Archive for the ‘classic fiberglass boats’ Category

Evinrude / Brooks Stevens styling study

3.21.1963 c

Seabuddy focuses here on one design study / prototype for Evinrude, or OMC. These six photos show the same model from different angles to communicate all the aspects of this boat idea.

Stevens’ followed a design concept-“instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary” This was done both internally for the Evinrude leadership and for the public at a boat show to make a crowd in the Evinrude booth and, of course, in Evinrude engines and boats that one bought at boat dealers.

Seabuddy was one of those Evinrude dealers in his four boat stores in southern California earlier in his boating life.


Stevens worked for many big manufacturers, including Miller Brewing, the Outboard Marine Company, and Harley-Davidson. It was in 1947 that he unveiled a design for a new train called the Olympian Hiawatha. That train was outfitted with a spectacular glass-enclosed observation car called the Sky Top Lounge. This train was one of the last of the great “streamliner” trains that ran across America. He had helped to shape approximately 3,000 products for about 600 clients over the years.

Stevens’ followed a design concept – “instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary”


His approach to a design was like that of many other industrial designers of his era. Soon after he was engaged to design a product, he would usually do some sketches. These rough ideas would have the basic lines of the new design and get across the main theme of its look and function. From this stage to the next he would turn it over to one of his staff designers, who would take his sketch and make a “rendering” or drawing of it. Brooks Stevens would bring it and maybe alternative ideas / sketches to his client. Finally, a three-dimensional model (either scale or full size) was made by one of Stevens’s specialist modelmakers.


He did work for Miller Brewing, car company Kaiser-Frazer, Studebaker, and 3M. But over and over it should be noted that through the course of his career, Stevens’ relationship with Evinrude (OMC) was always strong, partly because he was a personal friend of Ralph Evinrude.

Seabuddy was introduced to Mr. Evinrude in FL at a Evinrude outboard / Cobra outdrive dealer event

3.21.1963 b

In closing, here is something off a marine topic. He designed the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, What a designer!


Bertram Yachts is going First Class


54 Bertram Yacht

54 Bertram Yacht

They have retained the noted Maine boat builder, Lyman-Morse in Thomaston to build its prototypes for its initial designs.  This effort is under construction there and will be announced at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show this November.

A grand launching for this first model is planned for late in the spring of 2016. A second prototype is also under contract with Lyman-Morse and may be announced at the Miami Boat Show in February, 2016. Both boats are designed by Michael Peters and will be capable of speeds higher than 40 knots. Bertram production personnel will be in Maine, working alongside the regular crew at Lyman-Morse as this early stage of re-making the storied brand of Bertram Yachts.

“The most impressive part of what’s going on with Bertram is the team that has been assembled around the resurrection of the brand,” says Drew Lyman, president of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding. “They are tapping into the existing customer base and are listening to captains and Bertram owners, and getting a lot of feedback. I think we can lend a lot of ideas, and it’s going to be a really fantastic partnership for us to be able to support them and work with a great team.”


Bertram Yachts is continuing to work toward setting up a state-of-the-art production facility in the Southeastern part of the U.S. to build american boats from the designs of the Sarasota, FL firm of Michael Peters Yacht Design using Caterpillar diesel propulsion. Peters firm has done sport fishing boats from 23’ to 78’ for a variety of production and semi-custom boat builders.

Company founder Dick Bertram—yacht broker, bluewater sailing racer, and offshore powerboat racer—built and raced the first Bertram, the 31-foot Moppie. ( Moppie was Dick’s wife’s nickname). Storied sportfishing boats ranging up to 80 feet long followed. Bertram 28, 46, and 54 were successful designs that made their mark in the fishing world.

It was in 2015 that Bertram Yachts was acquired by a group headed by Beniamino Gavio. This boatbuilding entrepreneur and avid boater is also involved with Baglietto and CCN and is committed to returning this iconic American brand back to its roots.

Photo from Galati Yacht Sales of  used 54 Bertram powered by twin1,700 Hp CATS that propel her to 40K at WOT.

Bertram Yachts reborn

Words© Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

A new Bertram 31 built in Italy, at first, is the news for the re-opening of this valued brand.

Bertram Yachts 31 fiberglass model

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.

Classic Boat Show Award Winner report #2

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.

sunburn 1960 fiberglass boat



ACBS Classic Boat Show and Festival Award Winners #1

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.


New marine fuel winter storage product

marine fuel stabilzer sta bil 360 winter storage boat

Sta Bil 360 Marine


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 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

wood deck fiberglass classic race boat 1961 flat bottom marine runabout

Wood deck classic fiberglass Hallett race boat

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.

restored classic race boat cockpit dash steering wheel gas pedal driver cavitation plate control

Note the cavitaion plate (racer trim tab) control handle


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.

restored race boat hallett flat bottom flattie vee drive ford side oiler marine

No winch and cable for this custom 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.

Casale Vee-Drtive strut prop shaft hardware installation

Casale split case vee drive runs the prop 15% faster than the engine

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.

restored fiberglass hallett race boat pin line stripe marine runabout

Note the Blue Pin stripe line

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).

ford side oiler 427 marine engine race boat runabout

Side Oiler Ford marine race engine makes 536 horsepower

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.

cavitation plate restored race boat fiberglass

Racer trim tabs


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.

wood deck fiberglass restored race boat runabout

Cockpit view

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.

Center Console Leader

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.

buddy davis center console boat photo image

A Center Console running free in the Ocean


bow flair buddy davis center console outboard boat

Look at that bow flair!


boat fiberglass construction vacum hi tech deck



hull and deck meeting buddy davis center console boat fiberglass outboard yamaha

the deck and inner liner fiberglass is being lowered onto the hull

Did Don Aronow race Donzi boats?

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.



May 2, 1967 the first Claudia race boat. Made of wood. Designed by Howard Abbey.

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.


donzi race boat 008

Donzi Marine race boat. Fiberglass. Race winer in 1966

Arena Craft and the Chris Craft Cobra

There are four stories here.

classic 1950s restored fiberglass inboard ski boat Arena Craft Barracuda

seabuddy photo of restored classic fiberglass Arena Craft


custom tandem boat trailer wide white walls

Look for ripples in the boat's finish, there are none

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.

bow photo image restored fiberglass classic arena craft 1950s boat

close-up of the bow


arena craft runabout classic restored fiberglass runabout chris craft

close-up of amidships and the beginning of the fin aft tail


classic restored dan arena craft fiberglass 1950s boat inboard boat runabout

Lighted Tail Fins make a 1950s statement


transom classic restored fiberglass 1950s era ski boat v drive marine

transom, note the racing chines


cast name plate dan arena craft inboard runabout boat image photo marine

close-up of classic model name plate and exhaust pipes

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 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.


internet photo of running dan arena craft 1950s era boat

internet photo of the boat running on the lake