A Quick Look
When we first approached the new Launch 28 GT at the Miami boat show there were so many aesthetic details, one hardly knew where to look first. Boarding from the stern across the swim platform, it was hard not to notice the rounded reverse chine and tumblehome, both of which are hallmarks of the Chris-Craft line. The angle of reverse, the radius of the stern quarters and the amount of tumblehome are all exactly right – as far as our eye is concerned. It is amazing to us how many builders get it close, but not quite right.
The hull was painted with polyurethane in a deep Sapphire metallic color that made the boat look every bit the waterborne sports car that she is. As with all Chris-Craft models, the idea of creating a one-of-a-kind boat through hull paint combinations and interior upholstery choices is a big part of the game here, and it works because these boats rarely fail to catch the eye.
Chris-Craft is one of the few boat builders in class that offers painted hulls as an option. In this case it cost $9,490, roughly 2% of the boat’s base price, and well worth it in our book. Gelcoat oxidizes and needs to have lots of maintenance – compounding and waxing – to keep its luster. In this day and age, most people simply don’t have the time to give the hull the level of TLC needed to keep it looking its best for years.
The Importance of Brightwork
The bow caprails are trimmed in dark varnished mahogany ($980), that when combined with the curves of the hull, the metallic painted hull and the classy upholstery treatment, all go together in a harmonious combination that reeks of class. The little pieces of brightwork and polished stainless steel strategically placed on the boat literally make her look like a million dollars.
The folks at Chris-Craft know that it is hard to keep varnished mahogany in Bristol fashion, and usually after a few seasons, the brightwork might need to be stripped down, sanded, and re-varnished – not something that most boaters relish these days. Not to worry. Chris-Craft now has built the boat in such a way that the varnished strips can come off and be sent back to the factory to be refurbished. We think this is a brilliant solution to a dreaded maintenance problem.
The Chris-Craft Launch 28 GT has a walkthrough in the transom on the starboard side, making it easy to step aboard from the swim platform. There’s a sun pad on the stern that shares a backrest with the L-shaped cockpit lounge. The sun pad backrest moves fore and aft, depending on whether its occupants would like to lounge facing aft when at anchor, or sit with guests underway in the cockpit.
Plenty of consideration goes into the seating on the Launch 28 GT. Chris-Craft says the model has a new upholstery pattern to go with the company’s metallic paint finishes and varnished mahogany. For this builder, attention to detail is the name of the game, and adding the kind of luxurious appointments that Chris-Craft owners have come to expect, from a leather-wrapped and gleaming mahogany wheel to sun-warmed teak decks.
In the console to the port side is room for an optional Tecma Head System ($2,250). Forward is wraparound seating in bowrider fashion, but upholstered in such a way, that this area reminded us of the plush seating on the fantail of a luxurious classic yacht.
The Launch 28 GT comes standard with a Garmin 7610XSV electronics package and a CZone digital electrical switching system. This is the same device that is used on megayachts these days. On one screen, all of the electrical functions of the boat can be controlled.
Power Options. On the boat we boarded, the engine had been upgraded to a Volvo Penta V8 CE 6.2L 380-hp engine that drives a DuoProp and was freshwater cooled. ($10,340). The Launch 28 GT comes in either outboard or sterndrive models, so selecting which one to buy will be the hardest decision many people will have.
Other options on this boat were a bow thruster ($8,890) and windlass with anchor and line ($2,900). Mahogany tables are available for both the cockpit and the bow ($2,990 for both).
Watch for a Corsair version, the closed-foredeck model, built on the same hull to be introduced in the summer, as is Chris-Craft’s standard practice for introducing new models.
Over the last 17 years, Chris-Craft has created a special niche in premium runabouts and sportboats. There is virtually no other brand built in the U.S. that has the look and the quality of a Chris-Craft in this size range. People who appreciate fine boat building, and can afford its $186,510 base price tag, should take note.
Having said that, this boat is not for everyone. For example, first-time boat buyers will probably not appreciate the subtle and exquisite details of this boat. The compound curves that require molds within molds and the many details that a trained eye can appreciate will be lost on many. Other boat buyers just want lots of seating and a lightweight boat that will go fast, then to store the boat in the north forty for the winter. They should look elsewhere. And, of course the boat is not inexpensive. Fewer than a thousand Chris-Crafts will be sold this year.
Owning one automatically makes the buyer a member of a very exclusive club, indeed.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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