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VIDEO: Florida builders talk about the future

This spring I hit the road and visited three veteran boatbuilders in northeast Florida - Regal Marine, EdgeWater Power Boats and Bertram Yacht - and came away with some industry news.

The first stop was Bertram’s new home. The builder announced the much-anticipated move to this 43-acre facility in Merritt Island, Fla., after operating out of Miami for more than a half century. The new location gives Bertram more space to build larger yachts and team up with property owner VectorWorks to begin resin infusion construction.

EdgeWater currently builds its boats with resin infusion. This builder of small open boats was my next stop, and it is featured in the accompanying video presentation.

Click play for more on the visit with EdgeWater.

EdgeWater president Peter Truslow set me up with a sea trial of his new single-diesel-powered center console — the EdgeWater 228CC. The power package consists of a 180-hp 4-cylinder Yanmar (4BY2-180) linked via jackshaft to a Yanmar dual-prop sterndrive (ZT370). EdgeWater typically hangs either a Yamaha F225 or F250 on this boat.

The center console represents a piece of EdgeWater’s diversifying business, Truslow says. “We’re a company that’s been known to try different technologies and one of the ways we are doing that is experimenting with high-efficiency types of boats,” Truslow told me during a 45-minute interview. “This new 22 is one of those boats. We think there is a worldwide market for higher-efficiency products.”

Truslow also brought me up to speed on another exciting project for the company — its first new boat from the keel up since 2008’s 335EX (Express). The company expects to introduce the boat at its dealer meeting in July, Truslow says. The 28-footer is a design unlike any other Truslow has built in his 16 years with the company — and one that illustrates the changing market.

Truslow also talked about the company’s heavier reliance on outsourcing to keep overhead costs down, its successful entry into the bay boat market and the recent surprising uptick in sales of EdgeWater’s two largest boats.

At the Regal Marine plant in Orlando, marketing coordinator Paul A. Kuck II, son of CEO Duane Kuck, took me on a tour of the company's 15,000-square-foot showroom. I got a chance to inspect the new 27 FasDeck deck boat and new trailerable 28-foot express cruiser with single I/O and optional bow thruster. The young Regal representative homed in on some of the design features that set Regal apart from its competitors, such as the leg on the dinette table in the 27's bow that's mounted off the foredeck for increased foot space.

It's a small example of attention to detail, but one that shows the company's boating knowledge, Kuck says. "We love to say we are a company full of boaters. We love to go boating," Kuck says. "When we are building a boat, we think about all the things that a boater would love to have or how they would want to use their boats." Look for a video/slideshow of this tour in an upcoming Trade Only Today e-newsletter.

In a feature article in an upcoming issue of Soundings Trade Only, find out what else is new at Regal and EdgeWater, plus more details on the Bertram move. Right now, please take a look at the EdgeWater diesel boat.

— Chris Landry

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