Chris Craft Corsair 33 Review

The Legend Continues

Issue: Dec 2006 – Jan 2007

Words and Photos Ian Macrae

Chris-Craft are becoming a bit of an icon around Sydney these days, because they aren’t your typical ‘Aussie boat’, but they’re selling like hot cakes here. That well in fact, that the Chapman Marine Group, the Aussie importers of Chris-Craft, was recently made a member of the Chris-Craft Admiral’s Club, for Outstanding Sales. It took out the Top Selling International Dealer’s Award and was named as a CSI Award winner For Achieving Above 90 Per Cent Customer Satisfaction.

I suppose as history tells us, if they were good enough for the likes of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, then why wouldn’t Aussies embrace them. And having been to the Chris-Craft factory in Florida, where it was so clean you could eat off the fl oor, it says a lot about this boat’s build quality. But there’s a lot more to the Corsair 33 than just stunning good ‘classic’ looks. Apart from their quality fit-out and finish, it’s Chris-Craft’s classic looks that make them a winner.

But while they retain the retro styling, there’s nothing ‘old world’ about the performance of this boat. Twin V8 Mercury 496 Magnum, driving through a Bravo III legs, provide the power and give this unassuming sports boat a top speed of 50mph. And that’s not bad for a boat with an LOA of almost 35ft. She’ll cruise all day at 33mph pulling 3500rpm and with 783lt of fuel onboard has a cruising range of around 270 nautical miles.

The Corsair 33 features a new deep-vee hull and, according to the brochure, is designed to set a new standard for performance, comfort and style for a runabout of this size. And I reckon that comment’s pretty close to the mark. This is the first 33-footer I’ve ever driven that handles like an 18ft ski boat. She rockets out of the hole, accelerates effortlessly and has genuine ‘push you back in your seat’ performance.

Aggressive chines, carried well forward, form mini tunnels with the keel and trap air allowing the hull to virtually ride on a cushion of air. The ride is soft, quiet and above all dry. There’s quite a bit of flare in the bow, which aids the dry ride and ensures that all water and spray is thrown down and well away from the hull. She’ll turn almost in her own length, goes from ‘lock to lock’ without becoming unstable and maintains a level attitude even when you tramp it from a standing start.

Bennett trim tabs are standard and make it an easy affair to trim the boat when the wind is on the port or starboard bow, or one of your guests makes for an uneven load. Teleflex hydraulic steering makes the helm light and sensitive and the helm tilts to adjust to the driver’s preferred position. The helm seat also features a bolster system to further enhance the skipper’s comfort.

All of the boats Chapman Marine imports are badged Heritage Edition models. This mean that the boats are beautifully finished with teak decking and the like, which adds that little extra to a standard model and spells ‘class’ with a capital C. The Corsair 33 is described as a day boat, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that she isn’t a comfortable overnighter. For a couple, she’s almost ideal.There’s plenty of headroom below decks, the saloon is light and airy, the forward island double bed is large and comfortable, the galley has everything needed to be a useful food preparation area and there’s
plenty of room in the head.

The main cockpit is made for entertaining and features a removable table and levels of luxury normally not seen in vessels of this class. But the piece de resistance is the fold away bimini. It stows back into the transom for easy storage. Access to the bow is via two steps inlaid into the bulkhead and through the split screen. The foredeck is teak laid and while there is no bow rail, two stainless steel handrails offer security to anyone taking up station on the sun pad. There’s a windlass in the anchor locker and a wash down hose option. The boat comes with a stainless steel plough anchor 200ft of rope and 10ft of chain.

Open the engine bay and there’s plenty of room around each motor for daily maintenance and regular servicing. The engine bay lid is also insulated with silver Mylar over 1 inch of foam, so engine noise is almost non-existent. The Chris-Craft Corsair 33 is not cheap. In fact, you’ll around $459,000 (as tested, base price $390,000) if you want to get behind the wheel of this boat. But remember, you only get what you pay for and that’s a hell of a lot with this boat. She offers plenty of luxury, style and performance and almost comes with a guarantee to turn heads wherever she goes. These boats aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. They are for the connoisseur and those who appreciate works of art. Yes, they’re that good.

Twin V8 Mercury 496 Magnums, driving through Bravo III legs, provide the power for this unassuming sports boat.

In calm conditions on Sydney Harbour with half a load of fuel onboard the Corsair returned the following performance figures.

LOA:..34′ 11″
Beam:..12′ 3″
Base Price:..$390,000