Bertram Yachts: Bertram 42 Convertible » Marlin Monroe» — by David Pascoe

29 Янв 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Bertram 25 boat

Top quality hardware makes a world of difference, especially the Ideal, dual gypsy windlass anchoring the end of a newly added custom bow pulpit, replacing the old teak pulpit. Note how the capstan is used as a mooring bitt rather than chocks. Except for the edge banding, the new white rails are nearly invisible.


A new version would probably go close to $800k. What MARLIN represents here is a way to obtain a nearly new boat while shaving off at least half that amount. Another part is that once trends get started, they have a way of building momentum. The current trend of refurbishing old Bertrams is well underway.

We all know about the Bertram mystique, of how they have this reputation for a certain machismo and all that. I’ve never really bought into that, perhaps because I live too close (25 miles) from the place where they were built. I mingle almost daily with them, so that the myth never had much effect on me since I know that Bertrams have warts and moles just as all other boats. This is not to say that there’s nothing standing behind the myth. All you have to do is take one look at these photos to see otherwise. You’re not really much of a boat lover if you’re not captivated by them at least a little.

MARLIN MONROE is the re-creation of a 1982 galley down model by Bob and Kathy Hamilton of Coral Gables. Purchased in 1994, in fine condition when they acquired it, they spent the next nearly five years lavishing love and money on her in stages. Now, you might think by looking at the photos that they simply delivered her to a high class yacht yard and simply paid the bill to have all this great refurbishing work done. Not so, for the Hamiltons, and most especially Kathy, are real, hands-on people. Would you believe that Mrs. Hamilton, who was dressed like a corporate business executive at the time we met her, did the engine detailing work herself? Yep, you read that right: engine detailing as in scraping and wire brushing and preparing for Awlgrip. As they say, you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands, and Kathy’s hands don’t look much better than mine, so there was no cause to doubt her claims.

It is said that a picture can be worth a thousand words. Perhaps true, but it’s also true that photos can lie. Photos can make even a junker look good if one is skilled with a camera. Conversely, photos often can’t capture the more subtle aspects of the subject, which is certainly true in this case. First laying eyes on the boat, I immediately thought the whole boat had been repainted. In fact, MARLIN MONROE was so shiny and gleaming under the morning sun that I had to look extremely close to determine that she indeed was not painted, but that her gel coat had been polished to such a high luster that it looked like a freshly painted boat by a real spray gun expert. That’s just one aspect that can’t really be captured with a camera.

This customized helm is about as perfect as it gets. Notice how the wheel is nearly horizontal with the engine controls set at a comfortable spacing. The rybovich chairs with a touch of teak adds a nice accent to an otherwise black and white scheme.

The other is the overall effort that was expended to make this yacht look no more than one or two years old. One of the first things to catch your eye is the bait and tackle center, followed by the helm console on the bridge. If you know the 42 Convertible, you know that you don’t find components like these on boats of this vintage. Instead, they look like something on a brand new 43. Equally amazing was the fact that the Hamilton’s did not purchase these components from Bertram, but made them themselves! Take a gander at that customized helm. When was the last time I saw a helm laid out that well, I wondered? Been a while, for sure. Simple and uncluttered, even a stranger can quickly locate a switch without having to hunt around for five minutes. And notice the positioning of the wheel: nearly horizontal with the engine controls positioned properly to the arm and body position of the average person. Horizontal and not too close or too far from the wheel.

Bertram 42 boat

Check out the top photo closely. Compare this with anything currently sitting on a showroom floor. You’d have a hard time finding anything fresh out of the mold that exceeds this for overall good quality and design. It’s twenty years old, but it’s hard to tell it’s not a new boat. In the cockpit, and on the bridge, all the old Masonite panels were replaced with Starboard plastic panels so there won’t be anymore problems with breakage or deterioration. But it’s that bait and tackle center that got my attention; it was beautifully crafted by a full-time employee of the Hamilton’s, described to me as both house and boat maintenance guy. Huh? Are you sure he isn’t a former Bertram mold maker?

In recent years designers have been fooling around with all sorts of new ideas for a way to get up to the bridge. One thing that caught my attention was that this plain old ladder is still the best way. Some incorporate the tackle center, putting steps on the front of it, then a ladder on top of that. Others extend the house top way aft, so that you have to go through a hole in the bridge deck, usually causing you to bash your head in. Still others have tried ladders that have two angles in them, frequently causing you to miss a step on the way down because you don’t anticipate the angle change. Yet here I found that there is no faster or easier way to get up there than with an ordinary ladder. The reinvention of the wheel often ends up square.

Another outstanding feature are the rub rails. Rub rails? Yep, rub rails. Not really glamorous stuff, rub rails, but the ability of old, bent up rails to ruin the appearance of an otherwise nice boat is amazing. One of the things that I’ve railed against about Bertrams for years was their use of those awful aluminum extrusions that corroded something awful, that were nearly impossible to replace, and end up detracting horribly from the appearance of these yachts as they get older. It was a large task, to say the least, but the rails were replaced with 2 x 2-3/4 plastic with SOLID stainless edge banding. It’s bolted every 8 inches so that there’s no way it’s going to look like an old washboard in a few years. This plastic has proved highly durable, and which I now consider as absolutely the best stuff ever to use for rub rails. As you can see, it has a tremendous effect on improving the appearance, in part by reducing some of the clutter of the lines.

In addition to that, they replaced the old teak bow pulpit with a fiberglass pulpit, then adding a dual gypsy Galley Maid windlass — a real windlass, not just a rope retractor. Notice the proper positioning of the cleats on the deck so that they can be used either for tying off the anchor rode, or in using the windlass as mooring bit for dock lines as you see in the photo below. All too often little thought is given to cleat positioning so that they end in less than ideal locations.

We didn’t get many good shots of the interior because between my self and engine surveyor Ron Doerr, the salon was strewn with our survey cases, tools and other junk, turning it into a general shambles by ourselves. If you’re familiar with the 42, one of the first things you’d notice about this is that they somehow managed to make the interior bigger. Well, not really, it just seems that way because all the old brown formica is gone. The really strange thing is the brown has been replaced with white mica, only it’s done in a way that doesn’t look like mica. All the teak trim, plus that large, boxy entertainment center up under the windshield, was refinished in a very light liming — as in limed oak. So lightly, in fact, that it gives the appearance of antiquing, rather than the heavy liming so popular today that mainly turns the wood white. The important feature about this is that the wood can take some wear and tear without looking clapped out.

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