Who isn’t rooting for a successful comeback from Bertram? The iconic brand was such a big part of this industry, starting in the early fiberglass years, that it seemed a shame to watch it wither away. And the deep-vee hull that Dick Bertram built his company’s smooth-riding reputation on (kudos to designer Ray Hunt) is evident in the numerous iterations found on scores of boats today.
Good news. One of the headlines from this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is that a resurrected Bertram Yacht, with a new owner and new team, is building a new 35-footer, which will make its debut at next year’s FLIBS. The diesel 35 honors both the legacy of the great Bertrams that preceded it — the classic Bertram 31 provided inspiration — and the materials, components and building methods of the 21st century. The boat is good-looking in renderings, and the Bertram team says she will be bulletproof.
“We only have one chance to get this right,” says Bertram Yacht general manager Susan Davids. “People love their Bertrams, and we have to live up to that reputation.”
Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding in Thomaston, Maine, is building the first infused prototype hulls, which were designed by Michael Peters; Bertram is in the process of finalizing its production plans.
The new company is owned by Beniamino Gavio, who runs a large Italian industrial company and who, not surprisingly, is an avid boater and Bertram enthusiast. But the Italian businessman insists that Bertram must remain true to its American roots.
“He said this has to be an American boat, built for the American user with American parts on it,” says Tommy Thompson, the Bertram product development manager and a former Bertram company captain.
With her generously sized cockpit and a projected speed of 40-plus knots, the Bertram 35 will provide a handsome, functional alternative for those looking for something other than an outboard-powered center console. Visit bertram.com for more information.
* * *
Speaking of outboards … the trend in large, fast, outboard dayboats continued to find traction at FLIBS. Regulator Marine used Fort Lauderdale to introduce its new 41-foot center console with four Yamaha 350s on the transom. Top end is a hot 63 mph.
“Who would have thought we’d have a boat this big back when the first Regular 26s were being built?” asks company president Joan Maxwell. Regulator Marine sold two 41s, with a base price of about $650,000, at the show.
And Pursuit Boats displayed a scale model of its new S 408 center console, which will debut in Miami in February. The new boat — Pursuit’s largest at 43 feet overall — will be powered by triple Yamaha 350s and should have a top end of 53 mph without a tower.
There are scads of new open outboard boats from the mid-30-foot range up to the quad-powered HydraSports 5300 Sueños, which may be the largest center console in the world. Outboard performance clearly matters in this market segment, which appeals to active, time-strapped, well-heeled boaters who want a fast, comfortable open boat that is high on padded creature comforts and low on maintenance. No sign of this trend abating.
* * *
Cuba was a hot topic at FLIBS, especially now that American citizens with a legal reason to go to Cuba can take their own boats. About 250 people crammed into a function at the Active Interest Media pavilion to hear about an International Seakeepers Society initiative to get U.S. boat owners to the island, according to Cuba authority Peter Swanson, the editor at large of PassageMaker magazine, who has traveled to Cuba numerous times since 2002.
The AIM Marine Group (which includes Soundings Trade Only) is planning a series of rallies to Cuba in the spring, in addition to two fishing tournaments scheduled for June, according to Swanson, who organizes seminars for TrawlerFest events and is helping to spearhead the Cuba initiative.
“In the rush to Cuba, boaters are going to hear a lot of pitches for ‘legal’ travel that may or may not hold up to scrutiny,” Swanson told me. “If you decide to go, hitch your wagon to an established, reputable institution, not some blowhard on the dock who tells you you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
In other words, do your homework. One of the seminars at the TrawlerFest event in Riviera Beach, Fla., in January will focus on taking your boat to Cuba. For more information, email email@example.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue.