What's the Mission?
Some boats are built for fishing, some for cruising and some for ferrying lots of people hither and yon. Others, like the 26' (8.10 m) Campion Chase 800i, are built for riding around fast, making noise, having fun and trying to turn the person riding next to you into a smoldering lust goddess. (Or god, depending.... We don't know about the last one – we've never had much luck in that department, despite our gold lame Speedo.)The Chase 800i is a slick, sexy, fast, 28' 2''/8.15 m (with extended swim platform) easy-handling sportboat from Canada’s largest independent fiberglass boat manufacturer. Tipping the financial scales at around $100,000 US with a 425-hp MerCruiser sterndrive, it's built using top materials and ecologically friendly production techniques that have earned Clarion kudos from environmental groups and the boating industry.
Designed by Neil Gilbert, the Chase 800i rides on a straight deep-V hull with a flat pad for added lift. There are no steps nor tricks in the bottom. Campion calls this their Apex hull, and says it's fast, stable and efficient. Company Managing Director Brock Elliott said the boat is easy to drive even at top speed: "It's not a chine walker, not scary. You can crank it over at 55 mph, and it's like a Ferrari on winding country road. It puts a big grin on your face."
The folks at Campion were grinning in April, 2010, when the company won a Green Business Award from the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of its dedication to environmentally sustainable practices. Campion builds all its boats, including the Chase 800i, with Ashland Envirez resin and Maxguard gelcoat to reduce emissions – the company estimates its use of these products has eliminated over 100,000 pounds of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere. It's the world's first builder to manufacture all of its boats with bio-derived Envirez.
Campion isn't just about being green, though. The Chase 800i, like all Campions, is built with triple-stitched 3D Weave fiberglass mat, which requires less resin for wetting-out; excess resin adds weight but not strength. Kevlar reinforcement is added in high-stress areas. The hull is cored with Corecell in the sides and bottom; stringers and transom are fiberglassed Penske board – there is no wood in the boat. The hull and deck are chemically bonded with methacrylate adhesive, then mechanically fastened with the stainless bolts that secure the rubrail. All striping and graphics is done in the gelcoat, not taped or painted on afterwards. Elliott said, "the hull will last for 40 years." This is first-class boatbuilding.
The Chase 800i's cabin is really just a place to lie down and take an afternoon nap, or keep your stuff while racing between anchorages. Although Campion offers a galley option (icebox and butane stove, $1,908; 12v. fridge, $1,025), Elliott said only about 1 in 10 buyers opt for it. A Porta-Potti with pump-out adds $545. On the other hand, 99% of buyers choose the extended swim platform ($2,564 white, $3,075 color-coordinated). It adds about 2' to the length and includes a telescoping ladder. A boat like the 800i is all about being outside, riding around, swimming, having fun on and in the water. If you need a place to sleep, tie up in front of a motel.
Campion offers the Chase 800i with several power options, all single-engine, but the most popular is the 425-hp MerCruiser 8.2L Mag HO Bravo One. Less-powerful engines from both MerCruiser and Volvo-Penta are available. But when you buy a boat like this, you want to go fast – if you have an extra $20,000, you can choose a MerCruiser 525 EFI, enough horses to push the Chase to 80 MPH, according to the builder. With the 425-hp MerCruiser, we reckon you'll run in the low- to mid-70s.Campion rigs the MerCruisers with Bravo One drives, but will upgrade to Bravo Three for $1,118. A Merc performance package, including external steering and mechanical trim indicators, adds $6,924, but we think it's worth it: External steering is the choice for the top go-fast boats around. From a performance standpoint, everything else you need comes standard. If you want to keep from waking Ogopopo, add an IMCO sound-advantage exhaust for $2,948. (We'd save that money for gas.) Figure on spending $100,000 to $110,000 for a well-equipped boat with the 425s.
We like high-performance boats, even if they don't help our love lives, and the Chase 800i looks like a good one. It's well-built, well-equipped and reasonably priced, and comes from a company with an ecological conscience. If we were in the market for a boat like this one – and when we're ready for a new toy – the Campion Chase 800i would be on our list. Maybe it's not the ideal boat for chasing sea monsters, but it will catch almost anything else on Lake Okanagan.
Standard and Optional Features
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