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botrdav

246 SSI TOWER

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We have our 246 on order and we have about 10 weeks to make changes. We went to the Chicago Boat Show with family members and showed them the 246. There was one with tower and one without. Of course everyone thought the boat looked much nicer with the tower which it did. I asked the sales person to show me how hard it is to take the bimini off the tower. It was very difficult or the sales person did not know what he was doing. He blamed it on the boat not being prepper.I also asked the sales staff if the bimini had a boot some said yes others nonot very well prepared was the team at Munson Ski which was why I did not order through them. Question is there any down side having the tower it looks like a good investment just for resale down the line as most used ones have a tower.How difficult is it installing the bimini and is there a boot. I looks like the whole bimini comes off and needs to be stored separately. Thanks for any input.

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We have our 246 on order and we have about 10 weeks to make changes. We went to the Chicago Boat Show with family members and showed them the 246. There was one with tower and one without. Of course everyone thought the boat looked much nicer with the tower which it did. I asked the sales person to show me how hard it is to take the bimini off the tower. It was very difficult or the sales person did not know what he was doing. He blamed it on the boat not being prepper.I also asked the sales staff if the bimini had a boot some said yes others nonot very well prepared was the team at Munson Ski which was why I did not order through them. Question is there any down side having the tower it looks like a good investment just for resale down the line as most used ones have a tower.How difficult is it installing the bimini and is there a boot. I looks like the whole bimini comes off and needs to be stored separately. Thanks for any input.

I may be in the minority here, but to me, wake board towers just don't mesh with classic sport boat lines. If it's a mastercraft "cove" boat that is about 6 inches from the water and could swamp in a pond :slap: then fine. Also, if you are going to use the tower than it may be a worthwhile investment, but what DOES look good on our Chap sport boats is the bimini in a "boot," or one of those forward-facing, fold-able radar arches with an integrated bimini and tow point. That is what I'd get if I were you due to aesthetics and resale purposes. It will be expensive, but is the only way to go to add and not detract from a gorgeous boat! :beer-7687-1:

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If you and the kids will use the tower then get it if not, why spend the money. If you decide later on there are a lot of tower that you can also add.

Remember the term investment and boating should not be used in the same sentence.

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I have a New Dimension tower on my 2005 220SSi. The factory did not have a tower option for my boat at that time, so I went aftermarket. It is the best money ever spent on a boat option - I would not have a boat without a tower.

Get the factory tower, you will not regret it, but do consider if it will affect where/ how you store your new boat.

brick

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After sitting in the baking sun a few times, you are going to wish you had that bimini, even better if you have the tower, it's a much more solid construction, and doesn't flap around in the wind!

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When shopping for a boat, I fell in love with the appearance of the tower. Initially, it was purely a cosmetics reason to have it.

After learning to wake board, we use our tower to pull skiers almost every weekend of the summer. To me its a no brain'r.

Our bimini top mounts to the tower and folds up easily with a zipper on cover. It takes about 5 minutes to open or close including installation or removal of the cover... Only disappointing thing is we cant pull someone from the tower with the Bimini open. Otherwise We use both on a regular basis.

Hope this helps.

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Not sure if the tower/arch is the same or similar to our 244, but here's the skinny on ours:

  • Yes, does come with zip up boot for the rear section (2 piece bimini cover that zips together at the back of the arch)
  • Rear section frame does not fold up flat against the arch, stays extended and looks goofy in this position, if we didn't want the rear section in place, we'd just take the entire rear frame section off and store (never done this as we leave ours up all the time, but if trailering, must be stowed/booted). Very easy to remove, hard to store due to size.
  • Front section is designed to attach to and cover the entire arch frame area, simply snaps to the arch, super easy to put on / take off and folds up like a bath towel.
  • Rock solid performance, no shaking, squeaking, rocking or wind noise with this setup (contrary to just the factory bimini)

My 2 cents, absolutely well worth the extra deer and the factory tower/arch is the best option. I was in this exact spot on a prior Chappy (226ssi), opted not to get the factory tower and regretted it soon thereafter. Had an aftermarket tower installed (Ariel Towers), but no comparison in stability, fit and finish in my opinion. You can get excellent sun protection from the factory bimini, but not nearly as sturdy and doesn't provide the high pull point should you want to wakeboard or ski some day (they don't advise pulling tubes from the tower).

Hope this helps!!

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I know that all of the tower manufactures say not to pull tubes from a tower, but we have for 10 summers, without an issue I am very cautious when pulling from the tower, and it does not flex. I would not pull two or three big guys on a large multi-person tube, so you have to use some common sense.

Go for the tower, you will not regret it.

brick

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We have an fixed arch (permanent, no folding) with integrated canvas and tow point, and as others have said, we love it.

However you asked about taking the Bimini down. Can you tell us why? Will you be storing it with the top down each night?

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boatrdav - as a 246 owner I have rolled this question around my head weekly since we bought it in Jan 2013. Tower, no tower. I inquired about adding the arch tower a month after we bought but at an installed price of nearly 7 large herd of deer it was a no-go.

We love the lines of the 246 without the tower but are not averse to having a tower. We have the factory bimini, which we keep erected but folded about 85% of the time. We rarely cruise with the bimini deployed - usually on only the hottest, brightest days of the season. We are now empty nesters who like to have friends aboard with us frequently. Most of the time those friends do have kids with them, who we tow on tubes, boards, etc. We also have some friends who are either older and sun-sensitive or are fair-skinned and sun-sensitive so on those days the bimini is deployed but that is in the 15% of the time, not the 85%.

The other 85% of the time I am at cruising speed or above and loving the wind and the factory bimini we have really detracts from this. I personally like the way the new Velocity towers look and the 2015 version of our exact boat was on display at the boat show last weekend with a black Velocity tower installed. Wow, and at an installed cost in the 3-4K range, it is doable. But, it is clear the factory full size bimini will have to go to if we add the Velocity tower. Now, it will be 80% about looks, and 20% about function, though since we have no kids at home anymore. It's a matter of will the smaller tower-mounted bimini satisfy us on the 85% of time we are on the water and what do we do for our poor fair-skinned friends the one time a season they are with us.. It would be great if I could find some kind of aft-extending canvas to give a bit more shade to the rear of the cockpit.

If we still had kids at home it would be a no-brainer and my 246 would be at the dealer right now getting the Velocity tower installed.

Really a little bit of rambling but just sharing with you the factors are considering as we are making the same decision as you.

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I appreciate all input from all members. We have decided against the tower as I think the lines of the boat look better without the tower that is my opinion I am not knocking anyone that likes the look of the tower, everyone is different and likes different looks. I have a grand daughter that we will need to keep covered when we have her that was another concern. Another we have a few low bridges at our lakes which the tower will not go under even when it is tilted down which is another concern. All that said has anyone that keeps the bimini on their boat all season run into any issues with the hardware that is connected to the fiberglass coming loose. On my Interceptor the bimini connected to the windshield came loose quite frequently even with locktite used on the screws. When looking at other boat brands if I seen the bimini attached to the windshield I dismissed that brand Crownline being one.

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I appreciate all input from all members. We have decided against the tower as I think the lines of the boat look better without the tower that is my opinion I am not knocking anyone that likes the look of the tower, everyone is different and likes different looks. I have a grand daughter that we will need to keep covered when we have her that was another concern. Another we have a few low bridges at our lakes which the tower will not go under even when it is tilted down which is another concern. All that said has anyone that keeps the bimini on their boat all season run into any issues with the hardware that is connected to the fiberglass coming loose. On my Interceptor the bimini connected to the windshield came loose quite frequently even with locktite used on the screws. When looking at other boat brands if I seen the bimini attached to the windshield I dismissed that brand Crownline being one.

it's really a personal preference thing, after all, isn't it...

Low bridges - You bring up a good point. We have an on-water restaurant that we like to patronize a couple of times a season. We have to go under two very low clearance causeway bridges and if the water level is too high the windshield just barely clears - yikes. The way the Velocity tower folds down it would definitely clear the upper bar of a dry storage rack but would likely not clear the causeway bridge so that has been another factor for us as well.

On the bimini hardware - so far I have not had any loosening, although the hardware is quite different from what I had on my previous boat. We previously had the flat, hollow, quick-release receivers on the hull with a male insert end on the bimini poles. Like this: http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=Quick-Release-Bimini-Top-Hinge&i=33714

Push in a button on the receiver, insert the pole end and voila you are connected. Very quick, very easy and if you were solo in the cockpit you could let gravity drop the male end past the latch on the receiver and it would pop right in on its own as long as you could hit the hole. I liked it but it did tend to rattle around a bit and risked loosening the screws on the receiver.

The hardware on our Chap is quite a bit different with a ball-and-socket connection that is a lot tighter and more secure at the connection but is a real PITA to get set up without pinching fingers or popping the ball out of the socket onto the gelcoat before you can get the pin stuck through the socket fitting to lock in the ball. However, it is a LOT quieter while under way and I have had no loosening in about 100 hours of on-water activities. However, the front strap does have a hook that attaches to a loop on the windshield frame and the strap has a cincher to keep it tight. The loop is secured into the top of the side-glass frame near the windshield with a couple of screws but again after more than 100 engine hours on the water there is no sign of loosening.

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I have the exact same boat Keith above has, with the Bimini (except mine in Volvo powered) .....I thought I wanted the factory tower, but for the same reasons Keith mentions I am happy without it (although I had no choice as I bought my boat used with 8 hours on it). We use it without the top at least 80% of the time.....and love the openness....when its hot we use the top. No kids anymore, mainly just cruising, going to the restaurants, etc....love the boat!

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We have taken the tower off the list. One of the main reasons is we have some bridges in channels,and even with the tower down it will not clear or be too close for comfort to clear the bridge.

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I have the same boat as Keith but have the factory tower. We really like it as we do a lot of pulling. We have to take it down a few times a year for low bridge but it breaks down almost as quickly as just Bimini top.

My only issue is that i wish the Bimini top was a little bigger and i could see how it could effect where/how you store you boat as it is quite tall.

image3.jpeg

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I've had a couple chap's now and the hardware has never come loose. Would not worry about it. I'm not cruising 50 mph all the time though either...

Todd.

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I've had a couple chap's now and the hardware has never come loose. Would not worry about it. I'm not cruising 50 mph all the time though either...

Todd.

tolson37 is right. I have had 3 chaps (and I hit 50 at least once every time I'm out) and never had an issue with the hardware coming loose.

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Thanks that set my mind at ease my Caravelle Interceptor with the bimini mounted on the windshield frame was constantly loosening up I had to put in over sixed screws with lock tight it was holding but I sold it so the jury is still out on that. My guess it will loosen up again.

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I have the same boat as Keith but have the factory tower. We really like it as we do a lot of pulling. We have to take it down a few times a year for low bridge but it breaks down almost as quickly as just Bimini top.

My only issue is that i wish the Bimini top was a little bigger and i could see how it could effect where/how you store you boat as it is quite tall.

image3.jpeg

Interesting - that doesn't look like the factory tower, although I see the Chap branded boot. Looks more like one of the Knoxville area aftermarket brands (forget the name but they specialize in SR's). The only factory tower I saw prior to 2014-2015 was the electric powered arch.

Nice looking rig, though!

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I have the Chaparral folding wake tower on my 2015 216 ssi and the finish cracked, welds broke, and the bimini top hardware all fell off due to rusted bolts. This happened in 22 months.  Its never towed anything.  I did like the bimini and how it operated along with the looks of the tower but I now long for my original top.

I would go with a good quality aftermarket tower. I think many are stainless steel vs the aluminum chaparral uses. Much stronger and safer. I wish I had done this before they cut into my top deck to install the headache that I am dealing with now.

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FYI, Chaparral has still not replaced my tower. They say that they are going to take care of it but no action. The whole thing has been beyond frustrating and going on 3 months now. I think Chaparral has some serious Quality Control issues at this time. I have gotten hints that this tower is also cheaply outsourced.  I would buy an aftermarket tower without hesitation vs the "Factory" Chap tower if I had it to do over. 

I have a welding shop and the welds on this thing are horrendous. It should really be steel anyway. Most are for a reason.

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