Captain’s Report by Capt. Steve
Intrepid 327 Mission Statement
Intrepid has had a great success story with their 327 Center Console, and this 327 Cuddy is a natural evolution of that popular model. Since this is a boat made for hard offshore work, it makes sense that she accommodates overnights for fishermen heading to the canyons, or the family heading to a weekend retreat.
Short of stretching the hull to give you a new model, there's not much that's off the table when it comes to customizing and Intrepid 327 Cuddy. Take the head compartment for example. Want granite countertops and a tile deck? How about teak decking and cherry veneer bulkheads? Let's talk about that hardtop… What sort of equipment do you want on it? Want an electrically-actuating skylight? Fancy an electrically-actuated chaise lounge in your bow seats? Odds are that whatever you ask for has already been done, and if it hasn't, Intrepid will fabricate it and more than likely add it to the existing options list.•
This 327 Cuddy is a natural evolution of the redesigned hull used on the 327 Center Console. The main goal of the new hull design was to take advantage of the more powerful 4-strokes on the market. In order to accommodate the increased weight, Intrepid added a larger wetted surface area that increases flotation to the stern on the back of a new hull design with four steps. In this manner, Intrepid tells us that they were able to maintain the speed and performance of their previous 323 series without adding significantly to the hull’s dry weight. This new hull can accommodate twin V8 350s, or triple V6 300s. •
Curves and shapes.
On the Intrepid 327 Cuddy you see lots of curves, radiused edges, and molded-in contour lines. It's easier and cheaper to mold and fabricate a flat or square piece than it is to make one with curves. Add to that an even higher level of difficulty -- molded-in reliefs and reverse curves, many of which cannot come out of a single mold. No builder can make a console like the 327 has in a single mold. In fact this console compromises eight separate pieces that then have to be bonded together and then finished off to the exacting detail that Intrepid requires. Something as complicated and as well-finished off as this can't be done easier and cheaper. It is, in fact, a repeatable sculpture in fiberglass and when you buy an Intrepid that is one of the things you pay for. If you don't appreciate fine art in boats, then save your money and buy something else.
Performance and Handling
Our test boat was fitted with twin 300-hp Mercury Verados. Those engines added 1270 lbs. (577.2 kgs.) to our 8700 lb. (3954.5 kgs. boat empty weight, and with 60% fuel and two people onboard we had a test weight of 11,290 lbs. 5131.8 kgs.)
Top speed was reached at 5800 rpm and 57.2 mph. At that speed we were burning 57.5 gph for a range of 224 miles. Best cruise was found to be at 4000 rpm and 38.4 mph. At that speed we had a 24.9 gph fuel burn for range of 347 miles. Time to plane was only 3.8 seconds. We reached 20 mph in 5.6 seconds, 30 mph in 9.4 seconds, 40 mph 13.6 seconds and continued accelerating through 50 mph in 20.4 seconds. Friends and neighbors, that is fast.
In my opinion the 327 Cuddy is a dream to handle. Her weight gives her a very solid feel that adds exponentially to her good handling characteristics. She's very responsive to control inputs but not to the point where she turned so abruptly that everyone and everything gets thrown to the side. She has a roughly 20–degree roll during extreme turns that further serves to keep you planted in place and she'll come around from a high-performance turn in under two boat lengths. Acceleration is met with a roughly 16-degree bow rise and in spite of the bow being so far from the helm I lost no visibility to the horizon. That has a lot to do with the ergonomics of the 327.
The 327 has almost sportboat handling characteristics when cranking and banking, and no matter how hard I tried I was unable to ventilate the propellers. While I tested in the calm waters of Miami's Intracoastal Waterway, sizable wakes from passing yachts show that the 327 tends to launch off the waves while maintaining a relatively level attitude that continues through the re-entry.
Because of her narrow forefoot there was no hard pounding when encountering these waves but rather a well-managed slice through. During a hard turn into a wave, the stern tended to press into the wave rather than slam to an abrupt stop. It just seemed that the more I man-handled the boat the more comfortable she got. This is definitely a boat made for heading offshore, and certainly getting you back in any condition that might pop up unexpectedly.
Our test boat was fitted with a pair of 300-hp Mercury Verados and in the center of the transom was an optional freshwater engine flush system. With a twin-engine application, a modest dive door is fitted to the port quarter, and leads out to a small dive platform and a re-boarding ladder. Optional coaming bolsters surrounded the cockpit and flush mounted deck hatches cover the two insulated and macerated fish boxes. An aerated recirculating livewell is in the center. There is a huge hatch to the pump room -- where the bilge pumps, livewell pump, and fuel manifolds live. There is also an option for adding a bench seat across the transom.
Intrepid not only continually develops innovative ideas, but refines those innovations as well. Case in point is their now famous hull side dive door. This was originally developed at the request of the Hillsboro Police Department for their fleet of patrol boats. The original doors opened outward, dropping into the water with integral steps mounted to the inside of the door. It worked great, and everyone loved them, but Intrepid wasn't satisfied.
New side door.
This latest iteration of the famous Intrepid side/dive door is inward opening and a flush mounted switch at the doorframe causes the ladder to extend out from the hullside and drop down into the water. This also allows the hullside door to now be used as a dockside boarding door making it infinitely easier to carry supplies onto your 327.
The ergonomics of the helm are outstanding. The double wide adjustable helm seat has a flip down foot rest, there is an additional foot rest at the bottom of the console plus a recessed area for tucking your toes into when standing, which allows you to get just a little bit closer to the helm. The windshield is made of safety glass as opposed to plexi, so there's no distortion at the edges but I'd like to see the center mounted compass moved over the port side in front of the helm. There are two recessed areas for putting stuff at the top of the console. A wide-open panel will accommodate two moving map displays with room for smaller ancillary displays, such as depth or autopilot, in between. Just ahead of the wheel were three SmartCraft gauges which keep the clutter to a minimum and naturally there were digital engine controls.
The push button electrical switches are not only waterproof, they're submersible to 15’ (4.6 m). All of the labels will illuminate when the nav lights go on and the perimeter of the switch itself lights when the switch is activated. All active switches are blue with the exception of the bilge pump switches which are red.
The optional hardtop is huge and supported by powder coated rails that also act as grab handles to the sides and above. LED lights cycle through white, red and blue, and spreader lights were fore and aft. Naturally, Intrepid will add any additional options such as rocket launchers, outriggers, or anything else you desire. They've even been known to add a lift system to transfer a handicapped owner from his wheelchair to the helm seat. Nothing is off the table at Intrepid.
Forward of the console is an intimate gathering area consisting of an L-shaped seat opposing a double wide bench seat. To my way of thinking this area screams for an optional cockpit table, perhaps with foldout leaves to accommodate transiting the area while the table is in place. Intrepid will be happy to accommodate such requests, but the owner of this boat decided against it. The seatbacks are angled at a noticeably comfortable level and wraparound fully to the forward bulkhead allowing you to recline while facing forward or aft. Naturally there is storage underneath the seats and all are within easy reach of the console cooler.
A conveniently located switch will slide the double wide seat, ahead of the console, over to starboard allowing for entry to the console head and shower. I think having the head removed from the cabin area is a brilliant idea and a great use of space. The compartment on our test boat was done rather modestly as requested by the owner, but Intrepid will work with you to accommodate any level of fit-and-finish you desire.
The Cuddy Cabin
The cuddy cabin is accessed by lifting a hatch and sliding the door to starboard. There's comfortable V-seating that easily converts to a berth by flipping up the attached filler panels, and the recessed support from the deck, and then adding filler cushions. There is modest counter space and an optional microwave for preparing light meals while underway. A huge forward-opening overhead hatch provides natural light and plenty of flow-through ventilation.
The foredeck is an easy step up from the seats and entirely covered in nonskid. I walked around the opening cabin skylight simply because it was a smooth surface, but I have little doubt that it could withstand my 180 lbs (81.6 kg) of mostly muscle. Fully forward, a flush mounted hatch is held open with a gas assist strut and covers the optional windless. Foot controls are in the aft corners of the hatch opening. An open section to starboard will allow you to manage any tangles.
Observations about the Intrepid 327
I've tested several of Intrepid's models so I've come to expect not only a high level of fit-and-finish but also a boat that handles obediently and with sure-footed grace. This 327 Cuddy shines in all areas. I found her to be an extremely comfortable boat with very predictable handling characteristics that go a long way toward adding a level of security to the offshore operations that this boat targets. She has a roomy layout that I found easy to maneuver around on deck, even with a full complement of camera crew and factory representatives on board with me.Intrepids are expensive, but as I have mentioned before, because the company is factory direct, there is no dealer margin so the up-charge is not as stiff as you might expect for the level of customization, build quality and service you get. Then there is the sheer fun of working with the principals of the company and planning out the new boat -- one that will be different than anything else and will have a minimum of compromises.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Intrepid Boats 327 Cuddy (2012-) is 57.2 mph (92.1 kph), burning 57.50 gallons per hour (gph) or 217.64 liters per hour (lph).
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
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