By Captain Dan Armitage
Bottom Shapes for Added Performance
As we look at the Crownline 215 SS out of the water, we can see the boat incorporates the usual lifting strakes leading up to a hard chine. But Crownline goes a little further than that to tweak peak performance out of the 215SS. Low speed performance is enhanced with vortex generators that negate the sterndrive boat's natural tendency to wander, according to the builder. By creating a vortex to either side of the hull as it goes through the water, the wander is eliminated and the hull tracks straight and true, says Crownline. We haven't tested the boat so we can not attest to the effectiveness of the generators, but it sounds compelling.
Additionally, Crownline uses vented chines to add to the top end. This is a little different than a stepped hull, but the result is the same. Air is injected into the running surface, which reduces drag, and increases speed. Most builders tell us that this design features adds fro 1 to 1.5 knots to the boat's WOT speed.
A possible downside to the vented chines is a poor turning characteristic. Crownline handles that possible trait with their F.A.S.T. tabs. The acronym stands for Fin Assisted Safe Turn. "Tabs" are molded into the fiberglass just abaft the chine vents offset the space in the chine that is given up for the vents and help turn the boat better, the builder says. I haven't tested this boat yet as it's a new launch, but you can believe that it'll be the first thing on my mind if and when testing day comes around.
The layout of the 215SS is typical of a bowrider but the quality is important. A single piece deck liner is used and it is chemically bonded to the hull to create added rigidity. You can see this better by opening a hatch and looking inside. The inner compartment is enclosed and gelcoated. This is not the bilge of the boat, as you might find with a deck that is simply laid in place. Keep in mind that some price-point sport boats in this size range do not have internal fiberglass liners. This is a good build feature.
Crownline offers what I think is a very sporty helm for their 2315SS. Large gauges in the center are covered nicely with both individual and a collective sunshade. Depth and trim gauges are off to the right side and Crownline thoughtfully provided for a stereo, rather than a remote control, at the helm. The windshield supports are mounted to the sides of the consoles and that gives pause for concern that the screws will stay secure for the life of the boat. I'd rather see the supports mounted on a horizontal surface as opposed to this vertical one. People -- particularly kids -- tend to rest a lot of weight on the windshield frames when passing fore and aft. When underway everyone holds on to the windshield for support, so this is an important detail.
Have It Your Way
Crownline offers the 215SS in a variety of colors so making your boat "yours" is a snap. Aside from the color choices, they also offer a snazzy "Inverse Razor Package" that includes eye-catching graphics, which can complement to the wakeboard tower and wet sounds speakers. There are also options for a transom shower, a cockpit table, thru-hull exhaust, and a bow boarding ladder to name a few.
Overall, it's hard not to like the 215SS. Crownline has done a good job of dialing in details to aid performance to this boat, and tells us that with a 260-hp 5.0L MPI she reaches speeds in the 48-52 mph range with a B-III outdrive.
Standard and Optional Features
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