Archive for the ‘classic fiberglass boats’ Category
Words© Chris (Seabuddy) Brown
A new Bertram 31 built in Italy, at first, is the news for the re-opening of this valued brand.
The new business owner is a boater and has a proven track record of investing in boat building and storied brand names in the marine industry. He is a fan of this brand, a great hardcore saltwater sportfishing machine. Benjarnino Gavio has owned a 54 Bertram, personally. The new 31 might be offered in both an open runabout design and fly bridge models.
The Bertram Yachts plant parking lot is filled with weeds now. It was Sea Ray’s plant earlier in its life. Seabuddy had a plant tour back when it was building Sea Ray’s. It is not a part of the new Bertram deal. That plant is going to Merritt Island Boat Works. A replacement boat building factory for Bertram Yachts is. A USA plant, most likely in Florida, Georgia, or North/ South Carolina is in the current search program.
The second model to be made is currently scheduled to be either the 25 or the 28 foot hull sizes. The 25’ boat was made in Italy before by Riva (with some Riva styling touches) in the 1970s. Riva also made the Bertram 20 Bahia Mar model. BTW, the Riva Windshield is outstanding with the lines of this Bertram model, as is all of their hardware on the Bertram boat that they built in this length.
Seabuddy spent a fair amount of time aboard a Bertram 28 just off the Pacific ocean California coast. She was powered by straight shaft Mercury Marine 260 engines. They provided just enough, but not any excess power and speed. The fly bridge was not to my taste based on its seating and how the skipper had to handle to the controls. They seemed to be misplaced in relation to the seating bases and not enough room for my guests. Thus, operating the boat was tiring for me. It is possible that a 36’ and a 46.6” Bertram will be re-born also, but at a later date.
The new owner of Bertram also owns the Baglietto shipyard in Italy. He, Beniamino Gavio, made a big investment in that yacht yard. He is quoted as saying “You can trust that I will treat Bertram with great, great, great respect — the same as I’m doing with Baglietto.” Note, he owns other businesses and the boating companies seem to be something he wants to get deeply involved with.
Words and photos © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown
Stephanie Rayan from VA. re-powered her Dorsett cuddy cabin model last winter and won three awards at the 2015 Classic Boat Show. Stephanie likes to use her boat, even as far away as cruising in FL waters. Thus, a modern engine made sense for her style of enjoyment of classic boating. Typical for her, she named her new motor. (her boat is named Sunburn) The motor is called Neverude. This engine was also repainted to color coordinate it to the boat’s gelcoat.
Sunburn is an outboard-powered 1960 Catalina model. The boat is perfectly restored. As an added plus, Stephanie displayed her entry in this popular classic boat show in-the-water-and-ready-to-go with great details like an “iced” drink cooler sporting the memorable “Coppertone girl and her dog”, along with games, and functional items like a spotlight. The boat was a show-stopper that brought smiles and sparked conversations among many show-goers as they walked the docks of this 17-acre show.
Sunburn is now re-powered by a new outboard. This provides good power for the 16’ 8” LOA Catalina model Dorsett. The boat is finished in Pennant Red, one of the five colors that were offered in 1960 by the boat builder. This classic small cruiser boat sleeps two down below, out of the weather. Raymond Loewy, noted designer of a few early 50’s Studebakers as well as the Avanti cars developed the design for this and other boats for the Dorsett Plastic Corporation. Loewy used a 6’ 6-1 /2” wide beam for the 17’ model.
This fiberglass boat company started making boats in 1955, first calling them Endura Craft boats. By 1958, the all the boats were marketed as Dorsett Boats. In 1960 the company was sold to Textron, Inc., which kept the Dorsett name. By then they were selling about $3,000,000 in boats, which were made in three boat-building plants, located in nearby Cambridge, MD as well as in California and Indiana. In 1964 and then in 1968 the company was sold again. The Dorsett Boat name ended in the 1967-1968 timeframe.
Sunburn, Neverrude and her skipper were a hit at the show.
Words and photos © Chris (Seabuddy) Brown
A black hulled single engine Cigarette swept its classes first time out of the barn. While she was up against a fast Nova/ Allmand 19, the judges all agreed that Lotus was the clear winner. Everyone was pleased that the number of off-shore fiberglass boats in attendance was on the upswing at this year’s boat show. Each show of the 57 diferent clubs have a slant to their show. It looks like this Mid-Atlantic Father’s Day Classic Boat Show / Festival is beginning to get the go-fast in rough water boating crowd.
Lotus is not a race boat, just a high speed, wave splitter cruiser/day boat for a young married couple and their dog. The boat is re-powered with a replacement, updated big block 496 cu. in. Chevy engine with EFI, for the ease of starting and shifting. The newer engine takes away show award points, but the ease of use of the newer intake system makes for a better boat, day in/ day out.
What does not take away points is the black hull finish. This boat has over 1,200 hours of sanding to get that flawless finish, up from a production boat building level of finish. She was finish sanded to over 2,000# grit paper. It is a AWLGRIP finish that one sees now.
The deck, cockpit, and the wood trim also took lots of finish work. Basically, it is several layers of epoxy. The cockpit dash was also updated with new instruments and other details. However, the vinyl seats and trim are several years old. There is a longish vinyl pad under the foredeck. It is out of the weather and in a pinch, one could overnight in this limited cabin.
Figure on a 45 MPH cruise and about a 70 MPH top end as powered in this 1972 24’ classic GO-FAST cruiser re-do.
Sta Bil 360 Marine adds new protection to your boat and its engine(s) for 2014. In many parts of the country, boaters have an off-season period. This can last four to 8 months depending on your home port. All you boaters that slip their boats in Key West, well Seabuddy is not talking about your boating fuel habits in a direct way in this write-up.
For the rest of us gas engine seasonal boat owners, let me suggest a few pointers.
Warning, I am not a chemist, I am simply passing on personal experiences and some advertising messaging put out by major players within the marine trades.
Put your boat away with the gas fuel tank 95% full.
At the beginning of your last fill up, pour in 1 oz. of Sta Bil 360 Marine for every 5 gallons of gas you intend to put in your boat.
Think about buying your Sta Bil 360 either at your nearest convenient marine store or at a low price shop. Google search “Sta Bil 360” at Walmart and Amazon.com. Watch your final costs including shipping and sales tax. Use half as much at every fill-up during the season.
Here is a quote from the fuel stabilizer maker “STA-BIL 360 MARINE offers comprehensive protection by releasing a microscopic corrosion preventing vapor inside the fuel system that coats ALL metals parts, including the fuel tank, fuel sending unit, valves, carburetor, fuel injectors and intake manifold. It’s like fogging oil for your entire fuel system, offering “360 degrees” of corrosion protection and is safe to use in all types of gasoline – from ethanol-free fuel to E85.
STA-BIL 360 MARINE accomplishes everything our current STA-BIL products offer, including keeping fuel fresh, removing water, cleaning the fuel system and more, but this revolutionary new product provides an exciting new level of protection for ultimate performance. For the first time, STA-BIL 360 MARINE delivers corrosion protection above and below the fuel line by releasing an innovative vapor that coats all metal parts within the fuel system to prevent corrosion.
Once poured into a tank of fuel, STA-BIL 360 MARINE will provide a vaporized corrosion inhibitor coating for up to 12 months in a stored boat or equipment.”
This product is new for 2014 and it won the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) Innovation Award in the Boat Care and Maintenance category.
IBEX is organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by members of Boating Writers International (BWI), the award recognizes innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured, benefit to the marine industry and consumers, practicality and cost-effectiveness.
Restored Race Boat. Wood deck fiberglass classic flat bottom w/ Casale V-Drive and Side Oiler 427 Ford engine
This is a 1961 Hallett race boat owned by racer/businessman Nick Barron, and he led its restoration. Others that had a hand in its restoration were Ray Day, Paul Richer, Ernie Casale, Harry Metzer, Harlan Orrin, Ken Meyers, and Hallett Boats.
She is a pure race boat with the additional aspects of high speed marathon water ski racing that is in Halett’s history built into it. This is a beautiful, historic boat from the Southern California racing archives. This boat rig is complete with a special “float-on” style (no bow eye winch and cable) Competitive brand boat trailer.
The boat’s rare Ford Side-Oiler 427 cubic inch engine was refreshed with its 536 horsepower power connected to the boat’s propeller via a 15% overdrive ( the prop spins 15% faster than the engine’s rpm) Split Case V-drive. Ray Day did the engine and Harry Orrin did the underwater hardware part including the Finish Line cavitation plate and hardware (racer trim tabs). Seating, steering, and other boat hardware details were done by Hallett Boats.
Harry Orrin did the beautiful wood deck on this Hallett racer. Its and the boat’s finish was done by Ken Meyers. Please note the blue pin line he did on the hull in my photos. It really sets the color and design choices off.
Baron Boats built fiberglass versions of Hallett Boats. Rich Hallett was a master wood boat maker/builder and he first arranged for Nick Barron to do this in exchange for a “free” fiberglass hull for so many Hallett designs Baron Boats made (it is rumored that it was one “free” fiberglass hull for every seven boats built).
That made sense as Nick served a far bigger customer base. He made up to 500 boats per year since starting his business in 1957. Now sales for custom specification Halletts are in the two to three dozen per model year.
A few years into the royalty agreement, Nick bought the name Hallett from the Hallett family. While for a short time, all Baron Boats made to Hallett designs recognized that with a plaque that said “Hallett by Barron Boat Works” – or words to that effect. That wording and the distinction was dropped. For most of the time, however, Nick Barron was the owner/mover/shaker behind what is called Hallett Boats. Seabuddy has met Nick a few times, often with his buddy master engine builder Paul Pfatt at southern California events. I think of him as a nice guy.
By the way, Pfatt Racing Engines is getting good sales and durability in the field with their 850 horsepower 429 cubic inch displacement GM LS3 with its new supercharging set-up. The redline for that 4.125 inch stroke motor from Pfatt is 6,700 RPM.
Here was the hot boat at my last boat show. I was on the other side of the floating dock with another boat, so it was easy to observe the action. This boat is hot with the folks that go to look for a fish boat today.
Some of them at the show liked the spaciousness inside the console, most liked the bow flair, but all loved the hatches and thoughtful storage all over the cockpit. Everyone was looking, opening, and commenting on this boat’s storage.
“Buddy Davis” and “Bow Flair” are ingrained in all of our minds. Buddy is now gone, but his boat and his legacy continues in his boat brand. It was in 1962 that Buddy began his professional fishing career as a mate. Buddy became 19-year-old Captain in 1968. He became a boat builder in the “off-season” by 1970. Then, in 1980, Buddy Davis became a full-time boat builder.
She is a day boat, a watersports platform, an off-shore fishing machine or an all-purpose boat that does duty as an inshore fishing boat. The boat simply does very well at all the things that all center console boats should do. She is a good and dry boat in Barnegat, Oregon, Hatteras, and Ocracoke inlets.
This fish boat has a deep vee bottom shape aft at the transom and a high tech layup that is a joy to see being crafted. She is a top notch yachtsman’s powerboat. What is the future for this battle wagon? Price increases. Engine prices are going up. You have three choices after you see this boat. Buy one now. Buy one after November and decide on smaller engines or pay $10,000 more than today for one. It is your money, take your choice.
Here are factory photos of the 34’ by 10’6” Buddy Davis.
Yes, and he won three times in Donzi boats. That was in 1965 and in1966. Don had also won the year before, in 1964 in his 27’ Claudia II. However, #seabuddy would not call his win in 1964 in a Bahamas race in his Claudia II boat as a Donzi Marine boat.
I believe that her wood hull pre-dated the design team that made Formula Boats, as well as the Donzi Brand team that followed Formula Marine in Don’s stream of boat companies. There are photos of Claudia II inside one of Don’s boat factories, but it was in for service, not construction, in my opinion.
Thus, Don raced and won first place three times in Donzi Boats which was in the 1965 -1966 time frame. These wins were in Donzi Marine boats, either named Donzi 007 or Donzi 008. Both were 28’ Donzi Marine boats.
By the way, the Claudia II 27’ boat design was sold to Marlin Boatworks an out of state boat builder, while a 23’ design became the very popular 233 for Formula Marine which he sold to Merrick Lewis and his Thunderbird operation.
Back to the story subject here, we all know that Don Aronow won 1st place in more than 4 races. So, what boat brands did he drive to a 1st place win in all his other races in?
The simple answer is 27’ Magnum and 32’ Cary brand name boats. The confusing issue is the boat names and as they compared to the boat brands registered with the race organizers of his boats. Second, depending on the race, Don Aronow would race his outboard, inboard, or a sterndrive version boat of the same boat name with one, two or three engines. His six Magnums were named/ called Maltese Magnum. He called /named his Carys The Cigarette as he often had a business deal that kept his name off boats companies or out of being registered as the boat builder of record. Hey, racing is fun and busiess should not slow down racing!.
Finally, Don was named World Champion in 1967, 1968, and in 1969. Plus, he won so many races in that 1969 racing year that his name will always be remembered.
There are four stories here.
First, the boat in seabuddy’s Photos.
This particular restored example has as a level of superior finish and detailing as seabuddy has ever seen on a new or restored boat. Please study the photos and look for waves or wallows in the finish or any reflections. There are none.
This ArenaCraft is a 19’ 6” Speedboat that was 5 MPH faster at top speed than the 20’ 10” Chris Craft Cobra of the same era with the same horsepower Both boat builders made their racy designs with a 6’ 9” beam. Most say that the Arena Craft handles better, also.
Both models were built with a full-width, single seat cockpit design. C-C mad their boats from wood with fiberglass touches in the deck design and ArenaCraft made theirs out of a fiberglass hull and deck molding with some wood and Hexcel stiffeners. Both were made to fit into a proposed racing class for Family Racing Runabouts.
Chris Craft was the largest boat company in the world with lots of dealers and sold far more boats of its model than ArenaCraft.
It is possible that this is one of only two of this boat model ArenaCraft that have been restored.
Second, who is Dan Arena?
A boat designer and boat racing driver who competed head to head within the Gold Cup and Unlimited boat racing classes against Harold Wilson, Guy Lombardo, George Reis, Bill Horn, and Bill Cantrell, to name a few.
He is credited with designing the first Unlimited race boat to win with a modern power source.
He added to what Ventnor did with the three-point hydroplane boats by flattening his boat’s profile and packing more air between the sponsons, which reduced wetted surface.
His prop and sponson innovations led the way from the tail-dragging Ventnor’s that always had their prop submerged while racing to his boats that sporadically rode on their prop as one of their three points, to Ted Jones’ race boats that always were a prop rider after Ted’s Slo-Mo-Shun IV.
His 1953 Hydroplane design was built later line-by-line by Les Staudacher, which resulted in the boat that set the fastest straightaway Unlimited Piston Engine Hydroplane record speed of 200.419 MPH.
Dan Arena had a stroke in the 1980s and died in 1995.
Third, what is ArenaCraft, et al, as a boat builder?
Dan Arena was a racer first and a pleasure boat builder second. Dan built one-off race boats back as far as the 1930s. He started building pleasure boats in around 1953. He formed the ArenaCraft Corporation in 1955. It seems that he made the transition from wood to fiberglass boats around then. He sold that business to Reinell Industries.in 1969 or so. All ArenaCraft after that date were made by Reinell, not Dan Arena.
Mr. Arena could not stay out of the boat business, so about a year later, the Dan Arena Company was born and started making boats. This was a low-production boat builder that primarily catered to Lake Tahoe water demands. Due to the high altitude of the lake a fast boat was simply not that fast on the lake and some capable in rough water ability was valued. Thus, many of Dan Arena’s boats were capable of speeds to 75 MPH at sea level when powered up. Such a boat usually had a v-drive 425 Horsepower Chevy engine. Howard Arneson threw a turbine in his and went over 100 MPH.
This was a family business, with his son involved in the business. Chris “Kit” Arena eventually ran the production floor at the Dan Arena Company after he started right out of high school with his Dad. There were a few exceptions as the woodwork was done by Lief Lund and the fiberglass Lamination was handed by Earnest Jackson after Kit had sprayed the gel coat. Chris also did the hand lettered “Dan Arena” logo. There were no cast name plates on Dan Arena Company boats, unlike ArenaCraft boats.
Fourth, what is a Barracuda?
Almost all pleasure boat models that Dan Arena had a hand in were named “Barracuda”. He liked that name. Both ArenaCraft and Dan Arena Company boats have Barracuda named boat models.
Barracudas came in 18’ this 20’, a 21’, and 23-24 foot sizes, at least. He made single, twin, and open cockpit runabouts. Boats with and without opening windshields. Some sported Corvette car windshields.
He also made cuddy cabin boats. His cuddies were deeper (higher hull sided) than his runabouts. Since the decks were molded and he often used the same hull mold for both models, it was his son’s job to scribe, cut down, and hand fit a cuddy hull molding to a runabout deck, among many other jobs in the manufacturing the boats.
OK, here is the bottom line… 97 MPH best and 86 MPH with a full load. What else do you want to know? Berkley 12 JE pump, 1,200 Horsepower using a gas/methanol blend and a couple of inches shy of 18’ in boat length.
These Taylor Craft SS boats came with a 455 OLDS, so out with it, and an after-market Dart block version of a Chevy BB displacing 509 cu. in. was dropped in. An 8-71 Blower and a bunch of hot rod parts make this power plant go for long distances at 6,000 RPMS. She will turn 7,000 RPMS to get the best speed. Pump slip, not rpms, make for the difference between the light load best and full load speed numbers. The tach was reading 7,000 at both numbers. And the pump is not stock.
A three yearlong restoration, a custom cockpit interior and a wild paint job with 15 coats of clear tops this project. She is a tow boat and river racer if you and the competition can stay out of the 200’ rooster tail from the pump.
The boat builder was the Taylor Boats that was located in Cushing, OK. That one was owned by Oscar Taylor. He started out rigging boats for himself, regularly ending up selling those to friends, and then made his own molds and complete boats. He did 16’ and 18’ boats mostly, with some longer ones coming later on. He had a boat rigging business for most of the early 1970s and still was making boats, but not continuously, into the 1980s. This 18’ SS model was the most popular. There was a Taylor Boats in California around the same time. Seabuddy entertained the idea of buying that company once.
This is a fully restored 15’ outboard boat that is powered by a 1970 Mercury Marine 1350. She is a show quality boat that represents the “top dog” type of outboard boat in Florida at that time. She is finished in her original color and sports all the right stuff in period correct rigging, steering, gauges, and seating. The owner did a very nice job, and she draws crowds.
She is also a speed demon up and down the ICW route that runs along the east coast of mid-Florida, just south of Merritt Island and Space Coast. One ”flys” a vee bottom outboard like this, with the bow trimmed high, well out of the water, with as little of the hull in the water as possible. After all, air presents less resistance than water!
Critchfield was a racer turned boat builder. He first built boats around the late 1950s out of wood in Orlando, FL. He moved his boat plant to Avon Park, FL (near Sebring, FL). He was big in Avon Park. He had several models of boats and occupied a 110,000 square foot factory.
By 1973, it was over for Critchfield. He sold the operation, building, and his boat molds to Wellcraft Marine. They built 16 and 18 foot family runabouts of their own design in that plant. As a Wellcraft dealer, I was flown to this plant to see some of my boat stores most popular models in the early 1980s in their production home.
Wellcraft sold the Critchfield boat molds to Bill Farmer. Farmer later moved onto his Excalibur Marine boats in the 30-31 and 40 foot sizes. The Farmer 31’ was a Jean-Claude Simon (Cary Marine) hull. He sold the few first production 31’ to Chris Craft, where they met with dealer acceptance and Chris Craft then bought molds to make their own. He also sold a 31 boat to Reggie Fountain who re-did the boat bottom, changed the engine’s drive heights, re-worked the props to work with the new drive heights and stretched the nose and tail to make the mightily Fountain 35. That boat bottom was the foundation of Fountain Power Boats.