Some boat model number reshuffling and LOA changes happened at Chaparral Boats between 2009 and 2010. Since the 2010 model line change, there is only one "pocket cruiser" Signature, it is Signature 270 with LOA 27'00". Since then the pre-2010 Sig 250 became Sig 270. and pre-2010 Sig 280 became Sig 290. The Sig 250 and Sig 280 model numbers are gone after 2009.

This cryptic guide is a memo to self:

Year Sig 250 Sig 270 Sig 280 Sig 290 Sig 310
2011 n/a 27'00 P n/a 29'00 W 31'00 W
2010 n/a 27'00 P n/a 29'00 W 31'00 W
2009 27'00 P 28'11 P 29'00 W 30'08 W 33'04 W
2008 27'00 P 28'11 P 29'00 W 30'08 W 33'04 W
2007 27'00 P 28'11 P 29'00 W 30'08 W 33'04 W

P - Pocket Cruiser: 08'06 beam
W - Wide Beam: too wide for trailering


A bit of the background and long term boating goals. I used to sail a long time ago in Europe, mostly sloop and ketch, as well as small power boats. As my wife and I are getting closer to early retirement we want to get back into boating. The ultimate goal is to be able to cruise up and down the East Coast from Nova Scotia to Florida in something like Nord Star 31 Patrol. Not the prettiest boat, but functional and seaworthy.

In the meantime, as a proof of concept and a tryout, we want to buy a used smaller express cruiser, with an efficient but peppy (diesel?) engine. It would serve as all around boat for 2 to 4 people, suitable for overnight or week long cruises for 2 people. This boat would cruise 1000 Islands area and Lake Ontario from our St. Lawrence River waterfront property. St. Lawrence River is regulated and the water depth at our dock is 4-6 feet during the sailing season. The floating dock is 50 feet long is accessed from the shore by a 30 feet long bridge and located on river's smaller channel on a sheltered side of an island.

Now, some of the assumptions and our desired boat specs that I was able to conceive … see below.

Boat: express cruiser or peppy pilot, trawler, or downeaster
Length: 25-35 feet, trailer legal width is a plus
Engine: inboard preferred, diesel preferred (Volvo, Yanmar, Cummins)
Speed: 40 MPH max speed, 25 MPH optimum cruising speed
Range: 200 miles or more (important)
Other Desired Features:
  • radar arch or hard top (must have)
  • generator (must have)
  • good marine electronics, radar is a plus
  • good toilet system (vacuflush) 
  • decent engine compartment with easy access

Is this TOO much to ask for?


Just to capture some thoughts, ideas, and memos to self like this …