Chris-Craft Continental: A Timeless Classic on the Water

Step into the world of yachting elegance with the Chris-Craft Continental, a legendary boat that has captivated boat enthusiasts for decades. Known for its sleek lines, exceptional performance, and luxurious amenities, the Continental has become an icon of American boating.

From its inception in the 1950s, the Continental has undergone a series of refinements, each enhancing its timeless appeal. This guide will delve into the rich history, design, performance, and features that make the Chris-Craft Continental a boat that continues to inspire awe and admiration.

Overview of Chris-Craft Continental

The Chris-Craft Continental is an iconic line of luxury motorboats produced by the Chris-Craft Corporation from 1955 to 1989. The Continental was known for its sleek design, spacious interiors, and powerful engines. It was available in a variety of models and variations, including the Continental Mark I, II, III, and IV.

The Chris-Craft Continental was designed by naval architect C. Raymond Hunt, who was known for his innovative designs. The Continental’s hull was designed to be both fast and stable, and it featured a deep-V hull with a sharp entry and a wide beam. The Continental’s interior was spacious and luxurious, with a variety of amenities, including a wet bar, a refrigerator, and a stereo system.

Models and Variations

The Chris-Craft Continental was available in a variety of models and variations over the years. The original Continental Mark I was introduced in 1955, and it was followed by the Mark II in 1957, the Mark III in 1960, and the Mark IV in 1965.

  • The Mark I was the smallest of the Continentals, with a length of 26 feet.
  • The Mark II was slightly larger, with a length of 28 feet.
  • The Mark III was the largest of the Continentals, with a length of 31 feet.
  • The Mark IV was a redesign of the Mark III, with a more modern look and a larger cabin.

In addition to the standard models, Chris-Craft also offered a variety of custom options for the Continental. These options included different engines, interiors, and paint colors.

Engine and Performance

The Chris-Craft Continental offers a range of powerful engine options to suit different performance needs. The standard engine is a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. This engine provides ample power for cruising and water sports activities.

For those seeking even more performance, the Continental can be equipped with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that produces 430 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. This engine delivers exhilarating acceleration and top-end speed.

Hull Design and Construction

The Chris-Craft Continental boasts a unique hull design that sets it apart from other boats in its class. Its deep-V hull with a sharp entry and moderate deadrise provides exceptional stability, handling, and ride quality, even in rough seas.

The hull is constructed using a combination of fiberglass and Kevlar, resulting in a lightweight yet incredibly strong and durable structure. The fiberglass provides rigidity and impact resistance, while the Kevlar reinforcement enhances the hull’s overall strength and puncture resistance.

Hull Design and Stability

The deep-V hull design of the Chris-Craft Continental significantly contributes to its stability. The deep-V shape creates a wide waterline beam, providing ample buoyancy and resistance to rolling. This design allows the boat to remain upright and stable even in choppy waters or when making sharp turns.

Hull Design and Handling

The sharp entry of the hull enables the Chris-Craft Continental to cut through waves cleanly, reducing drag and improving handling. The moderate deadrise angle further enhances handling by providing a smooth and predictable ride, even in rough conditions.

Hull Design and Ride Quality

The combination of a deep-V hull and Kevlar construction results in an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride. The deep-V hull effectively absorbs shock and vibration from waves, while the Kevlar reinforcement minimizes hull flex and reduces noise and vibration transmission into the cabin.

Interior and Amenities

The Chris-Craft Continental offers a luxurious and comfortable interior that is designed to provide a relaxing and enjoyable boating experience. The spacious cabin features a well-appointed layout with ample seating, entertainment systems, and storage options.

The main salon is the heart of the Continental’s interior. It features a large U-shaped sofa that can be converted into a bed, as well as two comfortable chairs and a coffee table. The salon is equipped with a state-of-the-art entertainment system that includes a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, and a stereo system.

The galley is located forward of the salon and features a sink, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a stovetop. The galley is well-equipped for preparing meals and snacks, and it has plenty of storage space for food and drinks.

The Continental’s sleeping accommodations consist of a master stateroom and a guest stateroom. The master stateroom is located forward of the galley and features a queen-size bed, a private bathroom, and a walk-in closet. The guest stateroom is located aft of the salon and features two twin beds and a private bathroom.

The Continental also has a number of other amenities that make it a great choice for extended cruises. These amenities include a wet bar, a sunbathing area, and a swim platform.

Comparable Boats

The Chris-Craft Continental is a classic boat with a timeless design and modern amenities. It is comparable to other boats in its class, such as the Hinckley Picnic Boat, the Sabre 38 Sedan, and the Back Cove 37.

These boats are all similar in terms of size, design, and performance. They are all around 38 feet long and have a beam of around 12 feet. They all have a single diesel engine and can reach speeds of up to 25 knots.

However, there are also some key differences between these boats. The Chris-Craft Continental has a more traditional design than the other boats, with a raised pilothouse and a flybridge. The Hinckley Picnic Boat has a more modern design, with a sleek hull and a large cockpit. The Sabre 38 Sedan has a more spacious interior than the other boats, with a large salon and a full galley. The Back Cove 37 has a more rugged design than the other boats, with a deep-V hull and a high freeboard.

Ultimately, the best boat for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a classic boat with a timeless design, the Chris-Craft Continental is a great option. If you are looking for a more modern boat with a sleek design, the Hinckley Picnic Boat is a good choice. If you are looking for a boat with a spacious interior, the Sabre 38 Sedan is a good option. And if you are looking for a boat with a rugged design, the Back Cove 37 is a good option.

Key Differences

  • The Chris-Craft Continental has a more traditional design than the other boats, with a raised pilothouse and a flybridge.
  • The Hinckley Picnic Boat has a more modern design, with a sleek hull and a large cockpit.
  • The Sabre 38 Sedan has a more spacious interior than the other boats, with a large salon and a full galley.
  • The Back Cove 37 has a more rugged design than the other boats, with a deep-V hull and a high freeboard.

Pricing and Availability

chris craft continental 1956 boats usa

The Chris-Craft Continental series offers a range of models and options, leading to varying price points. The base price for a new Continental typically starts from around $400,000 to $500,000, depending on the model and engine configuration. Higher-end models with more luxurious amenities and upgraded engines can exceed $1 million.

Factors that influence the pricing of a Continental include:

  • Model: Different models within the Continental series, such as the 32, 36, and 42, have varying base prices due to differences in size, amenities, and performance capabilities.
  • Engine type: The choice of engine, whether inboard or outboard, and the horsepower rating, impact the pricing of the boat.
  • Amenities: Additional amenities, such as upgraded upholstery, sound systems, and electronics, can increase the overall cost of the boat.
  • Customization: Personalized customizations, such as custom paint colors, interior design choices, and additional features, can further influence the pricing.

Availability and Lead Times

The availability of new Chris-Craft Continental boats may vary depending on the model, time of year, and production schedule. Lead times for ordering a new Continental typically range from several months to a year, depending on the specific model and customization options selected.

It is advisable to contact authorized Chris-Craft dealers for the most up-to-date information on pricing, availability, and lead times for the Continental series.

Design Inspirations and Evolution

The Chris-Craft Continental’s timeless design has evolved over the years, influenced by changing trends and advancements in boatbuilding. Yet, it has consistently maintained its classic character and appeal.

Early models, such as the 1936 Continental, showcased a sleek, streamlined profile inspired by Art Deco aesthetics. Over the decades, the Continental has adopted more modern design elements, including panoramic windows, extended swim platforms, and spacious cockpits. These changes have enhanced comfort and functionality without compromising the boat’s classic heritage.

Influence of Classic Yachting

The Continental’s design draws heavily from traditional yachting principles. Its deep-V hull, for instance, provides excellent seakeeping capabilities, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride even in rough waters. The use of premium materials, such as mahogany and teak, adds a touch of elegance and durability to the boat.

Owner Testimonials and Reviews

The Chris-Craft Continental has garnered rave reviews from owners who praise its exceptional performance, comfort, and reliability. Here are some testimonials and reviews that highlight the positive experiences of Continental owners:

Performance and Handling

  • “The Continental handles like a dream. It’s incredibly responsive and stable, even in rough seas. I’ve never felt so confident behind the wheel of a boat.”
  • “The twin engines provide ample power for cruising and watersports. I can easily get up to speed and maneuver with ease.”

Comfort and Amenities

  • “The cabin is spacious and well-appointed. There’s plenty of room for guests and all the amenities I need for a comfortable stay.”
  • “The large swim platform and sunbathing area make it perfect for relaxing and enjoying the water.”

Reliability and Quality

  • “I’ve had my Continental for several years now, and it’s been incredibly reliable. I’ve never had any major issues.”
  • “The boat is built with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. It’s clear that Chris-Craft takes pride in their work.”

Maintenance and Ownership Costs

chris craft continental
Maintaining a Chris-Craft Continental involves adhering to a recommended schedule of inspections and servicing to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Regular maintenance helps prevent costly repairs and ensures the boat operates safely and efficiently.

Importance of Regular Servicing and Inspections

Regular servicing and inspections are crucial for detecting potential issues early on, preventing them from escalating into major problems. Proper maintenance helps extend the boat’s lifespan, maintains its resale value, and ensures a safe and enjoyable boating experience.

Ideal Uses and Applications

The Chris-Craft Continental is a versatile boat suitable for a wide range of uses and applications. Its spacious design, comfortable amenities, and powerful performance make it an ideal choice for cruising, fishing, watersports, and entertaining.

Cruising: The Continental’s comfortable seating, large sundeck, and well-equipped galley make it an excellent choice for extended cruising trips. Its efficient hull design and powerful engines provide a smooth and stable ride, even in rough conditions.

Fishing: The Continental’s open deck layout and ample storage space make it well-suited for fishing. Its sturdy construction and powerful engines allow it to handle rough seas and navigate shallow waters.

Watersports: The Continental’s large swim platform and built-in watersports tower make it a great choice for watersports enthusiasts. Its powerful engines provide ample power for towing skiers, wakeboarders, and other water toys.

Entertaining: The Continental’s spacious cockpit, wet bar, and sound system make it an ideal boat for entertaining guests. Its comfortable seating and large sundeck provide ample space for guests to relax and enjoy the day on the water.

Last Recap

Whether you’re cruising the open waters, enjoying a day of fishing, or simply soaking up the sun, the Chris-Craft Continental offers an unparalleled boating experience. Its timeless design, exceptional performance, and luxurious amenities make it the perfect choice for discerning boaters who demand the best. Step aboard and discover why the Chris-Craft Continental remains a legend in the world of yachting.


What is the history behind the Chris-Craft Continental?

The Chris-Craft Continental was first introduced in 1955 as a luxurious and high-performance runabout. Over the years, it has undergone several design revisions and upgrades, but its classic lines and timeless appeal have remained constant.

What are the key features of the Chris-Craft Continental?

The Chris-Craft Continental is known for its sleek lines, spacious cockpit, and luxurious interior. It features a deep-V hull for excellent handling and stability, as well as a powerful engine that delivers impressive performance.

What are the different models of the Chris-Craft Continental available?

The Chris-Craft Continental is available in several models, including the 28, 32, and 35. Each model offers a unique combination of features and amenities to meet the needs of different boaters.

What is the approximate cost of a Chris-Craft Continental?

The price of a Chris-Craft Continental varies depending on the model, engine, and options chosen. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000 for a new boat.

What are the ideal uses for the Chris-Craft Continental?

The Chris-Craft Continental is a versatile boat that can be used for a variety of purposes, including cruising, fishing, watersports, and entertaining. Its spacious cockpit and comfortable interior make it perfect for spending a day on the water with family and friends.