Cutwater Boats has enjoyed widespread success over the last five years with models like the Solara 24, the Cutwater 30, and the Cutwater 28, all of which are popular sport-utility/crossover-themed boats. Built on a formula that emphasizes innovation, comfort, and convertibility, Cutwater’s boats can easily be used for many different types of activities, such as fishing, cruising, anchoring out, towing kids on tubes, and much more. Tapping into the many benefits of four-stroke outboard power, Cutwater has recently modified its designs to take advantage of these compact and efficient power plants. First came the outboard version of the C-24 about two years ago, followed by the introduction of the company’s new C-242 and C-302 Sport Coupes at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last year. As luck would have it, we were on hand for the launch of these new models and took the time to crawl all over them, inside and out.
Both the C-242 and C-302 Sport Coupes ride on completely new double-stepped hulls that are designed to enhance not only acceleration and top speed, but also boost overall fuel efficiency. Another feature baked into the hulls is Cutwater’s Laminar Flow Interrupter technology, which boosts cornering performance by engineering in small rails to the hull that counteract slippage. Both models also feature a bottom that gracefully transitions from 24 degrees forward to a relatively flat 11 degrees aft to provide a smooth but efficient ride in many different conditions.
On the stern of both models is Yamaha outboard power. The C-242 has a single 300 HP Yamaha F300 four-stroke outboard, while the C-302 has a pair of counter-rotating F300 four-strokes. According to a Cutwater representative at the Fort Lauderdale show the C-242 has a top-end in the low 40 MPH range and cruises in the high 20s to low 30s, depending on your fuel burn and comfort level. The double rack of Yamaha F300s on the C-302 pushes the top end into the middle 40 MPH range with a cruise in the low to mid 30 MPH range. Based on similar boats we’ve run in this size range we have no reason to doubt the claims.
On both boats pushing the engines aft opens up room for a grill/sink unit at the transom, which pulls double-duty as a livewell/bait prep station. How did they do that? Well, the electric grill on each model simply lifts out and stows, revealing a live well beneath it. That’s a clever way to add utility and function to the area. Also notable is the under-deck space created when inboard engines aren’t lying inside the hull. Each model’s cockpit has plentiful stowage down there.
There’s plenty of cockpit seating on both the C-242 and C-302, courtesy of a number of different fold-out/drop-down seats. The C-302 goes even further, having outboard seats that fold out from the gunwale and over the water, providing a comfy place to park yourself and relax. Both models have a cabintop extension/overhang that provides minimal but adequate protection from the rain and sun in the aft cockpit, as well as ample swim platforms that provide easy access to the water. That’s good news for folks who want to tow kids on tubes or water toys or for anglers who need to boat a big catch.
While the C-302 feels airy inside the main cabin, the smaller C-242 takes the openness motif to a whole different level. The C-242’s side Eisenglass panels can be removed, and the cabintop has twin manual-opening sunroofs. In hot and humid weather everything can be buttoned up as snug as the proverbial bug in a rug while the reverse-cycle air conditioning unit takes over.
Accommodations-wise, the C-242 and C-302 make excellent use of just about every inch of available space. The C-242’s main saloon features a port-side dinette with seatbacks that can flip either forward or aft to create companion seating across from the helm, or an aft-facing bench into the cockpit. Behind the helm is an aft-facing single seat that flips away and down to create additional food prep space next to the built-in sink. A microwave is tucked under the forward part of the dinette, while a refrigerator is neatly hidden beneath the helm seat. The C-302’s main saloon is, unsurprisingly, a good bit larger. This allows Cutwater to install a full galley aft and to port, which facilitates entertaining guests in the cockpit. To starboard is a dinette arrangement similar to the C-242 with seat backs that move forward or aft, depending on use. Lastly, the C-302 has a small bunk hidden under the dinette, which is comfy enough for your dogs or kids, but a bit too tight for two adults. It’s also a wonderful place to stow gear.
The C-302 has an offset, island-style, double berth set into the bow. An enclosed head/shower is located to starboard and a small stowage/shelf area is mounted on the port bulkhead. Twin overhead opening hatches and an astounding eight opening ports lighten up and ventilate the sleeping quarters. The only thing we want to see down here is a closet or gear locker. There’s a similar theme in the bow of the C-242, although it’s set up as more of a V-berth than a stateroom. A table can be installed to create a dining area, or cushions can be used to fill it out as a berth. There’s the same stowage/shelf space area to port, although it strangely has a sink installed in it. Like on its bigger sister, the C-242’s V-berth has plenty of light and ventilation. Three opening ports and two hatches do the job nicely.
What other big differences are there between the Sport Coupes? Price, of course; while the C-242 starts at around $110,000, the C-302 carries a bottom-line MSRP of just under $300,000. When you step back and take a look at the C-242 and C-302, it’s easy to see that Cutwater’s done an amazing job of translating its innovative DNA into two models that are a bit less utilitarian and more graceful and speedy. Folks considering an express-style boat with a dose of convertibility and utility would be wise to give these new models a look.
Other Choices: Though the Cutwater C-242 and C-302 are fairly unique craft, you may also want to consider some boats with a similar utilitarian bend, such as the Jeanneau NC 795 and 795 Sport. If you want to stick with inboard power, the Marlow Pilot 30 is worth a close look.
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|Fuel capacity||116 gal.|
|Water capacity||30 gal.|
|Fuel capacity||300 gal.|
|Water capacity||80 gal.|