The devil is in the details. There are all kinds of boatbuilders in our industry, of varying levels of skill and quality. Here in the United States, we are fortunate to have the best sport-fishing boatbuilders in the world. In a relatively short building career — just 15 boats so far — John Bayliss, and his now well-known Bayliss Boatworks, has climbed to the upper echelon of Carolina builders.
Known for sweating the small stuff and for having incredible attention to detail, Bayliss has produced boats that have quickly become recognized by serious crews as top-notch fishing platforms with beautiful wood craftsmanship and solid performance. But they aren’t cookie-cutter yachts; each has a distinct individuality to suit the preferences of its owners.
The latest launch from Bayliss represents its largest to date: the 80-foot Dream Time. She is a great example of how the crew at Bayliss is focused on the details. From the moment you walk up to her at the dock, you see the crisp detail in the paint, varnish and metalwork. You also can’t miss her clean hull lines, paired beautifully with a raised sheer and gracefully raked stem.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to check her out and go for a ride out of Palm Beach, Florida, on a late-winter day with a stiff 20-knot breeze pushing up a nice 4- to 6-foot swell. Capt. Rob Mahoney pushed her on plane, and the 2,600 hp MTU M93 diesels made quick work of getting her up to speed. She effortlessly slipped along in those sea conditions at 1,750 rpm, making 27.5 knots and burning 146 gph — just a minimal amount of spray hit the curtains.
Pushing her up to 1,950 rpm, we clipped along at 31.7 knots, and the boat rode beautifully. Down below, in the salon and staterooms, there was no creaking or rattling doors; she was quiet and tight.
These large boats punch a big hole in the air and have a lot of reach from sea to sea, and Dream Time ran beautifully in these nasty conditions. She did not hit hard under the chine when quartering the seas, as oftentimes happens, and when taking them head-on, she ate them up. Down-sea she tracked straight, and we hit a top speed of 38 knots as we ran across the sea tops.
As we slowed down, she settled into a nice trolling speed, with a clean wake and gentle glide. Backing around, she responded to the wheel and throttles and she spun nicely, so turning and chasing a fish should pose no problem with this big girl. Visibility from the helm was excellent, and I could see the transom corners and fighting chair easily. The massive tuna tower by Palm Beach Towers fit the boat beautifully, sporting a finely shaped and finished hardtop and big, robust pipe.
The bridge on Dream Time is massive, with a nicely designed console with good ergonomics. It is easy to see and reach the electronics behind the tempered glass panel. On either side of the helm you’ll find equipment boxes that house the Maretron monitoring system, a Simrad NSE GPS multifunction unit, a camera controller and screen, the Furuno radar controller and an accessory switch panel.
The wraparound bridge seating forward of the console houses great storage, including a freezer and drink box. A lift-up section offers access to the bow storage area. The seat just forward of the console holds a giant freezer perfect for storing lots of bait or provisions on extended trips. Full-length rod lockers are found on both sides — a nice use of a typically ignored potential storage place. The curtain track on the bridge is built-in and integral to the cap rail around the bridge, so you can’t see any track.
The well-laid-out cockpit features the all-important mezzanine seating, and like everywhere else on the boat, the area boasts great storage and excellent use of space. The teak deck, covering boards and bulkhead woodwork is world class.
The mezzanine step level holds both a freezer and a rigged bait box with removable trays, so there is no need for coolers on deck. A large drink box hides under the step entering the salon. The salon door is set to port, and the bridge ladder goes up through a hole in the deck to the bridge. Outboard of the salon door is a cabinet with a grill and tackle drawers underneath.
Starboard of the salon door is the mezzanine seat with storage under. There are under-gunwale storage lockers with racks for cleaning tools. An in-deck hatch offers access to the lazarette, which houses the livewell sump box and is finished as finely as the exterior of the boat. A nice in-deck stainless-steel box can hold fish, ice or buckets. The integral transom fish box doubles as a livewell and is deep and wide with rounded ends.
Salon and Belowdecks
The interior of Dream Time blew me away — it’s one of the finest I’ve ever encountered on a sport-fishing yacht. Again, the attention to detail that John Bayliss and his crew apply to their boats is incredible. It is impossible to grasp all the detail inherent in every turn and behind every panel or cabinet on the boat in just one visit — the workmanship is like fine art. Entering the salon, you are immediately taken in by the warmth of the wood tones and soft goods.
The expansive salon boasts a day head to port. Two-barrel chairs sit on either side of a low cabinet that opens up and serves as a liquor cabinet. To starboard an L-shaped lounge with storage underneath provides plenty of seating. A nice table that lifts up and folds out serves double duty as a dining table, with storage inside for serving platters, bowls and other serving pieces.
The galley sits to port at the forward end of the salon and has a U-shaped countertop and multiple drawer-style freezers and refrigerators lining the outboard wall, under the counter. The cooktop also lies under the counter at the aft end, so when cooking you are actually looking aft. The sink is at the forward end of the galley under the overcounter cabinets. The starboard side of the galley counter has three bar stools and a large U-shaped dinette.
Moving below, a sculpted staircase to starboard leads you down to the companionway heading aft to the crew stateroom, which is under the galley floor. It has two bunks on either side, both air-activated, drop-down Pullman berths. Moving forward up the companionway, a guest stateroom with full-size bunk and Pullman berth is to starboard. The large VIP stateroom with private head lies to port with a queen island berth, several hanging lockers and heaps of storage.
All the way forward, you’ll find the master stateroom, with its large head in the forepeak. The queen island berth lies athwartship to starboard and has an air-assist lift to access storage under the bunk. There is also a lounge along the port outboard wall with hanging lockers and plenty of drawer storage.
Underneath the deck, you’ll also find a huge storage and equipment area that is easily accessed through a large hatch under the carpet.
The engine room is finished every bit as nicely as the rest of the boat. Bayliss uses chases to run wiring and plumbing to keep a clean, uncluttered look. The massive 2,600 hp diesels fit nicely in the gleaming space. You get good access to water pumps and belts. You can see that there is a lot of thought and care that goes into the placement of equipment, making everything easy to service and maintain.
John Bayliss has come a long way from his days as a deckhand and skipper of his beloved Tarheel in the Oregon Inlet charter fleet. He left the bridge and the blue water to build boats that exceeded industry standards, and he pushed to be something more than just another custom builder. Whether turning the wheel on his charter boat, starting a boatbuilding and service-yard business, or creating custom sport-fishermen of incredible distinction, his attention to detail and hard work have been the keystones to all his success. Dream Time represents an excellent example of what John Bayliss is all about. If you are lucky, you might get to see her somewhere and get a good look at her. But if you’re really fortunate, you have the means to ring up John Bayliss and get your very own version of Dream Time for yourself.
LOA: ** 80′
Draft: ** 5’8″
**Weight: 125,000 pounds
Fuel: 3,200 gallons
**Water: ** 450 gallons
**Power: ** (2) M94 MTUs, 2,600 hp each