Built in Central America, rigged in Alabama, and turning heads in Palm Beach, Florida, and throughout the Bahamas: That’s Southern Fly, a beautiful 39-footer from Maverick Yachts Costa Rica. But that only scratches the surface of the story behind this remarkable custom boat.
Thanks to a partnership between Maverick and Saunders Yachtworks, the cold-molded hulls are completed at Maverick’s facility in Herradura, Costa Rica, and then shipped to Saunders for final outfitting and engine installation. When researching what he wanted in a new boat, Chris Klein came across Southern Fly, a brand-new 39 offered for sale by MacGregor Yachts. “I just fell in love with the story of the Fly boats and their history of charter fishing in the Pacific—that’s what first drew me to the brand,” he says. “And when we sea-trialed the boat, it ran beautifully and seemed like it would be a good fit for everything we wanted to do. We even kept the Southern Fly name.”
After moving up from a 38-foot Jupiter, Klein wanted a boat with a few more creature comforts, but also one that maintained the hardcore fishability and rough-water capability he was accustomed to in a big center-console. The Maverick’s walkaround design and air-conditioned cabin checked a lot of boxes, as did the outboard power. “We spend quite a bit of time in the Bahamas—fishing, diving, spearfishing and just island hopping—so having outboards lets us do more there in the shallow water,” he says. A 7-kilowatt Phasor diesel generator, a Seakeeper 6 gyrostabilizer, an air-conditioned salon, and a small but highly functional galley with a refrigerator and microwave add to the boat’s impressive list of amenities. “We can go from sunrise to sunset and not feel like we’re missing anything,” Klein says. “For a 39-foot boat, the interior is pretty amazing—it’s larger and more comfortable than you might think.”
The boat’s walkaround design and huge transom livewell lends itself perfectly to kite-fishing for sails off Palm Beach in the winter, while the large Burma teak cockpit, Rupp outriggers, insulated in-deck fish boxes and custom-designed Saunders-installed tower with a full suite of Garmin electronics (a pair of 12-inch multifunction displays in the tower and two 12-inch MFDs at the lower helm station) make it easy to switch gears when it’s time to troll for marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo in the Bahamas. “We also do a lot of spearfishing, so having the engine bracket with a removable swim ladder that clips on the side means you can get out of the water very easily,” he says. “There’s plenty of room between the engines and the transom for divers.”
One of Klein’s first extended trips with Southern Fly was a seven-week trip to the Exumas in summer 2020. “One of the things we did after we took delivery of the boat was install two bait freezers in the belowdecks space,” Klein says. “Once we did that, we were pretty much self-sufficient the whole time.” With a 500-gallon fuel capacity, plus an additional 40 gallons of diesel for the generator and 40 gallons of fresh water, Southern Fly offers good range between marina stops. Klein reports an economical cruising speed of 30 miles per hour, with a fast cruise of 43 to 45 miles per hour. Lightly loaded, Southern Fly tops out at 50.
And the head-turning part? “It’s really amazing the amount of looks and questions we get at the dock,” he says. “Anywhere we go in Florida or the Bahamas, people always come up to us and ask about the boat: who built it, where it’s from. The boat has great lines, and all the teak and mahogany really makes it look beautiful. The guys at Maverick have been a joy to work with as well—I can’t wait to get down there and fish on the other Fly boats one day soon.”