Hi Rich, yes indeed, it was a typo on my part and I edited it accordingly. Thanks for the catch !
The flywheel forward 283 V8 was introduced into Chris-Craft runabouts in 1959. I have a 17-foot 1956 and 1957 Chris-Craft Sportsman model, but they were both powered with Hercules flathead motors. Many years ago I acquired a 283 that I intended to put into a Ventnor 225 that I was going to build, but that project never went forward and I ended up just popping it into the 1956 Sportsman. Guess what? The motor mounts were EXACTLY the same as the Hercules, so Chris-Craft could easily change depending upon which box the customer checked, or what production mode they were in. The Corsair line of boats started up when CC acquired the Thompson Boat Company of New York, and some of these boats look a lot like a Thompson, but with some Chris Craft refinement. The boats began production in 1963 and many got the small block Ford motors and Eaton outdrives simply because that's what CC bought when they bought Thompson. All the while, these small block flywheel forward motors were being put in thousands of CC wood boats and they are good motors. It was a natural to put them into the fiberglass Corsair. The 327F on the other hand, is a cruiser motor and it was not used widely if at all, on runabouts, and if so it was quite limited because the flywheel is deep on the rear of the motor and this isn't a good thing in a runabout (it will scoop water from the bilge).
In a 20-foot fiberglass Corsair or a Sea Skiff the 283 is the better installation in my opinion. Yes the 327F has more power, but the 283 is a beautiful package and if anyone really wanted more power there is a lot more potential pretty easy with that motor. As it is, however, they are 8.0:1 compression ratio and that just makes them run nicely and for a long time.
The front casting on the 283 is the same one introduced in 1958. Mine on the 1956 Sportsman is aluminum, and I think they all were. In addition, all my exhaust manifolds, oil pan, and transmission castings are aluminum, which I understand was the initial package that eventually got the exhaust and transmission changed to cast iron.
Hey I'm suprised you didn't put a John Deere motor in your boat, surely they have something with enough torque to push a 20-footer, ha !
(And in case you're wondering, my Jack Russell terrier who was caught in the act with one of my guinea hens in his mouth only needed a few flat hand swats on the butt to learn he is not supposed to do that, and believe it or not, he now walks with the birds like he's one of them. The bird was not seriously injured either, but if I had not been there at the time every single one would be gone.)