What ever happened to the cuddy cabin?
Time was, it seemed like every boat builder had at least one of these versatile, sporty, family friendly overnighters in its lineup. Now, you’re just as likely to find a giant bowrider with a sleeper compartment or a fishing boat with a berth tucked inside the console.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But for those who prefer the more traditional, reasonably priced model of recent memory, there’s the Bayliner 642 Overnighter. (I should mention that companies like Stingray, Glastron and Larson offer similar boats that won’t break the bank either.)
Don’t mistake “traditional” with “staid,” however. The Bayliner is no throwback model or one that eschews contemporary design and engineering. Rather, it has a fiberglass cockpit liner that’s self-bailing, resistant to rot and provides a solid feel underfoot due to its one-piece construction. It’s also relatively lightweight, making the boat easier to tow.
From the dock, you can step on the molded-in swim platform and use the starboard-side walk-through to enter the cockpit. The former is wide and deep for sure boarding; the latter reduces wear on the upholstery. When you get a chance at the dock or when on the hook, give the transom sun pad a try. It stretches full-beam and has a lift-up cushion that converts it into a lounge on the water’s edge.
The cockpit has a high windshield and gunnels for a secure and dry ride. A departure from the usual cuddy cabin arrangement, which calls for a straight transom bench, the Bayliner 642 features an L-shaped bench that can seat more people around the optional teak table. To extend the seating options even more, the port backrest pivots so the “first mate” can face forward or backward.
There’s storage in the floor locker, as well as under the cockpit lounge. Thanks to the fiberglass liner, almost all of the compartments are finished inside for simple cleanup and a deluxe look and feel. You can access the engine under the transom sun pad. The 642 Overnighter comes standard with a 135-horsepower MerCruiser 3.0-liter sterndrive, with options ranging up to 220 horses and 4.3 liters.
The helm includes a padded tilt wheel with rack-and-pinion power steering and side-mounted engine controls. A padded bucket seat offers good support and has a flip-up bolster for standing comfort. The dash incorporates new anti-glare gauges for better daytime visibility, as well as space for the optional GPS.
When you need to go forward to work the lines or set the anchor, the wide cabin door has molded steps leading up to the windshield walk-through. There’s an optional foredeck sun pad available here, and bow rails that add security, with a European-style opening at the nose.
Slide the door open to enter the cabin. It’s a tidy space with sitting headroom and two single berths. Recessed lighting and a pair of angular skylights provide illumination. A portable head is offered as an option; it’s located under the step down into the cabin and should be strongly considered if you plan to travel with wife and kids.
While well equipped, there are a number of options that take the Bayliner 642 to the next level — like the Preferred Equipment Package. This includes a stainless steel hardware upgrade, cockpit carpet runners, teak cockpit table and portable head, and will make you cruising much more comfortable for less money than if you added these options individually. There’s also a canvas camper package, as well as a cockpit sink and transom shower option that will keep you hydrated and allow you to rinse off after a dip in the lake.
Last but not least, it’s well worth pointing out that the Bayliner 642 Overnighter comes standard with a trailer and bimini top with dedicated storage. Cuddy cabins are made for traveling, and you can’t underestimate these two items for extending your boundaries and keeping you comfortable while doing so. www.bayliner.com
Bayliner 642 Overnighter
Length Overall: 21 feet, 4 inches
Beam: 8 feet, 5 inches
Draft (hull): 1 foot, 9 inches
Dry Weight: 3,084 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 33 gallons
Max. Power: 220 horsepower
Price: $36,463 w/MerCruiser 3.0L