Captain's Report by Captain Steve--
The mission of the Chaparral 310 Signature is to offer boaters a performance luxury cruiser with innovative features and a robust list of equipment which is often considered optional. She comfortably sleeps two couples, and easily entertains even more. By making the hardtop standard, with the addition of some isinglass, the boat can easily become a three-season vessel and protect occupants from the rain. This important detail gives her a lot more utility than conventional open express cruisers.
23 Engine Choices.
Chaparral makes engines available from both MerCruiser and Volvo Penta. Electronic controls, dual prop outdrives and joystick functionality are all also offered.•
While certainly not new in the industry, it definitely is not the norm as standard equipment. •
Forward Hardtop Hatch.
This hatch permits stand-up access to the windshield walkthrough -- no ducking or fear of banging a head against the hardtop.•
Standard Wet Bar.
In a boat clearly designed for entertaining this is a "must-have" feature and fortunately Chaparral decided to make it standard. Options include an electric grill and a cockpit refrigerator.•
At the touch of a button the forward salon seatback elevates to form an extension of the berth in the bow. This allows for more space and more seating in the salon when the berth is not being used.•
No Portside Bridge Deck Lounger.
Most express cruisers this size have a portside "lounger" opposite the helm which forces passengers to sit sideways when the boat is moving forward at 40 mph. Builders do that so there is head room below by which to crawl into the mid-cabin. Chaparral has solved this design compromise, and has an extra wide companion seat next to the helm seat.•
Extended V-Plane Hull.
This design extends the running surface well past the outdrive collars, which our tests have shown provides quicker times to plane as well as lower planing speeds.
Kevlar Keel Laminate.
There is a layer of Kevlar in the keel to protect the boat's bottom if an underwater obstruction is hit. Only a few builders use this material.
The Chaparral 310 Signature has a LOA of 31’ (9.45 m), a beam of 10’ (3.05 m) and a draft of 39” (99 cm). With an empty weight of 10,600 lbs (4,808 kg), 50 gallons (189.3 L) of fuel and two people on board we had a test weight of 11,320 lbs.(5,135 kg).With a pair of 225-hp Mercury 4.3 L MPI engines turning Bravo III outdrives we reached a top speed at 4900 rpm of 43.6 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 33.3 gph giving us a range of 139 miles. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 28.5 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 18.3 gph which the 310 Signature could keep up for five hours and 48 minutes and 165 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.We had a time plane of 6.5 seconds, reached 20 mph in 10.6 seconds, and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 16.7 seconds.
The 310 Signature exhibits a nearly 10-degree bow rise upon acceleration which keeps the bow to below the level of the horizon while she gets on plane just seconds later. She leans nearly 9-degrees into the turns which eliminates any tendency for the occupants to get forced to the outside of the turn. I noticed that she remained solid throughout the turn exhibiting no chine walk or oscillation.
Once on plane, advancing the trim to about the one quarter mark on the gauge brings the spray from the helm to the stern quarter with the accompanying boost in speed easily being felt. Additional trim that will result in operator induced oscillation. When taking power off, the 310 Signature settles back into the water stern first, but this time the bow remains farther below the level of the horizon.
The 310 features a welcoming boarding area from a full beam swim platform that extends 2'5" (.74 m) from the transom. An optional double wide aft facing seat ($2,838) replaces the standard transom wall and creates a comfortable spot to relax at any time the 310 is not underway. A switch at the helm lowers the optional set-up into a sun pad. A stereo remote is recessed into the side of the seat. To starboard is trunk storage and this is also the location of the city water inlet and shore power connections.
The cockpit deck is elevated 6" (15.2 cm) from the swim platform, and the walkthrough measures 16" (41 cm) across. Opposing bench seats provide a welcome conversational atmosphere and lie in front of, and behind, the molded steps leading to a non-skid caprail to facilitate boarding from a fixed pier.
A side-mount base for the standard cockpit table, as well as two drink holders, are mounted to the starboard bulkhead. All upholstery is two-tone and includes a hand stitched diamond pattern sewn into the premium vinyl with nano-block technology. Snap in carpeting is standard.
A standard wet bar is to port that features a sink with pullout sprayer mounted in a solid surface counter. Our test boat had plenty of open counter space that can accommodate an optional gas grill ($1,078). Beneath is a trash receptacle, stainless grab handle, an optional cockpit refrigerator ($1,275) and a cabinet housing the main circuit breakers and standard battery switches for up to three batteries. Ahead of the wet bar is a cabinet housing storage for a standard 25-quart (23.7 L) carry-on cooler.
The bow is accessed from molded steps leading to the walkthrough windshield. A hatch in the standard hardtop allows transiting the walkthrough without ducking or risk of hitting one’s head.
Rail height at the working end of the bow was 20“ (51 cm). Fully forward a hatch, which is held open by a gas assist strut, opens to expose the optional windlass ($1,962). It includes 30’ (9.1 m) of chain, and 200’ (61 m) of rope that leads out to a stainless anchor roller. The characteristic Chaparral pickle-fork bow adds a surprising amount of roominess to the working area fully forward.The boat has 8 cleats, two are pull-up, and the six are fixed.
The helm is well laid out with square gauges flanking the sides of a blank space designed to accommodate an optional 12” (30.5 cm) Garmin display ($5,269 for GPS, $9,392 for GPS/radar). The helm console features a dark tone to reduce glare.
A four-spoke mahogany wheel (with cover) is standard, a leather wrapped wheel is optional ($500). Power steering and tilt are standard as are trim tabs with indicators. A single helm seat wraps around for stability and has the usual adjustment handles elevated to the sides of the pedestal. The seat also features a flip-up bolster, open ventilation to the back and a diamond pattern lumbar support. The companion seat is double wide with all of the same features of the captain’s seat minus the adjustments.
A switch at the helm activates the standard electric lift engine hatch revealing a wide open installation, leaving plenty of room for servicing the engines. There's plenty of space ahead of the engines and convenient steps lead into the compartment. Our test boat was fitted with a pair of 225-hp Mercury 4.3 L MPI engines turning Bravo III outdrives. Options allow for up to twin 300-hp engines from either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta. All optional engines come with dual prop lower units. Our test boat was also fitted with the optional 5 kW Kohler CO-Safe gas generator enclosed in a soundproof shield that was easily swallowed up in this cavernous engine compartment.
An automatic fire suppression system in the engine room is standard. The boat also comes standard with a hot water heater.
The companionway on our test boat was outfitted with optional hardwood steps that were packaged with the hardwood deck ($1,326) which replaces the standard fiberglass deck with removable 55-oz. carpeting. Courtesy lights were on the risers of the stairs and I'd like to see these stair treads be hinged to allow access to the void areas underneath for additional storage or perhaps a trash receptacle.
The cabin lights were conveniently -- and correctly! -- located right at the entrance to the companionway, just above a door leading to the ship's electrical panel. Why other manufacturers cannot grasp the concept of locating light switches at the entrance to a cabin continually escapes me. The cabin door screen is optional ($992) and should definitely be considered, unless owners would be more comfortable with the 10,000 BTU air conditioning/heating system ($4,905).
The mid-cabin is just one step down from the companionway and features 3'10" (1.17 m) of headroom. Chaparral correctly went with the primary configuration of seating making a secondary gathering area below decks. Naturally the area easily converts to a berth that comfortably sleeps two, and all it takes is inserting a pair of cross bars and relocating one of the seatbacks to a lowered position. Once complete the berth measures 6'4" x 3'9" (1.9 m x 1.14 m). The port bulkhead features dedicated space for a 22” (55.9 cm) flatscreen TV ($1,248). A curtain provides privacy and a bulkhead with door is offered as an option.
The salon and galley are basically a combined area with an L-shaped settee having storage underneath lying opposite the galley unit itself. I measured 6'3" (1.9 m) from the optional hardwood deck ($1,326) to the fiberglass headliner. There's plenty of cabinetry to the sides and above the settee and surprisingly, opening portlights are offered as an option ($217) in the galley and salon. Upholstery was plush with multiple tones and a quilted pattern seen on deck is continued here. Speakers are hidden in the sides of the overhead cabinets.
The galley to starboard seems modest but is appropriately sized for this boat. A solid surface counter offers a recessed stainless steel sink adjacent to a single burner electric stove. To the right of the stove is a powered vent but this is a location that I would seriously consider adding the optional opening portlight ($217) for improved ventilation. A microwave oven is mounted above, and below the counter is a stainless steel handrail and a single drawer and storage cabinet. The stainless steel refrigerator is just to the right.
At first glance the forward berth seems relatively short, and after measuring it I came to realize that it is in fact short. But, as it turns out, the design team at Chaparral was not out of their minds but instead thinking outside the box. A press of a button to the side of the berth elevates the forward salon seatback forming an extension to the berth, thereby increasing its size to 6'1" by 4'3" (1.9 m x 1.3 m).
It's a clever setup that adds more useful space to the salon until the owners are ready to turn in for the night. Hanging cedar lockers are to port and additional storage is underneath the side shelves. Options include fitted sheets ($325) and an innerspring mattress with comforter ($1,069). Natural light comes in from dual portlights and an overhead hatch. Just to starboard is a cabinet housing the standard flatscreen TV and stereo/DVD player just above. A switch on the side panel rotates the TV from a position viewable from the forward berth to being viewable from the L-shaped settee.
The wet head is to starboard and features a stainless sink recessed into a solid surface counter with a pullout sprayer acting as the shower head. A standard electric exhaust fan was fitted along with the standard opening portlight. (High marks to Chaparral for the exhaust fan. Many very large, very expensive boats don't have them!) A VacuFlush head with holding tank, china bowl and level indicator are all standard. A gray water system ($997) and macerator ($772) are offered as options.
Base price for the Signature 310 is $200,957 when equipped with a pair of 225-hp Volvo Penta V-6 engines. At the top of the power plant food chain are a pair of 300-hp Volvo Penta V8-300 C EVC engines with OceanX (anti-corrosion) outdrives and joystick functionality for $236,452.
Overall we were very impressed with the layout and handling of the 310 Signature. Her attractive lines flow nicely through her design while her features and roominess make her a pleasure to be on.As this report points out there is lots of needed or useful equipment that comes standard on this boat and I am impressed with what Chaparral has put into this vessel. The builder has solved what is in my mind an unfortunate compromise that many express cruisers have, namely the port side lounger as a companion seat. Below the drop-down foot of the bed creates two more seats in the salon and makes the boat much more cozy and functional below than she would be without it. She is certainly a capable small cruiser and she should provide a young family with a lot of fun on the water. Certainly no matter what the size of one's check book, this boat can be owned with pride.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Chaparral 310 Signature (2013-) is 43.6 mph (70.2 kph), burning 33.30 gallons per hour (gph) or 126.04 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Chaparral 310 Signature (2013-) is 28.5 mph (45.9 kph), and the boat gets 1.55 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.66 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 165 miles (265.54 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 225-hp MerCruiser 4.3L MPI.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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