The legacy con­tin­ues with the new­est model


Pay­ing homage to the com­pany’s orig­i­nal 54-footer, Bertram Yachts has com­bined the lat­est in boat­build­ing tech­niques and in­no­va­tions with mod­ern in­te­ri­ors that are not only bright and so­phis­ti­cated but live-in com­fort­able. Along with a hand­ful of in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives and po­ten­tial buy­ers, I was privy to see the new Bertram 61 — the model that will re­de­fine the Bertram brand — in Fort Laud­erdale, Florida.

Bertram Yachts has taken its share of punches over the past 60 years, but the brand has re­mained amaz­ingly re­silient, em­brac­ing what the com­pany holds most dear: its iconic name. Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Peter Trus­low has been charged with the com­pany’s re­birth by rev­er­enc­ing the mod­els that got them where they are to­day. Part of that plan in­volved mov­ing to a water­front ship­yard fa­cil­ity in Tampa, Florida, in 2016.

“I am in­cred­i­bly proud of our class-lead­ing 61 as well as the team that builds these boats,” says Trus­low. “I feel the ex­pe­ri­ence we have at our fa­cil­ity and ser­vice cen­ter in Tampa are un­matched in our in­dus­try, and our work with the Michael Peters de­sign team has formed a great foun­da­tion for our long-term prod­uct growth.”


Right from the start, you can’t help but no­tice the nods to the past: the fore-to-aft navy Bertram stripe, the stepped sheer and that clas­sic Bertram logo. And for a brief mo­ment, you are cat­a­pulted back to the past, re­liv­ing the good times at Walker’s Cay.

As you en­ter the cock­pit, you find very lit­tle that screams ‘same old Bertram.’ There is a lus­ter, an in­escapable new look that is ev­i­dent in the styling and con­struc­tion. Us­ing in­fused vinylester com­pos­ites re­in­forced with Kevlar in the keel and strakes, the 61 is de­signed with dura­bil­ity in mind. Beefy and solid, this hull was built to with­stand what­ever the ocean can throw at it — a cor­ner­stone of the Bertram rep­u­ta­tion.

The new boat's deck and house in­cor­po­rate a com­pos­ite ma­te­rial made of a poly­mer ma­trix re­in­forced with fiber­glass for brute me­chan­i­cal strength, un­sur­passed cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance and in­su­la­tion qual­i­ties.


Hull No. 1 is out­fit­ted with a large, self-drain­ing teak cock­pit sole, con­tain­ing two re­mov­able fish boxes with mac­er­a­tor pumps. The teak deck car­ries it­self up onto the mez­za­nine, where a fourper­son buck­skin ul­tra-leather couch is ori­ented to port.

The mez­za­nine steps con­tain three ad­justable re­frig­er­a­tion com­part­ments with lif­tand-lock-style latches for easy open­ing, and un­der the cov­er­ing board, in-gun­wale stor­age keeps clean­ing sup­plies, brush han­dles or gaffs out of sight but within easy reach on both sides.

As­cend­ing to the bridge, a cen­ter-con­sole helm de­sign is matched with bench seat­ing all around, and a large two per­son chaise in front of the helm of­fers a per­fect spot for stretch­ing out, read­ing or nap­ping while un­der­way.

The PipeWelders Ma­rine hard­top pro­vides plenty of shade and is out­fit­ted with molded-in LED over­head light­ing as well as a pod to ac­cept elec­tronic dis­plays, such as au­topi­lot, elec­tronic com­pass and VHF ra­dios.

The helm sta­tion is clean and tightknit. Two large Garmin mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays flank the Cater­pil­lar en­gine dis­play and Oc­toPlex ship con­trol mon­i­tor, al­low­ing the cap­tain to man­age vir­tu­ally ev­ery sys­tem on the boat with­out leav­ing the helm.

A stain­less steer­ing wheel takes cen­ter stage on the teak helm pod, while the

Palm Beach-style sin­gle lever con­trols with bow thruster but­tons make ma­neu­ver­ing in tight quar­ters a no-brainer. On ei­ther side of the pod, a set of lid­ded boxes houses the elec­tron­ics needed to get you from point A to point B safely, day or night.


The first things you no­tice as you en­ter the sa­lon are the win­dows. The near-mil­i­tary­grade lightly tinted glass wraps the space, drench­ing the sa­lon in 360 de­grees of nat­u­ral light, some­thing I don’t re­mem­ber see­ing on con­vert­ible boats since Ry­bovich, Mer­ritt and, yes, Bertram, did away with their clear wind­shields many years ago — an­other mod­ern­ized nod to the past.

The lay­out is open, and the en­tire perime­ter of the sa­lon con­tains cab­i­net stor­age that runs along the over­head. Satin teak ve­neers are ori­ented on the hor­i­zon­tal as op­posed to the con­ven­tional ver­ti­cal to ac­cen­tu­ate the open feel. Two Re­lease Ma­rine er­gonomic bar stools belly up to the gal­ley counter and pro­vide not only a place to eat, but also ad­di­tional seat­ing in the sa­lon.

The soft white leather couch set to port con­tains stor­age un­der­neath, and a cab­i­net con­sole runs the star­board length of the sa­lon, hous­ing a pop-up TV and mul­ti­ple stor­age cab­i­nets.

The U-shaped gal­ley fea­tures Sile­stone coun­ter­tops, a deep stain­less-steel sink, a dish­washer, a cook­top and an oven.

Plush white car­pet­ing is present in the main area of the sa­lon and in the state­rooms, while wide-plank nat­u­ral white ash matte floor­ing in the gal­ley runs down the com­pan­ion­way and into the heads.

Down the stairs and to port, you en­ter the mas­ter suite, greeted by a large head with shower and sub­stan­tial van­ity, perched on which is a beau­ti­ful white bowl sink.

Be­yond the suite en­try­way lies a full-beam mas­ter state­room — ori­ented port-to-star­board — with the bed on the port side, and a pop-up TV and full-length clos­ets to star­board. Two op­tional hull­side win­dows al­low the nat­u­ral light to fun­nel in be­low, while Dometic’s 96,000 Btu chilled-wa­ter air­con­di­tion­ing sys­tem keeps the in­te­rior very cool.

Mov­ing for­ward, there is a side-by-side twin state­room with pri­vate ac­cess to the day head, and all the way for­ward is a large VIP berth with a full-size bed, en suite head and plenty of stor­age.


The Bertram 61 is equipped with twin Cater­pil­lar

C32 ACERTs, pro­vid­ing a whop­ping 1,900 hp each to the ves­sel. This gives her a cruis­ing speed of al­most 36 knots at 80 per­cent load — burn­ing 160 gal­lons per hour at 2,000 rpm. Twin Disc gears make for fully au­to­matic shift­ing when chas­ing down speedy blue mar­lin that make you spin on a dime.

Sea­keeper gy­rosta­bi­liz­ers are now stan­dard in all Bertram mod­els, and the 61 is equipped with an SK16, po­si­tioned at the aft bulk­head of the en­gine room. Twin Onan 21.5 kW gensets pro­vide am­ple power to all the ship’s sys­tems.

The big Cats pop her up on plane with lit­tle ef­fort and are pow­er­ful enough to back around as fast as nec­es­sary to get that all-im­por­tant tour­na­ment re­lease.

She is re­spon­sive, steers true and her auto-con­trolled Humphree trim tab sys­tem sta­tions the boat per­fectly in that an­noy­ing side-to or ony­our-quar­ter sea. She is quiet in­side and out, thanks in part to the sound-ab­sorp­tion sys­tem in­stalled in the en­gine room.

There is no doubt the en­tire Bertram de­sign team has put its blood, sweat and tears into this model, rein­vent­ing it­self to stay on top of cur­rent trends and re­main a rel­e­vant player in a highly com­pet­i­tive in­dus­try. “When you’re us­ing the best ma­te­ri­als, hard­ware, ma­chin­ery and elec­tron­ics, it’s easy to build a great boat. But when your num­ber-one de­sign cri­te­ria is that it has to be Bertram, you know it is go­ing to be that much greater,” says Bertram’s vice pres­i­dent of sales, Tommy Thomp­son.

There has al­ways been a cult fol­low­ing for Ber­trams, and I be­lieve this group will be es­pe­cially happy to see this high-qual­ity, Amer­i­can­made ves­sel com­ing out of Tampa. As for other po­ten­tial own­ers, you just have to see it to be­lieve it. The Bertram legacy con­tin­ues.



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