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Wicked Tough

Some boat tests take place in flat, and truth to tell, not overly revealing conditions. You never get a feel for what a boat can do in real life. That was not the case for my test of the Bertram 800, and boy did she respond!



The sea was a bit rough the day we tested the Bertram 800, but undeterred, we commenced our test. While the first few data points presented little difficulty, the rough-and-tumble nature of pedal-to-the-metal ops in sideways honkers quickly asserted itself as we throttled up. Enormous swaths of spray began blasting off the bow as we forged ahead. Bouts of what felt like near levitation became so frequent that everyone onboard had to cling to the overhead sea rails with both hands. And toward the end, during a wide-open run that yielded 36.7 knots, I swear the 95-ton vessel shot free of her element, went airborne, and then plunged home with such an authoritative, totally integrated thunk, that a chorus of yells went up that woulda done justice to a foot-stompin’, hat-tossin’ West Texas rodeo.


The 800’s hull is exceptionally stout, thanks to a densely packed series of thick transverse web frames, a cagelike assembly of foam-cored longitudinals, a cluster of smaller stress-fighting “stem stringers” at the bow, several structurally integrated liners, a solid-glass bottom, and hull sides cored with 1½-inch-thick Divinycell. Her running surface is a classic deep-V shape tapering to a transom deadrise of 12 degrees, a combo designed to split eight-foot seas with efficiency. And her longitudinal balance is optimized not only through precise engine placement but also via “intelligent fuel storage,” meaning the use of a single fiberglass fuel tank that’s foam-bedded and installed athwartships atop the center of buoyancy, a strategy that obviates fuel-burn-related trim problems.

I commenced the remainder of the day with a tour of the 800’s machinery spaces. Top-notch features included pricey Optima batteries, a couple of gutsy crash pumps, two big Delta “T” air-induction boxes, a fluid-transfer system with complete redundancy, and a set of Mitsubishi ARG gyrostabilizers beneath a raised portion of the walkway between the mains, which no doubt were at least partially responsible for the 800’s offshore achievements. Forward, the 48-volt bow thruster system had its own battery bank and charger.


The interior was a top-notcher as well and available in several layout configurations. Our test boat had the enclosed flying bridge (shown, versus an open one), a saloon/galley/dinette area on the main deck with an athwartships starboard-side space forward of the galley (for a second crew’s quarters, pantry, or office), four big staterooms (all with en suite heads) on the lower deck, and a dedicated crew cabin aft.

  • : 82’8"
  • : 22’0"
  • : 5’8"
  • : 189,000 lb.
  • : 3,000 gal.
  • : 400 gal.
  • : 2/2,400-bhp MTU 16V-2000-M93 diesel inboards
  • : 2/2,186-bhp MTUs
  • : ZF 3060 A marine gears w/ 2.52:1 reduction PROPS: 42"x51½" 5-blade Rolla

ASea Recovery Aqua Matic 700-gpd watermaker; Walker Engineering AlgaeSep; Teak cockpit sole; PipeWelders Marine hydraulic outriggers; 10/rod holders; 19/DeepSea underwater lights; Release fighting chair

Air temperature: 84°F; humidity: 79%; seas: 6’-8’; load: 900 gal. fuel, 200 gal. water, 4 persons, 100 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Stalker radar gun. GPH estimates taken via MTU display. Range is 90% advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.

RPM Knots GPH Range db(A)
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