|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,
wwwbertram3l.com. 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.”
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
Richard Mello Photos