The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport: Great Quality at a Great Price
The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport is one of the best selling family bowriders in the entire industry, and for good reason. This boat incorporates all the high-level quality and innovation you have come to expect from Chaparral at a great price point.
Chaparral Company Background
Chaparral has been a premium boat builder for over 50 years now. They are currently the top-selling stern drive boat builder in the 18-33′ range. They are known for their great innovation, high level of quality, and huge variety of products. The H2O series is their value product line. The key to the H2O series is that Chaparral was able to keep the price down by removing some of the bells and whistles you find on their SSi & SSX lines, without sacrificing quality.
The H2O line is built at the same facility as the luxurious SSX line and shares many of the same elements of quality as well. For 2018, Chaparral offers a 19′ and 21′ model in both a stern-drive package and outboard package. They are also all available with a ski & fish package as well. In this review, we will be covering the 21′ stern drive model.
Chaparral H2O 21 Sport Specifications
The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport measures exactly 21′ in length and 8’4″ in width. When you walk up to this boat and step inside, you will realize that it is a very deep boat that will give you plenty of security in rough water. The 8’4″ beam makes the boat very roomy on the inside. It is much roomier than many of it’s competition in the same size range.
The 21 Sport is rated for 12 passengers, which is likely the highest capacity you will find in any 21′ boat on the market. This high capacity is a testament to both the overall roominess in the boat as well as the physical size and rough water capability.
Engine options range from 200hp-250hp. We find the Mercury 4.3 MPI 220hp to be plenty adequate for the boat and it’s a great way to save a couple thousand dollars. If you like a little extra performance or plan to do lots of watersports, the 250hp option makes this boat a rocket!
The approximate dry weight of the boat is 3,100 lbs. plus trailer, so it is tow-able with most small SUV’s. The overall accessibility of this boat in both tow requirements and price make it a great boat for the first time buyer. It is also very popular on small lakes with size restrictions.
The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport is a great looking boat with sleek styling and many color/graphic options. The extended swim platform is built into the top deck and hull of the boat. This is a definite advantage over Chaparral’s competitors who typically bolt this platform onto the boat. It is much sturdier, it is better finished underneath, and it just plain looks better.
For 2018, the 21 Sport is available in 6 different colors. You can also spice the boat up with a black hull underside or SX hullside graphics. The best selling colors are black, stealth grey and electric blue.
Another popular option that really adds to the look of the boat is the Folding Arch Tower. This tower is available in black or white, and many people choose this option just for it’s great looks. The folding arch tower is functional as well. It folds down to make low clearance doors or storage more accessible. It’s main purpose is as a tow point for pulling skiers or wake boarders. This high tow point really helps pull your rider up out of the water and improves the overall ride experience. It is also available with an optional matching bimini top which is a must-have item.
The first word that comes to mind when we step inside the Chaparral H2O 21 Sport is “spacious.” As we mentioned earlier, the boat is 8’4″ wide. The legal size limit for towing in most states is 8’6″, so you are getting a boat that is nearly as wide as some 26′-28′ bowriders. Length is important in a boat for room, but having a nice, wide cockpit might be even more valuable.
The floor in the cockpit is a 1-piece fiberglass deck. This makes for easy cleanup. The boat can be washed out with a hose and allow the excess water out through the rear drains. This floor is a diamond-pattern non-skid throughout, so even without the carpet option it provides a safe walking surface. Having a 1-piece deck is important as well, as this prevents any rattles or separation over time.
All of the hardware inside and outside the boat is stainless steel. Many of our competitors use plastic parts, or plastic painted in chrome to resemble stainless steel. Although these are small parts, they help the boat hold up much better over time. The seat bases are composite as well, rather than the wood bases some of our competitors use. The Chaparral 21 H2O sport also incorporates their famous CDS (cockpit drainage system.) This is a system of channels designed to move any water to a drainage area before it is able to get under the seats.
Cockpit Seating Layout
The Chaparral 21 H2O Sport features a traditional layout. The rear cockpit features dual captain’s chairs, a straight back bench seat, and aft sunpad. One of the disadvantages of older boats is that you have to step on the rear sunpad and then on the bench seat to enter the boat.
Although the 21 Sport has a full sunpad and bench seat, the sunpad has hinged cushions on both sides of the sunpad which flip over. These allow you to enter the boat without stepping on the vinyl. The corresponding seat below the walk-thru is also removable.
These hinged cushions have a second function in addition to opening for entry. The also lock into a lounge position, which allows the occupant of the sunpad to lean back in a reclined position while anchoring out. They also open completely to access storage below.
Under the center of the rear bench seat is a built-in cooler. This is a large cooler that is blue in color, insulated and includes a drain. On one side under the bench you will find storage with the battery on/off switch. The opposite side provides storage as well.
Driver’s Helm Station/Port Console
The driver’s helm station in the Chaparral 21 H2O Sport is a fully-enclosed, fully fiberglass helm. This is a very desirable yet difficult-to-find feature to find in this category of boat. Many of Chaparral’s competitors use a shell for the helm station that is completely open underneath. This eliminates the helm as a storage area, and is not nearly as solid structurally. Other manufacturers also use quite a bit of plastic parts in their value boats. Plastic parts tend to fade and crack over time, which causes the boat to lose it’s value.
Chaparral has designed both helm stations in the 21 Sport to be fully-enclosed fiberglass. This has quite a few benefits. The helm stations are part of the top deck mold, meaning less parts to rattle & seperate over time. These enclosed helms also allow Chaparral to install storage doors in the walk-thru area. This turns the helms into huge, dry storage areas. Storage space is very valuable in boats of this size, so these helm-storage areas are a great selling feature. Chaparral also offers a bow walk-thru door. This door, when closed, blocks off the open area under the windshield. It works great at keeping the rear cockpit area warm on those cool mornings or evenings.
Bow Seating Area
The bow seating area in the Chaparral 21 H2O Sport is extremely wide and roomy. It is also very deep which gives a great sense of security. In addition to being deep, the bow features stainless steel grab-handles and full wraparound backrests. This gives passengers in the bow something to hold on to when the water gets rough. Both of the side seats open to access storage underneath. And if you like to lounge out in the bow, we recommend Chaparral’s bow filler cushion option.
Off the front of the bow is a built-in anchor locker with a non-skid top. The anchor locker off the bow is a welcome feature in any boat. This way you don’t have to drag a dirty anchor into the boat when you are done using it. The non-skid top surface makes for a nice step when boarding from the front.
Chaparral is the owner of the most award winning hull design in the entire industry, and they have incorporated this design into the 21 Sport as well. This patented design is called the Extended V-Plane Hull. This hull design essentially takes the point where the outdrive mounts on the transom and extends the hull further back on each side. This keeps the bow down on takeoff, keeps the boat on plane at lower speeds, improves fuel economy, and provides a smoother ride.
The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport is a great performing boat with any engine package. The hull efficiency is a big advantage here. It allows Chaparral to get great performance out of even the 200hp engine. Top speed tests on this motor get into the 48mph range. The 220hp and 250hp engine options will see top speeds in the low-mid 50s.
Chaparral H2O 21 Sport Trailer
Due to the fact that the 21 Sport is easily towable for many vehicles, Chaparral has included a Coyote Trailer as a standard feature from the factory. This is a tandem axle trailer that comes standard with brakes, a folding tongue & LED submersible lights. This trailer is custom made for the 21 Sport, and this makes loading the boat a piece of cake.
The Chaparral H2O 21 Sport is a great boat that will appeal to many buyers. It is built with some of the best quality found in the entire industry. It comes standard with lots of great features that you will have to pay extra for on other boats. It’s large profile can handle rough water much better than many of it’s competitors. When you look at the pricing of this boat compared to it’s competition, the value is incredible. If you are in the market for a 21′ bowrider, start with the Chaparral H2O 21 Sport. It will make your shopping process a quick and easy decision.
For more information on the Chaparral H2O 21 Sport, check out Chaparral’s website at chaparralboats.com.