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As you can see, I have the 196 SSI which Chap quit making last year. Compared to the H20 it was considerably more expensive but in fairness it had a lot of extras that were/are not available on the H20. The H20 was brought out as a lower price boat to compete with some other less expensive brands. Even though it doesn't have all the same features as the SSI, it still beats the Sea Ray in quality and design. The Sea Ray does better as the size goes up.

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I once bought a Tahoe Q6 Sport over a SeaRay 185 Sport (back in summer '07). Similarly equipped the SR was a good 10 large herd of deer more than the Tahoe but the Tahoe had every distinguishing feature the salesman said makes a SR a SR: continuous curved windshield, chrome in the rub rail, SS grab handles, & latch hardware, 4 rung swim platform ladder.... I wasn't sufficiently impressed with the build quality of the SR to pay the extra dough on a starter boat. But we're talking about Chap vs SR now, aren't we.....

Fast forward to 2013 and I have more budget so I look at the SR bow riders, including the SLX models. Compare to the Chap SSi models and there's no comparison. Chap wins hands down on design, material quality, and styling in just about the same price point. I consider the Chaps to be in the class as similar outfitted Cobalts. I watched last year as the H2O models began to proliferate in my area and have been pretty impressed with them. For an "entry level" boat, they look great and have lots of nice extras. I wish they had been around back when I was in the market back in '07. Compared to a Tahoe or other lower-end boat, you will pay more for a Chap or a SeaRay, but in the case of the SR you will be paying for the name, not necessarily the actual quality of the craft itself. I think you're much better off in a Chaparral - for similar money you will get an overall better boat.

I recommend you read some of the posts on the SR owners board if possible, as well as on this one. Be prepared to see some things on both - neither will be perfect, there will be some really unhappy people and some issues that you will scratch your head over. But it will help set some expectations as compared to car shopping and buying. Welcome to boat ownership. Most of us regulars on this board have had issues - some very serious - but in general we love our Chaparrals. A lot of that has to do with the quality of the dealer and whether we've bothered to build a relationship with the dealer. Point being, you should also do as much homework on the dealers you will be using as possible. A good dealer will make these issues go away as minor annoyances; a bad dealer will make you regret buying a boat. You don't want that. A well-prepared buyer is likely to be a more successful buyer.

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Thanks for the advice, it is great to hear from actual owners rather than what the dealer is telling me. I'll definitely check out the other forums just to get a feel for what people are saying about SR, but I am slowly leaning towards the Chap for my first boat.

Keep the advice and experience coming!

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Be prepared to see some things on both - neither will be perfect, there will be some really unhappy people and some issues that you will scratch your head over.

Ain't that the truth. Most of the stuff you hear about on this forum (and probably in others) is the bad stuff or the stuff that went wrong -- something broke or stopped working. Also, people, by nature, tend to complain more than they praise. Not to mention 60% of threads started are about "how can I fix broken X" or "motor hesitating at WOT" or "trim pump failed" etc. There aren't any threads that start "I love my Chaparral". Those are far and few between but I'm sure those outnumber the others by a huge margin.

There's been several threads on this forum since I've joined a few months ago that have been about the horrifying experience of buying a brand new boat and the constant problems it's had straight out of the dealer. Some real horror stories but for every one of those, we don't hear of the hundreds or thousands that have had the best experience possible. I'm sure there are plenty of those too.

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