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Dom

Pros and cons to a forward Drive boat

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I'm looking to purchase a chaparral 246 ssi surf boat but I'm a little nervous about getting a boat with the forward drive. Can anyone help with the pros and cons to this type of boat ? Do you recommend getting that kind of boat ?

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From my experience, if you want the ability to surf and get a good ride at a decent speed in rough water the Chaparral with the Volvo forward drive is not just an excellent choise, but one of the few that can actually do both well.  The duo props give better handling at low speeds and will cruise at higher speeds with lower fuel usage that any vdrive boat out there.

The props are basically under the boat and away from the rider and the position of the props also has a tractor like pull to force the aft deeper when trimmed up at lower speeds to create a bigger wave.  The Malibu surf gates that are used on the Chapparal for wake shaping are also very easy to operate and work well.

That being said, the boat will sit much higher on the trailer to accommodate the props and outdrive position, so you will have to back in deeper at the ramp to launch and be cautious not to damage the props on the trailer when launching and loading or towing it into a steep driveway.  The drive and props have more draft, are lower in the water, and can not be trimmed up high like other outdrives so you will need to be more careful in shallow water or at the beach.  The props are also pricey to replace.

Also, a Malibu or Axis with surf gates will produce a noticeably better wave than the Chaparral can due to their hull shape and ballast and are a little easier on the rider when getting up.  Of course they also use more fuel than the Chaparral, they cruise at lower speeds, are much harder to maneuver at low speeds (especially in reverse), and do not ride well in rough water.  It is a trade off depending on what is most important to you when boating and where you are boating.

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