Distinguishing Standard Features
Hull Design Features
Crownline has some interesting tweaks in the bottom design aimed at delivering faster planing times, better fuel economy, more stability in high speed turns, and the reduction of "stern wander" at displacement speeds. All of that is a tall order, and Crownline has designed more hull devices than we have seen on any other boat in its class as solutions. There are 4 major devices employed on this hull that are all a bit unusual --
#1 F.A.S.T. Tab.
The company calls the patented bottom shape the ‘’F.A.S.T. Tab’’ hull, but in fact this designation specifically refers to only one aspect of the boat's design. "F.A.S.T." stands for "Fin Assisted Safe Turn." This "fin" is a vertical, wing-like appendage just abaft the port and starboard chine vents and extend down a couple of inches. Crownline says that they ameliorate any loss of turning stability that might be induced by the chine cut-out for the vents.
#2 Chine Vent.
Note that Crownline does not call this aspect of the bottom a "stepped hull" as most builders do, but rather simply a "chine vent". (A hull "step" is typically a groove or indentation that goes all the way across the hull bottom from the chine vent to the keel.)In the case of Crownline, the air which is sucked under the bottom is restricted to the outboard surfaces of the hull bottom, according to the builder, and air is not distributed across the entire bottom abaft the vent as it is with conventionally-designed stepped hulls.
#3 Full-Length "Delta" Keel Pad.
"Pads" are horizontal sections in a boat's bottom designed into the keel which we often see on center consoles, bass boats, and some other types, but are rarely used on sportboats. They present a lifting surface to the water intended to help the boat get on plane faster, have a higher top speed, and provide better fuel efficiency. The Crownline 255 SS' pad is relatively narrow and extends from about three-quarters of the way along the keel to the transom.
#4 Vortex Generators.
According to Crownline, at displacement speeds single sterndrive boats tend to have what it characterizes as "stern wander." A company spokesman says that this is because water fills in the "hole" left in the water by the hull passing through and it is filled by water from one side which pushes the lower unit to the opposite side in an oscillating manner. By molding in small vertical skegs or tabs on the port and starboard stern quarters at the chines, Crownline says "vortices" are created which "spiral" water off the stern of the boat keeping water from "filling-in" from the sides, thus reducing "stern wander".
Other Hull Details.
The 255 SS has a 19-degree deadrise at the transom, which is typical for boats in this class, and the forward entry is 39-degrees.
The swim platform
is integral to the hull -- not a "bolt-on” -- and it extends beyond the lower unit in the down position. This looks much better than an add-on and should be stronger, as well. Extending beyond the running gear prevents stepping on metal when slipping into the water from the swim platform.Trim tabs are optional ($1,000, $1,250 with indicators).
The stern area of modern sportboats are where the action is and Crownline has risen to the challenge as well as any model in class, in our opinion. The integrated swim platform includes a "Soft Touch" composite mat covering that's easy on feet and knees and should prevent slips. This material is also wisely used on the walkthrough to the cockpit which is on the centerline. The stainless steel boarding ladder, which tucks under the starboard corner of the platform, has four steps rather than the usual three, a big help for those who need a little assistance when getting out of the water.
The pop-up tow eye won't stub toes aft, and looks solid enough to tow a truck. The cushions on the centerline of the three-part aft seating arrangement lift out to provide a transom walkthrough aisle. This is a two-step design and the builder has thoughtfully attached soft mats on the walkthrough. Two of the boat's six standard speakers are ensconced in port and starboard recessed tunnels that look like torpedo tubes. There is also the Social Swim Transom feature.
Premium Aft Seating.
We particularly like the aft seating arrangement which is not of the "dual-purpose, swing back" design that we often see these days. Rather, it is a purpose-designed and built two-tone bench seat with comfortable cushions for both the seat and back. The seat is wide enough for two or three people and it is an ideal place to put on boards or to launch other watersports activities. With two stainless steel drink holders molded in it will also be coveted seating when at anchor watching kids swimming off the stern -- or as a Romantic spot to have a drink at sundown.
The in-deck storage
for knee boards, skis and the like can be found forward between the helm and companion seat in the cockpit deck. Its hatch is wide enough for an easy fit of broader boards, and it's long enough to hold skis and even fishing rods. A removable rubber mat protects the gear, and the compartment is lockable. The cover is supported with a stainless steel shock for easy access.
The Fusion Marine Grade stereo includes six speakers, including two at transom, standard. It has an AM/FM radio, is rigged for an MP3 player and has Bluetooth. The speakers in the front and rear cockpits are tucked away under the back-rests. There are three cup-holders adjacent each aft cockpit speaker, two at the helm, two at the companion seat, four more up front and two more on the swim platform. This may seem like overkill, but considering that many of these will wind up holding sunscreen bottles and sunglasses, the extras will be appreciated. All are stainless steel and drain to the bilge, where the automatic bilge pump is located.
A standard 36 quart cooler
tucks under the bow peak seat, and if more space for drinks is needed there's a jumbo built-in, self-draining cooler under the aft cockpit seat to port.
We think the seating is noteworthy in the 255 SS: the stylish, two-tone helm bucket seats are real eye-catchers, and the backs are swept forward to provide added security during active high-speed maneuvers. Bolsters are standard, and the seat backs are vented to reduce perspiration. The handsome Crownline logo on the back of each can't be ignored.
"Hot Tub" Seats.
Also interesting are what the company calls "hot tub" sculpted seats in the bow, one on each side, which are chaise-style with elevated knee rests and large pillow-top headrests -- these should be exceptionally comfortable. The bow peak seat has back-rest pads to round out the seating up front.
Most families will also enjoy the aft-facing transom seats, likely to be the most popular spots in the boat when some of the crew goes over the side for a swim. There are three seats here, with the center seat removable for an easy walkthrough. (There's dedicated storage for these seat cushions under the aft cockpit seat.)
The dash features instrument pods in a somewhat retro look that's cool, and which also provides a sun shield for easy view of the fog-resistant 5" gauges. The standard wheel is a striking solid-wood work of art with a brushed aluminum center. A depth finder with air/water temperature gauge is standard. There is a 12V outlet for charging smartphones or a GPS, and there is yet another one by the companion seat to port.
is curved safety glass with a walkthrough center section, and a stainless steel header which adds a definite up-scale look to the boat. The stainless steel supports on this windshield are braced near the top of the frame, rather than on the side -- good engineering that avoids putting all the impact loads on the screws alone.
The walkthrough door
below the windshield is standard, and tucks away to flush mount against the console.
Performance and Handling
We have not tested this boat, so do not have performance information to report. However, the company says that when the boat is powered by the 300-horse Mercury 350 MAG turning a 24’’ pitch prop she reaches 20 mph in 6.7 seconds, 30 mph in 8.4 seconds, and tops out at 47 to 50 mph, depending on load.BoatTEST.com hopes to be asked by the builder to test this boat in the near future in order to provide specific and detailed performance information, including fuel consumption, noise levels, and range. At such a time our captain can also give an evaluation of the boat's handling characteristics.
The base package includes the 300-horse MerCruiser 350 MAG sterndrive with Bravo III drive. Options include lots more power, all the way up to the 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 L MAG H.O. Hot shots will probably want this latter option and should be prepared to pay $18,010 more for the 430-hp catalyzed engine over the 300-hp mill.
Options to Consider:
For families heavily into watersports, an optional tower, $7K depending on extras, will likely be on the list. Watersports and great -- and loud -- sound systems seem to go together. Crownline offers a full quiver of sound upgrades, as well, up to the Full Monty with amplified tower speakers and all sorts of other goodies, adding about $6K to the bottom line -- not counting the tower.
If having a one-of-a-kind boat is important, consider the Torino package--absolutely striking in tan and composite teak -- it's $1,160. Colored hulls make sportboats look like a million bucks and we would consider the teak mat for the swim platform ($550), underwater lights ($1,000), and the LED lighting package ($500).Other options we would consider include --
Price for the Crownline 255 SS
The Crownline 255 SS is priced at $71,930, MSRP, powered by the 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG with BIII drive. The next step up is the 320-hp 377 MAG which is $76,380. The MerCruiser 8.2 L 380-hp big block will increase the boat's price to $83,160, and $89,940 for the 430-hp version. All prices quoted are for catalyzed engines.
We think this is a good-looking boat, particularly in some of the more exotic color combos. Her cockpit is also deeper than the typical runabout in class, which is always good for improved security for young kids as well as keeping the guests dry. It is clear that the builder is trying hard to build not only a competitive boat but also one a notch or two higher than others in its price category.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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