Exceptional Wake Sport Experience.

Boat Test #1481

Of the 5 five models in the Chris Craft Launch series, the Launch 27 is an ideal choice for wake surfing as its 26” 8” length and 5,580 lbs dry weight are perfect for creating a large wake for surfing. The hefty 20 degree deadrise at the transom also contributes to a bigger wake. I tested the Launch 27 with all its surf features last July on Sarasota Bay, near the company’s headquarters for Power Boating Canada.

The Launch 27 is a pure delight to look at. This open bow combines a distinct personality with a classic look. The Launch 27 features stylish lines and abundant use of teak throughout the deck, gunwales, walk through of the sun pad and on the swim platform. The classic look continues with high quality stainless steel cleats, latches, rails and windshield frame that are not only attractive but also make this boat ideal for either salt water or fresh water use. High grade 29 oz. vinyl upholstery is not only beautiful to look at, but also comfortable for sitting or reclining. The wood steering wheel adds perfectly to the classic look of the Launch 27.

To give the Launch 27 wake surfing characteristics, Chris Craft utilized the Volvo Penta forward-facing drive stern drive. Unlike a conventional stern drive, Volvo Penta’s forward facing drive positions the propeller in front of the outdrive unit, keeping the dual spinning propellers away from the wake surfer. This is important since surfing is done just behind the swim platform.

To convert the wake into a wave, Chris Craft added Wake Worx surf tabs at the transom. The tabs are not traditional trim tabs, but instead they are designed to affect the direction of the water flowing past the boat to convert the wake into a big wave for surfing on one side of the boat. From the helm, the driver can adjust the tabs electronically. Push the tab down on one side of the boat and the other side of the wake turns into the wave for surfing. The Wake Worx surf tabs allow for minute adjustments to fine tune the shape of the wave for each surfer. Also, the driver can switch from one tab to the other tab on the fly, allowing the surfer to switch sides without stopping the boat.

Wake surfing is done at about 10 mph. Holding a speed is important to keep the characteristics of the wave consistent for the surfer. So Chris Craft added gold standard used in competition boats – the Zero Off speed control – to its Launch 27. Zero Off holds speed to within 1/10 mph using GPS technology. 

When it came to testing, the Launch 27 along with its surfing features created an ideal wave shape for surfing. Chris Craft is not currently featuring any ballast in the boat to create a bigger wake; however, there are storage sections on each side of the engine that are ideal for adding an aftermarket bladder ballast if needed. Besides surfing, the Launch 27 offered an excellent wake for recreational slalom skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and barefooting. A pylon for towing wake sport enthusiasts is an available option.

With the forward-facing stern drive trimmed up, the V-8, 5.3 Liter Volvo Penta reached an exhilarating 51 mph. The 20 degree deadrise and the hull design of the Launch 27 handled bumpy conditions exceptionally well, providing a pleasant, very dry ride. The Launch 27’s 8.5’ beam turned smoothly and quickly, a prerequisite for getting back quickly to a fallen wake sport enthusiast.

By Zenon Bilas