When John Lewis retired from his job as a steamfitter, he put his captain’s license to work and went fishing. It seemed natural.
As a youngster, Lewis had spent summers at his family’s house in Beach Haven, New Jersey, boating and fishing. “I have been fishing as long as I can remember,” says Lewis, who is 70 and lives in Collingswood, New Jersey. “I have a picture of me from around 1950, holding up a fish at my grandfather’s house.”
SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 44 feet BEAM: 14 feet, 10 inches DRAFT: 4 feet WEIGHT: 37,000 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee PROPULSION: twin diesels 450 hp and up TANKAGE: 600 gallons fuel, 120 gallons water BUILDER: Henriques Yachts, Bayville, New Jersey, (732) 269-1180. henriquesyachts.com
Lewis found himself running a boat for a private owner who was into serious fishing. Destinations for the Jersey-based boat included North Carolina and Florida, as well as Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The boat was a 42-foot express from Jersey builder Henriques Yachts.
“We’d been looking at three different boats, and I liked the Henriques,” Lewis recalls. “I was talking it over with a friend when the boss called and said, ‘It’s the Henriques.’ We each decided on our own that this was the boat for us.”
The owner placed the order and took delivery in 2007. “We fished it together for five years,” Lewis says. He never regretted the decision.
When Lewis decided to do charters on his own, he looked to replace his 38-foot Ocean express with a bigger boat. He took a trip to Cape May, New Jersey, to check out a 44-foot Henriques, a charter boat that had been sitting unused. “It had been out of the water for five years,” Lewis says. “It was dirty, and the canvas was torn, but you could see through the dirt that it had been well maintained while it was being used.”
Lewis noticed the big cockpit for a boat of its size, the built-in fishboxes, the big saloon, the two staterooms and the enclosed head compartment. “I went home and told my wife that I’d bought another boat,” he says.
He purchased Insatiable, a 1989 Henriques 44 Flybridge, in May 2014. The price was $60,000 because of the improvements the boat required. “I keep it in Beach Haven,” Lewis says. “I do 40 or so charters a season, mostly in July and August. They’re almost all close to shore, but we do two or three canyon trips a season for tuna and mahi. The boat is away from the dock a lot.”
Insatiable is fishable, safe and comfortable for Lewis’ clients, which are mostly vacationing families. “We catch the littler stuff close to shore on half-day trips,” he says, adding that Garden State Reef and its vicinity are popular spots. “I like to get near the wrecks and drift down to catch sea bass or the fluke around them. We run up to Garden State South [Reef] and sometimes down to the south, off Brigantine.”
Power comes from a pair of Lugger diesels, which deliver an 18- to 19-knot cruising speed at 2,300 rpm. The boat travels about a half a mile per gallon, according to Lewis’ figures. “I don’t like to cruise fast, but it can fast-cruise at 23 knots and top out at 27½,” he says. “If I have to get to a tournament weigh-in I can push it. It’s a very comfortable ride at cruising speed, and it can do that in most sea conditions.”
In addition to being Lewis’ charter boat, Insatiable also serves as his summer home away from home. “It has the two staterooms, the double berth and roomy hanging lockers,” he says. “It’s very comfortable to stay on.”
There’s no stove, but Lewis uses the cockpit barbecue and makes light meals, snacks and coffee on board. “When my son can get down, we try and get out for fluke or stripers in the fall,” Lewis says. “We also go to Atlantic City with the family for lunch and a cruise.”
Lewis often has a big party on the Fourth of July with a cookout. “We get a ringside seat for the fireworks where I’m docked,” he says.
He keeps the 28-year-old boat up to date with annual improvements. Over the years, he’s added a new holding tank and system, and new electronics, including a Garmin radar, a fishfinder and a VHF radio. “This is probably my last boat, unless I downsize,” Lewis says. “It’s a great boat, like a little house that I can charter, go to the canyons, go wherever I want to go.”
The Henriques 44 is a semicustom boat, so layouts may differ, but the design centers around a 170-square-foot cockpit with a focus on fishing. Available equipment includes a tackle center, insulated fishboxes, gaff stowage, a transom door, a cockpit helm and a live well. There’s a centerline helm station on the flybridge, as well as a companion helm seat and a molded fiberglass bench. Optional tops include a marlin tower, tuna tower and enclosed fiberglass hardtop.
Below, the master stateroom is forward, with room for a V-berth, a hanging locker, port and starboard cabinetry, and direct access to the head. The guest stateroom has space for upper and lower bunks and a hanging locker. The enclosed head compartment has a vanity with a sink, an electric marine head and a stall shower.
The saloon can be laid out with a sofa to starboard and an L-shaped dinette to port.
The L-shaped galley is up, with room for a sink, stovetop, microwave and under-counter refrigerator. The boat rides an all-fiberglass, modified-vee hull with 12 degrees of transom deadrise.
Jack Henriques grew up in Portugal, came to America and, in 1977, began building boats with his two daughters, Maria and Natalia, and a son-in-law, Manny Costa. Their goal was to design and build quality, hard-working fishing boats on a semicustom basis for serious anglers. Forty years later, the New Jersey builder, still family-owned, offers express, flybridge and charter models from 30 to 50 feet.
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue.