Florida Boatbuilders Tour

Big things from the Sunshine State

The new Gamefisherman 43 hull sits in the early morning sun waiting for the two cranes to arrive for the rollover.Capt. Jen Copeland

The timing of the Gamefisherman 43 hull rollover was a great excuse to jet up to the Treasure Coast and check on the happenings in Stuart, Florida. Luckily for me, 90 percent of these builders all lie within literally blocks from one another — some even right next door. On my way out of town, I stopped in Palm Beach to check in with my old friends at Michael Rybovich and Sons.

Not to be overshadowed by the builders in North Carolina and elsewhere, the boats emerging from Florida are among some of the finest and most refined custom sportfishermen anywhere in the world. Let’s take a closer look at a few new builds now underway.

This 50-foot express by Gamefisherman is moving along in her build with only a few more months to go. She will then be moved to the water for final preparations before delivery.Capt. Jen Copeland
The 43 in mid-flip.Capt. Jen Copeland
Smaller boat flips go very quickly. If you blink, you’ll miss it.Capt. Jen Copeland
Outside, this 26-foot center-console is Mike Matlack’s final build before retirement. He built it for himself.Capt. Jen Copeland
Just a few blocks away, this Garlington 61 shows off her beautiful tumblehome.Capt. Jen Copeland
The builders must be in constant communication since owners can make changes at almost any time during the build.Capt. Jen Copeland
Two Garlington 61s sit side-by-side as they are completed.Capt. Jen Copeland
Final adjustments are made to the covering boards for the cleanest line possible.Capt. Jen Copeland
The fairing team uses a single board to smooth out the hull of this 100-foot Jim Smith.Capt. Jen Copeland
Working indoors in the heat of a scorching Florida summer, the team takes a break.Capt. Jen Copeland
The deep tunnels on the new 100-foot Ovation are a necessity when navigating shallow-draft locations in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.Capt. Jen Copeland
Ovation will receive a teak transom once the fairing is complete.Capt. Jen Copeland
A carpenter preps his next project.Capt. Jen Copeland
A tank-test model leans against the wall in the yard office at Michael Rybovich and Sons in Palm Beach.Capt. Jen Copeland
Dusty Rybovich goes over some preliminary drawings in prep for a new build.Capt. Jen Copeland
Two of Rybovich’s projects occupy these bays on the Intracoastal Waterway.Capt. Jen Copeland
Mahogany boards are triple-planked on every Rybovich hull; the bottom has four overlapping layers.Capt. Jen Copeland
When working outside, the fiberglass team must work fast to be sure the cure rate of the resin is kept in check.Capt. Jen Copeland
Inside the huge boat shed at American Custom Yachts, this new 68-footer gleams with her anodized tower welds.Capt. Jen Copeland
The 68 is fitted with a heavy-duty towing eye made of stainless steel so it can be towed by a supply ship, saving on fuel and maintenance costs.Capt. Jen Copeland
The ACY 70, Que Mas, is in for a big refit, including a re-power.Capt. Jen Copeland