|Deadrise/Transom||22 deg.||Water Cap||
|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||
|Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.|
|Std. Power||2 x 300-hp Mercury 5.7L 350 MAG|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
Various Mercury and Volvo Penta up to 430-hp
Chaparral’s new 327 SSX provides an alternative to moving up to an express cruiser for people who only want to go day boating.
The most popular type boat in the world of boating is the bowrider. Even last year nearly 20,000 of these were sold. The bowrider was an evolution from the cuddy sportboat (now accounting for only 5% of sportboat sales). The deckboat was a development of the bowrider, taking inspiration from the pontoon boat and has chiseled out a niche of its own in the last 15 years or so and accounts for about 14% of sportboat sales.
Romance is in the air. The 327 SSX has a high freeboard, a 22-degree deadrise bottom at the transom and plenty of sterndrive power. Take her wherever you want.
Now we have a new design trend that is springing from roots put down by the bowrider, deckboat, and the old cuddy cabin runabout. It is called the “Super-Sportboat” and while it is too soon to know how well this new type will catch on, it has a compelling story to tell.
The Need for Something Bigger
As some boat owners become more active, or their family grows larger, or their kids grow older, or all of the above, the old, small bowrider may not make the grade anymore. There are other scenarios as well that lead an owner of a sportboat to want something with more utility – i.e. more room, the ability to handle bigger water, and a place to shelter from rain and get cozy. A prime example of this is along the French Riviera where boats typically take a big group out for a day anchored off a beach for a picnic, swimming and sunning. Then, in the late afternoon, they head back to the marina.
Sportboats and deckboats were made for lakes, rivers and protected water. They were not designed for offshore work along the coasts or on huge freshwater lakes where a long fetch can build up high, steep waves. Boaters living along the seashore after a few years of boating in protected water want to venture offshore and down the coast and bowriders and deckboats are typically not intended for that purpose.
The interior accommodations drawing of the 327 SSX. The lounge seat opens into a double bed. A/C is an option.
Taking Aim at Express Cruisers
Historically, when boaters wanted to move on from bowriders or deckboats they moved up into an express cruiser. Further, because of their size and accommodations they could be used for real “cruising” – for long weekends with family or two couples, or even extended cruising for a week or two.
But guess what? Most express cruisers bought are not used for a summer vacation cruise or even a long weekend. Most express cruisers are used as day boats – big, expensive day boats.
This deck layout has the optional wet bar ($3,172) on the starboard side of the cockpit.
Their primary use turns out not to be for cruising at all, but for gracious entertaining during the day and early evening. Most spend virtually every night back at their home marina.
Express Cruisers As Day Boats
Many builders of express cruisers in America started figuring out about a decade ago how their boats were really being used and slowly converted their interiors to day boat use and entertaining. (European builders always knew how their express cruisers were used which is the reason their staterooms are often very tight.) With time the forward sleeping cabin was converted in many express cruisers to a comfortable dining area. Convertible sofas were replaced with built-in "U"-shaped or "L"-shaped banquettes, some builders made their heads and galleys a bit bigger.
The down side of all of this for the consumer was that express cruisers used as day boats are expensive twice over: First, because depending on the size and brand they can easily run from $250,000 to $500,000 or more; second, because the owners are not making use of all the “beef” they are paying for (displacement, beam, engine horsepower, sea-keeping ability, and complicated systems).
The Chaparral 327 SSX is a good example of the new super-sportboat class of boats; day boats for people who don’t need a boat as capable as an express cruiser.
The Chaparral 327 SSX is Born
Knowing all of that, Chaparral’s design team set about to create a boat that would fit all of the advanced sportboat owner’s needs while saving him both the out-of-pocket costs and the annual operating expenses of an express cruiser. When viewing the Chaparral 327 SSX in this context, its genius immediately becomes apparent. It is an alternative to an express cruiser for the person who really doesn’t need one, but who does need a bigger, more versatile, more comfortable "day boat" in a seaway.
The new 327 SSX Super-Sportboat has a deep-V hull with a deadrise at the transom of 22-degrees. This is deep and will make the boat’s ride as comfortable as possible in lumpy conditions. That together with her relatively high freeboard will make her reassuring offshore and help keep her passengers dry. Her 10’ beam not only makes her more roomy for guests, but it also provides plenty of width room in the engine room for twin big block engines.
This picture gives you a good idea of the boat's four on-deck spaces – swim platform, cockpit, bridge seating, and forward cockpit.
Nine engine options are available from twin 300-hp 5.7 L engines to twin 430-hp 8.2 L engines. Chaparral gives consumers a choice between Volvo Penta and MerCruiser products. Joystick control is an option. With horsepower like this driving a 10,200-lb. (4,627-kg.) boat, top speeds are bound to be on the “super” side as well. Hopefully we will be able to test a boat soon and give you a better fix on speed, fuel consumption, noise, handling, and the relative dryness of the boat.
The attractive lady beckons us into the mid cabin for a glass of red wine. Who could say no?
Have It Your Way
Chaparral has incorporated some important options into the boat as standard, such is its hardtop, automatic engine room fire extinguishing system, and powered stern seating system, as well as a powered engine hatch. The builder has incorporated Kevlar in its hull which it does in all of its boats. However, since Chaparral knows different customers will want to use the boat for different purposes, it has created an extensive option list. Owners can specify exactly what they want to suit their intended purpose. Some owners will want to go for the 3 kW generator and air conditioning. Others will want to have a wet bar with refrigerator instead of the standard seat. Take your pick.
This picture shows the “L”-shaped seat on the starboard side of the cabin. The seat makes into a double bed. Note in the upper left hand corner of the picture the overhead on the centerline. (We'll have to talk to the stylist about putting a bottle of red wine in an ice bucket.)
The Innovative Mid Cabin
The feature that makes the Chaparral 327 SSX so noteworthy is, of course, her mid cabin. This accommodation is ensconced under the helm console, the port console, and under the walkway from the cockpit to the bow riding seating. This is certainly innovative and we can think of no other boat that creates a cabin similar to this one.
At the bottom of the companionway stairs there is 5’6.5” (1.68 m) of headroom. The TV screen faces the seat on the opposite side of the cabin. To the right is the door to the head. It is 18.5" (46.6 cm) wide.
We measured 66.5” (1.68 m) of headroom at the bottom of the companionway, in front of the head door, 46” (1.16 m) of headroom under the walkway from the helm seats to the forward cockpit. This walkway channel bifurcates the mid cabin fore and aft requiring occupants to duck under it to get to the other side where there is 72” (1.82 m) of headroom and the lounge seat.
We measured 58” (1.47 m) of headroom in the head compartment. The sink’s faucet pulls out to make a shower. The large fiberglass lid behind the toilet folds down to make a seat.
There is a half hanging locker, a wet head, and an entertainment console below. The lounge seating is comfortable and makes into a double bed 78" x 35" (1.98 m x .88 m). Portlights on both sides of the full beam cabin bring in natural light.
The Chaparral 327 SSX is the only sportboat we know of that can sit four people facing forward thanks to its 10’ beam. More important is the fact that even most express cruisers – including most 50-footers -- cannot seat four facing forward!
Now let us look at some detail pictures to fill in the rest of the story--
The twin helm seat is adjustable fore and aft. The seat was 23” off the deck in the prototype, which was a bit high for us, otherwise the seat was quite comfortable. There is good visibility forward when seated or on the bolster.
This helm console design would make George Lucas proud. We like the optional 5209 Garmin GPS plotter front and center. The wheel is leather wrapped. Note that the brow over the instrument console is dark to virtually eliminate glare.
Chaparral’s seat design is distinctive and custom-made. The inset diamond stitching is like what you might find on an expensive automobile and is a design theme carried on throughout the boat.
The bench seat facing forward on the port side is not adjustable. On the prototype the door to the cabin below barely cleared the seat when the bolster was up. Note that the door opens out to port which makes entrance easy and it can remain open for air to circulate below.
The stern of the 327 SSX is the boat’s playground. The hatch at left is for stowage and shore power, the aft-facing seat electrically flattens into a sun pad, and the aluminum transom door is to starboard.
Note the courtesy light at right of the passage to the cockpit. We’d like to see a four-step ladder on a boat of this caliber along with a hand-hold in the cut into the covering hatch.
Looking aft into the engine room. Nine twin engine options from 300-hp to 430-hp should satisfy nearly any boater’s speed requirements. An automatic fire suppression system in the engine room is standard.
At the flip of a switch the stern seat turns into a sun pad.
The cockpit can pretty much be optioned the way an owner wants it. For example, the wet bar with refrigerator and sink is optional. Standard is seating in its place.
This deep stowage compartment in the middle of the cockpit sole holds the ship’s batteries and has a capacity of 70 cubed feet. There is plenty of room here for wakeboards, skis, and inflatable water toys.
There is plenty of seating in the bow cockpit and a second venue for a table.
Stowage abounds under the forward cockpit cushions. The insulated coolers forward drain overboard, not into the bilge.
On the aft bulkhead there is a half hanging locker and an entertainment center. The companionway steps are at right.
|Washdown: Raw Water|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
|Boats More Than 30 Feet|
= Standard = Optional
|Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.|