Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Presently headquartered at 27° 23’ N Latitude, and 82° 32’ W Longitude (really, check out the website), or for landlubbers, Sarasota, Florida, the company that is now referred to as Chris-Craft, was started on Point du Chene, in Algonac, Michigan, a small town on the St. Clair River. It was here that Christopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in 1874 at age 13.
“By 1927, Chris-Craft is recognized as world's largest builder of mahogany constructed power boats. By 1950, Chris-Craft offers 139 different recreational power boat models. In 1955, Chris-Craft manufacturers its first fiberglass boat. We’re here today because generations have continued to renew the 139-year love affair with boating on a Chris-Craft.”
For 2013, Chris-Craft offers nineteen models from twenty to thirty-six feet in three series; Corsair (closed deck and cuddies), Launch (bowriders), and Catalina (center consoles). The Lancer 20 subject of this review is a closed deck model considered part of the Corsair series which includes nine models spanning the full range from twenty to thirty-six feet.
The Lancer nameplate has long been part of Chris-Craft heritage and this current model provides classic clues everywhere you turn from the deep flare of the bow to the slight “tumblehome” of the stern, to the centre dash mounted instrument cluster, to the standard bow-mounted Chris-Craft pennant and stern-mounted flag pole, and to the custom polished stainless steel Chris-Craft logos liberally on display, plus of course, a custom Chris-Craft branded ignition key.
Even your first choice in ordering a Lancer 20 will ask whether you want a Standard Edition which includes teak accenting on the centre foredeck handrail and on the foredeck anchor locker hatch cover, or a Heritage Trim Edition which adds teak gunwale trim and teak swim platform covering boards. Whichever edition you choose, even a teak maintenance kit comes standard. To continue with the “classic” Chris-Craft theme, the molded non-skid on the engine hatch and foredeck is patterned to resemble the wooden planking effect of a bygone era fondly remembered.
The wood-free hull construction of the Lancer 20 includes seven choices of in-gel hull colours and another seven colour choices for the in-gel boot stripe. There are another nine total choices of metallic or non-metallic painted hull colours. While we’re at colour selection, choose from five upholstery colour combination options and from five Sunbrella colours for the standard bimini top and for the optional cockpit cover. No two Lancer’s on any one lake are likely to look identical.
The close to the water integrated swim platform includes a telescoping stainless steel boarding ladder mounted below the platform. A standard retracting stainless ski pylon is flush-mounted in the deck between the engine hatch and cockpit. The very plush-looking cockpit seating is obviously intended for four but could comfortable seat five with the two or three place contoured stern bench plus two fully-adjustable helm bucket seats with flip-up bolsters and integrated stainless steel handrails. The stern bench has storage beneath plus dedicated storage for the bimini top. Additional storage bins are located in the engine compartment.
The dash of the Lancer 20 is instantly reminiscent of the classic Chris-Craft look with its centre-mounted instrument cluster and a perforated metal plate dashboard. The instruments in this cluster are custom Chris-Craft dimmable Faria gauges with three upper large gauges being a tachometer, speedometer, and multi-function engine gauge, each shaded by a custom molded individual “eyebrow” plus two smaller gauges mounted below. The two smaller ones are a digital depth finder and a trim gauge. Separate from this cluster and closer to the steering wheel are an in-dash compass and the standard remote for the stereo.
Centre-mounted below this gauge cluster is a lockable under-the-foredeck full-length waterski storage compartment with retainers for two pairs of skis. A kneeboard or wakeboard can be stored along the inside port hull side. Additional storage with cargo netting is provided under the foredeck. The tilt steering wheel is solid mahogany with polished stainless steel spokes. Other notable standard equipment includes a Rockford Fosgate AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 port and 4-speakers.
Standard base 4.3L sterndrive power is available from either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta. Chris-Craft reports top speed of 51 mph and a cruising speed of 29.1 mph with Volvo’s 225 horsepower version of this engine. Up to 270 horsepower engine options are available. Other notable options include LED docking lights, stern sunpad options, and trim tabs.
The final words go to Chris-Craft. “Our Mission is to remain true to the history and spirit of the Chris-Craft brand which represents: Design Excellence, Classic Elegance, Craftsmanship and Absolute Quality, Exclusivity, Total Reliability, Exceptional Client Service, History, Heritage, Legacy, Legend and Myth. A Premium Product, Priced Accordingly.”
|Length:||20' 2"||6.15 m|
|Beam:||7' 11"||2.41 m|
|Dry weight:||2913 lbs||1321 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||34 US gals||129 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||MerCruiser or Volvo Penta Sterndrive|