Winter 65 – Boat Review

Winter Custom Yachts rolls out a stunning beauty with Anita Jean.

Tim Winter is the face of a new generation of Carolina boatbuilders. At 30, he leads a young, but experienced, team of talented and dedicated employees that have launched 16 boats and have five more under construction. Winter grew up in Morehead City, North Carolina, with his family’s custom cabinet shop, but his passion was boatbuilding. He apprenticed at Shearline Boatworks, and after graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, he worked with Jim Luxton, the founder of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, on several major builds. But his desire was to design and build boats his way. He assembled a team of mechanical engineers and brought aboard his friend Jessie Rhodes, a naval architect trained at The Landing School, and together, they design each boat with clean, soft lines, gentle curves, and methodically organized mechanical layouts. Anita Jean showcases that talent and incredible attention to detail in a vessel that was purpose-built to meet the demands of Peter Watson, his wife, Anita, their two sons and their daughter -— avid marlin anglers with a penchant for fishing far-flung places.

Anita Jean is strikingly beautiful — a boat that would melt the heart of any Carolina custom aficionado. Its sheer is long and sensuous with nary a straight line — pure eye candy. The exaggerated crown of the bow and the radius of the transom is uber sexy, while the extra-wide teak covering boards delineate the boundaries of a cockpit designed for action, not simply for square footage.



The bridge features a large center console with Winter’s trademark soft, curved edges and a welcome toe rail surrounded by comfortable seating for the whole family with storage beneath. The twin Release Marine helm chairs have an unimpeded 360-degree view forward and down into the cockpit. The helm features the latest Furuno NavNet Glass Bridge equipment, a backup Northstar GPS, autopilot, Flir imaging and more, with the wheel and engine controls mounted on a classic teak pod. The forward surface of the console opens to reveal a massive storage freezer to help provision for those long hauls. The engine monitoring systems and radios are housed in a drop-down overhead compartment, and a pair of Birdsall teaser reels are flush-mounted in the hardtop.



The entire interior is finished in beautiful West Virginia cherry that was cut, milled and dried by Winter and crew. The galley is set off by a maple burl countertop surrounded by stools in the salon. A large flat-screen TV rises from the portside cabinets, and the breaker panel is located behind doors just forward. A file drawer built into the cabinet nearest the cockpit door contains manuals and blueprints for the entire boat and all its systems, which is a nice touch. The L-shaped settee faces a roughly triangular table that can be raised and enlarged with two leaves when dinner is served. The dream galley includes a commercial-grade oven, four-burner stove, built-in microwave and coffee maker, three refrigerator drawers and three freezer drawers, with ice makers and storage galore. There is even a built-in electric grill for burgers in the cockpit.

Tackle Storage

A door above the companionway stairs opens to reveal three 80W outfits and a an alcove with recessed lighting on the starboard side, which holds three 50s and six 30s. Five 130s are nestled in a cabinet farther down the companionway, and in the forward stateroom, there’s a locker under the port flare that holds a full complement of 20s, plus spinners and jigging sticks. At the bottom of the stairs, a utility room to port features a full-size washer and dryer, a bunk/folding table for laundry and a complete tackle center.



To starboard, the tasteful master suite includes a double bed, his and hers hanging closets and drawers, a flat-screen TV, and a beautiful head with an oversize shower and a VacuFlush toilet. A hatch over the bed opens into the “attic,” which can be used for storing all kinds of dry goods for long trips. The cherry floors, cabinets and moldings are woodworking artistry. Farther forward on the port side, you’ll find the guest head/shower and a double bunk room with lure storage under the top bunk and a selection of mechanical system spares, such as bilge pumps, switches and filters, under the bottom. The bow stateroom is another study in space utilization, with over-under double beds, a flat-screen TV, a head with a shower, a rod locker, and more drawers and cabinets for linens and clothing.



Accessed through a hatch under the rug in the companionway, the bilge is completely finished and large enough to get inside and work comfortably. The hydraulic system that drives the bow davit for the matching Winter-built flats boat, the bow windlass and thruster are accessible, as are the black water and gray water tanks and other systems. There is stowage for a variety of other items, such as spare lines, anchors and fenders.

Pump Room

Air-conditioned and fully finished, the pump room and engine room are accessed by lifting the companionway stairs and passing through a watertight door. The freezer compressors and SK watermaker are there with valves to control all raw water pickups, which are fed via a large sea chest. Two Grundfos water pumps provide fresh water to the boat. The larger pump draws from the 250-gallon freshwater tank for showers and the washdown system; the smaller from the 75-gallon sweet water tank, which feeds the sinks, ice makers and plumbed-in coffee maker. If either pump fails, the other can handle both systems. There is a shower in the pump room for a quick rinse after diving.


Engine Room

The engine room is clean, well-lit, serviceable and features all Caterpillar equipment, with two C32 Acert diesels and two C2.2 generators on slides that make for easy servicing or repairs. Under the walkway between the engines are paired 90-gallon tanks — one filled with clean oil for the engine crankcases and the other for waste oil, so servicing can be done at sea or in any port. Open the aft bulkhead door to the cockpit stairs, and you’ll notice a sight gauge for the 2,000-gallon fuel tank under the cockpit. A second 870-gallon tank is found forward, and fuel can be transferred to the aft tank.



The cockpit is designed and built for marlin fishing, with an unlimited Release Marine fighting chair on an offset pedestal taking center stage. A massive livewell/fish box is built into the transom. Two steps up is a comfy mezzanine settee with storage beneath, and in the deck underfoot are two freezers, an oversize bait compartment with custom stainless shelves, a drink cooler and the engine room’s aft access stairs. There’s hidden storage for gaffs, mops and cleaning supplies, and there is a lazarette aft of the fighting chair.

Parting Shots

Like everything else, the pipe work is first-class, and the tower complements the lines of the boat. Even the functional bikini bow rail looks balanced and graceful. We took the boat out under the watchful eye of Capt. Chris Bullock, and I was surprised by how quickly it came out of the hole and how fast it ran for a boat with this displacement. We were running with 1,900 gallons of fuel and 325 gallons of water with five adults on board. It was nimble in the turns, and it backed down and tracked well in reverse. Docking maneuvers are aided by the hydraulic bow thruster. Anita Jean will easily cruise in the 30-plus knot range and top out at more than 40 knots, faster with a lighter fuel load. Was I impressed with this unique Tim Winter creation? Impressed would be an understatement.


  • LOA: 65’1″
  • Beam: 19’6″
  • Draft: 6′
  • Disp.: 86,000 pounds
  • Fuel: 2,870 gallons
  • Water: 325 gallons
  • Power: 1,650 hp C32 Acert Caterpillar engines

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