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327 SSX...Real World Numbers...Am I Crazy?

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Hello everyone!

I am a new member. I have been lurking for about a year now, but decided to make my first post as I am in the market for a Chaparral and have learned so much from you guys.

After riding several times on a friends 327 SSX, I have officially fell in love with the boat. I am looking to purchase a 2013-2014 model within the next 6 months. 99% of my boating will be cruising up and down the intracoastal here in Florida with 4-6 people at a time MAX. I know I could probably get away with a 25-27 footer for my everyday use, BUT I will be making one trip a year to the Abacos, Bahamas with the boat. I feel the 327 will be a bigger and safer boat to make that trip in, plus I need the range. We vacation there every summer, and I have made the trip by boat many times. We have always been on a friends center console fishing boat. I do ZERO fishing, so that style of boat does not interest me. My friend with the 327 has made the trip to Bimini, Bahamas before, but he has never tracked fuel burn. He barely uses the boat.

My main question to the owners here is: what type of real world loaded down numbers are you seeing for fuel burn? My Bahamas trip will be 4 adults on the boat, 1000lbs of food and gear, and full fuel. Range is the most important equation here and will be the final deciding factor on buying it. I am looking at either the 350hp or 380hp engines. Is it realistic to get 1.2 mpg loaded down cruising at 32-35mph? Is 1.5 mpg realistic just running around light? I've looked at the performance bulletins out there and they show 1.5mpg at that cruise number, but I wanted to get some real world numbers to see if that is indeed accurate.

Thanks for all of your help! I'm happy to be a part of the forum.

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Please don't buy a bowrider for an annual 200-300 mile (one way) run in the open ocean. It seems to me you need a large cuddy cabin because of the safety of the closed bow and amenities, while keeping a sporty look and feel. Go for a Formula 310 SS, 330 SS, 350 SS, or even a 370 SS. Anything under 30' is too small. I'd be looking for diesels as well considering the amount of fuel you'll be burning and long hours placed on the motors. A cruiser like a Signature, PC, or Sundance would not be as good for that ocean crossing as a similar sized SS because they (the cruiser) have more beam, less deadrise, and are too tall and tippy.

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A large Formula will also hold a lot more fuel FYI. There are a few with diesels for sale on CL right now in FL.

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drewm3i,

Thank you for the quick reply. I appreciate your input, and have enjoyed reading your posts. I am actually ok with not making the crossing in the boat. It's the admiral who is urging us to go. lol. When we make the trip, we leave out of Jupiter  and make the 60 mile trek to West End across the gulf stream. We normally check in customs and top off fuel, then headed to Spanish Cay for lunch. The run to Spanish is 100 miles, but it's on the Bahama Bank which is normally pretty calm.  Im not too concerned with the range as the 327 will have plenty. Im more concerned about the 60 mile trip across the gulf stream. I know plenty people make the trip to Bimini in much smaller boats, but they are a little crazier than I am. It may just be easier to keep riding on my buddies 27' center console.

It looks like I may have to scratch this off the ol bucket list for now. However, we will still be purchasing the boat to use around our local area. Does anyone have real world fuel burn numbers on the 327?

 

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It's definitely doable with that boat, it's just that wouldn't be my first choice to make that run annually. If you had that boat, I would get an epirb and life raft. Did you see the boat test. com report? It should have fuel burn numbers. Delaney should also be able to get them for you. 

I live in West Palm. I grew up boating out of Jupiter in a bowrider. I now boat solely in the keys. If you ever want to trek down here, I'd be happy to show you around! The 327 is a good boat, but a Formula (or Chap if they made one that size) closed bow would be better. Something like this: 

https://goo.gl/images/LlrsS8

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There are good times & bad times of the year to make the crossing.  You need a little bit of swollen testicles to give Mother Nature the finger by trying to beat a approaching storm.  Many OLD chickens do it in a group of boats every year. That way the boat is lost. But not the people.

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I agree with Drew on all points. As to a life raft, a small inflatable and a davit system is a must for me when going away. First off you mentioned 4 to 6 people. A Sig model will still give you plenty of room in the cockpit.

A bowrider can get swamped in seconds. For me, in the open ocean, I would not do it!  But I would install extra pumps.

You hit a storm, need a place to sleep, shower, eat ,cook and............ Your going to wish you had a cruiser.   

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I have twin 380's.  Most of our boating is out in the ocean.  Been 60 plus miles out many times.  Depending on conditions you can count on anywhere in the 1.2 to 1.4 miles / gal or 19 to 23 gal's per hour. That is at a speed of 23 to 33 mph gps.  Those numbers will worsen as chop increases.  PM me.

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For first time offshore boaters.

A large    SQUALL   approaching is a    POSSIBLE    Fantastic teacher of ......WE can stay a little longer until the waves pick up.

By the time I realized how dark the sky was way off in the distance. And the wind was building inches of wave height in minutes.  I was    SCREWED  in Barnegat Bay, N J. I was 1 mile from the inlet in the bay.  The 14'  wood rowboat with a 6 to 8 hp motor was barely holding position into the wind.     PANIC !!   I was fearful of turning side ways to the waves that were just starting to splash over the bow a little.   I AM GOING TO SINK SHORTLY.    I then saw a patch of low small island weeds coming up out of the water in heavy rain & fog. I turned left slightly and just cleared the edge of the island. Waves dropped due to very shallow water. I turned more left & gunned the engine to the almost center of the island. I only thought of beaching & anchoring. The bow bumped the mud flat island edge.  Thru the anchor onto the island. Went ashore in stinging rain & pulled the boat snug to the island. Really pulled the anchor as deep as I could. Survival & fear eased as I laid face down on the island for about 7 hours.  O K maybe 15 to 30 minutes. I was 13 ?

 

 

Moral

Always cruise near islands.   Hawaii  or Samoa would be O K.

Moral # 2 

Beach every boat to get ashore. The boat is replaceable.  We are not.

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I have made a 90 mile run from where i used to slip to my new location.  from a range perspective w/ 160 gallons of fuel i think the above post is pretty accurate.  Holding back 10% for reserve I believe a safe range is 200-220 miles in calm conditions.  when i made my trip it was cold 50 deg. and water was in 30's and very windy with 2-4 footers.  cruised around 25mph which for my boat is not the best for fuel.  I have seen my best results at about 3100 rpm trimmed out - which is around 33 mph.  i made my trip and used about 60% of fuel.  as for the safety of making a crossing to the Bahamas that is your call.  I respect what the water can dish out but i have been in some really nasty conditions and would not be concerned one bit in stuffing the bow on any condition 6' and under.(if my lake has 6' waves, they are most likely stacked up 20' apart +/-)  conditions worse than that would suck on any boat.  I have 8.1L Gi Volvo w/ Dps-A drives.  160 gallon fuel capacity but my starboard engine uses more for some reason which I assume is the power steering drawing more from it.

 

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That boat should do fine in light to moderate seas.  It is a big boat but if you stuff it into a wave, you could be knee deep in water.  During a crossing, I would keep the bow canvas on if you have it.  If not, get it.  I would cross from closest point which I think is Palm Beach?   Avoid the Gulf Stream if the winds are from the North.  Once you make the Abaco's, stay on the reef between Abaco and the out-islands as most of the water on the reef is about 12 feet average in depth.   The Atlantic side of those Islands can get very ugly very quickly. Don't ask me now I know..

Use a Bahamian type anchor set up using two anchors off the bow with you half way between them.  Most inlets, like Green Turtle are fairly well protected but have poor holding ground.  There is a publication called the "Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas"  It is updated all the time and is a bible for Island Cruisers.  It provides you all the latest info about anchorages, hazards as well as local favorites for food and entertainment.  

You will enjoy yourself if you go.

 

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2 hours ago, MonkeySeaII said:

I think DrewM3i needs to buy a Formula!

Next boat, still love my Chap though. :D

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39 minutes ago, drewm3i said:

Next boat, still love my Chap though. :D

I almost bought a Formula 260 BR before I bought my Chap.  I test drove one and had the deal in my hand.  Then I went and looked at my 256 at Cecil Marine and I liked it better.  And the fact that the Chap had every available option (minus the H.O. engine) for way less deer than the Formula that had nothing extra, it was a no brainer.  I remember the Formula dealer, who was also a Fountain dealer was trying to sell me a leftover 29 Fountain w/twin small blocks for the same deer.  I was like, yeah, nice boat but the Admiral would kill me!

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I can't answer what you will burn (OP) but I can tell you these guys, whom I love for their videos, screwed up MASSIVELY!

This video has WRONG burn numbers yet there is no way to contact them and let them know (without filling out some riduculous online form). They also take no comments on their videos.

Anyhow, do not trust these, they are about 2x too low. Ie, the boat burns WAY more than their charts display (or their numbers are for one motor, not two, that would make sense - yet this would be a misleading error as they are not saying it).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2V6BVnbZ18

 

 

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19 hours ago, abaco said:

Is it realistic to get 1.2 mpg loaded down cruising at 32-35mph?

I would say this is probably a close estimate based on what I burn in a twice as light of a boat with one motor only. I get about 2.5 mpg, my boat is 5k lbs, yours would be 10k.

Which is BTW totally different than the boattest.com video suggests... They screwed up big time. Can you imagine if someone believed them , bought the boat and then realized the thing burns 2-3 times more than the review advertised LOL?

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I can't thank you guys enough for the great responses. They have been extremely helpful!! It seems the general consensus on fuel burn is inline with what I was thinking. After looking at the performance reports on the Mercury Marine website for the 6.2L 350, it shows 1.6 mpg at 4000rpm and 35mph. I've always taken the reports with a grain of salt as it seems to me they can be a little optimistic on fuel burn. They are usually running a little light. Load the boat up with 6 people and 2 or 3 coolers full of food, drinks, and ice and the weight can add up quickly. With that being said, it still seems that 1.2mpg is a pretty realistic number. Im ok with that figure. 

As to the Bahamas run, I'll just have to do a little more thinking on that one. I have no doubt the boat is more than capable of making that trip as I have made the same trip in a boat much smaller boat (27' center console) Obviously it would all depend on the weather. I have the flexibility to wait on the ideal weather window. I would also go with a buddy boat, have all the safety gear, and a custom bow cover. I just dont want to do anything that would risk the safety of my passengers. Luckily I have the time to do some more research before i have to make that decision. 

Thanks again everyone. This forum is awesome! 

P.S. Anyone who hasn't been to the Abacos, I highly recommend it. We stay on Elbow Key. It's my happy place! Lol

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12 minutes ago, abaco said:

I can't thank you guys enough for the great responses. They have been extremely helpful!! It seems the general consensus on fuel burn is inline with what I was thinking. After looking at the performance reports on the Mercury Marine website for the 6.2L 350, it shows 1.6 mpg at 4000rpm and 35mph. I've always taken the reports with a grain of salt as it seems to me they can be a little optimistic on fuel burn. They are usually running a little light. Load the boat up with 6 people and 2 or 3 coolers full of food, drinks, and ice and the weight can add up quickly. With that being said, it still seems that 1.2mpg is a pretty realistic number. Im ok with that figure. 

As to the Bahamas run, I'll just have to do a little more thinking on that one. I have no doubt the boat is more than capable of making that trip as I have made the same trip in a boat much smaller boat (27' center console) Obviously it would all depend on the weather. I have the flexibility to wait on the ideal weather window. I would also go with a buddy boat, have all the safety gear, and a custom bow cover. I just dont want to do anything that would risk the safety of my passengers. Luckily I have the time to do some more research before i have to make that decision. 

Thanks again everyone. This forum is awesome! 

P.S. Anyone who hasn't been to the Abacos, I highly recommend it. We stay on Elbow Key. It's my happy place! Lol

     

Some real world 8.1 numbers. 4,000 rpm is a pretty steep average cruise as small block efficiency takes a pretty good nose dive above 3,500. As you can see below, the big blocks like it downstairs also. 

 

RPM SPEED GPH MPG
2150 17 6.7 2.537
2600 26 8.7 2.989
2650 26.8 9.5 2.821
2700 27 9.8 2.755
2750 28 10.2 2.745
2800 29 9.9 2.929
2850 30 9.9 3.03
2900 30.5 10.4 2.933
2950 31 10.4 2.981
3000 32 10.8 2.963
3050 33 11.4 2.895
3100 33 11.7 2.821
3150 34 11.5 2.957
3200 35 12 2.917
3250 36 12.6 2.857
3300 36.5 13 2.808
3400 37.7 14 2.693
3500 39 15 2.6
3550 40 15.5 2.581
3600 43 18 2.389
3700 46 21 2.19
3800 49 24 2.042
3900 52 27 1.926
4000 55 30 1.833
4500 56 33 1.697
4950 57.3 35.5 1.614
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       

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Long story short, that boat burns a crapload of gas.... I love the look and the design but the pricetag (250k), weight (10k lbs) PLUS two motors sucking an unbelievable amount of gas.... Nah. Mine will do... I don't go broke when I fill up LOL.

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1 hour ago, MonkeySeaII said:

I almost bought a Formula 260 BR before I bought my Chap.  I test drove one and had the deal in my hand.  Then I went and looked at my 256 at Cecil Marine and I liked it better.  And the fact that the Chap had every available option (minus the H.O. engine) for way less deer than the Formula that had nothing extra, it was a no brainer.  I remember the Formula dealer, who was also a Fountain dealer was trying to sell me a leftover 29 Fountain w/twin small blocks for the same deer.  I was like, yeah, nice boat but the Admiral would kill me!

Formula is better where it counts. Much better hull construction, glass work, heavier due to more robust supports, etc. Does it make a difference? Not sure, but that's why their is a price different. Formula also doesn't have the same QC issues as they are a much lower volume boat builder. They also include a personalized wiring diagram tailored to your boat and other numerous features like this that exude quality. Chap is good, no doubt. I'm happy with my boat. I trust my boat. My boat meets our needs, but Formula (and Cobalt) is on a different level. I will say though that your 256 was one of Chap's signature boats at the time, the 260 for Formula was their entry level boat. I would expect those two to be very similar TBH.

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I can honestly say that i spend a marginal amount more on gas than i did w/ my 264 (also had a 8.1L)  I do believe if I spent summers commuting large distances than the fuel burn would be noticeably bad.  I would say I spend about $500 deer / season more than before or about 1 extra tank.  I pull tubes and wakeboards w/ it as well, however, i am strongly wanting to get a Seadoo Wake 155 to go wakeboarding behind as my boat's wake is just too big and turbulent for that, but tubing is a blast

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55 minutes ago, abaco said:

As to the Bahamas run, I'll just have to do a little more thinking on that one. I have no doubt the boat is more than capable of making that trip as I have made the same trip in a boat much smaller boat (27' center console) Obviously it would all depend on the weather. I have the flexibility to wait on the ideal weather window. I would also go with a buddy boat, have all the safety gear, and a custom bow cover. I just dont want to do anything that would risk the safety of my passengers. Luckily I have the time to do some more research before i have to make that decision. 

Thanks again everyone. This forum is awesome! 

P.S. Anyone who hasn't been to the Abacos, I highly recommend it. We stay on Elbow Key. It's my happy place! Lol

It sounds like you've made your decision on boat choice. The 327 is about as good of an open bow you can get. I've been on a couple and they are very nice (although the styling is a bit too sporty for me, I prefer more of a luxury feel i.e. mocha seats and wood grain). You can make the run with that boat, you just can't stuff the bow. Is it likely to stuff that bow? No, but it is a possible in very rough seas and a storm. You could also stuff a CC bow, but generally they angle upward with flare which makes it harder, compared to a sport boat that is flat or angles downward with no flare. That's why I suggested a cuddy cabin, but the 327 is a nice boat and will do fine if you are safe and know its limitations.

I have not been to the abacos. I boat strictly in the FL keys at the moment. I would love to make the trek to the Abacos or Exumas someday. I know other guys on here would as well. Not sure if I'd take my current boat, but I would consider. Do you do any diving? I LOVE diving and snorkeling. I'd love to see some pictures!

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28 minutes ago, drewm3i said:

Formula is better where it counts. Much better hull construction, glass work, heavier due to more robust supports, etc. Does it make a difference? Not sure, but that's why their is a price different. Formula also doesn't have the same QC issues as they are a much lower volume boat builder. They also include a personalized wiring diagram tailored to your boat and other numerous features like this that exude quality. Chap is good, no doubt. I'm happy with my boat. I trust my boat. My boat meets our needs, but Formula (and Cobalt) is on a different level. I will say though that your 256 was one of Chap's signature boats at the time, the 260 for Formula was their entry level boat. I would expect those two to be very similar TBH.

My Brother-in-law's Cobalt has a defect in the gelcoat that he's been chasing since he bought it in 2008.  The dealer has tried numerous times to fix it with no avail.  It looks like some QC issue.  He also can't use the pump out for the head cause it collapses the lines.  Every mfg has their issues.

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19 minutes ago, MonkeySeaII said:

My Brother-in-law's Cobalt has a defect in the gelcoat that he's been chasing since he bought it in 2008.  The dealer has tried numerous times to fix it with no avail.  It looks like some QC issue.  He also can't use the pump out for the head cause it collapses the lines.  Every mfg has their issues.

Probably true, I have a gel defect on my boat too. Something where the pores are too large and trap wax and show up as white spots.

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