The design team at Chaparral set out to create an express cruiser with sportboat handling characteristics and an interior and cockpit that could compete with far larger boats when it comes to utility. By making the hardtop standard and adding important other equipment that is often optional in this size boat the builder is making the 310 Signature compelling.
The 310 features a welcoming boarding area from a full beam swim platform that extends 2’5″ (.74 m) from the transom. Our boat has the optional double wide aft facing seat ($2,838) replaces the standard transom wall and creates a comfortable spot to relax at any time the 310 is not underway. A switch at the helm lowers the optional set-up into a sun pad. A stereo remote is recessed into the side of the seat. To starboard is trunk storage and this is also the location of the city water inlet and shore power connections.
The cockpit deck is elevated 6″ (15.2 cm) from the swim platform, and the walkthrough measures 16″ (41 cm) across. Opposing bench seats provide a welcome conversational atmosphere and lie in front of, and behind, the molded steps leading to a non-skid caprail to facilitate boarding from a fixed pier.
The cockpit allows plenty of room for entertaining while the overhead speakers provide the atmosphere.
A side-mount base for the standard cockpit table, as well as two drink holders, are mounted to the starboard bulkhead. All upholstery is two-tone and includes a hand stitched diamond pattern sewn into the premium vinyl with nano-block technology.
The hand-stitched (with a sewing machine) diamond-quilt pattern adds a classy look to the two-tone upholstery with premium vinyl.
A standard wet bar is to port that features a sink with pullout sprayer mounted in a solid surface counter. Beneath is a trash receptacle, stainless grab handle, an optional cockpit refrigerator ($1,275) and a cabinet housing the main circuit breakers and standard battery switches for up to three batteries. Ahead of the wet bar is a cabinet housing storage for a standard 25-quart (23.7 L) carry-on cooler.
The bow is accessed from molded steps leading to the walkthrough windshield. A hatch in the standard hardtop allows transiting the walkthrough without ducking or risk of hitting one’s head. Access to the bow is via a molded in stairway between the helm and companionway to the cabin. Rail height at the working end of the bow was 20“ (51 cm). Fully forward a hatch, which is held open by a gas assist strut, opens to expose the optional windlass ($1,962) that our boat has. It includes 30’ (9.1 m) of chain, and 200’ (61 m) of rope that leads out to a stainless anchor roller. The characteristic Chaparral pickle-fork bow adds a surprising amount of roominess to the working area fully forward.The boat has 8 cleats, two are pull-up, and the six are fixed.
The helm is well laid out with square gauges flanking the sides of a blank space designed to accommodate an optional 12” (30.5 cm) Garmin display ($5,269 for GPS) that our boat has. The helm console features a dark tone to reduce glare. The helm is simple and has room for a 12″ nav screen. Three across, forward-facing seating allows for plenty of eyes looking ahead. Both seats offer flip up bolsters and the double-wide has storage underneath. Notice the hand stitched diamond pattern in the lumbar supports. To the right of the helm seat is a storage panel with breaker switches. A four-spoke mahogany wheel (with cover) is standard. Power steering and tilt are standard as are trim tabs with indicators. A single helm seat wraps around for stability and has the usual adjustment handles elevated to the sides of the pedestal. The seat also features a flip-up bolster, open ventilation to the back and a diamond pattern lumbar support. The companion seat is double wide with all of the same features of the captain’s seat minus the adjustments.
The engine compartment A switch at the helm activates the standard electric lift engine hatch revealing a wide open installation, leaving plenty of room for servicing the engines. There’s plenty of space ahead of the engines and convenient steps lead into the compartment. Our is fitted with a pair of 225-hp Mercury 4.3 L MPI engines turning Bravo III outdrives. The engine compartment offers an immense amount of room for installations and servicing. Two steps lead down to a platform ahead of the engines. The optional CO-Safe Kohler gas generator is in a soundproof shield. An automatic fire suppression system in the engine room is standard. The boat also comes standard with a hot water heater.
The companionway on our boat is outfitted with optional hardwood steps that were packaged with the hardwood deck ($1,326) which replaces the standard fiberglass deck with removable 55-oz. carpeting. Courtesy lights are on the risers of the stairs.
The main electrical panel is located at the entryway to the cabin. The cabin lights are conveniently — and correctly! — located right at the entrance to the companionway, just above a door leading to the ship’s electrical panel. Why other manufacturers cannot grasp the concept of locating light switches at the entrance to a cabin continually escapes me.
Mid-Cabin The mid-cabin is just one step down from the companionway and features 3’10” (1.17 m) of headroom. Chaparral correctly went with the primary configuration of seating making a secondary gathering area below decks. Naturally the area easily converts to a berth that comfortably sleeps two, and all it takes is inserting a pair of cross bars and relocating one of the seatbacks to a lowered position. Once complete the berth measures 6’4″ x 3’9″ (1.9 m x 1.14 m). A curtain provides privacy.
The salon and galley are basically a combined area with an L-shaped settee having storage underneath lying opposite the galley unit itself. I measured 6’3″ (1.9 m) from the optional hardwood deck ($1,326) which our boat has to the fiberglass headliner. There’s plenty of cabinetry to the sides and above the settee and surprisingly, opening portlights are offered as an option ($217) in the galley and salon. Upholstery is plush with multiple tones and a quilted pattern seen on deck is continued here. Speakers are hidden in the sides of the overhead cabinets.
L-shaped seating in the line has storage underneath all of the seat cushions. More of the diamond quilted pattern can be seen here. Capt. Steve’s back is what would otherwise be the foot of the forward bed. A side-mount pedestal base can be seen underneath the seat to the left.
The galley to starboard seems modest but is appropriately sized for this boat. A solid surface counter offers a recessed stainless steel sink adjacent to a single burner electric stove. To the right of the stove is a powered vent but this is a location that I would seriously consider adding the optional opening portlight ($217) for improved ventilation. A microwave oven is mounted above, and below the counter is a stainless steel handrail and a single drawer and storage cabinet. The stainless steel refrigerator is just to the right.
At first glance the forward berth seems relatively short, and after measuring it I came to realize that it is in fact short. But, as it turns out, the design team at Chaparral was not out of their minds but instead thinking outside the box. A press of a button to the side of the berth elevates the forward salon seatback forming an extension to the berth, thereby increasing its size to 6’1″ by 4’3″ (1.9 m x 1.3 m).
Hanging cedar lockers are to port and additional storage is underneath the side shelves. Natural light comes in from dual portlights and an overhead hatch. Just to starboard is a cabinet housing the standard flatscreen TV and stereo/DVD player just above. A switch on the side panel rotates the TV from a position viewable from the forward berth to being viewable from the L-shaped settee.\
The wet head is to starboard and features a stainless sink recessed into a solid surface counter with a pullout sprayer acting as the shower head. A standard electric exhaust fan is fitted along with the standard opening portlight. (High marks to Chaparral for the exhaust fan. Many very large, very expensive boats don’t have them!) A VacuFlush head with holding tank, china bowl and level indicator are all standard.