From Tree to Shin­ing Sea


At the Bayliss Boat­works fa­cil­ity in North Carolina, ex­pe­ri­enced crafts­men build high-qual­ity sport­fish­er­men by hand.

There’s some­thing mes­mer­iz­ing about a Bayliss on the wa­ter with its throt­tles open wide. Maybe it’s the way the knife-like bow slices through the sea or how its fa­mous flare flicks wa­ter away from the top­sides. The fin­ish on these boats is at such a level that you could be for­given for think­ing they’re built in some space-age fa­cil­ity with care­fully cal­i­brated ro­bots. Step in­side the builder’s Wanch­ese, North Carolina yard and you’ll quickly be re­minded that these are cus­tom boats made care­fully by cal­loused hands.

It all starts with a spe­cial de­liv­ery. A truck loaded with Dou­glas fir and ply­wood from the West Coast drops the pay­load at Bayliss. There’s a joke that’s of­ten re­peated around this yard at times

like this. “We al­ways say that we take big pieces of wood, cut ’em into small pieces of wood and glue ’ em back to­gether into big pieces of wood,” says John Bayliss Jr., the son of the com­pany’s owner/founder of the same name. “So yeah, you get a stack of lum­ber, a stack of ply­wood and turn it into one of these boats.”

No two Bayliss boats are the same. Each one gets its own jig, is cold-molded and sup­ported by lam­i­nated stringers. The owner of the 60-foot

Mama C came to Bayliss want­ing a boat that would be used for one thing: fish­ing. And fish­ing hard.

The in­te­rior is rel­a­tively Spar­tan; there’s plenty of stowage and places for crew to sleep for an overnight, but the owner didn’t want a cabin that re­quired a lot of fuss to clean and main­tain. “It has all the at­ten­tion to de­tail we have in all our other boats, only it’s just much more sim­pli­fied. Most of our guys don’t stay on their boat any­way,” says John Bayliss Sr. “They want a boat that’s easy to clean up in­side and out. Then they can go back to their

house or condo or wher­ever. They spend most of their time out­side fish­ing be­cause that’s what re­ally mat­ters to them.”

The strik­ing, tour­na­ment-ready sportfisherman was a la­bor of love not just for the owner but the en­tire Bayliss team. It took 85 peo­ple 16 months and 30,000 man­hours to bring Mama C to life.

“My dad has said these boats are kind of like our chil­dren, and that's true. They go away and you want ev­ery­one to talk good about ’em,” says Bayliss Jr. “We want to blow ev­ery­one away with ev­ery boat we put out, and raise the bar ev­ery time. That’s the in­spi­ra­tion for ev­ery­one to get up in the morn­ing and come back here to work.” Bayliss Boat­works, 252-4739797; bayliss­boat­

Stringers are lam­i­nated be­fore be­ing placed in the hull jig.

A bor­der plank is created for the teak deck. Since no two Bayliss boats are the same, pat­terns need to be created for ev­ery­thing.

Ev­ery­thing is made in-house, in­clud­ing cored doors that will be skinned with teak on the front and back.

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