Jichi is a sin­gu­lar mas­ter­piece from one of the world’s top cus­tom builders


Paul Mann 61

Af­ter spend­ing years work­ing un­der the watch­ful eyes of Outer Banks mas­ter boat­builders Sunny Briggs and Omie Tillet, Paul Mann built his own plank-on-frame boat in 1988. He cap­tained the boat him­self, keep­ing his char­ter cus­tomers busy with mar­lin and tuna. His learn­ing curve con­tin­ued, and some 30 years later, with hull num­ber 137, his lat­est ride is an im­pres­sive achievement, a cus­tom­ized sport-fish­er­man with luxury-yacht ac­com­mo­da­tions.

Built for a sea­soned tour­na­ment-fish­ing owner who mixes hard­core billfishing with leisure time for fam­ily out­ings, the 61-foot Jichi ex­udes North Carolina style, from its raked and mod­er­ately flared bow to its gen­tle tum­ble­home at the stern.


With its 18-foot beam, the bridge gives the im­pres­sion of a much larger boat. Vis­i­bil­ity from the cen­ter­line helm is su­perb through­out the 32 points of the com­pass, so whether run­ning the boat or watch­ing the baits in the wash, the view is to­tally un­ob­structed. Three Re­lease Marine helm seats pro­vide com­fort for the ride and sport a unique cus­tom satin fin­ish. Room be­hind the chairs is gen­er­ous for crew or guests mov­ing about the aft rail. The Mann-made satin-fin­ished teak helm pod is a mark of the builder’s crafts­man­ship. Elec­tron­ics are pro­tected be­neath a clear acrylic panel in a raised pod, and ad­di­tional equip­ment is in­stalled in a drop-down box from the cus­tom hardtop.

Flank­ing the helm are 8-foot-long lounges fit­ted with Sil­ver­tex car­bon-col­ored foam cush­ions with rod stowage un­derneath. The three-sided en­clo­sure is made by Costa Marine in a match­ing gray ma­te­rial. Other no­table items in­clude 47-foot Pipewelders hy­draulic out­rig­gers, a teak deck and grab rails that are molded into the cabin tops out­side of the bridge wings. The boat’s fin­ish work is stel­lar. The pol­ished pipe Palm Beach Tow­ers tuna tower in­cludes a car­bon­fiber buggy top. An­other unique tower fea­ture is the off­set helm, which al­lows for a larger Garmin unit in the dash, a smart idea for a skip­per who plans to spend long days aloft in the tower.


The teak sa­lon door uti­lizes a JR Beers elec­tri­cal ac­tu­a­tor, and in­side, the work­man­ship is ex­cep­tional, with the grain con­stant from the ceil­ing to the floor, which ex­plains why Paul Mann Cus­tom Boats has been rec­og­nized na­tion­ally as a re­cip­i­ent of North Carolina’s Ve­neer Tech Crafts­man’s Chal­lenge for ex­cel­lence in wood­work­ing. Each piece of the cab­i­netry matches flaw­lessly and is com­ple­mented with un­ob­tru­sive hard­ware, cre­at­ing a seam­less en­vi­ron­ment of beauty. But equally eye-catch­ing are nu­mer­ous prac­ti­cal treat­ments such as beveled teak valances that di­rect the air con­di­tion­ing from hid­den regis­ters away from the white head­liner to pre­vent mois­ture from stain­ing the ma­te­rial. The in­te­rior teak win­dow frames blend nicely with the ad­join­ing wood­work, pro­vid­ing strength and prac­ti­cal­ity.

The white car­pet­ing in the sa­lon in­ter­faces dra­mat­i­cally with the L-shaped white leather sofa with stowage below to port. Op­po­site, an en­ter­tain­ment cen­ter with a 55-inch Sam­sung flat-screen tele­vi­sion rises from the cab­i­netry. For­ward to port is the C-shaped white-leather dinette, and to star­board the U-shaped gourmet-style gal­ley with Miele and Sub-Zero ap­pli­ances and rare Brazil­ian Co­r­a­site white­stone coun­ter­tops. The fu­sion of the whites with the rich warmth of the teak join­ery is a cos­mopoli­tan af­fair that demon­strates what an ex­pe­ri­enced owner and a tal­ented boat­builder can pro­duce with this one-of-a-kind show­piece.

Belowdecks, the three­state­room, three-head layout show­cases Paul Mann’s com­mit­ment to at­ten­tive­ness.

The fully car­peted mas­ter suite is to star­board, fea­tur­ing a queen bed with a cus­tom Mark Van Brunt suede leather head­board, two cedar-lined hang­ing lock­ers, a 40-inch Sam­sung flat-screen tele­vi­sion, an Ap­ple TV and an en suite head with a cus­tom fiber­glass shower stall. Car­peted crew quar­ters with up­per and lower berths and a pair of cedar-lined hang­ing lock­ers are to port. The portside head and shower ac­com­mo­dates this state­room, and it also pulls duty as the day head. The for­ward state­room is a nice sur­prise and fea­tures a Paul Mann trade­mark of his evo­lu­tion­ary de­signs. Mann’s boats avoid the ex­ag­ger­ated flare of typ­i­cal North Carolina cus­tom sport-fish­er­men, and thus there is no­tably more floor space that is put to good use. A sin­gle up­per and a dou­ble-wide lower berth make very plush and flex­i­ble overnight ac­com­mo­da­tions for fish­ing trips and long-range fam­ily cruis­ing. Op­po­site the portside berths is a huge cedar-lined hang­ing locker that could eas­ily dou­ble as a tackle store. Equally hu­mon­gous is the head po­si­tioned for­ward with a full-size shower stall in the bow. Each state­room fea­tures cus­tom teak sea and bunk rails, car­peted in­te­ri­ors and plenty of stor­age.


Paul Mann has built a lot of boats, and his ex­pe­ri­ence en­abled him to ad­dress a num­ber of wants for the owner, in­clud­ing a spe­cial­ized live-bait re­quest. A pair of on-deck 100-gal­lon pres­sur­ized livewells keeps hun­dreds of live baits ready for ac­tion. A Hunter pump routed from one of four sea chests floods aer­a­tion-free wa­ter into each livewell without stress­ing the baits. Whether in 6-foot seas or run­ning at speed, the baits ap­pear to be swim­ming in a farm pond. A cus­tom­ized drainage sys­tem di­rects the wa­ter into des­ig­nated drains threaded into the

kid­ney-shaped cor­ner scup­pers that dou­ble as over­flow ex­its. A sec­ond pair of scup­pers flanks the tran­som fish box and drains wa­ter even in re­v­erse. The re­sult of 10 inches of pipe drainage moves the wa­ter off the deck in a heart­beat when back­ing down hard or when a green one breaks into the cock­pit dur­ing a fight with mul­ti­ple sails.

The ob­ser­va­tion mez­za­nine is out­fit­ted with tackle stowage, Dometic refrigeration, freez­ers and en­gine­room ac­cess. Dometic re­v­erse-cy­cle air con­di­tion­ing flows through the mez­za­nine cush­ions on warm days and de­liv­ers heat on those cold win­ter ones. A Re­lease Marine rocket launcher is cen­trally lo­cated, han­dling 11 rods. The faux-teak tran­som blends seam­lessly with the satin-fin­ished bulk­head and the Re­lease Marine ac­ces­sories, as well as the teak decks and cov­er­ing boards.


Ac­cessed from the mez­za­nine deck, head­room below is 5 feet 8 inches on cen­ter­line. The twin 12-cylin­der Cater­pil­lar ACERT C32s, which de­velop 1,925 hp each, are tall en­gines, and a pair of Kohler 23 kW gen­er­a­tors is abaft the mains, so you don’t have far to go to make daily checks. An Ober­dor­fer oil-change pump is equipped with quick-dis­con­nect fit­tings for en­gines, the Twin-Disc re­v­erse gears and the gensets. Snow White Awl­grip pro­vides a bright fin­ish through­out the me­chan­i­cal ar­eas.


Jichi’s hull is cold-molded from a jig. The lon­gi­tu­di­nal fir frame­work is re­in­forced with 1-by-2-inch bat­tens with 1-inch Core-Cell foam be­tween each batten. Three lay­ers of di­ag­o­nally planked ⅜-inch Ok­oume ply­wood with epoxyen-cap­su­lated 1½-ounce fiber­glass mat be­tween each layer fol­low to com­plete the bot­tom. Hull sides are three lay­ers of ¼-inch Ok­oume, with fiber­glass and epoxy be­tween each layer, mak­ing the struc­ture to­tally glassed 100 per­cent in­side and out. With a wet weight of 78,000 pounds, this is not a light boat, but with 10 peo­ple aboard, with fuel, fish­ing and cruis­ing gear, the Cater­pil­lars give it a top speed of nearly 45 knots (at 2,317 rpm, we saw 44.5 knots at 97 per­cent engine load). Cus­tom Veem pro­pel­lers and a mod­i­fied-V run­ning sur­face cer­tainly fig­ure into this per­for­mance.

On a bru­tally cold Jan­uary day, Jichi ig­nored a 5-foot head sea while cruis­ing at 34.5 knots into a 25- to 30-knot north wind. We were able to fish com­fort­ably in 8-foot seas dur­ing a wild bite off Jupiter, Florida, where we re­leased 21 sail­fish. The boat per­formed beau­ti­fully, a tes­ta­ment to its Carolina pedi­gree. Paul Mann and his team of crafts­men have pro­duced an­other mas­ter­piece.

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