Hello from Cebaco Bay Sportfishing Club,
The word on the street was that there was, hidden amongst a pile of derelict boats at 'the sheds' down at the Diablo Spinning Club by the Panama Canal, an abandoned 31' Bertram. We went to investigate and after some rooting around were able to locate the owner of the "Jesse" and negotiated it's purchase. We then brought a small crane down to the yard and placed it on a trailer to transport to our base in the yard of Intercoastal Marine Inc. where we could get to work on the boat restoration.
There was a fairly comprehensive set of documents that gave insights into it's history since it's original purchase at Biloxi, Mississippi in 1972 by the late Mr. Lyle Morse Page, when it sailed under the name "Kap 'n Gin II".
The boat is a Bertram 31 Sportfisherman (SF). This is the original production model created by Bertram and Hunt. It features a cabin with a bridge. Our other Bertram 31, "Xtreme", is of the Fly Bridge Cruiser (FBC) model, which adds the aft cabin bulkhead not present in the SF. We are calling this newcomer to the fishing fleet, "AWESOME". The serial numbers of the Sportfisherman begin with 314 (ours is 314-1190) whereas the Fly Bridge Cruiser begin with 315.
The birth of the legendary Bertram 31 design was in the early 60's. Powerboat racer, Dick Bertram won the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race in eight-foot seas with thirty-knot winds in an innovative design by Ray Hunt that he called "Moppie". Bertram demolished the competition winning the race in record time - two and a half hours ahead of the next boat. After the 1960 race, Bertram turned Moppie into a plug, a mold was cast and the first fiberglass 31 was created. The following year Bertram again won the Miami-Nassau Race, this time in a Glass Moppie, the fiberglass version of the prototype. In 1961, with the mold of the hull, "Bertram Yachts" was launched with the introduction of the Bertram 31 Sport Fisherman.
This heralded the birth of the modern sports-boat, with a deep V fiberglass hull and large twin engines. The innovation was that the V continued further towards the rear rather than flattening there, which gave the ability to handle big seas in relative comfort and safety. The extra lift needed to compensate for the reduction in planing surface was provided by incorporating lifting strakes along the bottom.
The boat's engines, a pair of 250HP Cummins diesel engines were working but in need of a major overhaul. The original engines had been a pair of gasoline engines producing 750HP (2x375HP).
The new 31' Bertram of Cebaco Bay will be receiving loving attention for the next few months and will possibly be relaunched in May 2012. The restoration process will be documented and progress reported here and in our facebook page, so watch this space...
Cebaco Bay Sportfishing Club
Please keep us updated as the restoration process moves forward, it's a fun thing to watch. I restored a 35 Bertram in the early 1990s and know firsthand how much work it can be.
I GOT TO KNOW....I MEAN REALLY GOT TO KNOW WHAT THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THIS RIG WAS....
I'LL NOT SLEEP TIL YOU TELL US..........PALEEESE?
Have you checked out the Ankona line of skiffs??