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Block Island Great Salt Pond

Bertram 31 Block Island Rendezvous 2002 - August 3rd & 4th

Courtesy of Offshore Magazine - November 2002

Boaters gather on Block Island to celebrate Bertram 31s.

Six years ago, Charlie Johnson found out just how much he loved his Bertram 31. That was when he sold it and bought a different brand of boat. But the Freeport, New York boater soon realized his mistake. So, he bought another Bertram 31—a renovated 1968 model. He doesn’t plan on making that mistake again. “I’ll take this boat to my grave,”’ he says.

Johnson and 15 other Bertram owners gathered at Champlin’s Marina on Block Island in August for a rendezvous cele- brating the boats they love. According to Johnson, the 16 boats at the marina marked the largest gathering of Bertram 31 s ever in the Northeast.

Bertram 31 s were made from 1961 to 1986. They are significant because they were the first planing deep-V hulls. Before Bertram 31s, the average deep-V boats did 12 to 14 knots at best. But the Bertram 31 s doubled that speed. Their planing prowess, combined with their classic, timeless lines and durability, have given the boats a great reputation.

The rendezvous was organized by Bertram 31 owners, who met one another at a popular website for the boat’s fans, They tried to hold the event in both 2000 and 2001, but each year strong storms kept most boats away.

There were no storms this year, though, as a crowd turned out for the rendezvous. There, they gawked at each other’s Bertrams, compared restoration projects and exchanged ideas. A large clambake, cooked up by Johnson, capped off the weekend.

While this year’s gathering was large, Johnson says he expects a new record in 2003. “We’ll have at least 25 next year.”

          ---Dan Mathers

Top left: Bertram 31s dock at Champlin ~ Marina on Block Island.

Top right: Bertram owners get in some fishing during the rendezvous.

Above: Two kids show off the secret Bertram 31 handshake.

Richard Mello Photos

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