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November 11, 2011

Bayliss 73

The 73-foot Shark Byte is Bayliss Boatworks’ newest and largest launch to date

After fishing offshore for 40 years, Peter Cherasia knew he was ready to build a custom boat of his own, but he didn’t know who should build it — until one memorable day in the Bahamas, that is.

“We were in the Pocket at Chub Cay, and it was blowing 28 knots,” Cherasia says. “Bayliss hull No. 10, Man-e-War, passed us up at 30-plus knots, and the captain was drinking a cup of coffee!”

Two years later, Cherasia took delivery of the 73-foot Shark Byte — Bayliss Boatworks’ newest and largest launch to date. The mission of the owner and builder was to take the dry, smooth ride and detailed craftsmanship of a Bayliss-built boat, and add innovative ideas on how to deliver comfort, long-range capability and state-of-the-art technology. The goal being to create, in the words of her captain, Rich Barrett: “the best fishing boat ever.”

Shark Byte primarily fishes for marlin and tuna. She summers in New Jersey, fishes Florida and the Bahamas through March, and then heads to the Caribbean. She’s capable of running on her own bottom (cruise speed during daylight hours and 10 knots at night) to Bermuda. On a recent trip this summer, Barrett and crew released 31 whites in two days. They feel that their mission has been accomplished.

It’s hard not to be mesmerized by her size. Shark Byte was moored bow out, so my initial impression was of her 20-foot-wide, high-gloss, single-piece teak transom, similarly finished aft bulkhead and Release fighting chair. Those pieces stood in beautiful contrast with the bright-white cold-molded hull and flying bridge, with her low-profile sides and the sheen of the subtly designed tuna tower that complements her lines without overwhelming them.

It’s a dead heat, in my opinion, in terms of whether the performance, technology or well-thought-out, minute details steal the show. It’s difficult, though, not to begin with the ride and handling, which I experienced firsthand just after Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc on the area.

The 2,600 hp MTUs came to life, sans smoke. The hydraulic bow thruster, controlled by buttons mounted within the single-lever controls, easily slid the expansive bow between the piles. As Shark Byte idled down New Jersey’s Navesink River and into Ambrose Channel, we managed to dodge several telephone poles. The 73-foot Shark Byte achieved a quick hole shot and a level and quiet ride. We conversed easily, at volumes slightly above library levels, while cruising at 35 knots and turning 1,950 rpm under an 82 percent load. Wide-open throttle was just shy of 45 knots.

When it was time to simulate fighting a fish, Barrett put the screws to the mechanics and spun her 360 degrees, completing the circle in earnest. There wasn’t one clatter, chatter or knock. The underwater gear offered minimal vibration. The GPS read an amazing 8.2 knots when backing down. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone in reverse. A leftover swell deposited a hot-tub-size volume of water into the teak-soled cockpit, but it evacuated as quickly as it entered, via the excellent drainage setup.

“Our hull design combination has more deadrise, 13½ degrees, aft than a typical Carolina build with a sharper entry. The convex sections forward help us achieve more speed and a softer ride,” Bayliss says.

Under way, the lower chine pushed the water several feet from the hull sides. At trolling speeds, the cockpit remained quiet and the trolling lanes clear.

Flying Bridge
Every square inch of Shark Byte has a purpose, and the design thereof examined and evaluated to the nth degree. The flying bridge is a perfect example.

The center console layout provides room for guests and crew to navigate the entire area. A unique rod storage setup with air-actuated pocket doors holds eight 30- and eight 50-pound outfits on quick-connect mounts. The life raft, a washdown station, and a refrigerated compartment and bait freezer are all stowed forward of the helm. The EPIRB stows out of view in an armrest.

Within the helm, you’ll find a series of wire bundles, neatly secured in and around the electronic modules. Above, and behind clear glass screens supported by polished gas shocks, Bayliss installed four 19-inch monitors to display all the data from the Simrad NSE, Furuno radars and sonars, satellite receivers and cameras.

A control station outfitted with twin VHFs, a Simrad NSE and engine controls sits way on top of the Palm Beach-constructed tower. It’s a comfortable perch, where the multiple occupants can easily wedge in on a rough day.