His­tory in the Mak­ing

THE JAR­RETT BAY 90 OF­FERS A LOOK INTO THE FU­TURE OF SPORT­FISH­ING BOATS.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY DANIEL HARD­ING JR.

Built with car­bon fiber and out­fit­ted with a foil, the Jar­rett Bay 90 of­fers a unique look at the fu­ture of sport­fish­ing boats.

TThe sun is just rising over the hori­zon, the Ba­hamian air is damp and heavy. I walk down the bustling dock of the Abaco Beach Re­sort with my col­leagues, Dig­i­tal Di­rec­tor John Turner and Edi­tor-in-Chief of An­glers Jour­nal Bill Sis­son. Crews are busy prep­ping baits and boats for day one of the Cus­tom Boat Shootout. A 30-knot breeze has been build­ing for days, kick­ing up sporty 6- to 8-foot seas with plenty of 10- to 12-foot­ers thrown into the mix.

“It’s good to be go­ing out on the big­gest boat in the fleet,” of­fered Sis­son, to which we both mum­bled in agree­ment.

We meet the owner of the new Jar­rett Bay 90, Jau­rco (pro­nounced ha-ruh-ko), in the cock­pit. Won­der­ing what time we’ll be de­part­ing I ask, “What’s the plan for this morn­ing?” “Sur­vive,” comes his not-so-com­fort­ing re­ply. As the young crew hus­tles about I take a mo­ment to ad­mire the crafts­man­ship.

Jaruco is stun­ning. There’s re­ally no other word to de­scribe it. Her bro­ken sheer slopes up to a dra­mat­i­cally flared bow; like a south­ern drawl it in­stantly be­trays her Carolina her­itage. And the im­pec­ca­ble wood­work is a sig­na­ture fea­ture of the brand founded by Randy Ramsey, who is pres­i­dent of the com­pany that em­ploys nearly 150 crafts­men at its boat­build­ing di­vi­sion in Beau­fort, North Carolina.

Even if you didn’t know who the owner of Jaruco was you could im­me­di­ately pick him out from the crowd. He walks through the boat with an air of con­fi­dence. The crew of Jaruco was able to land a pair of dol­phin on an oth­er­wise slow day of fish­ing.

He has a calm de­meanor but speaks with ex­cite­ment when talk­ing about Jaruco (named for the town in Cuba where his fa­ther was born). A for­mer heart sur­geon with dou­ble de­grees in medicine and en­gi­neer­ing, he’s now an en­tre­pre­neur and in­cred­i­bly driven, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to boats and fish­ing.

“The goal was to make Jaruco to­tally state of the art from an en­gi­neer­ing per­spec­tive. It’s fast. But it’s also strong and sturdy. A lot of peo­ple build fast boats. But they ac­com­plish that by cut­ting down on the con­struc­tion,” he ex­plains with a cup of cof­fee in hand.

To en­sure his boat would be as strong as his re­solve, he man­dated that Jaruco be built to ABS spec­i­fi­ca­tions—some­thing that’s ex­cep­tion­ally rare in the sport­fish world. Jaruco would be tested and rated to with­stand 8-foot seas at 50 knots. Stop and think for a mo­ment about the amount of force that is pro­duced when a 150,000-pound, 90-foot boat rams head first into the ocean at that speed. Those con­di­tions are a very real re­al­ity for Jaruco, which is sched­uled to fish off the coast of Africa later next year.

To achieve that level of strength, as well as the owner’s de­sire for Jaruco to reach 50 knots (yes, re­ally), Jar­rett Bay used ad­vanced build­ing ma­te­ri­als such as ti­ta­nium and car­bon fiber … a lot of car­bon fiber. From the bulk­heads to the rud­ders, from the toi­lets (yes, re­ally) to the un­der­wa­ter foil (yes, re­ally, but more on that in a sec­ond), Jaruco is filled with acres of the ma­te­rial.

The hull is one place where the yard was able to in­cor­po­rate a few tra­di­tional Carolina boat-build­ing ma­te­ri­als. It’s com­prised of three-lay­ers: the outer layer is Kevlar and fiber­glass; the mid­dle is cold-molded wood; and the in­ner layer is, you guessed it, car­bon fiber.

There’s more car­bon fiber in the stringers and on up to the fore­deck, a space so large it al­most begs to host a flag foot­ball game. The bow can sup­port the weight of a team, too; in fact, it’s strength­ened to dou­ble as a touch-and-go he­li­copter land­ing plat­form.

As we head into rough seas, with the boat’s twin 2,600hp MAN MTU 16V2000 M96Ls run­ning at WOT, we see the boat hit close to 44 knots. But speed is de­ceiv­ing on Jaruco; it’s dif­fi­cult to know how fast we’re go­ing with­out the help of elec­tron­ics be­cause of the boat’s size. To bet­ter mea­sure our pace, we watch the other Carolina boats fall­ing be­hind in our wake while run­ning off­shore.

It seems in­cred­i­ble that a boat this big can run this fast. Ramsey es­ti­mates that they re­moved 40,000 pounds from the boat by us­ing car­bon fiber and Kevlar. But it’s not a 50-knot boat. Not yet.

Jaruco was de­signed to be eas­ily (rel­a­tively speak­ing) re­pow­ered with 3,000-hp en­gines if/when a man­u­fac­turer de­cides to build them. It’s ru­mored

that such en­gines are a cou­ple years out. So in­stead of wait­ing for big­ger en­gines, Jar­rett Bay and the owner re­searched foil­ing tech­nol­ogy. You know, the kind of un­der­wa­ter air­plane wing that seemed to mag­i­cally lift Amer­ica’s Cup boats above the wa­ter. “It’s a lit­tle bit in­tim­i­dat­ing bolt­ing a foil to the bot­tom of a boat you put this much work into,” ad­mits Ramsey. “But I will tell you the tech­nol­ogy works. We put a ton of sen­sors all over the prototype foil and ran it through the rpm range. We could see how much lift it was pro­duc­ing and how much force was be­ing pushed down on the blades.”

Ramsey wasn’t the only one anx­ious for the foil­ing test. So was the owner’s agent/project man­ager John Riggs, who is on board with us. “It was nerve-rack­ing, be­cause no one has ever done it. You can do all the tank-test­ing in the world,” he says. “It makes a cou­ple of knots dif­fer­ence, but it’s amaz­ing to feel the en­gine load drop and speed pick up. You can feel the whole boat lift up. Twenty years ago if some­one said we’d build a boat with a hy­dro­foil I’d say they were crazy.”

The first foil was a 14-foot fixed unit made from aero­space alu­minum and car­bon fiber that was con­nected to the boat’s hull un­der the mas­ter state­room. A 2.0 ver­sion is be­ing tested this sum­mer. The goal is for the foil to be able to fully de­ploy and re­tract at the push of a but­ton. That can and will be achieved, says the builder; it’s only a mat­ter of time. For the Cus­tom Boat Shootout, Jaruco is run­ning with­out a foil.

Like a pro­tec­tive older brother, Ramsey sits atop the mez­za­nine seat watch­ing baits and over­look­ing the 310-square-foot cock­pit that’s more like a glad­i­a­tor arena.

Be­neath his feet is, by most ac­counts, the most tech­no­log­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated sportfisherman ever built. It’s been an im­pres­sive jour­ney for the man who 31 years prior set out with a small team to see if they “could build a bet­ter mouse­trap.” They built a boat for char­ter fish­ing, and the idea for a com­pany fol­lowed. “It just sorta went from there,” says Ramsey. “We’re the Amer­i­can dream.”

Talk to Ramsey for a few min­utes and it’s clear that he re­mem­bers the early years of Jar­rett Bay fondly. “The first boat we built was a very sim­ple de­sign, but even when I look back on it, very few boats were made with epoxy resins. We were al­ready push­ing our­selves. Very few boats were even painted with a two-part polyester paint when we were do­ing it.”

Since that first model, the crafts­men at Jar­rett Bay have con­tin­ued to push them­selves on ev­ery boat pro­duced in the past three decades. So, when the op­por­tu­nity arose to build Jaruco, Ramsey and his team said the project felt doable, al­though it was still daunt­ing in al­most ev­ery way.

“It’s crit­i­cally im­por­tant that we chal­lenge our­selves ev­ery day and try to build some­thing bet­ter,” he ex­plains, his eyes still trained on the baits be­hind the boat. “The owner of this boat re­ally pushed us to our lim­its. He pushed us to re­ally chal­lenge our­selves ev­ery sin­gle day.”

The fish­ing fea­tures on the owner’s must-have list for Jaruco were in­spired by a Weaver he owned pre­vi­ously. “I wanted a fish- ing ma­chine. You’ll see that in the cock­pit, from the [250-gal­lon] fish boxes [that can hold fuel blad­ders for added range] to the winch to the bait trays. We wanted it to be a to­tal fish­ing ma­chine.”

The owner was also in­spired by a Gar­ling­ton he had owned and re­built. He says from that boat he learned what he wanted out of

Jaruco in terms of liv­abil­ity. “It had to have an in­te­rior that would make Fead­ship jeal­ous,” he says with­out a hint of sar­casm. “I think we ac­com­plished this. If you’re go­ing to do some­thing, do it right.”

Day one of the tour­na­ment turned out to be a slow day of fish­ing. Af­ter nine hours we only had a few dol­phin in the cooler. At 4:30 p.m. we heard the call for lines in. Rac­ing back to the Abaco Beach Re­sort, with salt spray fly­ing around the boat, I watched from the fly­bridge as dozens of other cus­tom boats fell in line be­hind Jaruco. She lev­eled the tall seas for the fleet.

I thought about all the tech­nol­ogy in Jaruco, the stag­ger­ing $20 mil­lion-plus price tag, the un­der­wa­ter foil, the car­bon fiber toli­ets. Was it all too much. Or is Jaruco ahead of its time?

I re­mem­ber an­other fa­mous Carolina-built boat peo­ple thought was crazy—a white and turquoise 40-foot Hat­teras sportfisherman built in 1960 named KnitWits. It was the first pro­duc­tion boat to be made with a then-rev­o­lu­tion­ary new ma­te­rial called fiber­glass. Its owner was a driven in­di­vid­ual who wanted a boat that was fast and strong, that could fish hard and cruise easy. That boat, which was con­sid­ered ahead of its time, would go on to be­come one of the most in­stantly rec­og­niz­able sport­fish­er­men in the world, one that ush­ered in a new era of boat de­sign and con­struc­tion.

With its car­bon fiber and foil, will Jaruco do the same? Only time will tell. But as her owner and Jar­rett Bay know all too well, for­tune fa­vors the brave. ❒

The new Jar­rett Bay 90 turns heads abroad while com­pet­ing in the Los Suenos Sig­na­ture Bill­fish Se­ries in Costa Rica.

Crafts­man­ship abounds in Jaruco’s in­te­rior, from the mez­za­nine ta­ble to the sa­lon ta­ble with a rain­for­est wood in­lay. She’s stun­ning, but at the end of the day she was built to fish, and fish hard.

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