Chris Craft 328 Express Cruiser

3 ratings (3 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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Aug 16, 2001
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:If you can afford it, great life experience that you won't regret.

Cons:Money-Money-Money, but it's a boat.

The Bottom Line: The Chris Craft 328 Express Cruiser is a great boat for cruising or just as a summer home for a small family. It is very flexible as to use.

Buying a boat is never a rational decision but it's a lot more fun than losing money on a boat than on your stock portfolio. There's also an escape from your losses as boat owners quickly learn. You can "move up" and trade your old boat in without feeling the loss immediately. The 32 foot Chris Craft cruiser was out third motor boat. We started with a runabout, moved to a 27 foot fishing boat and finally to the Chris Craft Cruiser, an almost a yacht.

It was not quite the boat we wanted but such a bargain we couldn't resist. We bought it from a "moving up" owner who was going to a 42 footer. New it had been $110,000 but we were getting it for $70,000 after trading in our old boat. We were also getting a second home tax deduction.

The Chris Craft was about a year old and had many amenities. It had a stove, a microwave oven, a refrigerator, an icemaker, television, air conditioning, good storage, a tidy bathroom with shower and marine toilet. The dining area made into a bed and a sizable deck for sunning and sitting. There was wall to wall carpeting and a very tasteful decor. Did you know there are boat interior decorators? I learned this from a woman at a neighboring slip who had hers completely redone.

The Chris Craft had twin Chevrolet V8 marine inboard engines, stabilizers, but no radar or electronics except a marine radio. The upper level was where navigation was done and it had a completely enclosed canvas top which could be removed. The draft was about 2 1/2 feet so there was not much fear of going aground and the beam was wide enough for comfort. After the fishing boat, the cruiser felt marvelously luxurious. It was like owning a moveable beach house.

I must say the boat gave us a great deal of pleasure and the luxury marina where we rented our slip was wonderful. Friendly neighbors, helpful dock boys, expert maintenance company to care for the boat and offer advice, electricity, water and a telephone line at the slip (for a price). We owned this boat for seven years in the 90s then the novelty wore off and we sold it. We had noticed the majority of the boats in the marina never moved from their slips and eventually all owners seemed to sell their boats.

One of the drawbacks of owning a boat is the amount of attention and maintenance required. At first it's fun, part of owning a boat, and we had very little trouble or repairs. The boat has minimal teak trim which is a bother to clean. The maintenance company scraped the bottom in the summer, prepared the boat for winter, and advised when the bottom should be painted or parts replaced.

We used the cruiser on local rivers, on the Chesapeake Bay,and offshore ocean with no trouble. We took a trip to Washington D.C. and I've known Chris Craft cruiser owners to take them down the Inland Waterway to Florida. The boat behaved well cruising and we never had to be towed home. The boat was used for light fishing, cruising, entertaining and just sitting and enjoying. For safe cruising it's wise to take the Coast Guard courses, be attentive to weather reports and conditions and always notify your marina or family when you go out.

There are many things to think about before buying any boat. Do you have maintenance available for your particular boat? Where are you going to store this boat? A 32 foot cruiser is a little large to trailer. The storage yards put your boat in the water ready to cruise when you call ahead but these yards have very dock space for just sitting on your boat. For a 32 foot boat I recommend leasing or owning a slip at a marina for maximum convenience. If you can keep it in your back yard dock that is cheapest but you will miss the camaraderie of other boaters unless you belong to a cruising club.

You also need insurance and warranties, coast guard courses, a marine radio and a cell phone, a good relationship with your salesman and your maintenance guys.

Everyone likes their toys when they are new. In Virginia we have a long boating seasons which makes for maximum use of a luxury boat. After about six years we had to replace the canvas, paint the engines, replaced the pumps more than once, repaint the bottom and refurbish the fiberglass. The novelty had worn off. We were beginning to evaluate the money flow on something we did not want to use any more.

I would recommend this cruiser to couples and small families if they understand what boating entails. It can be fun or it can be a source of family dissensen. My observation is that wives generally are not enthusiastic about boats. Girl friends do not have to do all that work.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): $70,000
Brand of Motor: Mercruiser
Primary Location of Use: Offshore/blue water
Primary Type of Use: Cruising

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