John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Judge 36 Chesapeake
Length overall  36'
Beam 12'
Draft  3' 3"
Displacement  11,500 lb
Fuel Capacity  158 gals
Water Capacity  30 gals
Price as Tested  $255,000

It was a one of those picture-perfect mid-September days when I met with Bill Judge, owner and president of Judge Yachts, to review the new 36 Chesapeake. He had a dripping hose in his hand and had just finished washing the boat down when I walked up. As a truly, hands-on company owner, Judge is personally involved in the production of Judge yachts, from working directly with customers during the design phase through the final tweaking of engine alignment. Located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Judge Yachts offers a diverse line of well built boats ranging from 22-foot center-consoles to 42-foot custom offshore sport fishermen.
As its name suggests, the 36 has a distinctive Chesapeake look to her, but Judge adds a touch of sleek yacht styling, enhancing the boat's appeal. She has a large cockpit with a steering station to starboard. The forward end of the cockpit is shaded by an overhang off the back of the pilot house–a nice touch that I took advantage of to get out of the sun while Bill maneuvered us out of the slip. Our test boat was also equipped with optional rocket launcher rod holders along the back of the overhang. A hydraulically operated engine box in the mid cockpit lifts to provide excellent access to the 425-hp Cummins QSB diesel engine; closed, it makes a convenient place to sit or to lay out a picnic.

The boat has two helm stations: a wheel in the cockpit on the starboard side and another within the protection of the pilot house. While meandering down the creek we moved forward to the pilot house despite the pleasant weather. A nice breeze riffled through the open windows, but reverse-cycle air conditioning guarantees a comfortable pilot house in any weather. The pilot house is equipped with a truly ergonomic wheel station. Everything from the comfortable captain's chair to the position of the wheel and electronic displays shows that some thought went into the operator's comfort. An L-shaped leather settee lines the port side and aft bulkhead of the pilot house. The accommodations are forward and down a few steps. A small galley sits to port, with a head compartment to starboard. A double V-berth is all the way forward.

Once clear of the no-wake zone the boat got up on plane quickly and was a pleasure to drive. The engine noise level was remarkably quiet even with windows open, and there was practically no vibration. With the throttle wide open, the ride was smooth, and we could carry on a conversation in normal tones. Cruising speed with the 425 Cummins is 30 knots with a top speed of 33. On test day (with a dirty bottom, Bill told me) we managed an easy 29 knots.

The Judge 36 is a versatile custom boat with the comfort and speed to appeal to both cruisers and fishermen. The pilot house helps extend the boating season–something that always seems too short, no matter how you use your boat.