Boat Test #1417
The Campion Chase 530 OB proves that performance boats don’t have to be 40 feet long.
For more than 40 years Kelowna, British Columbia-based Campion Marine has ranked as Canada’s largest manufacturer of fiberglass boats. With a comprehensive lineup spanning 37 models and 48 variations, Campion has developed a substantial following of happy customers – not just across Canada, but in more than 30 countries all around the world.
But, from its full lineup, ranging from cruisers to runabouts and fishing boats, it is the high performance Chase series that is among Campion’s best-sellers. Available in both outboard and stern-drive models, the playful Chase series offers many of the luxurious amenities of Campion’s top-end Allante line. The Chase comes in a sportier package with the emphasis on snappy handling and spirited acceleration. Perhaps no model better exemplifies this balance of luxury and performance like the Chase 530 OB.
Designed to seat seven and accommodate outboards to 150 horsepower, the Chase 530 OB packs a lot of boat into its 17-foot, 10-inch frame. Built on the company’s proven Apex hull design, the Chase is built by hand using three-dimensional woven fibreglass that’s reinforced with Kevlar. It also includes a composite stringer grid and floor, and a fully composite transom. This tank-like construction accomplishes two very desirable things – replacing wood with composites eliminates any chance of rot, while simultaneously providing greater hull rigidity for improved handling. And the hull graphics are embedded right into the gelcoat, so that most minor scratches and dock rash can be easily buffed out.
Beam: 7’ 8” / 2.57 m
Dry Weight: 1672 lb / 760 kg
Fuel Capacity: 87 gals / 330 L
Max Horsepower: 150 hp
The main cockpit features a flowing, wrap-around U-shaped lounge that neatly integrates a pair of stereo speakers in the transom backrest. The driver and companion ride on ergonomic bucket seats with slider suspension bases and integral flip-up bolsters, while there’s additional seating space in the bow. Wrap-around coaming and thoughtfully-positioned stainless steel grab rails make this a great spot to stretch out and enjoy the ride.
The helm console features full instrumentation and a comfortable, padded chrome-on-black sport steering wheel. A knee-level beverage holder for the driver, and carpeted foot rest, are thoughtful touches. A large glove box atop the passenger console keeps personal items secure. A large in-floor ski locker located along the cockpit centerline accommodates bulky gear like water skis and wakeboards.
Out back, an integrated swim platform with a three-step retractable boarding ladder, a convenient stainless steel grab rail and a stainless steel ski pylon speak to this boat’s playful side. Retractable cleats – also stainless steel – retract into the hull when not in use to avoid accidentally stubbing wayward toes or fingers.
Thanks to its Apex hull design, the Chase 530 OB doesn’t need maximum power to deliver exhilarating performance. But many buyers will choose the 150hp outboard regardless, to simply take fullest advantage of everything this boat has to offer. Our review boat was rigged with Mercury’s all-new 150 horsepower four-stroke, which is built on a new lightweight, inline four-cylinder block. Weighing just 455 pounds, the new Merc churns out enough low-end grunt to blast the Chase 530 up to 20 mph in just over five seconds. Keep the throttle down and you’ll soon see the speedometer reach 50 mph.
It doesn’t take long behind the wheel to appreciate why Campion Marine’s brilliant Chase 530 OB has made such a splash. If your idea of boating includes feeling the need for speed, this is one runabout that’s guaranteed to please.
By Craig Ritchie