A Profile of Pasquale Petrera’s 31 Bahia Mar
Since I was a kid growing up in Long Island I always loved the lines of the 31 Bertram and always wanted to have one one day. I prefer quality bulletproof boats. I kept coming back to 31 Bertrams I had seen on the Internet and finally narrowed my selection down to a beautiful 31 in Florida with twin 454 gas engines.
But, my friend Jeff returned from his winter vacation in the Keys and called me excitedly, telling me there was a 1971 Bertram Bahia Mar on the hard and the gentleman wanted to sell it. He said it looked pristine. I had never really considered this model but upon seeing it, fell in love with it due to its beautiful lines and its pristine condition. The owner had repowered her with 315 hp Yanmars. The installation is spectacular.
After purchasing it I decided to use it last summer, figure out what was good and bad and decide what I wanted to do with it. We had at least five offshore trips and caught a citation dolphin, hooked into a white marlin for a short period of time and on our last offshore trip got caught in some hellacious weather with eight-foot waves that swamped the bridge of the 35 Cabo in front of me on the way back. It was only the second time in my boating life that I had everyone on the boat put life jackets on.
The Bertram handled it fabulously.
I throttled back and we pounded through the bad weather at 16 knots, the diesels never missing a beat. After that trip I knew that I would need to have the boat modified if I continued to fish it.
I had had John Patnovic come down and look at it in July. His initial evaluation was that he had never seen a cleaner bilge in a 31 Bertram. He was very impressed with the boat and the repower. John and I went through all the systems and I decided if I were to continue offshore fishing I would need the boat to be completely rewired to have all the seacocks replaced and any through hull fittings that were not being used glassed over and have the engines gone over with a fine tooth comb. I decided to put a Marlin tower on too. John uses a fellow named Dave Miller to build towers and his work is impeccable. There are no straight pipes at all on my tower.
We sea trialed Saturday afternoon and she ran comfortably at 25 to 26 knots. Top speed with the tower is now 32.5 knots. On the way back from Wharton Creek to Indian River we hit 29 knots at times at 3100 rpm with the current.
Everyone at the marina couldn't believe how good she looked!