Already 62 miles from his home pore of Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and with the day half gone, Capt. Murphy Creef was prepared to burn even more fuel and run even farther if that's what it took to ensure a good catch of fish for a paying charter. "Pick 'em up, L.R.," Creef called to his mate from the flying bridge of the shiny new 52-foot Davis Boatworks built charter boat Dare Devil. "Bobby Sullivan's got the main group located about 15 miles farther offshore."

Outer Banks men are not prone to knuckling under in the face of adversity. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" is a phrase that could have been coined to describe the boatmen who ply the turbulent waters off North Carolina-and their boats. Creef's Dare Devil itself would never have come into existence if Buddy Davis had not demonstrated the Outer Banks resilience to fight his way back up after the company he had spent years building, Davis Yachts Partnership, Inc., succumbed to the economic pressures of the early 1990s and closed its doors in June '93.

When I visited his new company, Davis Boatworks, located in the old Davis Yachts factory in Wanchese, N.C., Buddy looked fit and trim and seemed to be his old, soft-spoken self. "All the creditors of the old company have been paid off and we honored all claims for warranty work," he told me. "My wife, Barbara, and I bought the plant in June '93 and we'd have built anything to keep going. Now we've bought all the molds for the 38, 44, 47, and 61-foot boats, and we're also building 52- and 67-foot boats by modifying the existing molds."

Davis Boatworks is able to build more than one size of boat from a given mold by damming off a fiberglass female hull mold, laying up a shorter and proportionately beamier boat in an existing model's mold. Or a hull is laid up without a transom, and another fiberglass "part" that consists of the transom and several feet of hull is laid up and added to the transomless hull to make a longer and proportionately less beamy model.

Full-length stringers of Divinycel foam encapsulated in glass are laid up and set in place after the hulls are extended and the two pieces of hull are overlapped with three feet of transitionary glass to ensure the strength of the secondary bonds. "It's major overkill," says Davis, "but we need to know that more than enough strength is there. The funny thing is, some of these boats, like the new 52, run better and ride better than the original hulls they are based on- and the old 47 always ran great!"

Noted naval architect Donald Blount works with Davis to calculate engine, fuel tank, and bulkhead placement to ensure optimal longitudinal centers of gravity. Depending on a customer's needs, any one of a wide range of custom boats can be built with the cost efficiencies of production style fiberglass construction.

"We have a unique ability to build an all-fiberglass custom boat. We have a modern plant with overheads cut to the bone and we have found a niche between the one- or two-boat-a-year custom boat builders and the big mass-production companies. We want to build seven or eight boats a year, on order. We don't need an inventory of boats and no fancy brochures, caps or T-shirts," Davis says. Two new molds, for a 56- and a 74-footer, have recently been added.

In the factory, the 70 workers swarming over five boats in various sizes and stages of completion seemed an impressive operation, but this is just the lean and mean remainder of what had once been a company with over 250 workers and 45 office staff.

"The luxury tax certainly did hurt the industry," Davis allows, "But the industry just plain had too much capacity for the demand. We have learned some lessons and we aren't going to build boats now until we have them sold."

I had deliberately asked for a ride on a charter-boat version of one of Davis' new 52-foot sportfishermen when I heard that Detroit Diesel V-692 engines had been installed. These are relatively small-horsepower engines for a boat of this size, and while you can make almost any boat run fast with big engines and enough horsepower, speed and economy are hard to come by.

In fact, on our run offshore, Capt. Creef was making just over 20 knots at slightly under 1950 rpm. That is a very respectable speed at a low power setting that would ensure the long engine life and easy fuel consumption that are essential for a successful charter operation.

Both north and south of us we could see other boats also running offshore to look for the weedline and schools of dolphin. Although there is stiff daily competition both for charter parties and fishing results, the proud and independent Carolinians work together to cover the hundreds of square miles of blue water accessible from their home inlets. The result is one of the best charter fleets ever assembled, with a great worldwide reputation both for the area and the men who work its waters.

Almost immediately after we started trolling down the edge of a broad band of golden-colored sargassum weed floating on the surface of a current slick, several shiny blue-and-gold dolphin (the fish, not the mammals) came leaping in after our trolling baits. As the hooked fish were brought in, Dare Devil mate L.R. Hastings wound in the other lines, put the large trolling rods to one side and handed each angler a smaller, lighter, dolphin "bailing" rod.

As Hastings threw small cut-up pieces of fish chum overboard to attract and hold the school of hungry dolphin behind the boat, the anglers Mark Perry and Duane Smith let out small pieces of cut bait on the lighter rods. Every bait got a strike as soon as it hit the water. As soon as the fish could be fought to the boat, Hastings would flip it into the large fish box molded into the transom and deftly unhook it. He would rebait the hook, drop it overboard, and a dozen more of the tasty dolphin would race for the new offering.

Watching a trained professional crew bail dolphin, one is awed by the speed and efficiency with which the fish are brought aboard. If a novice angler becomes all thumbs in the excitement generated by the heat of the nonstop action, the mate either quickly untangles the resulting backlash or immediately replaces the snarled rod and reel with a fresh one. Meanwhile the charter captains maneuver around each other in a close-quarters drill that would make less knowledgeable skippers take immediate evasive action to avoid what would appear to be impending collisions. Always there are fish leaping, swirling, and pulling against the rods of excited, is training anglers. :

"Well boys, that's about the limit and I've got a long way to go to get home," Capt. Creef called from the bridge after 45 minutes of frenzied activity. There were no complaints from the happy and tired chatter team as Dare Devil came up onto plane and started the long run home. Back at the dock, a team of professional fish cleaners would take away the day's catch and an hour later, return to the happy fishermen with a cooler full of tasty fillets packed in clean plastic bags.

Whether you want a nicely finished plain-vanilla charter boat or a luxury fishing yacht with all the finest fixtures and elaborate custom joinery, Buddy Davis and his Davis Boatworks have the boat for you.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL SPORTFISHING YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Motorboaing & Sailing Magazine, June 1996 and was written by Peter Wright. For more great sportfisher reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions

  • 75' HATTERAS 75 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (2001) "NO LIMITS" *LLC*
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    75' HATTERAS 75 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (2001) "NO...

    Classic sleek lines, a sumptuous interior and proven sea keeping ability merge perfectly in the 75 Cockpit Motor Yacht from Hatteras. Graceful and elegant, the 75 offers you multiple customization options to design the perfect yacht. Entertain in Style The expansive salon offers limitless entertainment opportunities – host family and friends or dim the lights for an intimate evening for two. This contemporary salon features rich wood...

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    While McKinna Yachts are perfectly at home cruising the inland waterways, it is offshore where they really hit their stride.   That’s where McKinna’s unique design and engineering shine.   Uncanny balance.  An unbelievable steadiness of ride.  Incredible response.  McKinna Yachts run level and sure-footed in demanding seas and never cease to impress as they make their way into port. [displayForm id=6] Photos and description courtesy: McKinna...

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    65' VIKING ENCLOSED FLYBRIDGE (2001) "NEVER SAY NEVER"

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  • 65' HATTERAS CONVERTIBLE EB (1991)
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    65' HATTERAS CONVERTIBLE EB (1991) "MY REVENGE"

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  • 61' HATTERAS 61 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (1981)
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    61' HATTERAS 61 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (1982) "ENDURANCE"

    All the room of a wide beam motor yacht plus... the advantages of a cockpit. A great many yachtsmen around the world call their Hatteras yachts something very special: home. The 61 Cockpit Motor Yacht is, as is every Hatteras motor yacht, built to be worthy of the honor. It's a boat that welcomes you aboard, makes you comfortable, puts you at ease. With a salon of magnificent proportions, large w indows and fine paneling of rare imported wood....

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  • 61' BUDDY DAVIS 61 SPORTFISH (1988) "KAHUNA"
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    61' BUDDY DAVIS 61 SPORTFISH (1988) "KAHUNA"

    The Davis 61 SF is a proven big-game tournament winner with outstanding performance and sea keeping ability. She's an upscale Sportfisherman with a huge cockpit and opulent interior. The layout and interior of "Kahuna" was redesigned to create a "new boat" look with a focus on comfort and a large, modern master suite. The complete refurbishment included new headliners throughout, new 12-volt lighting throughout, and new stereo speakers...

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  • 60' HATTERAS CONVERTIBLE ENCLOSED BRIDGE W/TOWER (1983)
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    60' HATTERAS CONVERTIBLE ENCLOSED BRIDGE (1979)...

    50% OWNERSHIP POSSIBILITY FOR $89,000. In almost every sport, the day now belongs to the super athlete: larger, stronger and seemingly defying the laws of human physics. He is swifter and more agile than the rest; his standards of performance and achievement unrivaled. The Hatteras 60 Convertible is this superstar among sport fishing boats. Wherever you look she has the size. [displayForm id=3] Photos and description courtesy: Hatteras Yachts

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  • 60' HATTERAS 60 CONVERTIBLE (2003)
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    60' HATTERAS 60 CONVERTIBLE (1999) "BULL RIDER"

    The 60 Convertible perfectly epitomizes Hatteras’ unflinching commitment to continuous improvement. Since its inception, the 60 Convertible has been widely hailed as the ultimate combination of fishability, performance and luxury. Featuring a tournament-proven cockpit and the most functional layout in its class, the 60 now benefits from technological enhancements that have driven performance up and draft down. [displayForm id=6] Photos and...

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  • 60' BLUEGAME BG60 WALKAROUND (2011) "FELINA"
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    *MARLIN LAYOUT* Generous cockpit, forward and aft sunlounges, walkaround for safe operation, central helm station, numerous deck configurations, vast swimming platform are the successful features of the Bluegame range. On the new flagship all these qualities are making Bluegame 60 more and more a never-seen-before yacht. Many different deck configurations can fulfill all the owners' requirements for different uses. Two cabins, three cabins,...

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  • 58' VIKING 58 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "EL JEFE"
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    For the passionate angler, unrivaled speed, range and offshore capability make the 58 the ultimate performance sportfisherman. For the family that travels to far-off places, luxurious accommodations make it a prestigious offshore luxury cruiser. Put Yourself in a commanding position in the 58's spacious 122 sq. ft. one-piece flying bridge, where the Captain is firmly in control. Offering peace and quiet and an incredible view, whoever said...

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  • 58' BERTRAM 58 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1980) "BASIC INSTINCT"
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    58' BERTRAM 58 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1980)...

    Do us a favor. When you get it, don't flaunt it. Men don't buy Bertrams for glitter. For 40 years, they've bought Bertrams because they work, because they're fast and smooth and hold together through hundreds of hours of heavy going without plinkety-dinking apart. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Bertram Yachts

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  • 57' BERTRAM 570 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (2005) *LLC* "BAD FISH"
    Available

    57' BERTRAM 570 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (2008) *LLC*...

    The 570 is the perfect infusion of tradition and elegance. The design that combines the legendary ride of the 54 and 60 while adding all of the modern amenities. The tournament designed cockpit offers 147 sq. ft. of fish fighting territory. Equipped with bait center, live well, freezer, and transom fish box, to name a few; this serious sportfisherman will definitely turn heads at the weigh station. [displayForm id=6] Photos and description...

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  • 54' MEDITERRANEAN 54 ENCLOSED BRIDGE (2005)
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    54' MEDITERRANEAN 54 CONVERTIBLE (1998) "MACH SCHNELL"

    The Mediterranean 54 is a high performance, modified deep "V", convertible sportfishing and cruising yacht designed to be as much at home tournament fishing on rough off-shore waters as it is luxury cruising with the family. The minute you see this super-performing, two to four stateroom, tournament fishing machine, you'll understand why all others suffer by comparison. The design is a head-turner. The Mediterranean 54 is striking and sleek,...

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  • 54' MEDITERRANEAN 54 ENCLOSED BRIDGE (2005)
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    54' MEDITERRANEAN 54 (2005) *LLC*

    *LLC, SALES TAX INCENTIVES* The Mediterranean 54 is a high performance, modified deep "V", convertible sportfishing and cruising yacht designed to be as much at home tournament fishing on rough off-shore waters as it is luxury cruising with the family. The minute you see this super-performing, two to four stateroom, tournament fishing machine, you'll understand why all others suffer by comparison. The design is a head-turner. The Mediterranean...

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    $395,000.00
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  • 54' BERTRAM 54 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1998) "CHIQELIN"
    Available

    54' BERTRAM 54 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1998)...

    The Fifty-Four... Bertram's crown jewel. Beneath the water, the trademark Bertram hull's 17-degree deadrise tames even the roughest seas.  Within the spacious cockpit, a tackle center, live baitwell and 2 fishboxes make a first-class fishing station. Through her many incarnations over the years, the Fifty-Four has maintained a reputation as a true sportfishing vessel. You'll find her name printed in magazines, engraved on trophies, and rolling...

    The Fifty-Four... Bertram's crown jewel. Beneath the water, the trademark Bertram...

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    $471,000.00
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  • 53' HATTERAS 53 CONVERTIBLE (1973) "PHANTOM EX"
    Available

    53' HATTERAS 53 CONVERTIBLE (1979) "CASAURINA"

    Hatteras Yachts has the boat to support your fishing strategy- the 53 Convertible. Like the very first Hatteras, the 53 bolts for the open sea. She gets up on a plane quickly, tracks steadily in beam and following seas, and cuts the head seas cleanly. She's ready to fight when she gets to the fishing grounds. Maneuverable, sure-footed, she'll respond quickly to orders. [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Hatteras Yachts

    Hatteras Yachts has the boat to support your fishing strategy- the 53 Convertible. Like...

    Hatteras Yachts has the boat to support your fishing strategy- the 53 Convertible. Like the very first Hatteras, the 53 bolts for the open sea. She gets up on a plane quickly,...

    $119,500.00
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  • 52' HATTERAS 52 COCKPIT MOTOR YACHT (1991)
    Available

    52' HATTERAS 52 COCKPIT MOTOR YACHT (1991) "LA...

    The Hatteras 52 Cockpit Motor Yacht is convincing proof of how good life can be when you've reached the top. She's extremely comfortable, with more functional living space than you'd expect in a yacht this size. Both are superb examples of the telltale style and quality that reveal to you immediately that it's a member in good standing of the Hatteras fleet [displayForm id=10] Photos and description courtesy: Hatteras Yachts

    The Hatteras 52 Cockpit Motor Yacht is convincing proof of how good life can be when...

    The Hatteras 52 Cockpit Motor Yacht is convincing proof of how good life can be when you've reached the top. She's extremely comfortable, with more functional living space than...

    $199,900.00
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  • 51' RIVIERA 51 G2 FLYBRIDGE (2006) "CHRISTINA KATE"
    Available

    51' RIVIERA 51 G2 FLYBRIDGE (2007) "STUDIO E" *LLC*

    One of the latest flybridge models to be developed, this is also one of the most refined and elegant in the series. The open flybridge not only reflects contemporary styling but is perfect for all-weather cruising. The sheer on board space, from the deck to the saloon to the master stateroom, also makes the 51 ideal for long range cruising... and with three cabins and two bathrooms, six adults can set sail in unparalleled comfort....

    One of the latest flybridge models to be developed, this is also one of the most...

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    $599,000.00
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  • 51' BERTRAM 510 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (2002) *LLC*
    Available

    51' BERTRAM 510 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (2002)...

    *LLC, SALES TAX ADVANTAGES* The curvaceous Bertram 510 Convertible still looks like a Bertram, but has the unmistakable influence of becoming part of the Ferretti Group. Rounded surfaces and a luxurious interior are the most obvious benefits of Ferretti input. But, improvements in layout, lamination, drainage, soundproofing, storage space, weight distribution, speed and efficiency, as well as engine access, have also been incorporated. Three...

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  • 50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "VERTIGO"
    Available

    50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (1991) "TOO MUCH"

    FISH TANK. If there's any one compliment to lay on the Viking 50- one based on solid experience- it's that she's built like a tank. In these days of high-tech construction materials and cars with "crumple zones" instead of nearly crash-resistant steel, it's refreshing to know that some boats are still built on the notion that a gale-driven sea hasn't gotten any kinder or gentler with the advent of featherweight composites.  [displayForm id=9]...

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    $269,000.00
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  • 50' MIKELSON 50 SPORTFISHER (1999)
    New! Available

    50' MIKELSON 50 SPORTFISHER (1999)

    The Mikelson 50' Sportfisher is well known for her large fly bridge with a circular dinette and twin stations. Her 16' 8" beam provides a larger feel than most 50' boats. The interior is also very spacious with windows all around providing excellent lighting.This is a two stateroom layout. Mostly a West Coast boat with a sleek low profile appearance, and large cockpit with built in live well for the fisherman. The Mikelson 50' makes for a...

    The Mikelson 50' Sportfisher is well known for her large fly bridge with a circular...

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  • 50' BERTRAM 50 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1994) "GET REEL"
    Available

    50' BERTRAM 50 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1995)...

    One of the best things about buying a Bertram is that no one asks why you bought it. The Bertram 50: so confident at sea that she seems to own it. And she has been the sportfisherman by which all others have been measured, because she packs so many bright ideas in such a beautifully fluid form. Like a revolutionary instrument arrangement on the bridge. And concealed retractable cockpit steps. Ingenious tackle stowage built right into the...

    One of the best things about buying a Bertram is that no one asks why you bought it....

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    $325,000.00
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  • 50' BERTRAM 50 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1994) "GET REEL"
    Available

    50' BERTRAM 50 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1990)

    One of the best things about buying a Bertram is that no one asks why you bought it. The Bertram 50: so confident at sea that she seems to own it. And she has been the sportfisherman by which all others have been measured, because she packs so many bright ideas in such a beautifully fluid form. Like a revolutionary instrument arrangement on the bridge. And concealed retractable cockpit steps. Ingenious tackle stowage built right into the...

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  • 48' TOLLYCRAFT 48 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (1985) "CLOUDBURST"
    Available

    48' TOLLYCRAFT 48 COCKPIT MOTORYACHT (1985)...

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  • 48' RIVIERA 48 OFFSHORE EXPRESS (2008)
    Available

    48' RIVIERA 48 OFFSHORE EXPRESS (2008)

    This sleek, fast and comfortable express conveys the luxurious and quality craftsmanship of Riviera. This boat is in pristine condition and with the upgraded Caterpillar C-18 with their 1,000 HP each propel this vessel to 36 knots full throttle, and a comfortable cruise of 28 knots. The  helm area decks are roomy and have the upgraded teak laid deck floor, steps and mezzanine. Superior visibility is all around while behind the helm and with...

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    $549,000.00
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  • 48' OCEAN YACHTS 48 SUPER SPORT (1997)
    Available

    48' OCEAN YACHTS 48 SUPER SPORT (1997)

    With an unusually wide 16' beam, the Ocean 48 Super Sport is an enviable fishing platform. With her 30+ knot speed and seakindly hull, she is an effortless cruiser. Either way, she carries herself with the grace and self-assurance that have come to define the "Ocean look." From raised sheer to sleek classic lines — the 48 Super Sport appeals to boaters with a sense of style. And an appreciation for efficient performance in the engine room and...

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  • 48' OCEAN YACHTS 48 SUPER SPORT (1997)
    Available

    48' OCEAN YACHTS 48 SUPER SPORT (1989) "BAM-BOO"

    The New Generation's Newest Star... The 48 Super Sport: Breakthrough design & aggressive performance with notable luxury. The most boat for the money Ocean's ever offered! The All American. Every inch an Ocean. Rakish contours to capture the eye. Ingenious stateroom layouts. Luxurious appointments. Uncompromising quality. Topline appliances, fixtures and equipment. Modular construction. Beamy. Roomy. Fast. 30kn with Detroit 6-71 TIB's. Fuel...

    The New Generation's Newest Star... The 48 Super Sport: Breakthrough design &...

    The New Generation's Newest Star... The 48 Super Sport: Breakthrough design & aggressive performance with notable luxury. The most boat for the money Ocean's ever offered! The...

    $119,999.00
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  • 48' EGG HARBOR 48 GOLDEN EGG SPORTFISHER (1984)
    New! Available

    48' EGG HARBOR 48 GOLDEN EGG SPORTFISHER (1978)...

    The Golden Egg will get you to the fish on time. And, once there - whether it be the Canyon or the Cays - she's formidably equipped for big game action. The low freeboard and gunwale height of the spacious cockpit are immediate tip-offs that the folks at Egg Harbor have done some serious fishing. The flying bridge helm positioning is excellent, as is the instrument grouping. Outriggers, mahogany overhead rodholders, circulating live bait well,...

    The Golden Egg will get you to the fish on time. And, once there - whether it be the...

    The Golden Egg will get you to the fish on time. And, once there - whether it be the Canyon or the Cays - she's formidably equipped for big game action. The low freeboard and...

    $120,000.00
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  • 47' RIVIERA G2 OPEN FLYBRIDGE (2009)
    Available

    47' RIVIERA G2 OPEN FLYBRIDGE (2008) "HIGH BID" *LLC*

    FOR THOSE WITH BIGGER BOATING AMBITIONS.... *LLC, NO SALES TAX* Sleek, dynamic and elegant but never ostentatious, the Riviera 47 is a beautiful expression of Riviera's approach to innovation. It is a marriage of form and function. The running surface of the hull has been designed by one of the world’s leading naval architects, Frank Mulder. He has created a hull that delivers performance that can only be described as sensational....

    FOR THOSE WITH BIGGER BOATING AMBITIONS.... *LLC, NO SALES TAX* Sleek, dynamic and...

    FOR THOSE WITH BIGGER BOATING AMBITIONS.... *LLC, NO SALES TAX* Sleek, dynamic and elegant but never ostentatious, the Riviera 47 is a beautiful expression of Riviera's...

    $639,000.00
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  • 47' RIVIERA 47 FLYBRIDGE (2005)
    Available

    47' RIVIERA 47 G2 FLYBRIDGE (2009) *LLC* "GOOD...

    The internationally-acclaimed Riviera new era styling has laid the foundation for a brand new model, the remarkable Riviera 47 flybridge convertible. This spacious, accommodating craft can take you further than you've ever dreamed. Its flowing, contemporary lines above the decks are matched below the waterline in the advanced hull design. The efficient, sweeping profile of the new hull brings with it the promise of effortless cruising and...

    The internationally-acclaimed Riviera new era styling has laid the foundation for a...

    The internationally-acclaimed Riviera new era styling has laid the foundation for a brand new model, the remarkable Riviera 47 flybridge convertible. This spacious,...

    $194,000.00
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  • 47' DAVIS 47 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1991)
    Available

    47' DAVIS 47 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1991)

    If the drone of diesels breaking the predawn silence ninety miles offshore, and the sight of a full complement of billfish lures skipping along in your wake is enough to get your chest a pumping ... do we have a boat for you! The Buddy Davis 47, designed by fishermen for fishermen, is the one yacht that will truly set you apart from the crowd. With its "Oh so Pretty" Carolina Flare, The Davis 47 is the only boat with total head sea capability...

    If the drone of diesels breaking the predawn silence ninety miles offshore, and the...

    If the drone of diesels breaking the predawn silence ninety miles offshore, and the sight of a full complement of billfish lures skipping along in your wake is enough to get...

    $229,000.00
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