Bertram 31 classic fiberglass inboard fish boat

classic fiberglass bertram 31 fishing boat boat image

Restored and Re-powered Classic Fiberglass Bertram 31 Fish Boat

Dick Bertram stood the world of boating on its ear with one boat, the Bertram 31. The rough water ride, arrow straight control, and the ability to keep the boat’s speed up and ongoing at a high speed was a watershed mark for the world of power boats.
The boat builder, Bertram yachts, is in existence because of the Bertram 31.
The story starts with sail boat racing around the America’s Cup in 1958.
The performance of a power boat at that time caused Dick to commission a design of a 31 foot verison of that boat for his own use in south Florida from the boat’s designer. Bertram had his constructed as a wood boat. That boat ran so well in rough water with her twin gas engines, that Dick Bertram was persuaded to race her in the 1960 Miami to Nassau Race. His boat was named “Moppie” (the same as his wife’s nick name) and came in first. Actually she not only won the race but Moppie the boat, won the race hands down.
It would be tough to name another fishing boat that has the loyalty and fisherman following for another boat. She has a cult like following as a classic fiberglass boat. She may also be listed as one of the “top 10 best” fishing boats of all time.
The hull muscles head-on rougher water like few fishing boats can. She also tracks as if on rails. If there are short comings, well, she can be wet and demands lots of power to perform and thus burns a lot of fuel for her size. Gas or diesel, one must face larger fuel bills than one likes. She also rolls (as in she is tender) when at rest.
Boat restoration of a Bertram 31 is popular. Many are repowered with diesels rather than gas engines. New parts like a fly bridge or an emblem are available. Adding a genset or air conditioning or new electronics is also popular. Changing over to diesel power from gas engines usually requires new struts, propellers, transmissions, and some engine bed reconfiguring.
Most diesel boats are set up for more range and a top speed of up to 30 knots. Cruising speeds are in around 23-25 knots with this set-up. Since a diesel powered boat has more torque throughout its rpm range, new props are installed with the engine change and these are larger in diameter and prop slip is far less than what a gas powered boat would have at these speeds. Maybe almost in half.
Seabuddy photo.

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