Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
“What started in 1965 with a simple but extremely high quality 15’ tri hull has grown to become one of the most powerful names in the boating industry worldwide.” So it is that in 2015, Chaparral Boats, headquartered in Nashville, Georgia is celebrating its golden anniversary of fifty years of boat building.
To help celebrate this milestone, Chaparral is introducing an entirely new series of three jet powered sporty bowriders in 20’3”, 22’3”, and 24’3” aptly named the Vortex 203 VR, 223 VR, and 243 VR. Each of these three come with packaged upgrades to become separate models – the Vortex 203 VRX, Vortex 223 VRX, and Vortex 243 VRX. Thus a total of six distinct models in the Vortex series. Twin Rotax® jet power comes with the two larger boats while the Vortex 203 VR and VRX have single engines.
To round out Chaparral’s offerings for 2015, a total of thirty-two models from eighteen to over thirty-three feet include the H2O, SSI, and SSX series of sport boats, Sunesta sportdecks, Signature cruisers, plus the new SunCoast 250 with “deckboat-style” layout and with outboard power.
Perhaps your first and most difficult choice of all when considering the Vortex 203 VRX will be to select from one of six exciting and vibrant custom triple coloured hull gelcoat and graphics schemes in Aqua, Biscayne Blue, Fire Red, Lime, Stealth Gray, or Yellow with colour coordinated interior vinyl accenting and canvas material. Once you have done this, there are relatively few option choices since the standard equipment list is extensive with the VRX.
Up front, you’ll find full-surround traditional bowrider lounging seating with storage below, low profile stainless steel safety grabrails on both sides, recessed cupholders and speakers, and a forward dedicated, molded-in anchor locker with anchor retainer. A bow filler cushion with dedicated storage is standard.
Cockpit seating is U-shaped with storage below and includes a unique Oasis port lounge passenger seat with multi-position backrest which, when fully flipped forward and horizontal, becomes a full stretch-out rear-facing lounge using the padded front of the large passenger helm glove/storage box as a backrest. A standard removable 25-quart cooler has dedicated storage beneath this portside lounge seat. Snap-in cockpit carpet is standard.
A transom centre walk-thru leads to a generously large, molded, integrated, and curved swim platform with standard padded surface for better grip when wet and complete with a starboard side recessed and covered stainless steel telescoping boarding ladder. A large centred stainless steel grab rail on the aft face of the swim platform not only provides protection for the platform when docking but is also oh so handy for watersports enthusiasts when “hanging out” back there. Two rear facing transom jump seats with storage below again aid the watersports enthusiasts when putting on their gear or simply for added enjoyment for sitting while at anchor.
The driver of the Vortex 203 VRX is treated not only to a custom helm bucket seat with slide, swivel, and flip-up bolster but also a custom molded fiberglass dash with hand stitched and wrapped upholstery and a black, tilting steering wheel. Digital chrome bezel instrumentation is standard as is a digital depth gauge and hour meter. Molded footrests are standard for both driver and passenger. An in-floor storage locker suitable for watersports accessories is located between the driver and passenger seats. A Sirius Satellite ready AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth capabilities plus MP3 and USB ports and a dash remote is also standard equipment.
Coupled with the single supercharged 1.5 litre Rotax® 4-TEC 250 ECT jet propulsion of the Vortex 203 VRX and the fact that the hull has Kevlar reinforcement, perhaps the most exciting item of standard equipment is the “Raptor-Coated” folding arch tower in your choice of black or white and complete with Go Pro mount, ski mirror, and colour-coordinated Sunbrella top. A black powder coated trailer that features 15" tires, a folding tongue jack and submersible LED lights is also standard.
Notable optional equipment includes a premium sound system upgrade, bow walk-thru door, side mount cockpit table, premium Beach Weave cockpit carpet, air pump, automatic fire extinguishing system, canvas covers, and arch tower board racks. The most notable and perhaps most desirable of all optional equipment is the Medallion 6.5 inch colour touchscreen display centred in the dash and incorporates all of the normal instrumentation plus GPS navigation, cruise, ski, docking, and ECO modes, applications, trip, and video displays, plus audio control and more.
Chaparral calls its new Vortex series a game changer and this Vortex 203 VRX certainly exemplifies that description.
|Length:||20' 3"||6.17 m|
|Beam:||8' 0"||2.44 m|
|Dry weight:||2,600 lbs||1,179 kg|
|Draft:||1' 1"||33 cm|
|Fuel Capacity:||35 US gals||132 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||1.5L Rotax 4-TEC 250 ECT/Jet|