Boat Reviews

Judge Chesapeake 27 – Testosterone Injection

If you care about fishing, fishing, and fishing – period – and you’ve been trying to choose between the pilothouse, cuddy cabin, or walkaround models on the market, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced something of a let-down. You’ve probably seen plenty of frou-frou “fishing” boats that have so much styling and so many luxuries built-in that they cost a million bucks, but precious few serious fishing machines. You say you don’t need all that garbage, and you want a manly-man’s kind of boat? Then the Judge Yachts Chesapeake 27 might be right up your alley.

Judge Chesapeake 27
The Judge Chesapeake 27 is a no-nonsense fishing boat, which has become a bit of a rare beast in today’s marketplace.

Judge is a small semi-custom builder, so you don’t see a heck of a lot of them out there and the Chesapeake 27 isn’t nearly as well-known as cabin fishboats like the Parker 2820 or the Definace 270.

It also doesn’t cost nearly as much as those more popular brands and starts at just under $90,000. In today’s marketplace, that’s eminently reasonable. So, what do you give and what do you get by going with a builder like this?

Judge Chesapeake 27
Can you have this boat rigged to the teeth for trolling? Um… yes.

For starters, you can essentially have the boat rigged to match your favorite style of fishing. Do you want a million rod holders and rocket launchers? Not a problem. You’d rather have a big, fat livewell in the transom or under an aft seat, anywhere from 20 gallons, 30 gallons, and on up? Okay. Do you want a boat set up for offshore action? They can do that. You want the back of the pilothouse open, fully enclosed, or capped off with removable canvass? Check, check, and can-do.

On the flip side of the equation, we’re talking about a no-nonsense boat. The stock cabin has a step-down V-berth and a small head, and the pilothouse itself has a couple of chairs or an L-lounge to port. You can add in some tackle stowage if you’d like, and you could even talk to the builder about putting in things like a galley, air conditioning, or (god forbid) a TV. But that stuff is really out of place on a boat like this. Think bloody, not boutique.

Judge Chesapeake 27
Simple in nature? You bet – and we’re calling that a good thing.

Judge Chesapeake 27 Specifications

  • LOA – 26’4”
  • Beam – 8’10”
  • Draft – 10”
  • Displacement – 4,500 lbs.
  • Transom deadrise –12 degrees
  • Fuel capacity – 110 gal.
Judge Chesapeake 27
Some different seating and stowage options are available on the Chesapeake 27, but as a rule, the design is best described as Spartan.

Interestingly, Judge eschews the modern trend to build around the deep-V design, instead opting for a warped plane hull with a 45-degree entry that tapers to about 24-degrees in the middle and 12-degrees of deadrise at the transom. As a result, you won’t want to launch the boat at high speeds in heavy seas or you’ll regret it. On the flip side of the coin, as long as the boat remains in the water and you keep the bow down, splitting waves is no problem. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy far better stability when fishing adrift or trolling in a beam sea. Note: most deep-V cabin boats of this size are tender, some very tender, and if you simply keep the speeds reasonable when the seas kick up you won’t miss that deep-V in the first place.

Another advantage of this hull design is enhanced efficiency. With a single 300 horse outboard (top speeds hit the low- to mid-40s and cruise is in the 30-mph range at 4500 rpm) you can get around three mpg, which is pretty darn spectacular for a boat in this size range. You can hold a plane at lower speeds than a deep-V boat, too, so you have some good get-home options and the ability to cruise at just 14 or 15 mph while maintaining reasonable efficiency when the seas go from bad, to worse, to oh ****.

Judge Chesapeake 27
Fishability, stability, and a no-nonsense attitude is one reason why many Judge Chesapeake 27s go into charter service.

Put these attributes together and what do you get? A no-nonsense fishboat that’s rugged, reliable, and ready for the rough stuff that leaves those frou-frou boats sitting in the slip.

Judge Chesapeake 27
A little blood looks right at home on the decks of a Judge 27.

For more information, visit Judge Yachts.

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Lenny Rudow
Lenny Rudow …has been a writer and editor in the marine field for over two decades, and has authored seven books. He is currently the Angler in Chie...