Old 08-17-2009, 08:06 AM
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Default Judge Yachts 27 Chesapeake review and essay (long)

I have been meaning to write a review thread for my Judge Yachts 27 Chesapeake just as I have my other boats in the past. However, I had been apprehensive since I have started as a part-time sales rep for the company this past spring and didn’t want it to come across poorly. After some thought I decided I would write one anyhow. I would just again be open and honest about my part-time affiliation with the company. This way readers can decide for themselves how much credence they want to give to what I have to say.. Of course as with any post on the internet, these are only my thoughts and opinions anyhow and no one has to take the time to read them anyhow. Now that I have had the boat over 9 months and have over 220 hours on the motor plus countless hours more on the boat, I thought this would be a good time. Besides I needed something to do while I sat with my wife and she watched HGTV. Plus, I enjoy doing this kind of stuff. Bottom line is if you arent interested or dont like it, dont read it

Just to clarify my affiliation, last spring I had approached Bill Judge about helping sell his boats. This is a part time thing as I make my career in a sales position for a printing and direct mail company in the DC marketplace. Having taken delivery of my boat about 4 months earlier, I found myself constantly receiving compliments and questions about the boat everywhere I went. It was getting to the point that I had to pad the time I would tell my wife that I would be home due to people wanting to discuss the boat at the ramps I frequented. Because of this and my sales background, I saw an opportunity to help pay for some of my fishing habits and have a little fun helping others in an industry that revolved around my favorite hobby. It was then that I asked Bill to help sell for him and he accepted. Like many say, and I believe too, there is no better salesperson than a satisfied customer. The boat is a product I truly believe in. (*** UPDATE 2018: I have run charters out of the boat since 2013.)

Long time admiration:
To further justify my admiration of Judge Yachts prior to my affiliation with the company, I will note that my father had been Judge owner for a couple of years prior to me getting my boat. My father owns a 2001 27 Judge Downeast that was purchased used through a private party in 2006. Up until that point I had not met Bill Judge in person. However, despite buying his boat used, Bill Judge took very good care of my father and this started my knowing of Bill and what type of person he is and product he puts out. This only further spurred my desires to own one of his boats.

My admiration actually goes back even further as even prior to knowing Bill. I had always noticed his boats as they stood out to me on the bay. There are threads here as far back as 7 years ago (if not longer) when I had spoke of my high admiration of the 27 Chesapeake (see here: http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...now-judge.html ) I only rulled ownership out at the time thinking that my family would more into overnight trips on the bay and I bought a 30' boat with mid cabin. However the overnighting on the boat with a young family never worked out well for us and the passion for fishing that my father had instilled in me grew stronger. So, I needed to return to a trailerable boat. Of course even when I purchased my last boat upon downsizing I noted in my last review that the Judge was my top boat of choice. I just was not comparing apples to apples when it came to pricing with options and I didnt want to stretch my budget (See here: http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...-thoughts.html Prior to purchasing the Maycraft, I had looked at other sport cabin boats like Steiger, Parker, C-hawk, etc.) In the long run I discovered that nothing is more expensive than buying a second choice only to sell it and purchase what my first choice was all along. Anyhow, after owning 3 different boats since I first started boating here on the Chesapeake Bay and spending my life growing up at the Jersey shore on many others, I fully recognized that the Judge was probably worth the investment to get the boat that best suited me and my family's needs.

Why I like/chose the 27 Chesapeake:

Reason 1: Layout
  • Large cockpit
  • Ample area out of the weather
  • Open back wheel house
  • Level deck to helm
  • Full transom w. swim platform
  • V-berth area
  • Trailerability
  • Tons of storage
I love the large cockpit and equaly as large area out of the weather. The layout of the boat allows me to fish a full crew in comfort. During the spring MSSA tournament, I was able to fish a crew of 5 in periods heavy rains and we had an area of nice refuge where we could still watch our baits. For the most part we were dry except when the action heated up. I am also able to take my family of 5, along with a few friends on occasion, for a day of cruising around the bay without everyone having to bake in the sun. It makes for a nice shaded place on the water. The extended top with drop enclosure is great in the cold, rain, intense sun, and heat. I have used the boat on days that have started as low as 22 degrees and days where the high has hit well over 90 degrees and have always been comfortable. (of course the portable heater makes those sub-freezing mornings much more comfortable too)

The open back design of the wheelhouse allows everyone on board, whether they are in the cockpit or helm, to feel as they are together. I never feel like a bus driver and am part of the action whether I am at the helm or not. The level deck is safety issue for me as I don’t want my crew or kids to get hurt on the water. I have seen the effects of trip hazzard on a boat and it was important for me to remove that obstical.

Another feature that was a must have for me is the full transom. This gives my wife a sense of security for the kids on the water. They arent going by the power when underway and she feels like it is a better barrier between them and the water. I personally like it for drifting in rougher water, like the rips, where I have been on boats that have had rogue waves splash over my fathers previously full transom i/o powered boat. The full transom also allows for much more transom storage. We were also able to get the bracket with the full swim platform. My kids love this as they frequently like to swim off the boat in the summer.

The small V-berth is a great area for a nap and port-a-potti. Having a wife and 2 daughters, 5 gal buckets just don’t appeal to them. The kids are also frequent nappers in the cabin. I too have been known to nap after a long day before a tow home. While we havent done an overnighter on the boat, I hope to soon and love having that option. No it isnt going to make a great family overnighting boat but for an overnight trip with my son or a long fishing trip, it is nice to have that option. Plus having an area to lock my fishing gear when I trailer to overnight fishing locations and dry store clothes or other items on the worst weather days is a must too. The V berth is cabin is perfect for this.

I love all the storage on the boat too. I have under v-berths, under the helm seat, under the dinette, tackle storage drawers in the dinetter, and a huge transom fish box. I think this is the first boat I have had that I am able to store all my gear and still have room left over.

One of the best parts of this boat to me was maintaining a big water boat yet something I could trailer with my half-ton truck. I got tire of being land locked or limited to fishing the immediate area where I live. I wanted to be able to chase striped bass from NJ to VA as well as take the boat on our family vacations. Additioanlly I didnt want to be at the mercy of a marina for haul-outs, storage and winterization. They drive up the cost of boating and make you reliant upon other people for everything in many cases. Being that I typically drive over 25,000miles a year, I prefer not to drive a heavy duty truck. The weight and beam of the boat makes this boat easy to trailer and I do so with my 1500 silverado and 1500 suburban, both with a 5.3l v8.

Last edited by iFishMD; 10-11-2018 at 07:08 AM.