genuinely see why the Crownline 19SS has become one of the most popular bowriders in the Australian domestic market. Its price is competitive given the quality and any owner should be proud to park one in the driveway or manoeuvre it down the local ramp.





Specifications: Crownline 19SS








Type: Family bowrider

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 5.81m

Beam: 2.33m

Deadrise: 18°

Weight (BMT): 1750kg

Max. draft: 0.69m

Min. draft (sterndrive trimmed up): 0.33m




Fuel: 102lt

People: 8

Min. HP: 190

Max. HP: 220




Make: MerCruiser

Type: MPi V6 inboard sterndrive

Drive: Alpha 1

Rated: 220hp

Displacement: 4.3lt



Crownline Boats



Originally published in TrailerBoat #268.

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