Moppie - The salty tale of the Bertram 31

Moppie - The salty tale of the Bertram 31

Photo from Bertram Yachts.

When it comes to legendary boats, the Bertram 31 stands as a true icon in the world of sportfishing. With its timeless design, exceptional performance, and reputation for seaworthiness, the Bertram 31 has cemented its place in maritime history.

The Bertram 31 was first introduced in 1961 by Richard Bertram, the founder of Bertram Yachts. It was designed by Ray Hunt, a renowned naval architect known for his innovative deep-V hull design. The Bertram 31 was an instant sensation, and it marked a significant departure from the traditional wooden boat construction of the time. This sportfisherman was constructed using a then-revolutionary material: fiberglass.

Moppie. The Birth of a Legend

The 1960 Miami-Nassau powerboat marked the debut of the Betram 31 with a 30-foot wooden prototype named after Betram's wife, Moppie. "What happened on that gusty April day in the Gulf Stream and on across the clear, rough waters on the Bahama Bank would forever alter powerboating," reported Soundings magazine (May 1994). 

Moppie set a course record that day, finishing in eight hours, two hours ahead of the second-place boat. Conditions were so poor that finishing at all was remarkable. The seas ran 8-12 feet. The winds were steady at 30 knots, gusting higher.

The Deep-V Hull Revolution

One of the most notable features of the Bertram 31 was its deep-V hull design. This innovative hull shape, also known as the Bertram Hunt design, allowed the boat to cut through rough waters with ease. It provided an exceptionally smooth and stable ride, even in choppy seas. The deep-V hull design became synonymous with Bertram and is still highly regarded in the boating world today.

Performance and Versatility

The Bertram 31 was initially powered by twin gas engines, which were later replaced by diesel engines. This transition improved the boat's performance and fuel efficiency, making it even more popular among anglers and sportfishing enthusiasts. Its comfortable cabin and cockpit layout also made it suitable for overnight trips and cruising, adding to its versatility.

Continued Popularity

Over the years, the Bertram 31 gained a strong following, and its reputation for durability and seaworthiness continued to grow. It became a favorite among serious anglers, winning numerous fishing tournaments and earning the respect of the industry. Its classic design and timeless appeal have allowed it to maintain a strong presence in the boating world even decades after its introduction.

Legacy and Influence

The influence of the Bertram 31 extends beyond its own model. It played a pivotal role in shaping the sportfishing and boating industry. Many boat manufacturers and designers drew inspiration from the Bertram 31, incorporating its deep-V hull and other design elements into their own creations.