An association of Bertram 31 owners
feels it turned a corner this summer
with its third annual rendezvous for this
sportfishing classic on Block Island, R.l.
The two previous gatherings had attracted
only two or three boats, according to organizer
Dug Stowe. This summer, 21 Bertrams were
docked at Champlinís Marina in Great Salt Pond.
"There was a point when two or
three were arriving at a time," Stowe
says. "It was an amazing turnout."
Though the Aug. 3 and 4 event was
billed as a get-together for Bertram 31
owners, the group wasnít about to turn
away anyone from the Bertram family.
Alongside 17 Bertram 31s were two
Bertram 25s, one 28 and a 33. The
owner of a Bertram 36 happened to be
on the island with his family. Unaware
of the rendezvous, he stopped by for a
social visit and promised to attend next
yearís event, Stowe says.
Socializing was the key to the gathering,
according to the owners. "It was nothing but
one laugh after another," says Dick Dean,
who drove his 31, Kylemore, from Bay Shore,
N.Y., on Long Islandís South Shore.
Unlike more established, company driven
rendezvous, there was no roster of seminars
to attend at the Bertram 31 event.
"It was everybody climbing over everybody elseís
boat, going Ďoohí and Ďahh,í " Dean says.
"Itís like going to a boat show with
only boats you really want to see," says
Stowe, who keeps his 1969 Bertram 31,
Alchemy, in nearby Mystic, Con.
The oldest boat in attendance was the
1963 31-footer, Capy, owned by Paul
and Carol Gozewski. They also traveled
among the farthest from their northern
Massachusetts berth on the Merrimack
River. Tom Wardís 31-footer, Rumrunner,
made the run from Lavallette, NJ.,
and went home with the Greatest Distance prize.
Other boats came from
New York and Connecticut.
Stowe credits the sharp upswing in
rendezvous participation to the Web
site launched by Patrick McCary three
years ago, www.bertram31.com.
The comprehensive site includes
contacts for Bertram events, magazine
articles written about Bertrams, boats
for sale, building tips, a spare parts
listing, photos, and a history of the
Bertram 31 and the effect itís had on
Designed by Ray Hunt and built by
Richard Bertram, the 31 was in production for
25 years, beginning with its debut at the 1961
New York National Boat Show. The boat made
history as the first to use a deep-vee hull.
The 31 is known for its wet ride in a
head sea, but also for its superb sea-keeping characteristics.
"The boat goes
through big water like nothing Iíve
ever been on," Stowe says.
Like other owners, Stowe speaks of
the "mystique" that follows the
Bertram 31. He bought his boat about
five years ago and completely gutted it
during a four-year restoration. The end
result, he says, was worth it.
"Itís a nice feeling when you pull up
to a dock in a 31-footer and someone on
a 60-footer turns and says, ĎNice boat.í"
Regular production ended in 1983,
but 23 "Silver Anniversary" models were
built in 1986, with oak interiors and custom hull
striping. Bertram Yachts continues to operate under
the ownership of the Ferretti Group of Italy.
Though the company didnít sponsor
the rendezvous, Stowe says Bertram
bent over backwards to help the rendezvous
organizers. "The Bertram 31 is what built
Bertram, and they never lost sight of
that," he says.
Emboldened by this yearís success,
organizers already are planning a
Bertram 31 rendezvous for 2003 ó possibly
on Block Island again and most
likely in early August. Stowe says owners should
check the Bertram 31 Web
site for details and contact information.
"The reality is there are a lot of
Bertrams out there," he says. "I think
[the rendezvous] is only going to get
Bounty Hunter heads home to Long Island after the rendezvous.
Back To Entry Page