Soundings - - Classics - IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY JIM EWING —Steve Knauth

The early days of fiber­glass boat­build­ing pro­duced some dis­tinc­tive de­signs that looked noth­ing like their wooden pre­de­ces­sors. The Ber­tram Bahia Mar 25 that de­buted in 1964 was one of them. And while its un­usual ap­pear­ance may have shocked some, its ver­sa­til­ity and per­for­mance made it a trend­set­ter, the first of a fleet of Bahia Mar mod­els that Ber­tram pro­duced into and through the 1980s.

Each 25 was sim­ple with an open cock­pit, a pro­tected helm and ba­sic ac­com­mo­da­tions in a cuddy cabin. The Bahia Mar 25 also was a mul­ti­pur­pose boat long be­fore the term be­came pop­u­lar.

Ideal for fish­ing, the model fol­lowed on the heels of the iconic Ber­tram 31 sport­fish­ing boat. Un­der the 25’s swept­back su­per­struc­ture was the same deep-V hull that made the 31 so fa­mous. The 25’s cabin gave it a sec­ond di­men­sion: There was a V-berth for­ward, an en­closed head com­part­ment and a gal­ley with a sink. The 25 was a boat well-suited to fam­ily day trips and sun­set cruises. Even the name Bahia Mar evoked turquoise wa­ters and trop­i­cal sun­shine.

Af­ter the 25’s de­but, more mod­els fol­lowed, in­clud­ing the Bahia Mar 31 in 1965, the 20-footer in 1969 and the 28 in the late 1980s.

Op­tions on the larger mod­els in­cluded fish­ing gear, such as hard­tops equipped with rocket launch­ers, bait wells, fish boxes, out­rig­gers and tow­ers with con­trols. Cabin ameni­ties were ex­panded to in­clude more overnight crea­ture com­forts.

Ber­tram may have summed up the fiber­glass fu­ture of recre­ational boat­ing in its Bahia Mar 25 sales brochure. “To the race-proven Ber­tram 25 hull has been added rak­ish styling, a dash of su­pe­rior per­for­mance and the plea­sure of com­fort­able cruis­ing.” The com­bi­na­tion would prove a win­ning for­mula for many other fiber­glass boat de­sign­ers and builders in the com­ing years.

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