The holidays are coming and now probably more than ever during the year, we remember friends and family are important, sometimes annoying, but more important than annoying. We spend hours wondering what the right gift is and hope they’ll like it — always including the gift receipt, just in case. But more often than not, the gift of experience is worth so much more than another Snuggie. So with that being said, you might be able to rationalize buying yourself a boat, so long as you get one that has room for everyone.
The Caparral 297 SSX is that boat. It is exceptionally gorgeous and was designed as an open concept day cruiser to facilitate being the grandmaster of fun for everyone. Beginning in the cockpit, you’ll quickly notice there is wraparound seating almost the entire way around the boat, including to forward facing seats that rotate so that everyone can be facing one another, if that is preferred of course. There is a pedestal table that comes replete with two stainless steel cup holders and can serve a myriad of functions depending on need and desire. Out back, the rear seat transforms from comfy couch to luxurious sun pad with almost no effort whatsoever. What was the foot rest can fold up into a backrest to allow for sunbathers to lounge at a one of two angles. Either side of the stern seat can be raised, so you’ll never have to miss out on the sunshine.
Wrap around bolsters help reinforce the plush coziness of the Chaparral. Foam seats are supportive but soft enough to be inviting. Hidden away under the bolsters are more cupholders (you can never have enough), grab handles and stereo speakers, all made from high quality stainless steel. Portside hides a huge storage area, and even a small air pump to inflate various water toys. Tucked away starboard side is a 35-quart cooler. The large 26 inch wide single chair is a throne of fine stitching, while it is surrounded by an armrest, drink holder and in front of a integrated table that hides a full head that comes with toilet, Corian counter, and stainless steel sink. and plenty of storage space.
Overhead the bimini top is held up by a massive tower that gives the 297 SSX a feeling of solidarity and strength. There is a tow point on the end of the tower that is a staggering 6’9” off the deck. But if the sun is just too much fun, the tower can collapse down if necessary. Out back the swim platform has a stainless grab rail, with yet another tow point built in, and the whole thing extends from the transom 35” and has more seating out back. On the starboard side of the platform there is a hidden reboarding ladder. There is even a Polk Audio control plate to enjoy whatever music you prefer, without ever having to get too far from the water.
At the helm you’ll notice a soft touch dash and twin 7” display screens that give you info on speed, sonar, and gps as well as fuel. All the requisite switches surround both screens while a cell phone nook is fucked away underneath. To the right of the dash is the main Polk Audio control panel, as well as yet another drink holder. The custom steering wheel tilts to make anyone feel like they are the king of the world. The windshield and air dam combine to segregate the helm from the bow of the boat if desired, and does an excellent job of taming noise and air. Once opened up, you can access the bow of the ship which is yet another wonderfully appointed lounge area that even has an integrated cooler hidden under the front seat.
Flip a switch on the helm and the rearmost seat opens up to the engine compartment where a single MerCruiser 8.2-liter MAG HO big block V8 engine sits ready and willing to get up and go at a moments notice with 380 ready and willing horsepower on tap.
For a boat that has a length overall of just 29’, a beam of 9’ and a draft of 38”, the Chaparral 297 SSX feels much roomier than it actually is on paper. It also feels faster than it is, considering it has a dry weight of 6,700 pounds, yet can hustle to a legit 50 mph under the right conditions, you won’t find anyone wanting for more speed.
The Chaparral 297 SSX may just be the perfect boat to help you help your loved ones experience some of the best days of their lives. So, if anyone asks why you bought yourself a boat, just tell them, you did it for the family.