The early days of fiberglass boatbuilding produced some distinctive designs that looked nothing like their wooden predecessors. The Bertram Bahia Mar 25 that debuted in 1964 was one of them. And while its unusual appearance may have shocked some, its versatility and performance made it a trendsetter, the first of a fleet of Bahia Mar models that Bertram produced into and through the 1980s.
Each 25 was simple with an open cockpit, a protected helm and basic accommodations in a cuddy cabin. The Bahia Mar 25 also was a multipurpose boat long before the term became popular.
Ideal for fishing, the model followed on the heels of the iconic Bertram 31 sportfishing boat. Under the 25’s sweptback superstructure was the same deep-V hull that made the 31 so famous. The 25’s cabin gave it a second dimension: There was a V-berth forward, an enclosed head compartment and a galley with a sink. The 25 was a boat well-suited to family day trips and sunset cruises. Even the name Bahia Mar evoked turquoise waters and tropical sunshine.
After the 25’s debut, more models followed, including the Bahia Mar 31 in 1965, the 20-footer in 1969 and the 28 in the late 1980s. Options on the larger models included fishing gear, such as hardtops equipped with rocket launchers, bait wells, fish boxes, outriggers and towers with controls. Cabin amenities were expanded to include more overnight creature comforts.
Bertram may have summed up the fiberglass future of recreational boating in its Bahia Mar 25 sales brochure. “To the race-proven Bertram 25 hull has been added rakish styling, a dash of superior performance and the pleasure of comfortable cruising.” The combination would prove a winning formula for many other fiberglass boat designers and builders in the coming years.
This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue.