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The Non Evolution of the Sport Fisher

Discussion in 'General Sportfish Discussion' started by Kafue, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    This thread was started because Shazams thread on the “ pod/Zeus buzz” diverted greatly from that into Sportfish popularity, which interests me because for years I have wondered why the sportfish and pilothouse designers have not learnt more from each other.
    IMHO, the sport fish needs to re-invent itself for many of the reasons mentioned in Shazams thread. For example, many people who own a SF in Australia (and in the US I guess) are not hard-core fishing people. They enjoy cruising as much as fishing, if not more. My perfect boat is a pilothouse with a large cockpit that I can fish from and go on long trips or just a short weekend. Putting game poles on an Offshore or Ocean Alexander never seemed strange to me.
    Best of both worlds.
    Look at the Hatteras Convertible 53 I have now.
    A 1971 build and it is still the same basic design as a new one. Beside all the massive technology in engines, electronics, hull design (below the waterline) and structural material. Now that either means that Hargrave had it 100% right 45 years ago or that there has been little thought put into adapting the different boating needs into one design. I think Tom Fexas and Nordhavn have tried with their Passage maker/Sport fisher, but the price point is way too high.

    Simple examples are the fact that U.S. SF have no bow rails.
    No Pulpits or proper ground tackle.
    No davits or tenders.
    No hatches.
    No opening windows…..this really gets me. Why go out on the water to spend your whole day stuck shut inside an Aircon boat? Sure opening windows leak after 20 odd years, so do the ones in a house, doesn’t mean we seal them up with silicone!

    Says to me that the builders see no market for these boats for cruising people who fish as well. This may have been true in the past, but now it seems the buyers are not there for dedicated 50’ plus boats.
    Looking back, there have been amazing SF designs, but I suppose the market demanded what the builders supplied. Could be time for a U turn?

    Here is an EXTREME example of what must be the perfect marriage of both worlds, if only it had been continued and evolved to different lengths etc:
    1984 Huckins Cockpit Motor Yacht Power New and Used Boats for Sale

    So those brokers sitting on the large SF at the boat shows are saying to the prospective buyers:
    “This is for the rich, then, if you have the $’s, you must be prepared to run generators all the time, also, it’s only for go fast=plenty of fuel consumption and basically, if you are not into fishing, sitting with your back to the bow watching the wake behind you, or being cooped up in the saloon with the A/C on, this ain’t for you”

    Where is a designer who can come up with a sport fisher with access to the bow and cockpit, a pilothouse and long range?
    It is almost there, just look at a Fleming 55 or Offshore , add some hard-core fishing options and a mezzanine etc.
    AMG?
    Far?
    Kajan?
  2. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I'm not sure where the marketing focus is with new construction but what we're seeing with brokerage sales here on the west coast is the 45' to 60' pure sportfish buyer is almost extinct.

    Out here our sportfishers typically have swim steps, bow rails, pulpits, ground tackle, davits, tenders, hatches, and opening windows. Older sportfishers are selling at such low prices they are getting attention from buyers even if they have little interest in fishing. I know someone who just bought a hardcore mid 1980's 50' convertible/sportfisher to use as a liveaboard.

    We've always had pilothouse yachtfishers on the west coast - they're more common than convertibles once you get up into around 60' and larger...

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  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The sportfish you have now, are an evolution of the sportfish from back then. Sportfish are generally travelling and staying in climates where the air is warm. Portholes are never really used because it's too hot outside, you don't want salt destroying all of your interior woodwork, and salt water leaking inside of the boat in rough seas.

    On 50-65'ish expresses and even motoryachts, for 90% of my customers I recommend that they don't even bother with a tender. The tender size is too small to carrying everyone on the boat and they never get used. The amount the tender costs and keeping it clean and maintained isn't worth it for the lack of use they see. Plus, they're always in the way on the expresses and some motoryachts. It's also a heck of a lot cheaper to rent a 17' whaler at most spots.

    The lack of a pulpit is for looks purposes mainly, but also an anchor is not banging around up there in rough seas and a possible safety issue if it gets loose. A lot of sportfish hardly if ever use an anchor.
  4. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    No argument about portholes, I was talking windows opening in the saloon. Tenders on hire aren't available this side and I still don't get it. As for anchors being unsafe if they get loose, mine is secured by a chord while underway and in my book not having an anchor is unsafe. FWIW, I have spent about $150K in the last 18 months on my boat, added to the $750K from before makes it an expensive classic, but that's my point, it still is same in many respects to a new convertible. The market has "evaporated" for more reasons than economy. Going by your opinion, RER and others on the Zeus/Pod thread, buyers are spending the same and more on CC rather than new SF's or later model SF's. Hence my comment. People have not suddenly stopped fishing. So if you had a company producing SF's, would you not consider following, or ALWAYS better, creating a new multi target designed boat?
  5. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    Most of the viewpoints you are getting here will be biased for East Coast US Sportfishers, so the factors that influence them will not necessarily be the same for your geographic location. The East Coast has fuel and marinas available in fairly reasonable distances, so need need to anchor out (therefore no tender/davits/bow rails), the fishing is done mainly in the cockpit, and the emphasis is not so much on live bait fishing (for the most part). The seas they travel are different as well, with a shorter wave peroid that can result in closely spaced/steep seas.

    The West Coast Sportfishers are set-up the the way you describe Kafue, because ports are far and few between, and you will be anchoring in somewhat remote (and fairly deep) locations. Classic builders like Elliott created the now copied Pilothouse Sportfishing Motoryacht design (by Ed Monk Jr.), but the quantities where never significant on a global scale.

    I would say the evolution of SF Design, including your 53' Hatt, is more comparable to the Porsche 911 - same overall shape with modern styling cues and the benefit of today's technology.

    Your 53' is still considered as one of the best looking designs to come out of Hatteras, courtesy of the legendary Jack Hargrave, of course. ;)
  6. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    This AquaStar was built in the UK for an Australian client. A semi-displacement cruiser/fisherman with a Down East look that will take some heavy weather, the hull is based on a Pilot Boat. I used to build them.

    Island Marine Craft Guernsey

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  7. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Co-incidently, a few years ago I was in contact with Aqua Star. They had a 55'+ model that had a good layout, just very pricey. There was one for sale with Palmer J in 2006 that was great, except missing a 3rd cabin.
    Ended up going with an Offshore 58.
    As for Ed Monk Jr. I think the Tollycraft 57 and 65 are amongst the 2 best pilothouse designs ever. Work for fishing with clean large cockpits, diving and long range.
    e.g:
    1996 Tollycraft 65' Pilothouse Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
  8. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    PacBlue, good analogy. I love the boat and just keep adding "minor touches".
    This last week added some teak to the sides. Not just for the look, also because the paint was getting a bit tired at the edge.

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  9. captainviv

    captainviv Member

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    kafue , clever way of using that turn buckle in reverse ...... have to remember that trick
  10. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    TY, occured to me after a long walk through the hardware store. These things can take up many hours of thought late at night, as we know.
  11. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Maybe sportsfish boats are like alligators or sharks, they have evolved as far as they need to and the downsides of further "improvement" would detract from their single ideal purpose.

    How much more would an alligator eat if it was beautiful?
  12. SHAZAM

    SHAZAM Senior Member

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    I don't think it's an obsolete or outdated design. IMO it is ideal.

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  13. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    But in your own words, it is not selling!
    In the words of others the buyer is "extinct".
    I too think my 53 is beautiful, or I would not have bought her.
    However, not perfect. In 45 years, no one has added pilothouse door or doors that carried on to the next generation, or bow seating, not necessarily as far forward as Midnight Lace but at least giving the bow SOME darn use!
    All that work and fibreglass and what is it used for other than the occassional tender and then usually only in Australia or the West Coast.
    I never said the SF was ugly.
    The question about whether the market for the 50'+ SF was over was not mine but posed by many on Shazams thread, hence this thread. Alligators are thriving I believe;)
  14. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    That 1995 60' Bertram is NUEVO ...and it's maintained to perfection. The crew at the owner's boatyard make sure of it!
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    Kafue
    SF have definitely evolved, we just don't recognize them any more. They go by the name of Azimut for one. More family friendly boat, if you like them. The traditional SF have added mezzanine seating, enclosed bridges and fore deck cushions - but a battle wagon has to remain a battle wagon. If you're buying a SF for just cruising there are a lot better options - non prettier though, IMO
  16. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    SF are also a great deal less expensive and less dated looking than their MY counterparts. We re looking for a cruising boat in the 60' range with 3-4 cabins. @250-300k the pilot house MY are older, dated, and lower quality. For that same price/ year it seems you can get much more...
  17. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    Sf

    Azimut & sport fishing, all new to me. ?
  18. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Beau, if the evolved SF is an Azimutt then I'll stick with my '71 Hatt for sure, the Mutt are not my idea of a sea going vessel and with respect, I think you missed my point. Fishtigua with his Aqua Star and walk around decks, pilot house door and heavy sea build has a good alternative.
    Could be my next boat, if if get one in the next 5 years, (I do love the Hatt) willl be a Fleming with game poles.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    But the reasons sportfish buyers have switched to center consoles is not because the sportfish have not evolved but these reasons.

    1. Center consoles are easier to operate and fish, can be operated and fished single handed.
    2. easier to maintain and cheaper to maintain.
    3. Easier to store and/or dock.
    4. Faster and more fuel efficient (most are capable of running 30 knots at a MPG figure, not GPM figure).
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Might be a new form of Adventure Sports :)

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