Bertram 32 Race Boat with Mercury Marine and Mercruiser engines

classic fiberglass Bertram race boat flying

flying a classic fiberglass Bertram racing boat

I am talking about the boat designed by R. Specht, not the boat model that C. Raymond Hunt who did the Bertram 31 (which started the Bertram Yacht Company) and many of  other the Bertram sizes. This one model was a boat designed for racing only; no family runabout, no fishing boat, no day boat aspirations for this one. She was made to race internationally and go after the World Offshore Championship.

Note the transom angling forward and the slight roundedness and tumblehome at the stern. That marks this design. Some say the boat was really a 31’ and called a 32’ just to avoid confusion with the 31’ production Moppie. Others suggest that at least one was cut back to be a 30’ long boat, at the racer’s request. The best research I could come up with says that less than a dozen were made over a 3-4 year period in the late 1960s.

Most were stern drive boats (with twin big blocks and perhaps one with three small blocks), a few used high horsepower shaft drive inboards with the rudders behind the hull, and one was raced while powered by four outboards. Outboard powered Offshore Race Boats in the 30’ size range were a rare bird at this time. Another is rumored to have staggered engines with one  engine as a straight inboard and the other using a v-drive, with both engines in line with each other at the boat’s center.

Balestrieri raced one or two. So did Dick Bertram, Rittmaster, Lewis, and Wishnick. They are all famous names from the early days of racing boats offshore at breakneck speeds. Some of the boats were rigged in Italy as they were to be campaigned in Europe.

I know one Bertram 32 hull was in Pomona, CA in the mid-1980s. I inspected it and it was in the process of a long term restoration. I wonder were the other hulls are now.

Photo thanks goes to the Tornado Racing Team and Magnum Marine.

classic race boat from the late 1960s

a famous Bertram racing boat in the air, not the water

boat racing legend Mr. Balestrieri

Mr. Balestrieri holding one of his Awards

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