Old 08-17-2009, 08:08 AM
Senior Member (used to be B-Faithful)Captains Club MemberPLEDGER Admiral's Club Member
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Annapolis, MD
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Reason 4: The little things
  • Customizations
  • Good list of Standards
  • Fantastic resale
  • Classic lines and appearance
  • Choices of power
  • warranty
One of the things I enjoyed most about finally ordering the boat I wanted all along was watching it being built. My wife picked the cabin cushion materials and the accent colors. I was able to share trips to the plant with my son to see our boat being built. While it took some time to have the boat built as they are typically built to order, the time was great as it gave a chance for me and my son to learn a lot about boat building and understand how our boat was put together. Trips over the plant combined with receiving regular photos at my request really made the time go quick.

It is those little things that really help make me enjoy my boat. Plus with the build to order philosophy I was able to get the options and customizations I wanted. I wasnt paying for options that I didnt want on a boat that was in stock somewhere and I was able to get things where I wanted them (like rod holders). For my family boating I was able to have a dinette added and for fishing, items like a cockpit steering station added. Bottom line is that we were able to get what we wanted to make the boat suit our needs to the best we could without getting or paying for stuff we didnt want or necessarily need.

The other great part I found about Judge was that while I am able to customize the boat with options to suit my needs, there was an extensive list of standards that some of the other builder to order builders nickle and dime you out of that are necessary. The boat comes with state of the art volvo ql tabs, dome lights, windshield wiper, nice engine controlls, bow rail, bracket, cleats, etc. While they sound like they should be standards, many semi custom places they are not.

In addition to the customizations and list of standards, Judges have FANTASTIC resale (especially the 27 Chesapeakes). There are rarely any used and when they go for sale they go quickly and for great prices. Prior to me ordering my boat, I even spoke with an owner who sold their boat for more than they paid for it 7 years earlier. He only sold it to order a newer version. While I know this isnt the normal situation, the value retention is a huge plus to me as while I plan on keeping this boat a long time, it is nice to know that should I need to sell that the cost of ownership is about as low as it gets for a boat.

Of course, you cannot want a boat without being in love with its lines and appearance. I understand that it is not the new style of sleek and cutting edge and some may not like the lines of the boat. However, the boat resembles some of the work boats here on the bay with the forward helm but has a clean, newer, nicely finished, refined look. I get compliments on the appearance of the boat everywhere I go. To me it is design that will never go out of style. It is kind of like wearing a polo shirt, kakis, and boat shoes. It will still be in style 10 years from now just as it was 10 years ago.

I also liked that I wasnt forced into power that I didnt want. This was a biggie for me as I get turned off by a lack of choices. I dont like it when a boat manufacturer makes the decision on what power I will have. These are things I want to decide, just like electronics and options on the boat. Maybe I am too conservative for my own good. Being that Judge is factory direct and many dealerships are closing their doors, I certainly like the ability of chosing the power that I believe I could get serviced easily and quickly. (I stuck with Honda as BOE Marine is very close to me and they are a Honda dealer)

The strong warranty also gives me a good piece of mind that they stand behind the boats. There is a lifetime rot free warranty and 10 year structural warranty on the boat. Being that I know that Judge builds a well-made boat, I dont think I will ever have to use it but it is nice know its there.

Reason 5: The company
  • Bill Judge and his staff
  • Factory directOther
  • Judge owners
As mentioned in the introduction, I first found out what type of company Judge is through my father's purchase of a used 2001 Judge 27 in 2006. I got an email from Bill that offered for him to take a glance over the boat before taking it back to NJ. It was on that trip to the Judge facility that I was able to see the plant and meet Bill for the first time. He took the time to show me and my father his shop and go over what he was doing. When trying to decide whether or not I would sell my Maycraft to get into a Judge or have things built into the boat to make it more to our liking, Bill and his staff were always very helpful in explaining things and were not pushy in any way. Of course he exuded a confidence in the product he was making but always treated me right. He even performed some service work on my May-craft at a fair price while I was deciding to make the commitment to try to buy one of his boats.

I will say from having owned boats purchased through a dealer and private party, that I really enjoyed working factory direct. While Judge eventually would love to establish a dealer network, I did really appreciate the factory direct dealings. I know it is proabably more convenient for me than most on the board being only 45 minutes from the factory but it was great to get answers from the person who's name is on the side of my boat. Plus, I believe that there is more fat cut out of the cost and I was able to get a better value for my dollar than just about any other brand out there. No I didnt buy from a local dealer who does my service but I know Bill stands behind his product should anything become a problem. Plus I chose a motor where I can get great local service (from BOE Marine) so the only time my boat is going back to the factory for work is to add future options if I want or for a major item that most dealers turn to their manufacturer to repair anyhow. With dealers folding left and right, I also know my relationship is with peopel who arent going anywhere.

I will also note that the other Judge owners in the area were extremely helpful in my decision to buy a Judge. Just as there is a strong following for some other brands on THT, Judge has a strong following particularly in the Chesapeake region. They were very gracious in responding to my emails, taking my calls and answering my questions. They were also great to hang out with a few tackle shows and the factory open house in the spring. There is an atmosphere of a bond amoungst owners to where groups of us work together to find fish on some days on the bay. They certainly have made my ownership and involvement with Judge more fun...

Items I would change to make the boat "perfect" for me:
  • Nicer hatches
  • nicer finish in the fishbox
  • Front window supports
  • Options I wish I had (Radar, windlass, more rodholders)
Being that I take people for sea trials and frequently show my boat, I get comments at times to what it would take to make my boat their perfect boat. Of course being that Judge is a build to order custom manufacturer. 99% of the time you can get what you want. It only takes money (Alan Jackson song) Obviously some things cost more money than others and one has to determine what something is worth to them. Personally I got the boat I wanted aside from a few options that I will add as time goes on. Rightnow that list is radar, windlass, and additional rod holders. I had radar and windlass on previous boats but had already exceeded my budget so I got everything I wanted factory-wise and will add those things as my savings becomes a little more padded (problem is that because I bought the boat, the wife has gone for too many home improvements - I am a little slower at restoring savings at a rate I had hoped ).

Aside from the add on options I plan to do, there are a few changes I may have made during the construction of the boat. The first is I would have requested nicer hatches to the fishbox in the transom. This is more so to please guests to me as I use the fishbox for storage and I dont mind the plastic hatches. However that and the finish in the fish box are probably the only things I would want done and they would be to impress my friends more as as I carry a cooler that is easier to clean for fish (just my preference). I also like the window supports coming from the bottom instead of the top like I had on my May-craft. Of course these are all minor things that could be changed at the time of production at the request of a customer.

Oh yeah I would change the placement of two rod holders too. But that was my fault as I told them where and what angle to put them...