Captain’s Report by Dan Armitage
Like most bowriders, the 235 SS is intended to be a good multi-sport vessels that looks good and goes fast. By offering 6 engine options from 300-hp to 430-hp, the buyer can pretty much select which crowd he wants to play too -- mom and the kids, or the lake's sportboat cowboys. Finally, Crownline wants to "wow" prospective customers with lots of standard features not found on other boats in class, but still stay price competitive.
Hot tub bow.
That means that the two seats in the bow are purposely designed for one person each facing forward. There is a reclining back rest and then a raised section under where the passengers knees should be, making sitting forward more comfortable.
F.A.S.T. Tab hull.
F.A.S.T. Tab hull stands for Fin Assisted Safe Turn which improves time to plane, increases stability in high speed turns and increases fuel efficiency. This is Crownline's designation for its hull which has a reverse chine, which is not unusual, and a pad on the centerline of the keel, which is not so usual.
The 235 SS is loaded with features that are often standard on other boats or which only appear on the highest price-point boats. Some of those items are: automatic bilge pump, Bimini top, bow and cockpit cover, depth sounder with water temperature gauge, snap-in carpet, 4-step boarding ladder, 6 Sony speakers, and a wood and aluminum steering wheel.
Crownline says that every boat it builds is water tested on a state of the art test lake behind its factory before it is shipped.
5-year warranty on the engine and lower unit.
This is a biggie. Only a few premium builders offer an extra three-year service contract where the engine-maker's two-year warranty stops.
Lots of stainless steel.
Again, much like the most expensive boats in class, the 235 SS has virtually all hardware made in stainless steel.
Crownline designers have paid a lot of attention to the helm and here they are trying hard to replicate what a consumer might find on the highest-priced boats in class. The dash is covered in stitched vinyl, with wood accents, the instruments are extra-large 5" analog gauges, and the tilt steering wheel is wood and aluminum.
The helm seat is one of the most attractive that we have seen in class. It has a barrel design, a flip-up bolster, and is covered in three different shades of vinyl. It turns 360 degrees and slides forward and back. The companion seat to port is the same, which makes it able to also be a spotter's seat when pointed aft.
We have already mentioned the "hot tub" seating design which is the major unusual aspect of the 235 SS. These two seats are hinged forward and flip-up to allow access to storage space below. There is also an option for a table which has a pedestal which fits into a fixture at the forward end of the foot well, and the table is forward of the two seated guests.Forward is an anchor locker complete with a mat inside to keep ground tackle from rattling. The bow cleats are located back from the bow, but still forward enough to be safe.
The 235 SS cockpit is pretty standard in layout but nevertheless, well executed. The aft bench seat cushions are hinged forward meaning you have to reach over them to access storage below. The sole locker on the centerline also hinges forward which mean it can be easily accessed from either side. There is a mat thoughtfully placed in the bottom. The snap-in carpet is standard. The aft sunpad lifts with the help of two gas-assist struts. In fact, all hatches on the 235 SS have gas-assist struts. There is plenty of storage port and starboard of the engine and the engines can be easily reached for fluid checks.
We like the proportions of the molded-in swim platform and the way it is designed with the hull sides sloping down to it. The fiberglass surface of the platform is covered with a "Soft Touch" padded mat which your knees will appreciate when getting aboard from the water. Also, it reduces the likelihood of a slip and fall when on the platform. Regular readers know that we like 4-step swim ladders but very few builders put them on, even some premium builders stick with 3-step. On the stern there are two Sony speakers facing aft, making a total of six for the boat. The pop-up stern cleats are well-positioned for both side mooring and criss-crossed lines.
The Crownline 235 SS comes standard with a MerCruiser 5.0 L 260-hp catalized engine with a Bravo III drive. We like that combination for most family-friendly applications. Those boaters wanting more power can select from five other engine and lower unit combinations going all the way up to an 8.2 L MerCruiser H.O. with a Bravo III X Drive putting out 430-hp. We have not tested the boat, but Crownline says that powered by the 300-hp 350 MAG the 235 SS with a Bravo III drive has a top speed from 49 to 53 mph.
We have mentioned the unusual 5-year engine and lower unit warranty. Crownline also has a lifetime warranty on the hull, deck, transom, stringers and gauges for boats sold in North America. There is a 5-year warranty against blistering, and a 5-year warranty against seam tears and thread separation on the vinyl and canvas covers. These promises are all important and valuable and better than many builders offer.
Price and Observations
Rigged with a Mercury 5.0 MPI 260-hp sterndrive, the standard Crownline 235 SS retails for $69,017.00. Crownline is working hard for your business and it needs to, because the competition in this class is keen. We have noted the major features that the builder is offering in the 235 SS and they are impressive. Add a trailer and some options, and we think the price remains reasonable for a boat with this level of amenities and apparent quality.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|