LOA: 25' (7.62 m)
DWL: 20' (6.1 m)
Beam: 8' (2.44 m)
Draft (Keel): 13" (330 mm)
Displacement: 4,400 lbs. (1996 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 75 gals. (284 L)
Deadrise: 12 degrees
Freeboard (Fwd): 45" (1143 mm)
Freeboard (Aft): 30" (762 mm)
Power: Sterndrive or Outboard to 260 hp
Construction: Cold Molded or Strip Plank

25' Cuddy

Back in the mid-70's, our family owned a 19' Sport-Craft Caprice. Not a great boat, but it got us out to the flounder and weakfish along the New Jersey coast. In August of 1976, Hurricane Belle made her way up the East Coast and our boat, along with all the others in the same small marina, was left in her berth when the yard owner went inland. The note on the door telling us to tie our boat up tighter because a storm was coming didn't help us get our boat lifted onto it's waiting trailer! We took what we could off the boat and added some more lines, then left for our beach house and waited out the storm. The next morning when the flood waters had gone back out to sea, we went down to the marina, where our boat was still afloat. Unfortunately, it had a 1 foot round hole in the side above the waterline from crashing into an adjacent boat.

Other boats faired worse. My mother's cousin had his wood sea skiff in the next marina over, all that was left were some planks and part of the transom. The insurance company totaled our boat, so my father went in search of a new one. At the other end of Brigantine Island was a boat dealer with a new Wellcraft V-20 Cuddy. Profile drawing of 25' Cuddy My father bought the boat and had our Johnson 115 and Evinrude 15 hp motors hung on the back. I seem to remember we were back in action before a lot of the mess was cleaned up! The V-20 was a lot more boat than the Caprice, her deep-V hull would slice through seemingly anything and the cockpit was larger. She did have a tendency to nose dive a little, but for the most part she was a very practical boat.

Sometime around 1994, I was feeling a little nostalgic and wondering why there were so few cuddy style boats left on the market. They are simpler and easier to build than a walkaround, and a little lighter as well. So I sat down at my drawing board and started designing this boat, though at 25' she was a little larger than most cuddy style boats. I don't remember why I settled on 25', that fact having long ago been written over on the little hard drive in my head! At the same time, I was also starting to see that sterndrives were actually quite a bit less expensive than an outboard with equal power. This led me to start this design off as a sterndrive. (Maybe that is why it was 25', to make room for that big engine in the cockpit!)

Her hull is a simple modified-V with 12° of deadrise at the transom. The lower deadrise would make her plane easily and use less power. It would also give her good initial stability, the V-20's other fault being it would roll your guts out in a beam sea. It rolled enough that my father got nervous when he took my grandfather out, as he fell down a couple of times. Her entry is pretty fine, which should give a soft ride in a short chop. I still can't fathom why so many people insist on deep-V's, especially when most boaters are not cowboys jumping from wave top to wave top. Spray would be knocked down by spray rails along her chines. Her high, flaring bow would give good reserve buoyancy in a big headsea, while keeping her from burying her bow when running down sea.

Hull Drawing of 25' Cuddy At the time, I envisioned her being cold-molded from 3-4 layers of Western Red Cedar. A strong, but also lightweight method of construction. Lately though, I have thought she may be better built using strip planking with a layer or two of cloth on the outside. This would probably be less labor intensive and a bit less expensive, as you would use a lot less epoxy. Framing would be sawn from Mahogany, Oak or maybe Fir. You could also build her from C-Flex®, but it may be a little heavier. If you wanted a glass hull, I would also want to mold in the spray rails in the form of a down-angled chine flat.

For power, I drew in a V8 sterndrive. With the advancements in outboards, including large 4-stroke designs, I would probably lean toward an outboard now. The sterndrives are still less expensive, but they are heavier and take up more cockpit space. There is also the problem with corrosion, although the new drives are much better these days. In keeping with the theme of a simple family boat, I don't envision the 25' Cuddy needing more than 75 gallons or so of fuel. She'll mostly spend her time near shore, a platform for fishing, swimming and picnics.

Her interior would be equally simple with a couple of helm seats, maybe some jump seats aft. You could also incorporate a couple of coolers aft of the helm seats with cushions. This would give you a removable fish box on one side, as well as a place to keep your drinks cool on the opposite side. Up forward would be storage and a place for a portable head. Berths on boats like this rarely get used, so I wouldn't bother with them. I'd build in some storage compartments and rod racks and be done with it. I'd have a deck hatch far enough forward that you could stand in the hatch and handle an anchor line without going all the way out on the foredeck. There's no place worse to be in a pitching boat than out on the bow, hanging on for dear life!

Over the years, I haven't changed my opinion of cuddy style boats. In fact, I probably like them more than ever due to their inherent simplicity. It seems these days that everyone wants everything, the more "features" the better. Maybe it's time we re-evaluate what we really need in our boats in order to have fun with our families. Sometimes less is really more!