The mission of the H2O 21 Sport is basic enough. Expand the lineup of budget conscious boats that maintain the build quality of Chaparral's premium boats. Of course the only way for a manufacturer to offer a lower-priced boat while maintaining build quality is to cut back on the puffery that the premium boats seemed to focus on. For that reason Chaparral left off items such as Ultraleather upholstery, or a GPS moving map display on the dash. And as it turns out, there’s a huge market segment that doesn’t need any of these items to enjoy a day on the water.
Unique Standard Features.
It may sound unbelievable but most boats in this class simply have a manually-activated bilge pump with no automatic float switch. Not so in the 21 Sport. When I looked in the bilge there was a float switch next to the bilge pump and it's a standard feature. Some other notables that don’t belong in a value priced boat….• Stain resistant vinyl on the seats and all bench and bow seat cushions are made from Starlight with water drainage factored in• A battery switch• A built-in 70-qt. (66.24 L) cooler• A premium sound system with Sirius Satellite Radio, CD player, and MP3 connectivity• A digital hour meter• Power steering• Full instrumentation with stainless bezels and fog resistant lenses...Most of these items are usually on the options list, especially for a boat trying to maintain affordability.
Premium Trailer Included.
Boats in this size range usually come with trailers but they're usually basic versions. This one is actually in the premium category and it includes: • 14” (35.56 cm) tires with galvanized rims. • Black powder coating• Tandem axles with brakes• Swing-away tongue jack• Submersible LED lights• Side trailer guides
Extended V-Plane Hull.
This is also seen on Chaparral's premium boats and it's a concept we like. By extending the running surface past the propulsion system, Chaparral is able to create a boat that has a quicker time to plane, minimal bow rise on acceleration, and lower planing speeds. All this has been verified by our tests of Chaparral boats.
Fairly Priced Options.
While the list of standards is impressive on the H2O series, so is the price list on the optional features. This is clearly an area where most builders choose to gouge but that's not the Chaparral way.
Anchor storage locker.
Typically on a value priced boat there is no anchor storage locker, but this one even has an anchor keeper inside to prevent the anchor from bouncing around the compartment.
The Chaparral H2O Sport 21 has a LOA of 21’ (6.4 m), a beam of 8'4" (2.54 m), and a draft of 32” (81.3 cm). With an empty weight of 3,100 lbs. (1,406 kg) half fuel and two people onboard we had a test weight of 3,640 lbs. (1,651 kg).With the 260-hp 5.0 L MerCruiser MPI turning at 21" pitch three bladed prop on an alpha one drive we reached a top speed at 4900 rpm and 50.2 mph. At that speed we were burning 20.35 gph giving us a range of 89 miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 29.7 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 6.6 gph giving us a range of 162 miles and an endurance of five hours and 30 minutes while still maintaining a 10% reserve.We had a time to plane of 3.2 seconds thanks to the extended V-Plane hull, accelerated to 20 mph in 6 seconds and continued accelerating through 30 mph in 8.9 seconds.
For all the talk about "value pricing", nothing was sacrificed in the handling department. The extended V-plane hull is the same as on Chaparral's premium builds and therefore handling characteristics were left intact. She exhibits a 10-degree bow rise during acceleration and settles into a 5-degree bow high cruise attitude once on plane. Only a couple of shots up trim were all it took to get her into that attitude. She remains dry during turns, leaning only 10.5-degrees into the turn. Cutting through wakes I was able to get spray on the windshield but it did take some effort. When taking power off she settles back into the water stern first.
Looking at the stern, the 6” (15.2 cm) cleats are mounted with 4 through bolts instead of the usual 2. This means that the loads are more evenly distributed so we shouldn't be seeing stress cracking in the gelcoat over time. The swim platform was covered with an optional hydro-turf non-skid mat. The reboarding ladder is concealed under a hatch to the starboard side, directly in line with the helm, and a stainless grab handle aids in reboarding.
More of the quality that belies a value priced boat can be seen as we enter the cockpit. A nearly full beam sun pad has side cushions that flip up in the gull wing fashion revealing storage hatches and non-skid walkthrough to the cockpit to both sides.The cockpit is fully fiberglass lined and has high bulwarks that add considerably to the safety factor of the H2O 21 Sport. Adding the sport arch carries that safety factor even further back behind the down slope of the windshield frame. Dual bucket seats are on raised platforms. The usual accommodations for under gunwale storage to the seat sides and an in-deck storage compartment are both present.
A four-across bench seat to the rear lies just ahead of the full beam swim platform. An insulated cooler is under the center cushion, storage compartments to both sides provide much needed open space. The battery switch is under the port seat.
The helm console is molded fiberglass and Chaparral thoughtfully gave it a gray color to reduce the glare effect. Three gauges are mounted to molded mounts at the top of the panel and Chaparral went with stainless bezels surrounding fog resistant lenses.A separate panel is just below the three primary gauges that houses waterproof toggle switches to either side of the fuel gauge and the optional digital depth gauge. The steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base as part of the Deluxe option package.
The sport arch can be purchased separately or included in the velocity package. It collapses forward easily enough. The Bimini is available as an additional option, color matched to the boat, of course. An elevated tow point is at the top of the arch, reached through an access flap in the Bimini, and this tow point also supports the all-around navigation light. Our test boat was also equipped with the two fixed board racks to either side.
The bow seating is much the same as any other bowrider, and includes a wraparound bolster fully forward. This allows for aft facing seating from the center cushion. A bow filler cushion is available as an option and has dedicated storage. As always, there is storage underneath the seats.
Always, with every boat, options are available, and this one is no exception even though it’s well equipped with standard features. Chaparral made it easy by grouping the most popular options into two separate packages… the Deluxe package and the Velocity package.o The Velocity package includes:o Velocity graphicso Folding arch tower in black or whiteo Two fixed board rackso Hydro-Turf swim platform mat
o The Deluxe package includes:o Tilt steering wheelo Compasso Digital depth gaugeo Snap-in carpeto Mooring covero Bimini top or tower top canvaso Twin ultra comfort pedestal seats with bolstero Port console storage dooro Air pump for water toys.
Engine access takes the form of the usual access underneath the sun pad. The hatch lifts by a snap strap in the center and the task is made easier by two gas assist struts to either side of the hatch.
Engine choices are all from MerCruiser, and range from a 220-hp 4.3L MPI with Alpha I drive, on up to a 260-hp 5.0L MPI Alpha I, reasonable enough for a 21’ (6.4 m) boat.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Chaparral H2O 21 Sport (2014-) is 50.2 mph (80.8 kph), burning 20.35 gallons per hour (gph) or 77.02 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Chaparral H2O 21 Sport (2014-) is 29.7 mph (47.8 kph), and the boat gets 4.49 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.91 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 162 miles (260.71 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 260-hp MerCruiser 5.0L MPI CAT alpha.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|