Chianti 515

Chianti 515 Boat Test
Propellor Magazine -

Reflex Chianti 515

 

Reflex Chianti 515

As the Speights advert on TV so succinctly puts it. Its hard to find the perfect woman. Well the same goes for boats and as yet no one can say that they have achieved the perfect formula and produced the perfect boat.  Boats are a lot like a woman, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, what suits one man doesnt always suit another and given a rough patch they can
perform very differently.
o when Christchurch based Reflex Products set about designing the all-new Chianti 515, they had certain criteria in mind. While the goal was to design the perfect boat, they set themselves well-defined parameters to work within. The prerequisite was for a full bodied family style cabin boat under 5.25m that held to traditional kiwi values but had more than a hint of American glitz and Italian style. Right from the moulded bowsprit to the portofino stern, every feature of the Chianti has come in for careful scrutiny and is the result of the builders listening to not only those that sell their products but also those that use them.
Utilising the same basic hull as the Reflex Cobalt, the Chianti is a touch shorter and although utilising the same underwater sections, from the chine up is a very different boat. Reflex also used the Chianti to introduce their new computer added design (C.A.D) design and build method, something that is a huge departure from their previous traditional methods.
After construction of the prototype hull, the topsides concept drawings were refined and drawn with CAD. Cross section profiles were then drawn at 200mm centres along the entire length of the boat and these were transmitted to a computer driven overhead router. Sections were cut from M.D.F. board and a longitudinal section was also cut. With the appropriate slots cut, the sections were assembled like an egg crate and fitted to the hull.
The egg crate was then filled with high-density polyurethane foam and faired down using the MDF profiles as guides. Surfacing compounds were then applied and the normal sanding and polishing undertaken prior to the mould being made from the plug. Reflex found this an extremely accurate and relatively economic method of plug making and is now offering the service together with their pattern and mould making to the industry.
The unitary construction system is immensely strong and is stiffened with an inner liner, which incorporates stringers, floors, bins and side braces in one unit. The resulting internal cavities under the sole are injected under immense pressure with high density, closed cell polyurethane foam, which adds both strength to the hull and quietness through the water.

Soft And Flowing
The Chianti 515 is an amalgam of ideas and each has been carefully blended to produce a boat with soft flowing lines that looks balanced from virtually every direction. The bow section is particularly interesting with a moulded bowsprit with solid stainless roller and a very large anchor locker capable of handling a lot more tackle than most owners would put in a boat this size. There is space So when Christchurch based Reflex Products set about designing the all-new Chianti 515, they had certain criteria in mind. While the goal was to design the perfect boat, they set themselves well-defined parameters to work within. The prerequisite was for a full bodied family style cabin boat under 5.25m that held to traditional kiwi values but had more than a hint of American glitz and Italian style. Right from the moulded bowsprit to the portofino stern, every feature of the Chianti has come in for careful scrutiny and is the result of the builders listening to not only those that sell their products but also those that use them.
Utilising the same basic hull as the Reflex Cobalt, the Chianti is a touch shorter and although utilising the same underwater sections, from the chine up is a very different boat. Reflex also used the Chianti to introduce their new computer added design (C.A.D) design and build method, something that is a huge departure from their previous traditional methods.
After construction of the prototype hull, the topsides concept drawings were refined and drawn with CAD. Cross section profiles were then drawn at 200mm centres along the entire length of the boat and these were transmitted to a computer driven overhead router. Sections were cut from M.D.F. board and a longitudinal section was also cut. With the appropriate slots cut, the sections were assembled like an egg crate and fitted to the hull.
The egg crate was then filled with high-density polyurethane foam and faired down using the MDF profiles as guides. Surfacing compounds were then applied and the normal sanding and polishing undertaken prior to the mould being made from the plug. Reflex found this an extremely accurate and relatively economic method of plug making and is now offering the service together with their pattern and mould making to the industry.
The unitary construction system is immensely strong and is stiffened with an inner liner, which incorporates stringers, floors, bins and side braces in one unit. The resulting internal cavities under the sole are injected under immense pressure with high density, closed cell polyurethane foam, which adds both strength to the hull and quietness through the water.

Soft And Flowing
The Chianti 515 is an amalgam of ideas and each has been carefully blended to produce a boat with soft flowing lines that looks balanced from virtually every direction. The bow section is particularly interesting with a moulded bowsprit with solid stainless roller and a very large anchor locker capable of handling a lot more tackle than most owners would put in a boat this size. There is space for a small capstan and thanks to the over sized perspex deck hatch all anchoring chores can be carried out from the safety of the cabin. The narrow side decks are really only there for looks and may have been better utilised by offering more internal cabin space. A split bowrail makes it easy to clamber back aboard when you push off a beach or hang onto when waiting for the trailer to arrive at the ramp.
The height of the foredeck was determined by the ability of a 6ft tall person being able to sit on the cabin squab without hitting their head on the cabin top. The bunks also had to be long enough to lay on and although not the size boat you would class as an overnighter, a bunk infill gives you a reasonably large double berth. There is a special section dedicated to a small chemical head and the internal liner was designed specifically to cope with such an extra. A 50mm cushion on top hides the 8 litre Porta Pottie completely and if you want some privacy then a draw curtain across the companionway of the cabin will do the job nicely.  Wide side trays look after plenty of gear and the lack of full bulkheads means the cabin and cockpit work together as one with easy entry.
With more people now fitting extras such as a GPS/plotter, VHF and fishfinder, the need for somewhere to flush mount the electronics has become a necessity. The new Chianti dash allows for it, with the instrument cluster area separated above a very large flat panel area ideally suited for your extra electronics. Reflex have also taken care of the need for somewhere to put the keys, mobile phone  and wallet with a recessed moulding tray beside the helm and another small side tray in the side coaming.
Seating in the Chianti is offered in a number of ways, from the standard twin swivelling bucket seats to a complete moulded back to back king/queen option. One of the most popular, according to Auckland Reflex dealer, Peter Blick of Peters PRB Marine is a king/queen to port and an adjustable bucket on a Softrider pedestal for the helmsman. This offers seating for five in the cockpit and still leaves plenty of open space for fishing. A major plus for the Chianti 515 is the moulded inner liner which makes cleaning the boat after a hard full-on days fishing so much easier. The clip-on carpet caters for those that like the softer feel under foot, but can be just as easily left at home when the fishing bug calls.
The generous side trays are wide enough for rods and water skis and there is a huge storage area under the floor. Part of the floor mould, the underfloor bin serves as the fuel depot as well as a wet locker. The Chianti 515 is not offered with an underfloor fuel tank, with the trend towards running four plastic 25 litre tote tanks. These give you the flexibility of totes and storage together and if you only have two tanks aboard, then there are still loads of storage space left. For those Christmas holidays when dragging the boat to the nearest gas station is not always convenient, the removable tote tank arrangement can be very handy.
The rear seats have also been given special attention with their width and shape capable of accommodating reasonably large guests. The bases are removable for easy access to the storage and equipment areas in the portofino stern and also mean you dont have to stagger over the seat cushion when coming aboard. Taken out when fishing gives a lot more useable working space right to the back of the boat.
Attention to the little things is obvious throughout the cockpit with an anti-skid step strategically placed either side, safety rails inside the coamings where you can grab them comfortably and moulded drink holders just in the right place to rest the tinnies. Fisherman are looked after with a built-in tackle box locker, a rear bait bin with cutting board lid and rod holders as standard. An excellent option is a Bermuda cutting board that fits perfectly above the deep engine well and can be conveniently placed at a useable height.
The engine well is large enough to cater for V4 outboards and the area around is fitted standard with a stern light, moulded bases for an external oil filler and fold-down stainless boarding ladder.
Cruising Comfort
The Chianti 515 is designed to handle outboards from 70hp to 115hp. For our test we had Peters PRB Marine fit a 4 stroke Mercury 90 and Boyd Honda came up with a 4 stroke Honda 90. To make things a little more interesting we tested out a few different propellers. Craig Archer, Mercury Marines Sales Manager brought along an 18 Vengeance, 20 Laser II and 20 High Five for the test.
The 18 Vengeance was the quickest, recording 44.5 mph @ 5300 rpm and probably would have gone quicker with the engine raised another bolthole. This compared with an identical 43 mph @ 5000 rpm for the Laser II and the High Five. It was in the mid range that the real difference showed up with the Vengeance recording 30.5 mph @ 4000 rpm and the Laser II and High Five both well ahead on 35 mph. Both the Laser II and High Five were quicker onto the plane with the High Five leading the charge at 15.5 mph @ 2500 rpm, compared to the Laser II at 13 mph and the Vengeance at 10.5 mph.
I found the High Five was excellent for towing the wakeboarders and water skiers and popped my guys out of the water from both deep and shallow water starts with ease.
For the Honda tests we went to Raglan Harbour and started off with an 18 Vengeance. Although the top end speed and in fact speed throughout the mid to upper range was slower than the Mercury 4 stroke equivelant the Honda was set one hole lower on the transom. Acceleration was good and there was no letting go in the turns, but the top end speed obviously suffered. Its all a matter of rigging a boat for what your requirements. The engine height makes a lot of difference. The Honda 90 weighs in at 169 kgs, compared with the Mercury 90s, 175 kgs and while both are around the same displacement - 1596 cc for the Honda and 1590 cc for the Mercury, the Honda has a lower bottom end ratio of 2.3:1, as opposed to the Mercurys 2.07:1.
When we changed to a smaller 17 Powertec, the rpm increased at the top end but the performance right through the range dropped. The tests were carried out with only two aboard and a lightly loaded boat. Add the weight of four guys and a load of fishing gear and the rpm would be brought right back. The 18 Vengeance was quicker off the mark and very responsive and my pick of the two for skiing.
This time I was only able to experience the ride and handling in calm water, although when I tested the Cobalt FX (NZ Propeller April/May 1997) I did get the opportunity to tackle some rather unpleasant seas off the back of Mana Island. Powered then with a 75hp Force, I found the hull handled well. In fact it handled damn well and was very predictable.  The underwater sections feature a running plank, 20-deg deadrise hull, wide full bow sections, flat coamings and double spray rails.
The Reflex Chianti 515 supersedes the Camino (later known as the Reflex Suzuki 600) which was first released in 1989 and the difference between the two boats in ten years is staggering.  While retaining all the same basic features, todays model represents a whole new era for Reflex. For sometime now I have felt that the Reflex brand has been in danger of being swallowed by its competitors and the need for something new was vital to the brands continual success. With the new Chianti 515, Reflex are right back in the game and Im picking that in ten years time, this is still going to be a big seller into the market that it is unashamedly pitched at.
Its true it is hard to find the perfect boat, but with the Chianti, Reflex has come pretty damn close in the under $30,000 market.

HULL
Model  Chianti 515
Price (Hull Only) $15995
Price As Tested $35000 (approx)
Designer  Reflex Design Team
Material  GRP
Type  cabin runabout
LOA  5.65m
Hull Length  5.15m
Beam  2.28m
Hull Configuration deep vee
Deadrise At Transom 20 degree
Trailerable Weight 1200 kgs (approx)
Engine Capacity 70 - 115 hp
Power Options Outboard Only
Fuel Capacity Tote Tanks

PERFORMANCE

Mercury 90 4 Stroke
       18      20     20
 Vengeance  Laser II High Five
800 rpm 4.0 mph 3.0 mph 4.0 mph
1000 rpm 4.5 mph 4.5 mph 4.5 mph
1500 rpm 6.0 mph 7.0 mph 6.5 mph
2000 rpm 7.0 mph 8.5 mph 9.0 mph
2500 rpm 10.5 mph 13.0 mph 15.5 mph
3000 rpm 18.5 mph 22.5 mph 22.5 mph
3500 rpm 26.0 mph 29.5 mph 29.5 mph
4000 rpm 30.5 mph 35.0 mph 35.0 mph
4500 rpm 36.0 mph 39.5 mph 39.5 mph
5000 rpm 42.0 mph 43.0 mph 43.0 mph
5300 rpm 44.5 mph  

Honda 90hp 4 Stroke
               18                 17
       Vengeance Powertec
750 rpm 3.5 mph 4.0 mph
1000 rpm 5.0 mph 4.5 mph
1500 rpm 6.0 mph 5.5 mph
2000 rpm 7.5 mph 7.0 mph
2500 rpm 9.0 mph 8.5 mph
3000 rpm 11.5 mph 10.5 mph
3500 rpm 18.5 mph 16.5 mph
4000 rpm 25.0 mph 23.5 mph
4500 rpm 29.5 mph 28.0 mph
5000 rpm 33.5 mph 32.0 mph
5600 rpm 41.0 mph 35.5 mph
5900 rpm    -          38.0 mph
All speeds are recorded using an Eagle GPS and rounded off to the nearest 1/2 mph.

NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
CPC certified, 5 year structural hull warranty, Pu.FF foam, internal liner, Max-Pro gelcoat, moulded bow sprit, cockpit carpet, four rod holders, tackle box, accessory wiring provision.

NOTABLE OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Boarding ladder, ski pole, interior lighting kit, cockpit trim upgrade, bunk infill squab, bow rails, two gas pedestal seats, Porta pottie type (8 litres), two tote tanks, canvas canopy.

ENGINES
Make Mercury Honda
HP 90 90
Model 4 Stroke 4 Stroke
Cylinder Type In-line-4 In-line-4
Max RPM 5500 6000
Propellers 18 Vengeance 18 Vengeance
 20 Laser II 17 Powertec
 20 High Five
Retail Price $13660 $12998

HULL
Model  Chianti 515
Price (Hull Only) $15995
Price As Tested $35000 (approx)
Designer  Reflex Design Team
Material  GRP
Type  cabin runabout
LOA  5.65m
Hull Length  5.15m
Beam  2.28m
Hull Configuration deep vee
Deadrise At Transom 20 degree
Trailerable Weight 1200 kgs (approx)
Engine Capacity 70 - 115 hp
Power Options Outboard Only
Fuel Capacity Tote Tanks

PERFORMANCE
Mercury 90 4 Stroke
                18      20             20
        Vengeance  Laser II High Five
800 rpm 4.0 mph 3.0 mph 4.0 mph
1000 rpm 4.5 mph 4.5 mph 4.5 mph
1500 rpm 6.0 mph 7.0 mph 6.5 mph
2000 rpm 7.0 mph 8.5 mph 9.0 mph
2500 rpm 10.5 mph 13.0 mph 15.5 mph
3000 rpm 18.5 mph 22.5 mph 22.5 mph
3500 rpm 26.0 mph 29.5 mph 29.5 mph
4000 rpm 30.5 mph 35.0 mph 35.0 mph
4500 rpm 36.0 mph 39.5 mph 39.5 mph
5000 rpm 42.0 mph 43.0 mph 43.0 mph
5300 rpm 44.5 mph  

Honda 90hp 4 Stroke
                18       17
      Vengeance Powertec
750 rpm 3.5 mph 4.0 mph
1000 rpm 5.0 mph 4.5 mph
1500 rpm 6.0 mph 5.5 mph
2000 rpm 7.5 mph 7.0 mph
2500 rpm 9.0 mph 8.5 mph
3000 rpm 11.5 mph 10.5 mph
3500 rpm 18.5 mph 16.5 mph
4000 rpm 25.0 mph 23.5 mph
4500 rpm 29.5 mph 28.0 mph
5000 rpm 33.5 mph 32.0 mph
5600 rpm 41.0 mph 35.5 mph
5900 rpm -            38.0 mph
All speeds are recorded using an Eagle GPS and rounded off to the nearest 1/2 mph.

NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
CPC certified, 5 year structural hull warranty, Pu.FF foam, internal liner, Max-Pro gelcoat, moulded bow sprit, cockpit carpet, four rod holders, tackle box, accessory wiring provision.

NOTABLE OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Boarding ladder, ski pole, interior lighting kit, cockpit trim upgrade, bunk infill squab, bow rails, two gas pedestal seats, Porta pottie type (8 litres), two tote tanks, canvas canopy.

ENGINES
Make         Mercury            Honda
HP                        90            90
Model     4 Stroke           4 Stroke
Cylinder Type In-line-4 In-line-4
Max RPM             5500           6000
Propellers 18 Vengeance 18 Vengeance
                20 Laser II 17 Powertec
               20 High Five
Retail Price         $13660               $12998