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Limestone 24 cuddy

Limestone 24 cuddy

IN THEIR WORDS

For many sailors, there comes a time to think about switching to power. The change works for some, not for others.

So when one particular Florida sailor decided motoring wasn’t his thing, Richard Limbach was there to take that powerboat off his hands. Limbach, of Sandusky, Ohio, jumped at the chance to buy the 2003 Limestone 24 cuddy.

“I loved the boat the first time I saw it,” says Limbach, who is 57 and owner of Lakeshore Pattern & Casting Sales, an equipment and tool manufacturer for the foundry and plastics industries. “It reminded me of the Lymans I grew up with — simple, pretty and very seaworthy.”

Limbach’s barely used dayboat/overnighter was designed by Canadian Mark Ellis and built by Medeiros Boatworks in Oakville, Ontario. “The boat was in Florida when I purchased it, and it was probably the only Limestone for a thousand miles,” says Limbach, who boats in the Sunshine State as well as his native Ohio. “The original owner had bought the boat in upstate New York and taken it south. That’s where I first saw it, and I told the owner that if it ever came up for sale, I would love to own it.”

After just 83 hours of engine use, the owner traded it in for a sailboat, and Limbach snapped up the 2-year-old Limestone for around $55,000. Purchased earlier this year, the boat’s already seen more hours than the original owner put on it. And Limbach and his wife, Susan, predict a long life for the boat they call “perfect for us.”

Limbach trailers the Limestone between Lake Erie and Florida. “I use it in the Punta Gorda area in the winter, and trailer the boat back to Ohio in the summer,” he says. Typical outings include family and friends, and the 24-footer has plenty of room for everyone, according to Limbach. There’s a double helm seat and companion seating forward, a padded engine box on the centerline, and a full-width transom seat. The facilities in the cuddy cabin — a small head and V-berth — come in handy on longer outings.

Power comes from a 300-hp MerCruiser 5.7-liter inboard that moves the fiberglass-and-balsa deep-vee hull along at a 30-mph cruising speed. Top speed exceeds 40 mph. The center location of the engine with a jackshaft back to a sterndrive gives the boat good weight distribution, says Limbach. And the gas tank is forward of the engine, adding to the boat’s overall balance.

The Limestone’s full windshield is perfect for cooler days on the water, says Limbach. “We have put almost 100 hours on the boat since January, mostly in day trips up and down the [Florida] Gulf coast from Venice to Naples,” he says.

So far, the boat has more than lived up to its seaworthy reputation. “It handles rough water very well, and just loves a following sea,” says Limbach. “We made one run from Naples to Fort Myers in March in 5- to 8-foot swells and 3- to 4-foot waves. I will remember that ride for a long time as absolutely great.”

Limbach, a lifelong boater, isn’t easily impressed either. “Growing up on Lake Erie, I have boated all my life, starting as a baby on my dad’s boats,” he says. “And I’ve always owned a boat as an adult.” In fact, he’s had 16 boats over the last 31 years, mostly cabin cruisers from 25 to 36 feet. And in addition to the Limestone, he also owns a 33-foot Tiara.

The little Limestone just might be his favorite, though. “This Ellis design with a deep-vee performs great,” he says. “And I think it’s a real looker, too.”

WALKTHROUGH

The Limestone 24 rides a deep-vee balsa-cored hull constructed of alternate layers of hand-laid fiberglass. The fiberglass stringers are reinforced with plywood and glassed-in. The hull has an ample beam of a little more than 9 feet for its 23-foot, 6-inch length. Three strakes help it jump on plane; the wide beam (enhanced by a graceful tumblehome) gives it a stable ride; and a pronounced bow flare sheds the waves an angler may encounter.

The boat has helm and companion seats, as well as a full-width padded transom seat. Storage bins and lockers are under the gunwales, and helm and companion seats. The large windscreen, with panels that open for ventilation, wraps around the helm area, protecting the starboard steering station. A convertible canvas top folds down forward of the windscreen.

The cuddy cabin has sitting headroom and can be trimmed in teak. There’s a V-berth with insert and room for a head. A dome light and ceiling hatch are both convenient and comforting.

The Limestone 24 has a jackshaft sterndrive setup, with a MerCruiser gas inboard coupled to a Bravo outdrive. The boat also is available with a deck-mounted engine (under an engine box) or a below-deck version, with the engine under a deck hatch. (Some earlier models were available with outboard power.) Because the boats are semicustom, buyers can order different arrangements in both the cockpit and cuddy cabin.

AVAILABILITY

Limestone 24s can be found on the Internet and in the pages of the classifieds, mostly along the U.S. East Coast and in eastern Canada. Prices range from around $25,000 to $90,000, depending on age, equipment and model. Here are a few examples.

A 1988 cuddy cabin in Massachusetts, powered by a 260-hp gas inboard, was listed for $29,900. Cabin amenities include a single-burner stove, icebox, sink and an enclosed head. The boat has GPS, VHF and new canvas. A 1990 express in Connecticut with twin 150-hp outboards and a portable head was listed for $24,900. A 1998 express, also for sale in Connecticut, includes a two-burner stove, refrigerator, dining table, enclosed head with shower, and a hot water heater. It has a custom teak bowsprit, teak swim platform with ladder, and full canvas and is listed at $64,500. An amenity-laden 2004 cuddy for sale in Massachusetts comes with a 300-hp MerCruiser and a teak package dressing up the transom, instrument and electronics panels, covering boards and swim platform. Electronics include GPS/plotter, VHF and depth finder. Price is around $89,900.

BACKGROUND

Sergio Medeiros learned boatbuilding at his father’s side in his native Portugal, working on the region’s sturdy offshore wooden commercial fishing boats. In 1985 he founded Medeiros Boatworks in Oakville, Ontario, intending to build a “powerboat without peer.” Mark Ellis designed the first model, a 20-footer that debuted in 1986.

Ellis, known for both his sail- and powerboat designs — including the Nonsuch line of wishbone-rigged sailboats, as well as Blue Star and Legacy powerboats — also is responsible for the current Limestone lineup, which runs from 17 to 26 feet in express, center- and dual console, and cuddy versions.

Al Medeiros, son of the original owner, is in charge of the Oakville shop, building 35 to 40 boats a year on a semicustom basis. Limestone’s reputation for seaworthiness and dependability is reflected in its use by several marine law enforcement agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Coast Guard. (The builder’s boats were originally marketed under the Medeiros nameplate; the Limestone name refers to the Limestone Islands of Canada’s Georgian Bay.)