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For tournament fishing and longer ranges, such as running from south Florida to the Bahamas or chasing bluewater gamefish, a yacht designed for sportfishing is ideal. There are two basic models in this category, the Express yacht, the Flybridge or Convertible, and many variations of features and amenities, but all are designed and built for fishing. Sport fishing vessels have deep-V planning hulls and can have other features such as prop tunnels, Carolina Flare bow, and are built to perform well in rough sea conditions, safely and comfortably (dry ride). They typically feature powerful diesel engine(s) capable of hitting high speeds of over 40 knots, and handle well, keeping a tight turning radius-maneuverability is very important in tournament fishing. Some models have bow thrusters to aid maneuvering in tight spaces, such as crowded marinas, while others are equipped with aft steering. Performance is also measured by fuel efficiency; gallons burned per hour at running speed. Fuel burn efficiency is not only about expense, but running and trolling range to get on the fish, and back to the marina!

Most all Sportfish Yachts have some form of tower for spotting pelagic gamefish and a well laid-out helm with great fish-finding electronics, the latest technological advantage being true 360-degree sonar that displays in real time-no lags. Developed from powerful sonar systems used on military and commercial fishing vessels, Furuno has adapted the technology for recreational vessels, down to 60ft in length, with its Omni CSH-8L MK2. Other fishing equipment includes outriggers.

The cockpit is the fishing "battle station" and must be well-designed and equipped for action. Livewells, in-deck fish boxes with automatic ice dumps, ice-makers, rod holders, rod and tackle storage, bait preparation station with sink and storage, rocket launchers or fighting chair; and everything easily accessible. Some models have an aft steering station to make backing up easier-this feature is usually an option, not standard equipment. Another design feature that has become very popular is the mezzanine located just a step or two above and forward of the cockpit for those observing the action or enjoying cocktails later. The steps also provide a storage area.

Express Sportfish models have two decks; the main deck with helm and cockpit and accommodations below the hull. There most likely will be a tower, but no flybridge. An excellent example is the 41' Cabo Express Sportfish. Hatteras also offers an 45' Express Sportfish with a tower or you can get the 45' Hatteras without a tower.

Flybridge/Convertible Sportfish models have enclosed living area on the main deck and a flybridge with hard top or fully enclosed, in addition to accommodations below the hull. They typically have some type of tower for spotting fish. These yachts tend to combine the luxurious amenities of a motor yacht and a sportfish, capable of converting to a cruising yacht, if desired. A perfect example of this model is the Hatteras GT Series ranging in size from 54ft to 70ft.

Other makes of Convertible Sportfish Yachts are Michael Rybovich, Viking Yachts, Titan, Jim Smith, Custom Carolina, Bertram, Buddy Davis, Whiticar, Ocean Yachts, F&S, Spencer, Shearline, Riviera, Donzi, Merritt, and many custom builds.

Flybridge Sportfish, 45ft and under, are not technically Convertibles, which are Yachts (50+ length), but are often marketed as such; the distinctions are often blurred. Flybridge Sportfish with comfortable accommodations can also be great for cruising.

Our worldwide yacht search has many pre-owned Sportfish vessels currently available and semi-custom NEW builds of Hatteras and Cabo Sportfish vessels. Virtual Showings are available; call now for a licensed, professional yacht broker to assist you in realizing your dream of catching that trophy fish!

Chuck Newman

All Fun Yacht Sales