BOAT TEST: CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SPORT / H2O 19 SKI & FISH

By: KEVIN SMITH


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Chaparral’s H2O 19 Sport and H2O 19 Ski & Fish are a pair of showy bowriders that exude American charm.

BOAT TEST: CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SPORT / H2O 19 SKI & FISH
Close to perfection on competitively priced models? That’s the Chaparral H2O 19 Sport and Chaparral H2O 19 Ski & Fish.

With summer nearly in sight it's the perfect time to take a look at a couple of the latest bowriders to hit the Aussie market. You could be forgiven for thinking the bowrider is, at heart, the essence of an all-rounder - suited to family boaters interested in a bit of cruising with some watersports thrown in for good measure. Well, that's simply not the case these days, as demonstrated by new-age bowriders like Chaparral's H2O 19 Sport and H2O 19 Ski & Fish. Offerings in this category are increasingly tailored to suit particular niches, despite falling under a much broader umbrella.

These two Chaparrals sport beautifully flowing lines, luxurious interiors, classic finishes, and - most importantly - innovative layouts and designs. And to top it off, they're certainly not lacking when it comes to performance. A few hours of torture-testing these boats left me completely gobsmacked - they aren't just good, they're bloody great!

The layouts found within the US manufacturer's H2O 19 range are a real highlight in themselves. With a few simple yet inventive changes, Chaparral's designers and engineers have managed to not only produce a cracker of a bowrider, but also a nifty little multi-purpose fishing / watersports vessel, too.



CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SPORT

Let's look at the Sport version first, which could also be classed as your typical executive-style family cruising boat. While at first glance it appeared to have a fairly standard bowrider layout, when I climbed aboard for a closer inspection I was amazed by the many tasteful touches found throughout, and the sublime quality of workmanship.

Beginning at the stern, there is a wide boarding platform next to a raised sunpad, followed by triple rear seating with an insulated Esky-style cooler below the centre seat. The cockpit area is spacious, with tidy carpeted decking and a large flush-mount and self-draining storage hatch / locker that's long enough to take skis and wakeboards. At the helm there's comfortable wraparound passenger and skipper seating with a screen that offers good protection from the elements, plus a classy dash layout. Lastly, up front there's a wraparound seating set-up with plenty of stowage space for gear.

One aspect that really stands out in the Sports model is how Chaparral has managed to maintain a sense of uncluttered space throughout the boat, even though there's still plenty going on in its layout. A number of small features caught my eye: the simple hinged cover over the boarding ladder; just how well the motor was insulated and soundproofed; the aforementioned underseat cooler at the stern; the thoughtfully-located drink holders; and the generous use of bolstered padding, which keeps things comfy but also helps keep the kids injury free.

Also worthy of mention is the comfortable wraparound skipper and passenger seating, the neat dash layout and the general helm set-up. Everything in this layout works superbly well. It looks fantastic, it's impeccably neat, and it's beautifully finished from top to bottom.



CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SKI & FISH

With my fishing and waterskiing background, the layout of the 19 Ski & Fish really appealed. Although nearly identical to the sports layout, the Ski & Fish version has a few classic features that turn it into an awesome multi-purpose fishing, skiing, and stylish modelling boat - and all just by adding and changing a few small, simple things.

The prime difference is that the 19 Ski & Fish has solo seats on both sides at the rear, which can be removed and used as fishing seats by slotting them into place at the bow and stern. Then you have the centre seat in the stern, which not only serves as a cooler, but also as a plumbed livewell. There are also rodholders moulded into the gunwale, plus removable carpets, and - up front - an electric trolling motor.

So, within seconds this stylish sports / skiboat can be transformed into a neat fishing platform. Everything else is pretty much the same as the Sport model, but this is definitely my favourite of the two due to its sheer versatility.

Of course, there's a lot more packed into both of these boats' layouts - too much to cover here. Take a closer look at each for yourself and make your decision. I still reckon the Ski & Fish model is definitely on the money when it comes to all-round family boating, but hey - that's only my opinion. It does cost a few more grand, but in my books it would be money well spent.



PERFORMANCE

In terms of high-performance boats, these Chaparral bowriders will blow your mind - and your hair back, hat and sunnies off, and more. Rest assured that if you're after a spirited ride, these power-packed thoroughbreds will deliver.

Both these inboard models have identical hulls and Mercury MerCruiser 4.3L MPI 220hp engines with Alpha Legs - you won't find them wanting. I think the youthful terminology for this sort of performance is "sick", which - for anyone who wears their jeans around their waist instead of just above their knees - translates as "bloody awesome".

Holeshot? Nope, for both these boats the term "hole-blast" is more accurate - they skyrocket from a standstill to warp speed with mind-bending pace. When driving I was impressed with their excellent forward vision, too - it remains uninterrupted throughout the planing transition thanks to the fast-planing hull and tapered bow design.

Then, when you're on the go and winding up the gas, you really do feel comfortable, safe and confident behind the wheel, due to the decent seating and ergonomic helm design. Throwing a boat from WOT into a tight turn isn't really my thing, but at one point early on in this test, as the boat's capabilities were showcased to me, I wasn't given any option. I watched the speedo rapidly sweep round to full noise, before all hell broke loose and my brain struggled to compute the sheer forces being exerted upon it. However, rather than everything going pear-shaped as my gut instinct feared it would, the hull simply locked itself into the turn, banked slightly inwards, then shot back 180 degrees in the other direction - and without the feeling that I would be catapulted from my chair. I admit a
few expletives may have escaped my lips, but only due to being highly impressed with the display.

As far as I was concerned that was it for the demo - I wanted my turn! Whether smashing over the wakes, jamming it into full-lock turns, hammering the boat from side to side, whatever - I simply couldn't force an error from this boat (or from myself, for that matter).

Okay, so mega hooning sessions are no problem, but that's missing the point. More importantly, these boats are so competent I'd have no concerns about allowing a novice behind the wheel. After all, with these handling characteristics the chances of an inexperienced skipper stuffing up would be minimal.

Overall the 225hp MerCruiser is a perfect match for skiing and sport driving. One thing that surprised me was just how perky these motors are as we approached a WOT speed of close to 50kts (92.6kmh). The stability, too, was impressive, as was the dry ride, thanks in no small part to those inverted chines.



THE WRAP

These Chaparral H2O 19s offer a classic balance between high-end performance, quality workmanship and finishes, and a workable, versatile layout. Finally, perhaps the best surprise in both these bowriders is their price. The H2O 19 Sport can be yours for $44,500 while the 19 Ski & Fish goes for $46,999 - to my mind that's good value in packages of this level of quality.



PERFORMANCE

16.8kts (31.1kmh) @ 2500rpm (on the plane)

26kts (48.2kmh) @ 3000rpm

36.6kts (67.8kmh) @ 4000rpm

48kts (88.9kmh) @ 5000rpm (WOT)



On the plane...

  • Classy finish
  • Breathtaking performance and handling
  • Innovative layouts



Dragging the chain...

  • They're almost impossible to fault, but it might be nice to see a proper moulded section for the electric motor on the 19 Ski & Fish model



Specifications: CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SKI & FISH



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $46,999

Options fitted: Convenience Pack, bimini, saltwater trolling motor, air pump, snap-in carpet, Ski / Fish graphic, cockpit and bow cover, wide band blue hull, swim platform logo mat, steering wheel upgrade, wood grain dash panel, pedestal seats with flip-up bolster, Australian-made custom tandem trailer

Priced from: $44,000 (Standard BMT package)



GENERAL

Type: Bowrider ski / fish

Material: GRP

Length: 5.89m

Beam: 2.29m

Weight: 1207kg

Deadrise: 18°



CAPACITIES

People: 9

Min. HP: 130hp

Max. HP: 220hp

Fuel: 114lt



ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury MerCruiser 4.3 MPI 220hp Alpha Leg

Type: V6 sterndrive

Weight: 414kg

Displacement: 4.3lt

Gear ratio: 1.62

Propeller: 14in x 20in four-blade





Specifications: CHAPARRAL H2O 19 SPORT

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $44,500

Options fitted: Convenience Pack, air pump, bimini, snap-in carpet, cockpit and bow cover, wide band black hull, swim platform logo mat, steering wheel upgrade, wood grain dash panel, pedestal seats with flip-up bolster, Australian-made galvanised trailer

Priced from: $43,200 (Standard BMT package)



GENERAL

Type: Bowrider, family fun

Material: GRP

Length: 5.89m

Beam: 2.29m

Weight: 1152kg

Deadrise: 18°



CAPACITIES

People: 9

Max. HP: 220hp

Fuel: 114lt



ENGINE

Make/model: Mercury MerCruiser 4.3 MPI 220HP Alpha Leg

Type: Sterndrive

Weight: 1152kg

Displacement: 4.3lt

Gear ratio: 1.62

Propeller: 14in x 20in four-blade



MANUFACTURED BY

Chaparral Boats

Nashville, GA, USA

Web: www.chaparralboats.com



SUPPLIED BY

Sirocco Marine North

14/75 Waterway Dr

Coomera, Qld, 4209

Tel: (07) 5519 9653

Web: www.siroccomarinenorth.com

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat magazine #287, October 2012.

Find Chaparral boats for sale.

 


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