Chris-Craft Capri 21: A Retro Runabout

Few modern boats look as classic as some in the Chris-Craft line, and their new Capri 21 has the same retro appeal.

28th November 2013.
By Gary Reich

When the Chris-Craft Capri 21 was introduced at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show earlier this month, Chris-Craft pushed it as a classic-looking luxurious megayacht tender (see Chris-Craft Boats: Retro New to learn more about the styling and design of the modern Chris-Craft line). But when you take a closer look at the Capri 21, you can’t help but be taken in—no matter whether you’re a megayacht owner or weekend warrior. Why? Because the Capri has a look that harkens back to the builder’s glory days in the 1930s, but with finishes, trims, and technologies that are completely modern.

chris-craft capri 21 running

Eye-candy? You betcha – few would argue there are better looking boats than the Chris-Craft Capri 21.

The Capri 21 is part of the Sarasota, FL, manufacturer’s Corsair lineup which has models ranging from 21 to 36 feet in length, including the popular Corsair 22 and the eye-catching Corsair 25. But don’t’ let the megayacht tender idea fool you; this is a luxurious and capable runabout that’s great for short dock-bar runs, raft-up gatherings, creek exploration, and evening happy-hour cruises around the harbor—not just for ferrying the rich and famous to shore and back.

So, what’s so “retro” about the Capri 21? Upon closer inspection, you’ll see many of the trademark design cues that have been part of Chris-Craft’s DNA since the early 1900s. These include a forward deck with an intricate, alternating light and dark wood inlay pattern; a graceful, sleek cockpit windshield; curvy, sensuous tumblehome at the stern with an accent rubstrake that carries forward from the integral swim platform; and a vertical bow element that enhances the look of the Capri 21’s deep-vee hull. The whole package is sleek, graceful, and smart-looking in the best ways.

Standard female mold fiberglass construction is employed for the hull and deck, and paint or gelcoat options are available as final finishes. There’s plenty of flare up forward, with a deep-vee hull that transitions into the aforementioned vertical bow element. A well-executed hull to deck joint accents the lines of the boat. Deck hardware and finishes are top-notch, as you’d expect with this caliber of boat. There are pop-up stainless deck cleats at the bow and stern, hefty deck fills for fuel and water at the stern, and Chris-Craft’s unique stainless bow element up forward, which incorporates the navigation lights and a burgee holder into one piece. Teak inlay highlights the bow, engine hatch, and swim platform.

Access to the Capri 21’s mechanical space is via a teak and holly-clad, single-piece, insulated hatch with gas-assist shocks. The hatch serves as a relaxation area when fitted with the standard vinyl cushions. Access to all sides of the engine is excellent, which should make filter changes and fluid level checks a breeze. A standard automatic/manual fire suppression system is mounted aft of the engine, but with good access from both sides. Additional thru-hull components, tankage, and electrical panels are easily accessible and uncovered by other machinery or structure.

The nicely appointed five-person cockpit is where most of the action happens and no expense is spared in regard to seating and interior finishes. Actually, no expense is spared anywhere on the boat – base MSRP at the time of this publication is a hair over $67,000, so the Capri 21 is obviously not built with cost-cutting in mind. The helm is situated forward to starboard with engine instrumentation and electronics mounted in an automobile-style dash on the centerline. Twin swiveling vinyl captain’s chairs sit to port and starboard of this central dash and are reinforced with high-quality, beefy, stainless-steel tubing. The aft portion of the cockpit has a three-person vinyl bench with stowage underneath. Teak and holly line the cockpit floor (which has an access hatch in the middle) and padded vinyl-covered cushioning trims out the rest of the interior. Stainless handholds are strategically placed in and around the seating areas for when things get rough.

chris craft capri 21 cockpit

In its ooh-la-la interior, the Capri 21 has dazzling details and a traditional feel.

Perhaps the toughest part of fitting out your own Capri 21 will be in choosing from one of the nine—yes, you read that correctly, nine—power plant choices, offered by either Volvo-Penta or Mercury Marine. If you want to keep it simple, standard power is from Mercury Marine’s 4.3-liter, six-cylinder, 220-horsepower MPI ECT gas inboard engine with an Alpha One Drive. Mercury options gain about 40-horsepower per engine choice, topping out with Mercury’s the 300-horsepower MAG MPI inboard. Volvo’s lineup for the Capri 21 starts with a 5.0-Liter, 270-horsepower GxiC with Duoprop outdrive, and tops out with a 320-horsepower 5.0-liter Gxi inboard with Duoprop. A 200-horsepower Volvo D3 diesel also is available. Phew!

Specifications
Length 21’2″
Beam 7’11″
Draft (max.) 2’10″
Deadrise 18 degrees
Displacement 2,913 lbs
Fuel capacity 34 gal.

Maybe what highlights the luxury and comfort of the Capri 21 best is that its options list is actually shorter than its standard features. What you’ll get in this good-looking package is Chris-Craft DNA with many modern amenities and twists, built to the highest of standards.

Other Choices: Another high-end runabout with a classic look is the Cherubini Classic 20, which is built with real mahogany planking, has 10 layers of varnish, and is available with jet or stern drive power.

See Chris-Craft Capri listings.

For more information, visit Chris-Craft Boats.

 


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About the author:

Gary Reich

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Gary Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer and photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the marine industry. He is the former editor of PropTalk Magazine and was the managing editor of the Waterway Guide. His writing and photography have been published in PassageMaker Magazine, Soundings, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Yachting Magazine, and Lakeland Boating, among others.
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