IN THEIR WORDS
For Keith Burnet, boats have always been steppingstones to adventure. The 49-year-old Piscataway, N.J., plant manager started out as a boy in skiffs and dayboats, fishing the waters of BarnegatBay. Then there was the family cruiser.
“I remember going out of the inlet for the first time, out past the whistle buoy,” says Burnet. “It was a whole new world.”
Since then, Burnet has explored that water world, fishing rod in hand, in a series of ever-larger boats. The first boat of his own was a 22-footer that took him far past the whistle buoy, 20 to 30 miles offshore, for fluke, sea bass, blackfish, bluefish, albacore and bonita. A few years later, it was a 32-footer that took Burnet and his wife, Diann, out to the canyons and the world of shark, tuna and swordfish. It was also a great vacation boat, and the couple cruised to Cape May, N.J., Ocean City, Md., and other favorite spots, where they made new friends who shared their passion for fishing and boating.
The latest boat in the evolution may be Burnet’s last. Having recently retired, the couple wanted to keep canyon fishing and cruising, with maybe a few more of the creature comforts that, say, a 38-footer might afford. But Burnet had his eye on doing some charters, too, so he wanted a roomy cockpit and plenty of storage for the day’s catch.
The boat they decided on was a 2000 Henriques 38 Flybridge, and it basically came from their back yard. Henriques Yachts, the 28-year-old family-run builder, is “right up the street,” says Burnet. “They’ve been after me for years to buy one of their boats. I finally did.”
Burnet knew the Henriques reputation for rugged, no-nonsense fishing boats when he checked out his boat-to-be at a local marina. “As soon as I saw the cockpit and the in-deck fishboxes, I knew this was it,” he says. The boat was in sound shape, had a pair of lightly used diesels, and the price was right at around $325,000.
In the three years they’ve owned it, Obsession has proved a perfect match for the couple. “It’s a well-proportioned boat, with a large cockpit that still leaves room for a good-size saloon,” says Burnet. The single-stateroom layout has all the cruising amenities, including a private cabin forward and an enclosed head.
Fishing is the focus, though, and the Henriques is a great platform, says Burnet. “The flybridge gives you excellent visibility for managing a fish, and it’s a great place to hang out, with room for everyone on board. There’s a tuna door, so you can haul the big ones through and get them right into the in-deck fishboxes and get back to fishing. It’s a very handy setup.” There are two rod-and-reel storage areas inside the saloon, too.
Burnet has a full slate of electronics — two GPS/plotters, a 48-mile radar, depth sounder and two fishfinders, and an autopilot — mounted in the command console or installed in the hardtop’s overhead box.
Twin 430-hp Volvo diesels give the 38-footer a top speed of about 30 mph, with a cruise of 25 mph. Best of all, the modified-vee hull is as fishing-friendly as the layout. “It handles a head sea really well,” says Burnet. “In fact, I haven’t found a sea it doesn’t handle, and I’ve been in the troughs of 8-footers. The modified-vee hull gives it a soft ride, and it has the solid feel of an even bigger boat.”
Burnet and his wife look forward to a fourth season with Obsession. “It doesn’t seem like anything’s been compromised in this boat,” he says. “It’s very simple when you see it, but there’s not many like it.”
The Henriques 38 Flybridge has an upright profile, with the high sides and moderately flared bow of an offshore fishing boat. The cabin and flybridge are positioned over the center of the boat, giving the profile a pleasing visual balance that enhances the boat’s solid, conservative, working-class character.
The focus of the boat for most buyers is the 140-square-foot cockpit with its two 100-gallon in-deck fishboxes and standard tackle center forward. There’s plenty of room to work and land a large fish using the standard tuna door, and cockpit controls and a fighting chair are available.
The interior layout has all the cruising requisites. The saloon has a port-side entertainment center, and settee and table to starboard (with storage underneath). The galley-
down is to starboard and includes space for a stand-up refrigerator. A dinette to port converts to a berth. A second stateroom with over-under bunks is available in place of the dinette. The master stateroom forward comes with either an island queen berth, V-berth or bunks, and its adjacent head compartment has a full-size shower.
Creature comforts notwithstanding, the overhead saloon hand rail and recessed rod storage over the galley are reminders that the Henriques 38 is an offshore fishing boat. The spacious engine room is below the saloon sole, reached through hatches. Fuel filters, sea strainers and other equipment are placed for easy access during routine maintenance.
The Henriques 38 Flybridge (and its express sister, the El Bravo) can be found on the used-boat market up and down the East Coast. Boats from the late 1980s start at around $200,000. Later models, predictably, fetch more. Here are a few examples: a 1988 single-stateroom model in New Jersey, “well maintained” and with twin 400-hp diesels, teak interior, full electronics package, and such extras as outriggers and a generator for around $235,000; a 1990 two-stateroom model in New Jersey with twin 375-hp diesels, fighting chair, electronics box in the hardtop, cockpit controls, teak coverboards, and coaming cushions for $225,000; a 1990 single-stateroom model in Maryland with twin 375-hp diesels, teak interior, flat-screen television, air conditioning and a convertible settee for $229,000; and a “well cared-for” single-stateroom 2000 model in Massachusetts with twin 420-hp diesels, island berth, convertible settee, air conditioning, tinted windows, new carpeting, outriggers, cockpit controls and coaming pads for $350,000. n
LOA: 38 feet
BEAM: 13 feet, 10 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet, 10 inches
WEIGHT: 28,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: modified-vee
TRANSOM DEADRISE: 14 degrees
TANKAGE: 415 gallons fuel, 75 gallons water
PROPULSION: twin diesels to 540 hp each
BUILDER: Henriques Yachts, Margate, N.J. Phone: (800) 435-2337. www.integritymarine.com
Jack Henriques was in his 20s when he came to America, bring
ing four generations of boatbuild-ing knowledge with him from his
native Portugal. Some 30 years later, the Henriques name is synonymous with rugged, no-nonsense fishing boats, all built at the family-run factory on the New Jersey coast.
The first Henriques model was the 35 Maine Coaster, which debuted in 1977. The Down East-influenced fishing boat set the trend for future Henriques-designed boats, as its functional design made it a crossover hit with recreational and commercial anglers. The Maine Coaster went on to enjoy a production run of 20-plus years. Henriques followed the 35 with the 44 Sportfisherman in 1980, which had a 25-year production run. The Henriques 38 was introduced in 1988 and remains in production.
Still based in Jersey’s BarnegatBay — an area known for its in- and offshore fishing — Henriques Yachts today offers fiberglass flybridge and express sportfishing boats from 28 to 42 feet through its sales and marketing arm, Integrity Marine.