When we stepped into the teak-trimmed cockpit of Doral's 235 Cuddy and sank into the leatherlike upholstery, we could see why the builders used the word "Elite" in the boat's name.
This Canadian builder has earned a strong reputation for creating leading-edge sport runabouts and cruisers. But as we can attest after visiting the factory, the appeal goes more than skin deep. Doral employs skilled craftsmen and emphasizes attention to detail, which is backed by one of the industry's most-thorough quality-control programs. As a result, its boats carry not only NMMA certification, but also a European CE rating.
With its deep cockpit and 20-degree deadrise hull, the 235 is well suited for operation on open bodies of water. We ran it through rough chop and noted a rattle-free ride, thanks to a construction process that utilizes composite laminates and extensive plexus bonding instead of simple mechanical fasteners. Wave-taming hulls don't always deliver the most speed for a given power plant, but the 235 strikes an excellent balance of lift and water penetration, and it gave us a top speed of just over 50 mph with the 320 hp power plant.
The transom platform is wide enough to host a swim party, and it features a deep four-step ladder for easy reboarding. Guests who prefer to stay dry and out of the wind will find ample seating on the wraparound bench in the cockpit, along with easy dock access via a dropped transom walkthrough. The cozy forward cabin is very well appointed, but it's best suited for naps.
Key Note: The floating equivalent of a luxury SUV, the Elite 235 Cuddy rides on a rock-solid platform that delivers top-notch performance.
• No need to clutter the cuddy, as storage space abounds in the deck and seat bases.
• Upscale additions can include a marine toilet and 12-volt refrigerator.
• Port lights, a forward deck hatch and a large window on the passenger console bring additional light to the interior.
* Length Overall: 23'7"
* Beam: 8'6"
* Dry Weight: 4,600 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 70 gal.
* Maximum HP: 320
* MSRP (test boat w/ MerCruiser 6.2 MPI): $85,445
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: MerCruiser 6.2 MPI 320 hp
* Test Prop: 21-pitch, stainless steel
* Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (40 gal.)
* Top Speed: 51.3 mph @ 5,400 rpm
* Time to Plane: 7.2 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 9.2 sec.