Sport-Fishing Boats On The Drawing Board

An insider’s look at 20 boats hitting the water soon to chase billfish around the world

Marlin Magazine's On The Drawing Board
Marlin Magazine's On The Drawing BoardCourtesy Michael Peters Yacht Design

The smell of sawdust around a boatbuilder’s shop generally means one thing: There’s a new boat splashing soon. Around the country, both production and custom boatyards are in constant motion, with many builders filling orders for multiyear projects with owners who anxiously embark on the experience of seeing their build take shape. You’ll be amazed at how the boats on the following pages (listed in alphabetical order) continue to push the envelope in fishability, size, range and speed.

American Custom Yachts 68

American Custom Yachts 68
American Custom Yachts 68Courtesy American Custom Yachts

With an anticipated splash date during late summer or early fall 2017, this 68-foot custom sport-fisher is expected to continue on the ACY tradition. Powered by twin 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32 ACERTs, this beauty will top 44 knots on the pins. The four-stateroom, three-head layout features a forward galley, and creative design elements provide tons of space and storage to meet the highest demands of a traveling operation.

Bayliss 77

Bayliss 77
Bayliss 77Courtesy Bayliss Boatworks

Hull No. 21, Wave Paver, will be unique unto herself and built specifically for the sole purpose directed by the owners: fishing. Her four-stateroom, 4½-head layout offers tons of built-in tackle, rod and freezer storage and seamlessly integrates a Seakeeper gyro into the build.

Bertram 35

Bertram 35
Bertram 35Courtesy Bertram Yachts

A classic is reborn! Bertram announced the construction of its new 35-footer during the 2015 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and this Maine-built boat should splash in late spring 2016. Designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design, the infused solid-glass hull features Kevlar strake reinforcements and centerline. Weighing in at a half-load displacement of 20,800 pounds, the 35 is expected to have a top end of 40-plus knots from the pair of 454 hp Caterpillar C7 diesels. Peters says, “Beautiful styling is simply the skin-tight wrap that covers a functionally beautiful design.”

Gamefisherman 53

Gamefisherman 53
Gamefisherman 53Courtesy Gamefisherman

The 53-foot walkaround features a huge cockpit and air-conditioned bridge. Ready to travel, it has two private cabins, a galley with a fridge and microwave, and walk-in tackle storage. Mike Matlack, owner of Gamefisherman, says, “This is a boat you can actually stay on. We’ve built several smaller walkarounds, but they’re only day boats.”

Garlington 49

Garlington 49
Garlington 49Courtesy Garlington

Perfection is the newest walkaround from Garlington and measures right at 49 feet. This particular boat features twin 725 hp Volvo D11 IPS drives and draws just over 4 feet. The boat can also be powered with twin 800 hp MAN R-6s or 1,200 hp MAN V8s, with which shallow ­propeller tunnels would lessen the draft to under 4 feet.

Henriques 50

Henriques 50

Henriques 50

Henriques 50Courtesy Henriques

Completion of this 50-foot express is expected for October 2016. Describing Henriques’ new model, Natalia Henriques-Costa remarks, “We are thrilled to finally finish all the necessary mold work on this new model.” The build will embrace the advances in building technology and feature the latest components on board.

Jarrett Bay 46

Jarrett Bay 46
Jarrett Bay 46Courtesy Jarrett Bay Boatworks

Grander, a custom walkaround, will be powered by Cat C18s with conventional propulsion and embraces an innovative new transom shape designed to achieve bar-raising back-down performance. The layout features thoughtfully designed storage in every possible space, and the mezzanine tactfully incorporates two ice boxes, a drink box, tackle drawers, bait trays, gaff tubes and rod storage. In the cockpit, twin fish boxes parallel the fighting chair, and a livewell with two tuna tubes will be put in the transom for those days when you choose to use live bait.

Jim Smith 60

Jim Smith 60
Jim Smith 60Courtesy Jim Smith Tournament Boats

Donna Rae, expected to splash in spring 2016, is a 60-foot walkaround from Jim Smith Tournament Boats in Stuart, Florida. The two-stateroom, two-head layout will be accented with teak throughout the interior accommodations. The 60-footer will be powered by twin 1,250 MTU 8V 2000 M94 diesels and is expected to have a top end around 44 knots. The walkaround design allows for 360-degree visibility and fishability, with the added comforts of a Seakeeper on board. The bridge is highlighted by two sofas wrapped around a beautiful teak table.

Maverick 50

Maverick 50
Maverick 50Courtesy Maverick Yachts

The 50-foot Super Fly is cold-molded from laurel blanco strip planks and models the hull structure of its sister ship Spanish Fly. The boat features teak decking and covering boards as well as solid mahogany toe rails and trim to provide a modern look with traditional flair. Powered by twin 1,000 hp 12.9 Cats, she'll cruise at 35 knots.

Michael Rybovich & Sons 88

Michael Rybovich & Sons 88
Michael Rybovich & Sons 88Courtesy Michael Rybovich & Sons 88

This 88-foot fast cruiser is built to travel the world in ­comfort and speed. She will be powered by twin 2,600 hp MTUs and is expected to hit 43 knots on the pins and cruise at 34 knots. The cruiser design allows for added space below to create comfort for owner and guests ­without sacrificing fishing performance or functionality.

Paul Mann 76

Paul Mann 76
Paul Mann 76Courtesy Paul Mann Custom Boats

Full Time, a 76-footer built by Paul Mann Custom Boats, was designed in ­collaboration with Ullberg Yacht Design. Paul Mann states, "She will be well-appointed, fully equipped and tournament ready, but also designed and prepared for traveling in comfort and style to any desired destination for family fun." Her four-stateroom, four-head layout provides plenty of luxurious accommodations and storage for long trips away from home to any billfish destination. Gyro stabilized and topped by a deluxe tower from Palm Beach Towers, she will be a sure tournament winner.

Scarborough 63

Scarborough 63
Scarborough 63Courtesy Scarborough

This boat from builder Ricky Scarborough is one of three 63-footers in production as of this writing. This boat is expected to hit the water in December 2016. She will be powered by twin 1,550 hp MAN diesels and is expected to top 41 knots and cruise at 30 knots. The three-stateroom, three-head layout provides plenty of room for a crew that wants to chase billfish all over the world.

Sea Force IX 131.5

Sea Force IX 131.5
Sea Force IX 131.5Courtesy Sea Force IX

This luxury sport yacht’s hull will begin tow-tank testing in ­mid-February, and production of the hull will begin soon there­after. The 131.5 is based on a hull form proved over the past decade, but the 2016 version will feature a whole new look. Don’t let the size of this sport-fisher belie her ability for agility and speed.

Shearline 58

Shearline 58
Shearline 58Shearline Boatworks

Expected to splash in May 2017, this 58-footer will cruise in the low 30-knot range and top out in the upper 30s. The interior layout will feature two full staterooms and two heads, with additional bunks for guests. A full tower from Carolina Custom Towers will sit atop this sport-fisher to make her one heck of a fishing machine.

Slane Marine 62

Slane Marine 62
Slane Marine 62Courtesy Slane Marine

Tom Slane (son of Willis Slane, founder of Hatteras Yachts) and his team spent countless hours designing this boat. The result is this fuel-efficient 62-footer that boasts a spacious, owner-customized floor plan with four staterooms and three heads. She will be capable of nearly 40 knots and only burn 59 gallons per hour at 30 knots.

Spencer 74

Centurion Spencer 74 On the Drawing Board Marlin Magazine
Spencer 74Courtesy Spencer Yachts

Centurion marks the 100th hull for Spencer Yachts, and the excitement for the Spencer family and Centurion's owner is evident. The owner remarks, "There is no doubt building a boat of this nature is a dream of a lifetime for us. We feel so blessed to even be in a position to build such a spectacular boat — hull No. 100. Words cannot describe the excitement and anticipation that we feel to be a part of such a huge milestone with the Spencer family." The 74-footer will feature a five-stateroom, four-head layout and beautiful interior accommodations. She will be powered by twin 2,600 hp MTUs and be true to the Spencer name as one of the fastest in the fleet.

Sunny Briggs 63

Sunny Briggs 63
Sunny Briggs 63Courtesy Sunny Briggs

Audacious embraces modern styling without straying far from the refined lines and classic layout with which Briggs' boats have made their name. The two-stateroom layout is complemented by a huge tackle and trophy room that its owner, Ricky Sousa, will soon put to use while chasing blue marlin off his home waters of Bermuda.

Viking 48

Viking 48 Boat
Viking 48Courtesy Viking Yachts

A new series of Viking 48-footers debuts in 2016, including Open, Sport Tower, Sport Coupe and Convertible varieties. The resin-infused hull is beamy and carries its breadth farther aft for more interior room, a wider cockpit and more running surface. A center- console helm on the flying bridge provides excellent visibility, and the 124-square-foot cockpit features a mezzanine, freezer space, tackle storage and engine-room access. The three staterooms and two heads complement the spacious salon and galley.

Willis 70

Willis 70
Willis 70Courtesy Willis Marine

The new Uno Mas continues in the footsteps of its 77-foot big brother. The build uses the latest in computer design analysis and composite materials without straying from the traditional cold-molded and epoxy construction of the hull. The four-stateroom, three-head layout features a center galley island in the salon, perfect for entertaining.

Winter Custom 65

Winter Custom 65
Winter Custom 65Courtesy Winter Custom Yachts

Designed by Rhodes Yacht Design, the 65-foot express First Light features a three-stateroom layout, including a ­full-beam master and open living area below. The arrangement on the bridge of this express allows everyone to be in on the action with family and friends while fishing or traveling. A horseshoe-shaped seating area aft of the helm faces a 50-inch TV and outdoor kitchen. The helm overlooks five 19-inch displays, and the mezzanine offers ample freezer storage.