PoorPilot

SSX vs. SSi vs. Sunesta

20 posts in this topic

Greetings all-

I'm looking at making my first boat purchase and wanted to get some opinions from you guys. I grew up around boats (MB Sport, Mastercraft, Sea Ray), but this will be MY first purchase. I want something that is comfortable, yet able to pull a skier or an occasional wakeboarder. My wife and young son are fair skinned, so I like the look and idea of the tower with canvas cover on the Chaparral, but I wasn't sure how well these boats pull skiers. (My wife wants to get back into skiing). I don't want a true wake boarding boat, nor a purely cruising boat. I'm looking in the 24-28' range.

Thanks-

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Hi,

I have a 2005 Sunesta 236 with a merc 350 mag powering a bravo 3. Some of its features are an enclosed head with corian countertops, a full camper enclosure with screens when you roll down the eisenglass, 2 sinks with fresh water along with showers at bow and stern. This boat is now the sunesta 244. Great boat!!! Pulls skiers, tubes, cg rated for up to 14 reality is 7-8 passengers. had it to 56 mph gps. I love this boat!

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Greetings all-

I'm looking at making my first boat purchase and wanted to get some opinions from you guys. I grew up around boats (MB Sport, Mastercraft, Sea Ray), but this will be MY first purchase. I want something that is comfortable, yet able to pull a skier or an occasional wakeboarder. My wife and young son are fair skinned, so I like the look and idea of the tower with canvas cover on the Chaparral, but I wasn't sure how well these boats pull skiers. (My wife wants to get back into skiing). I don't want a true wake boarding boat, nor a purely cruising boat. I'm looking in the 24-28' range.

Thanks-

Well, I think the first thing for you to know before you decide on type is where you'll be boating - i.e. fresh or ocean. If it's ocean, then you need to decide what are the length of boating trips you will be taking since that will also influence what "type" of boat to get.

Next to decide is what "type" of boat you want - as is one with a cabin where you might want to get out of the sun or weather (with that fair skin :)) and be able to rest (these are ideal for ocean boating where you'll be making long trips) OR, would a bowrider work just fine. A bowrider is not ideal for long, oceanic trips because the bow area is wide open and can be dangerous in heavy seas (very important to consider) but with the radar arch (tower) and bimini top will give you excellent shade because they work very well but you still are outdoors.

Thirdly is whether you want to buy new or used. That's probably equally as important as the others since it will influence your decision as to what is affordable, hence making the choice for you in some ways.

Once you've decided on those three aspects and have a basic idea, then you could look at the 3 Chaparral lines in the SSI, SSX and Sunestas. In all of those you'll be able to find several boats that fit perfectly for what you're looking for.

I can't copy and paste at the moment but take a look at the Chaparral website to see those 3 lines (and others also like the H20/Fish & Ski or Extremes or even the Signature series) but from what you described, the 3 lines I mentioned fit your needs best.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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the range you list gives you just about every option in the chap lineup. if you are on a very choppy lake or ocean i would lean towards the lines of SSX due to the deep vee and high freeboard. if you are on a lake that when rough is still less than waves generated from boat wakes, then any line up and any size will be fine. pick the layout that works best for your family. a boat in a showroom lacks people and gear, so when you think a boat is spacious imagine life jackets, coolers, people, bags etc and where they will go.

good luck

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All three of those lines of Chaps have similar shared amenities but each has its own set of "specs" that can make it better for you depending on how you plan on using it and where you boat. Can you give us a little more information.

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Well, since you're looking at 24'-28' range, let me make my pitch for the 246 SSi WT. We were down between the 246 SSi WT, the 244 Sunesta, and the 257 SSx. There are a couple other posts in other topics where I described what swayed us to the SSi over the SSX and the Sunesta. You may have different criteria than us but here's how we landed on the 246 SSi:

1. Cockpit - my wife wanted the classic wrap around seating with a full back bench for maximum cockpit seating under way and at anchor. The cockpit sink on the Sunesta was not important to her, she felt it wasted a good seat location. We really liked the lines of the 257 SSX, but the dual seats with center walkthrough kind of spoiled the full back bench thing she was looking for. Personally, I liked the cooler storage under the starboard seat behind the captain's seat, but got overruled. Also, that kind of spin-around bench thing on the port side just didn't do it for us. so the max seating on the 246 SSi makes in the "Suburban/Denali" of the Chap bowrider fleet. Advantage: SSi

2. Sunpad - again, the Admiral has a real requirement for maximum sunpad enjoyment. The dual reclining SSX seats are pretty cool with that damped motion sort of thing, but she preferred laying across the beam of the boat, not along the keel line. Again, both the SSX and the Sunesta did not accommodate. Advantage: SSi Bonus for the SSi: She REALLY LOVES the prop-up chaise feature on the SSi's port side gullwing pad that also serves as the access to the cooler storage under the sunpad. We never saw any other boat model but the SSi's that have that feature.

3. Walkthrough - As stated earlier, we wanted max seating in the cockpit but also easy access to the swim platform is a must. We got the walkthrough option on the 246 SSi. There is a removal, stowable seat cushion in the starboard aft corner of the cockpit that, when removed, provides a checkered surface step to get up and through the transom. The starboard hinged sunpad cushion swings all the way over the center cushion, allowing easy access to the swim platform and it is also a door to a massive storage locker underneath the starboard pad. This is where our table and stainless steel table post are stowed and we have ample room for a couple of 2-3 rider tubes, a jacket or two and ropes in that hatch as well. The Admiral liked this walkthrough option much better than the arrangement on the SSx and although the Sunesta had the same side transom walkthrough, there's no seat there so you lose at least one passenger seat in the cockpit.

4. Storage - coming off our little 21 foot bowrider, we demanded storage. All three models have cavernous storage but the SSi tops them all. Huge lockers under the port and starboard side seats, 36 quart cooler under the port swimpad, aforementioned locker under the starboard swim pad, and the center swim pad is hinged at the transom so you can tilt it up while on the swim platform and drop off two ski jackets, a rope, and gloves into a locker that drains into the bilge. It is fantastic. Ample storage under both bow seats and under the helm. I have a milk crate that holds my docklines and fenders in the helm locker, and there is plenty of additional floor storage for other things as well like throw cushion, fire extinguisher, flag, etc. We use the head compartment's hanger rod to store all our ski vests and there's also plenty of room for our day's snacks, an additional cooler for the food, etc. To be fair, the Sunesta and SSx also had the same head compartment so that part was a draw, but the totality of the other storage areas tilted to the SSi.

5. Lines - I LOVE the lines of the 257 from the exterior. Admiral vetoed me based on cockpit requirements (ain't that always the way). Too, we felt the 257 was just bigger than we really wanted. Neither of us cared for the pickle-fork bow of the Sunesta. In fact, even though we had been dreaming of a Sunesta since 2009, the more time we spent in the showroom model, the less we liked it. Determined it just wasn't for us. The smaller pickle-fork on the SSi was not overwhelming and we liked the bow seating MUCH better than any Cobalt or Crownline we had been looking at. Advantage: SSi

6. Watersports - I wakeboard and sometimes slalom ski and kneeboard. I do not do board tricks, just enjoy the ease of getting up and carving behind the boat. In this regard, any of the models would have worked, however having done some skiing over the years behind 25+ foot boats, we both knew there would be wake issues we just did not want to deal with, so the 257 SSx was eliminated on our suitability/preference. The 244 Extreme, 244 Sunesta, and 246 SSi were the max sizes we evaluated based on our 2012 criteria of roughly 24 foot bowrider. I will wakeboard a few times a month (we're typically out all day Saturday and Sunday nearly every weekend between April and October, in addition to a full week of vacation boating - all in all about 60 - 80 hours a year. So while I am not an avid wakeboarder, I do wakeboard a good bit and am not interested in a heavy wake. We also have guests on our boat a few times a month, usually with kids so we do a lot of tubing. The 246 SSi is right at the borderline of size and wake characteristics for the kind of watersports we do. Actually, a 216 or 226 SSi with a 350 MAG is IMHO the ideal ski boat over a 246 SSi, if I were buying with a heavier focus on watersports. Our majority cruising and entertaining usage is what makes the 246 the right boat for us and we love it. One practical consideration we had was the 244 Sunesta on the dealer's lot had the electric arch tower which pumped the price a little over 5 grand more than we wanted to pay. The 246 SSi did not have an arch tower at all and was a better match for our budget. If I do decide to add an arch to the 246 it will likely either be a Samson or a Chaparral Velocity tower, but honestly a tower is at least 3 items down my list for boat mods right now. My skiing/wakeboarding needs are met with the standard transom tow ring.

In the future, we may want to get a larger boat, perhaps with a cabin. At that point, I will likely either go the Sig 310 or the SSX 327 but that is a long way off (or so I think)....

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Did someone say skiing?

2002 Sunesta 223, 5.0 Merc, Alpha 1 drive, stock 4 blade aluminum prop

IMG_3582.jpg

2006 220 SSi, 5.7 Merc, Bravo 3 drive, 24" propset

P1010506.jpg

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Thanks for all the replies folks! I should have given a little bit more information on where I'll be using this boat. This will be a freshwater boat (Pickwick Lake, TN, which is actually a waterway) with a fair amount of waves, but nothing drastic. There is a canal that can be used for serious watersports with very little external wake. I don't want a cabin cruiser (yet), so will lean towards the 3 models I've listed. I will probably have anywhere from 2-5 adults with 1-3 kids (under 6) onboard at any given time. Watersports will not be a huge concern until my son gets a little older, but both my wife and I will do the occasional slalom and wakeboarding. More often than not, we will probably pull a tube for a little while for my son, then tie up with some friends and family for a majority of the time. This being said, I will need storage room for food, drinks and people.

Hopefully I answered some questions, and look forward to some more insight.

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Given what you have said, I dont think you will complain about either of you mentioned models where you will boat. They will all handle a fresh water lake/river just fine and pull skiers and tubers just fine. It`s probably going to boil down to the floor plan you desire. We chose our Sunesta primarily because of the built in grill as we spend alot of our lake time tied up with friends. It`s nice being able to cook a hot meal, plus the wider bow allows more seating and room up front. We have skied and tubed behind it when needed and it does fine for that too.

Bottom line, I dont think you can go wrong with any of them. Get the one that you like and can get for a good price.

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Thanks for all the replies folks! I should have given a little bit more information on where I'll be using this boat. This will be a freshwater boat (Pickwick Lake, TN, which is actually a waterway) with a fair amount of waves, but nothing drastic. There is a canal that can be used for serious watersports with very little external wake. I don't want a cabin cruiser (yet), so will lean towards the 3 models I've listed. I will probably have anywhere from 2-5 adults with 1-3 kids (under 6) onboard at any given time. Watersports will not be a huge concern until my son gets a little older, but both my wife and I will do the occasional slalom and wakeboarding. More often than not, we will probably pull a tube for a little while for my son, then tie up with some friends and family for a majority of the time. This being said, I will need storage room for food, drinks and people.

Hopefully I answered some questions, and look forward to some more insight.

Pilot - I grew up on Wilson and Pickwick. Now live in Huntsville/Madison area and mostly boat on Wheeler and occasionally Wilson and Guntersville. In June we trailered to Florence to put in and cruised down almost to Pickwick Dam - spent most of the day on Bear Creek where it comes into the main channel. TONS of Cobalts down there, I noticed....

Like the others have said, you really can't go wrong with any of them. You can see how our eval criteria went in my post above. If you go with the 246, you will be just fine as the kids get bigger. It does a fine job for skiing/boarding/tubing, the head is great for storage and/or the kids having their "emergency" potty stops, etc. I wish we'd had our 246 when we had all three of ours in jr hi/high school. Would have been ideal....

Feel free to PM me or ask any other questions in this forum. We all love to give our experience and opinions and help out however we can.

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I've located a used (2007) SSI with low hours and planing on doing a more in-depth once-over next week. Any "hot" areas or "gotchas" associated with this year and/or model that I should look for? Thanks for the help!

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My wife loves our 244 Xtreme. That's ALL that matters. :)

Seriously, lots of space, great all-around boat. Only complaint so far is that we could use more cupholders (working on that).

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Several folks on here with '06 - '08 vintage 206/226 SSi's that have nothing but good things to say about them.

You might want to add what model you are looking at and what the power package is. I'm sure you'll get some feedback.

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That model has everything you're looking for. Former boat of the year. Very popular model, with good power.

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Love mine. 2009 256 SSI with the 377 Mag 6.2L tops out at 50mph gps. The 8.1 is good for at least 3 mph more. Amazing hull. Great in the rough stuff. Plenty of room. No Gotchyas yet.IMG_2179_zpsf6ddfdde.jpg

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