January 4, 2013

Hot Trend: Bathing with friends . . . Sunbathing, that is

Photo: Chaparral

The new Chaparral 327 SSX offers the first full-length cabin with a double bed

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In recent years, the number of people wanting to spend sunny days aboard a boat has grown exponentially. The spike in popularity of pontoon and open deck boats (even big ones up to 35 feet) just proves this point.

A little as five years ago, it was assumed that all open deck boats were small. How things have changed! Today, it’s not unusual to see giant versions of these boats on the water. Seriously, for many models, the word “giant” is no exaggeration considering how much space there is aboard open deck boats that measure 30, 32 or 35 feet. Some manufacturers are even developing open 39-footers to add to their product lines.

Most of these larger models retain a good number of typical cruiser functionalities, while making it possible to sleep in a relatively comfortable cabin. Obviously, dedicating so much space to the open upper deck means there is less room for the cabin. But boat designs have improved and new models make better use of space with great interior layouts.

For example, the new Chaparral 327 SSX offers the first full-length cabin with a double bed, 26-inch TV, shower, generator, air conditioning and more. Yes, all this is tucked under the floor of a completely open deck that can comfortably seat 15 people. For many boaters, it’s the best of both worlds!

Naturally, if you want a model complete with a lot of equipment, you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny for it. But an increasing number of people are opting for this combination of performance, space and comfort. And considering this: a lot of enthusiasts buy boats with really big cabins, yet the amount of time they spend there is limited, which means they actually pay more for this under-used square footage.

For leisure lovers who don’t necessarily need a boat with authoritative handling, sporty design or a luxurious cabin, pontoon boats are by far the best choice, balancing space, quality and price.

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