Forty-eight boats. That’s the fleet 73-year-old Rick Anastos had owned during a lifetime of boating.
There was the boat he built as a kid, along with his Sailfish. Later came a Typhoon, three classic MacKenzie bass boats, a few Aquasports, a Mako and five Egg Harbors, the biggest 40 feet. “Ten boats in the last 10 years,” says Anastos, a property manager and former builder who lives in Scituate, Massachusetts, with his wife, Donna.
No. 49 may just stop the streak. Two seasons ago, Anastos got his hands on a 1983 Fortier 33, and he’s not about to let go anytime soon. The single-engine, single-stateroom, Massachusetts-built cruiser has proved just the right boat to feed his lifelong passion for being on the water.
“My dad had a hardware and marine business in Hingham [Massachusetts], and I started working for him, painting the bottoms of the wooden boats,” he says. “Later, I helped deliver the boats he sold to customers, and I was hooked from the get-go. I love being on the water, love everything about it.”
Buying the 30-plus-year-old Fortier was not a hasty decision; Anastos first saw it on Craigslist and followed it for more than a year. It’s a Cape Cod boat, an Eldredge-McInnis design that had been chartered for 18 years and then sat on the hard for three seasons. It was in “pretty poor” condition, Anastos admits, dirty and ragged inside and out. “The day I went to look at it, the minute I saw it, I knew I was going to buy it,” he says. “I did it with no survey — I didn’t even start the engine.”
The Eldredge-McInnis pedigree helped. “I grew up with them. I used to follow them, and I knew the boats they designed and that they’d done the Fortier.” The price was $15,500, and Anastos estimates he’s put almost twice that into refurbishing it, on deck and below.
Among the fixes: The hardtop was removed and every inch of the boat painted.The bottom was stripped, the canvas replaced, and new cushions made for the V-berth. A new head was installed, along with a new hot water heater. The steering was serviced, the wiring redone, the trim tabs and the prop upgraded. A wooden swim platform and cockpit seating were added for comfort.
Anastos took on as many tasks as he could. “I like to do the work on it, and I enjoy planning what we do to it,” he says. To complete the project, he worked with East Coast Fiberglass in nearby Marshfield, Massachusetts. “Jeff [Perette] had done a paint job for someone I knew, and it was gorgeous,” Anastos says. “He and his crew did a terrific job on my boat.” Ken Grondell at Atlantic Coast Canvas Products in Scituate did the canvas work.
Power comes from a Caterpillar 3208 turbo diesel with around 10,000 hours on the clock. It speeds the 12,000-pound Fortier at a top end of around 24 knots, running at 2,800 rpm. Cruising speed is 17 to 18 knots.
Anastos and his brother-in-law, who owns Mill Wharf Marina, the Fortier’s home port, went through the engine, changing everything from clamps to injectors. “It purrs now,” Anastos says. “It’s beautiful.”
These days, Anastos and his wife make lots of day trips out of Scituate; destinations include Provincetown, Hadley Harbor and the 250-acre park and conservation area World’s End, south of Boston. “We have a mooring at World’s End, and we’ll shoot up there from Scituate, hike around, stay on the boat,” Anastos says. “We don’t go out much. We set up the barbecue. … We use the galley all the time. Staying on the boat, that’s the fun of it.”
The ’83 Fortier’s single engine (later models had twins) makes cruising more affordable, too. The 33-footer replaced Anastos’ twin-engine Hatteras motoryacht, which was comparatively expensive to run. “I can go across to Provincetown [on Cape Cod] and back for $42 as opposed to [hundreds] in the Hatteras.”
The Fortier 33 is also a good sea boat, thanks to its fishing-boat roots. “It handles unbelievable in a head sea,” Anastos says. “It can get dicey at the river entrance. The other day it was blowing good with a 4-foot chop. We went through like nothing at all.”
All in all, the Fortier 33 makes a pleasing package, the owner says. “I love it. It’s a great, great boat, and I have no plans for another [boat] … unless number 50 shows up.”
The current Fortier 33 rides a modified-vee hull cored with Core-Cell foam, making it lightweight and delivering a quiet ride. Designed by Eldredge-McInnis, the look is traditional, with its trunk cabin, oval ports and distinctive Fortier windshield. (Older models have big, long portholes.) The bridge deck, with the helm to starboard, complements the open cockpit. There’s a pedestal seat behind a large molded console for electronics, protected by a triple-panel windshield trimmed in teak. The two-person bench seat to port has ample stowage underneath. A transom seat adds a “picnic boat” touch to the layout. Cabin layouts are semicustom.
The basic arrangement below has a V-berth/stateroom (enclosed in some models) with shelves, stowage, a teak-and-holly sole and opening ports for ventilation. Amidships is a dinette/settee to starboard that converts to an extra berth. The galley is to port, with a double sink (with hot and cold pressure water), a two-burner butane stove and an under-counter refrigerator. The head compartment, also on the port side, has a shower. Options include a radar arch, cockpit boarding ladder, hardtop with side curtains and, for the galley, a two-burner electric stove.
Fortier Boats has been building traditional New England-style boats on the historic waterfront in Somerset for 40 years. An avid boater, Roger Fortier decided to build a boat with his son in the mid-1970s. The Fortiers liked the stable hard-chine designs drawn by Eldredge-McInnis. They bought the plans for a 26-foot wooden powerboat, and friends in the fiberglass business helped them build a plug and a mold. They launched hull No. 1 in 1976, and Fortier Boats incorporated in 1977. (For more, visit soundingsonline.com and search the archives for “Fortier.”)
LOA: 33 feet, 6 inches
BEAM: 11 feet, 8 inches
DRAFT: 2 feet, 8 inches
WEIGHT: 12,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: modified-vee
PROPULSION: twin inboards (early models had a single engine)
TANKAGE: 210 gallons fuel, 45 gallons water
BUILDER: Fortier Boats, Somerset, Massachusetts, (508) 673-5253. fortierboats.com
This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue.