Buddy Davis was a young charter captain some 25 years ago when he started working in the off season alongside local builders on North Carolina's treacherous Outer Banks. He already knew that any vessel going to sea in these deadly waters must contend with vicious rips and currents, plough through chaotic walls of water that sometimes tumble into the Carolina inlets, and be built to stay high, dry and sturdy if paying guests were to come back as repeat customers.

You could say he had a flair for flare, a talent that more than any other feature typifies the mature Davis style and could be seen with dramatic effect when the Davis 78' Sportfisherman exhibited at last year's Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. Viewed from dead ahead at water line level this was a shape that looked more like a flared vase than a conventional sportfish yacht.

It is a design from a man enlightened by the wisdom that comes only from hard experience in heavy seas. Quality in all worthwhile manmade objects and particularly in boat building always means top dollar, because quality demands the best design, construction, materials, equipment and craftsmen. Any get-rich-quick builder can throw a load of inferior installations and equipment into the mix but in the long term it makes little sense for an owner who cares about performance and, in the longer term, the boat's resale value.

Cheap gear only increases downtime and yard time. A Buddy Davis 78 costs between $4.5 and $5 million because its builder doesn't believe in short cuts. In other works, as in all things, you get what you pay for.

What you get in the Davis 78 is an ocean-going yacht designed and build to provide comfort, reliability and optimal performance for big game fishermen who want luxury and a stable fighting platform in the same hull.

On this yacht the benefits start in the capacious cockpit, which is free of clutter, has abundant refrigerated and gear storage, and features and International fighting chair (with rocket launcher!), flush-mounted Rupp rod holders in coaming boards, live well with macerator, icemaker, salt and freshwater washdowns, four-drawer tackle center, bait preparation counter, phone and power outlets, all contained within a handsome and teak covering boards over teak coaming. Steps from here lead to a mezzanine deck above and forward of the cockpit; it has a head/shower to starboard, swing safety gates to port and starboard, and a freezer under bench seating on the portside. Entry to the enclosed salon is via a starboard door on the mezzanine.

This reveals an interior that's far removed in concept and atmosphere from the gladiatorial arena that partly defines a sportfish cockpit. Here we find elegance and comfort, climate controls, supple leather upholstery, a large bar with wine cooler, entertainment center (it includes a 40" Mitsubishi TV with satellite receiver, DVD and VCR) and, one step up from the salon deck, an L-shaped dinette. The adjacent full-service galley has a four-burner cook top, microwave and convection ovens, a built-in coffee maker, four refrigerated Sub Zero drawers and lockers; galley flooring and countertops are polished granite.

There is a utility room forward of a galley area; this also serves as a pantry and contains a 12-cubic foot industrial grade stainless steel freezer, storage lockers and drawers, washer/dryer and the main electrical breaker panel. A door to starboard leads to the mate's single-berth cabin, which has storage drawers above and under the bunk, a hanging locker, audio/visual center and head.

Owner and guest accommodation is reached by a companionway leading forward and down from the salon deck. The full-beam master suite is midships and two steps below the guest staterooms. The Davis 78 featured at the Lauderdale show had pleated overheads around a mirror; the bulkhead behind the queen-sized bed, which could be raised for access to storage, was also mirrored. The master bathroom had double facilities-two heads, a tub and two showers, with twin granite topped vanities; the gold-plated fixtures are from Grohe.

Both guest staterooms, one to starboard and a VIP suite forward, have queen beds, entertainment centers, private heads with show stalls and granite-topped vanities. The captain's cabin below midships on the port side has a double berth, audio/video system, and access to a head/shower.

A spiral staircase leads from the salon to an enclosed wheelhouse/lounge, which can also be reached by external ladders extending from the cockpit to the tuna tower and its helm station. The same quality of finish throughout the interior is found in the lounge, where there is a wet bar and entertainment center with a satellite TV receiver on a retractable hydraulic lift. A door leads from the lounge to the outside helm station and an observation.

It was from the tuna tower helm position that the captain gave his orders to depart for a sea trial. As we headed for the channel to the open sea we realized that there was a strange silence at this elevated height. Our twin 1800 HP diesels were inaudible; not only that, the absence of vibration made us doubt that we were actually underway.

We met five-foot seas in open water but the Davis-designed bottom neutralized these and we were soon gliding comfortably at a cruising speed of 25 knots across the surface, so comfortably in fact that it seemed to make little difference whether we ran with or against the seas, which is an indication of the design strength of the deep, narrow entry.

All things considered, the Davis 78 is a true luxury yacht in furnishing and fixtures, and one that seems untroubled by hard going. There can be little doubt that she will attract an exclusive following among shrewd buyers who appreciate the value of quality, comfort, performance and durability.

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

This review/article originally appeared in Yachts International Magazine, March 2001 and was written by R. Jourdan. For more great sportfisher reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.yachtsinternational.com/

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    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...

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

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    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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