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Chris-Craft Corsair 32 - 2013

Published By: Jonathan Lee

Tested by Craig Ritchie

With a history dating back to 1874, Chris-Craft is one of the oldest and best-known names in boating. Yet despite its position as a heritage brand, the Sarasota, Florida-based company has hardly been content to rest on its considerable laurels. Indeed, Chris-Craft is riding a new wave of popularity these days, by integrating modern engineering and materials into its timeless, classic designs.

In an industry that already has no shortage of big bowriders, the Launch 32 stands out with its retro style and impeccable fine detail. But no sooner had the company popped the cork on the celebratory champagne when customers began asking when they might see a closed deck version of the boat, complete with a V-berth and galley.

Enter the new Corsair 32, unveiled in July 2012 for the 2013 model year. The Corsair line is Chris-Craft’s closed-deck counterpart to its bowrider-style Launch series, and the new 32 model takes everything good from the 32 launch and tucks it into a versatile closed-deck package.

The Corsair 32 makes the most of the hull’s length and beam, being spacious enough to accommodate the whole gang for a day cruise, and fully capable of accommodating overnight excursions as well. That’s something its open-bow sibling just can’t do, making it a more desirable choice for a lot of Canadian boaters. With a fully appointed galley, head and sleeping accommodations, it is a solid choice for those who want a sporty ride that can easily manage summer vacations and occasional weekends away. But until you step aboard and poke your head below decks, you can’t truly appreciate just what a capable boat this is.

Approaching the Corsair 32 dockside, one’s first thought is this is going to be fun! And that’s a natural response, given the Corsair’s raked bow, full bolsters and cat-like profile. It just looks like it wants to go fast.

Step aboard and Chris-Craft’s reputation for luxurious comfort leaps to the fore – particularly if the boat is decked out with one of three available Heritage Edition teak options, with a choice of natural or varnished teak finishes as well as black or blonde-coloured teak caulking.

With a full 10-foot, two-inch beam, the Corsair 32’s spacious cockpit offers more than enough room for a full double Captain’s helm chair along the starboard side, along with a matching single companion chair to port. Both feature integral bolster cushions, stainless grab handles and adjacent beverage holders big enough to easily accommodate a large milkshake. The custom stainless steel windshield and perforated dash with custom Chris-Craft gauges are standard on this model, as are a stereo/CD player and auxiliary input with 12 volt outlet, a compass, and a custom tilt mahogany steering wheel. The neatly designed helm features three rows of white-on-black analogue gauges, with a row of rocker switches to port and engine controls to starboard. The smaller passenger console shares the helm’s fibreglass face with padded top, and incorporates a generous glove box for small item storage, and a stainless grab handle. The stereo head unit has been thoughtfully positioned within the port gunnel, rather than within the glove box, in order to provide maximum storage space. A teak footrest beneath both the helm and passenger consoles is a nice touch.

Guests seated aft are treated to a full wraparound lounge, with aft-facing seatbacks provided on both the port and starboard sides. A concealed teak cockpit table conveniently stores under the teak step-through beneath the seat just ahead of the motor hatch, at the ready for entertaining, while a standard cockpit refrigerator is neatly located under the port seat.

The spacious aft sun pad atop the engine hatch accommodates multiple sunbathers and also includes a full-length teak walk-thru located under the removable centre sun pad and rear seat cushions. The hatch itself features an electric power lift, and provides a spot to stow the Bimini top when it’s not in use. A large teak swim platform, complete with hot and cold transom shower, is an elegant and classy touch. An easily accessible stowaway swim ladder and retractable grab rail facilitate re-boarding after a dip.

Returning forward, one steps through a louvered teak bi-fold door set between the helm and passenger consoles to access the cabin, which is finished in a choice of cherry or walnut cabinetry and no less than three interior upholstery color options. A skylight runs the entire length of the forward deck and is flanked by teak to allow for maximum natural light into the forward salon. It works rather well, too, as this galley is surprisingly bright and pleasant. Remove the pedestal-mounted centre table, flip the seat cushions around and you have a comfy berth with storage beneath. I wouldn’t want to sleep on it every night, but it’s perfect for a weekend away. A 22-inch flat-screen TV and a ventilation fan with outside stainless steel hull vent are nice touches.

Select the galley package and your boat comes fully decked out with a stove, microwave, sink, refrigerator, custom wood cabinets and solid-surface countertop. There’s also a full head with a shower and vanity mirror.

The 32 Corsair comes with such an exhaustive list of standard features that there aren’t a lot of options. Our review boat did feature the Heritage trim package with its elegant teak details, as well as LED bow docking lights and underwater lights.
A full canvas package, with front, side, and aft covers, could be another worthwhile upgrade, particularly for those who would use their boat early or lat in the season.
Chris-Craft offers the Corsair 32 with a number of power choices from MerCruiser and Volvo Penta, ranging from twin 300s to twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels. Our review boat was equipped with a pair of Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi engines rated at 300 horsepower each, which is base power for this boat. The twin Volvos easily push the Corsair 32 up on plane in less than four seconds, and hit an indicated top speed of approximately 52 mph at wide-open throttle. Pulling back to a more comfortable cruising clip of about 3,500 rpm, the big Chris-Craft still coasted along easily at 35 mph. That is excellent performance for a boat of this size, particularly when operating fuel-efficient engines at a comfortable rpm.

The Corsair 32 is precisely the kind of boat that has allowed Chris-Craft to build such a loyal following for more than 100 years. Innovative, well designed and beautifully finished, it provides an exhilarating ride without sacrificing any of the utility or comfort that Chris-Craft owners have come to expect.
Chris-Craft Corsair 32

LOA: 34’ 3” (incl. swim platform)
Beam: 10’ 2”
Passenger Capacity: 12
Fuel Capacity: 700 L / 185 gal.
Water Capacity:    132 L / 35 gal.     
Draft (drive up/down):    23” / 39”
Weight:    9,950 lbs.
Power (max): 860 horsepower
Power (as reviewed): Twin Volvo 5.7 GXi (300)
Price (base): $244,359
Price (as reviewed): $255,325

Quoted setup may not be exactly as depicted in photos. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and do not include freight, PDI or additional optional equipment.

Review boat provided by:
Chris-Craft Boats
8161 – 15th St. E.
Sarasota, FL
Telephone (941) 351-4900