Power & Motoryacht Testing of the 43 Chris-Craft Roamer Article written by George L. Petrie, June 2002 "A Legend Reborn, Chris-Craft 43 Roamer is worthy of the renowned brand" "My first glimpse of the new flagship 43-foot Roamer was at the 2002 Miami International Boat Show. Sitting proudly, just inside the entry to the convention center, her blue hull and rakish silver hardtop commanded the attention of every passerby. Now don't misunderstand. To paraphrase a car commercial from not so long ago, this is not your father's Chris-Craft. It isn't retro-style, and it doesn't bring on waves of nostalgia. It is a singularly distinctive look with signature elements that will become hallmarks of every new Chris-Craft. Most obvious is the reverse transom and tumblehome stern that belie the ample proportions of her integral swim platform. Measuring nearly five feet fore and aft, the platform can host a small tender or PWC with room left over to deploy the fold-up ladder or open a stylish stainless steel door to the cockpit. And it just wouldn't be a Chris-Craft without some varnished wood trimming her exterior. Gleaming teak handrails grace the cabin top, and matching teak rails (with integral drink holders) rim the forward sun pads. Handsome teak fashion plates lend a touch of class to the deckhouse sides. The clever part is that all the teak trim can be removed with just a couple of screws, taken home, and refinished at your leisure in controlled heat and humidity. As impressive as the Roamer was at the boat show, I got to really appreciate all she has to offer a few weeks later in Sarasota. Our test boat was fully equipped with options and upgrades, including the "heritage package" (the aforementioned varnished teak trim, along with teak decking for the cockpit and swim platform) and a handsome maple and cherry sole in the saloon. But I was even more taken by features that are standard on the Roamer. Interior joinery is all varnished cherry, finished in deep, rich tones. Even the door of the Norcold fridge is faced in matching cherry veneer. Both stateroom doors and the top of the hi-lo cocktail table are cherry, with a laser-cut maple inlay forming the Chris-Craft logo. And all Roamers are equipped with a full set of Chris-Craft china, flatware, and glasses, with custom-fit holders to keep them secure underway?real classy. As I poked around the Roamer's interior, it struck me that she seemed a lot brighter than many other express cruisers I've been on. Then I realized why. Instead of the usual oval ports, Chris-Craft endowed the Roamer with long side windows that measure eight inches high in the forward spaces and even more in the saloon and galley. The flood of natural light is complemented by recessed overhead lights and indirect lighting throughout. There are even built-in strip lights illuminating each step of the companionway stairs up to the cockpit. Alongside the companionway, in a cherry-faced cabinet, the A.C./D.C. distribution panel is just steps from the helm station. Beneath the helm along the outboard side of the midstateroom, the main electrical panel is concealed behind a large mirror that drops to allow easy access. It raised my hopes that access in the engine room might be just as good. Sadly, it was not. Slipping through a 2'x3' hatch in the cockpit sole, I could crouch between the 440-hp Yanmar diesels, and while I could easily see the dual Racors on the forward bulkhead, the cooling water inlets and through-hulls were hidden beneath the floorboards on which I stood. Glancing to my right, I saw there was a scant six inches of clearance above the starboard engine?enough to reach coolant and oil fills?and the dipstick was low on the inboard side. But I could find no way to slither my 6'2" frame that would let me reach the engine-mounted fuel and oil filters on the outboard side. Thankfully the situation was better to port, where a void beneath the cockpit seat affords about 18 inches of clearance above the forward end of the engine?enough to reach around to the outboard side. Next, I gave the engine mounts a quick inspection. They looked solid, with half-inch-thick steel weldments through-bolted to the longitudinal stringers. The hull is equally robust, solid fiberglass laminate throughout with a coat of vinylester resin to resist blistering. Saving the best for last, we fired up the Yanmars and set out for Longboat Pass and the emerald waters of the eastern Gulf. With Chris-Craft's captain at the helm, we deftly threaded the narrow channel past Sister Keys while marketing director Bill Lindsley led me forward to the Roamer's bow cockpit seating area. I was pleased to find that the one-piece stainless steel bowrail is high enough to ensure safe passage fore and aft without detracting from the stylish profile. The admiring glances from all we passed gave testament to that. We didn't have to look hard to find calm water for our speed trials. With the diesels spun up to their maximum, 3500 rpm, we measured just over 35 mph on the radar gun. More impressive, throughout the full rpm range, the hull never trimmed more than about five degrees. Even going to full throttle from a standing start, the Roamer exhibited virtually no bow rise, thanks to a running bottom that extends all the way aft beneath the swim platform to keep the transom from digging in. Even in the Gulf, the waves were negligible. Carving figure-eight turns at full throttle, we roiled some two- to three-footers, then shredded them with ease. But with a Hunt-designed deep-V hull, I'd suspect the Roamer can hold her own when the going gets rough. After a long drought, it looks like Chris-Craft once again has a boat worthy of the name. With the new Roamer adding to the legend, the next chapter is history yet to be written."