Hi, I’m looking for a 24-29’ focused on family cruising and the early 70s' Commander 28' have caught my eye. I am looking for some advice on this boat as there are some other options from Bertram, Luhrs and Tollycraft for example.

This would be a boat I use primarily in fall, winter, spring for cruises when the weather here in Virginia is too cool for my bow rider. It needs to be OK being wetslipped in fresh water for the midatlantic winters (Marina has bubblers to prevent solid ice which is rare anyway in the Potomac). There are many days nice enough to boat here in NOV, DEC, MAR, APR but cold for the bowrider.

Given this, my preference is for an enclosed cockpit with a table that drops to a third birth plus a v birth and separate head. Comfort for the wife and daughter is important. We need the ability to sleep on the boat for 1-2 nights maximum for “camping”.

This is my short list of priorities:

  • Fully enclosed cabin since I will primarily use in cool weather
  • 25+ knots WOT
  • Efficient cruise speed
  • Standing helm/cockpit
  • OK to wet slip
  • Possible 3rd birth (typically in cockpit)
  • Quality construction with no common rot problems
  • Enclosed Head (preferably with holding tank)
  • No sterndrive I/O due to wet winter storage

What do you all think about the 28' Commanders to fit this need?



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Are you asking about the 27 or the 28? The 28 is a Ray Hunt hull but no dinette.  Since the 27 and 31 hulls were built in large numbers and several models adding the 31 to your list could make the search easier. 

Good luck and welcome. 


Thanks Tim. The ones I have been looking at are like this one which is listed as a 28 Commander Sports Express.


Look under models and click on the 28.  Along with the normal info is an owner interview at a Rendezvous. 

You might want to do some research of Q engines, I hope some 27 and 31 folks chime in.

I had a 28ft Commander for 8 years, with  307Q engines, it was a great boat with a solid deep-v hull.

We had a drop curtain running from the hardtop to the deck so the helm area was enclosed.

We could run approx. 28mph at WOT but that was really pushing it, 22mph was comfortable.

Averaged 1mpg at 22mph, this is a deep-v hull so you're pushing alot of water.

There is plenty of headroom at the helm area, I'm 6ft with no problems.

The big selling point of the boat is the large flat floor in the cockpit, the Bertram 28 is split with 2 levels.

There is a dinette under the hardtop which can be converted to a bunk, we never used it as a bunk, might be a little short.

Don't know about wet slip, kept it on a lift.

No problems with the hull construction but the bottom side of the  engine hatches had been reglassed  when I bought the boat, the plywood underneath probably rotted. That's an easy fix if the hatches are soft.

There isn't an enclosed head, no room below for one.

I never had a problem getting parts for the Q-engine but I live in Mich. and there are alot of these engines in my area. The weak point of this engine is the intake manifold, they often freeze and crack because most people don't know how to winterize them.

We only sold it 2 years ago because we had done alot of cruising in the boat and decided to get more involved showing our 1974 23ft Chris Craft Lancer Custom at the Antique boat shows.

If you have additional questions call me. Pat Chaps 313-590-0567



I'm in the process of buying a 28 Sports Express. I also have a 27 Express. The 27 will sleep three for a weekend, the 28 will not. The 28's v-berth is raised up with storage underneath, very little headroom above the berth. The only other sleeping area is the dinette which is in the open cockpit area.

Sounds like you really need a 27. Mine may be available; I'm exploring repower options as we speak (single 350Q in it now).

Tim is referring to the fact that distributor caps and rotors for the Q motors are made of unobtanium. Which is the main reason why I'm looking at a repower.

The boatrader ad posted above looks nice for a sweetwater boat, but in my opinion, overpriced for those motors. 

I'm guessing you have seen the ad for a 28 in Lusby MD, that's the one I'm buying.


Timothy "Tim" Miller said:

You might want to do some research of Q engines, I hope some 27 and 31 folks chime in.

Have a 73 express cruiser with 307 q motors. Out here in California the parts are extremely hard to get. Great layout is the only reason I kept the boat. V berth, couch turns into a double bunk that I have personally used without issue. Reminds me old navy days. Dinette sleeps two comfortably if you are under 6’3” and medium framed. V berth it is difficult to sleep two together (separate works fine). Deck is vey spacious.

If you find a nice 31’ Commander now, you won’t have to sell a 28 and buy a 31 in a couple of years. LOL!

I had a 31’ Commander and loved it. Plenty of room for 4, had two young kids

Thanks guys, I’ll take a look at the 27 too. I’d probably only look at a repowered boat due to what I’ve read about the Q engine part availability. Jim I have seen that boat! I contacted the owners a few days ago and they said they believed it was sold. Funny that’s you. That boat looks nicely updated and repowered and it’s the one that caught my eye first.

How are the rot issues in the hull on the 27s and 28s? I presume they are wood stringers. Is the hull and deck cored with wood?
Jim if you have any photos of your 27 you’d like to share I’d love to see them. My Gmail address is daverobbins

David,  Commanders have glass hulls and stringers.  Aft deck hatches are probably cored.

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