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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  • 58' VIKING 58 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "EL JEFE"
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  • 58' VIKING 58 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "EL JEFE"
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  • 53' HATTERAS 53 CONVERTIBLE (1973) "PHANTOM EX"
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  • 52' HATTERAS 52 CONVERTIBLE (1985) "MIZPAH"
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  • 50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "VERTIGO"
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    50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (2000) "BREATHLESS"

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  • 50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (1998) *LLC* "VERTIGO"
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    50' VIKING 50 CONVERTIBLE (1999) "MY WAY"

    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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  • 50' RIVIERA 50 ENCLOSED FLYBRIDGE (2015)
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    50' RIVIERA 50 ENCLOSED FLYBRIDGE (2015)

    *VESSEL LOCATION: STUART, FLORIDA* Riviera staged the world release of the most modern, sophisticated and elegant cruiser in its class, the 50 Enclosed Flybridge in August 2013. The design as always was based on boat owner input, gleaned and distilled over the past two years at specifically held owner forums. The 50 Enclosed Flybridge is proving equally enticing as her big sister, the 53 Enclosed Flybridge. Powered by a choice of Cummins...

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

    50' BERTRAM 50 CONVERTIBLE SPORTFISHER (1990)...

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  • 48' SEA RAY 480 SEDAN BRIDGE (2001) "ELLEAIRE"
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  • 48' EGG HARBOR 48 GOLDEN EGG SPORTFISHER (1984)
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  • 48' CALIFORNIAN 48 CONVERTIBLE (1987) "FISCHL"
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  • 46' HATTERAS 46 CONVERTIBLE (1982) "OFF THE LINKS"
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  • 43' RIVIERA 43 OPEN FLYBRIDGE (2016)
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    43' RIVIERA 43 OPEN FLYBRIDGE (2016)

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  • 42' VIKING 42C (2013) "TEAM TURBO"
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  • 42' SILVERTON 42 CONVERTIBLE (2001)
    Available

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  • 42' Hatteras 42 Convertible
    Available

    41' HATTERAS SPORTFISHER (1965)

    In 1959 Willis Slane had a vision of the perfect fishing boat: It was around 40 feet, with a roomy saloon, a complete galley, and two separate staterooms. He assembled a small team and built one of the first-ever fiberglass yachts, a 41-footer that included all of his requirements. The boat was such a success, Slane rented a garage in High Point, North Carolina, and began producing a line of yachts that would make him rich, thousands of...

    In 1959 Willis Slane had a vision of the perfect fishing boat: It was around 40 feet,...

    In 1959 Willis Slane had a vision of the perfect fishing boat: It was around 40 feet, with a roomy saloon, a complete galley, and two separate staterooms. He assembled a small...

    $179,000.00
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  • 39' BERTRAM 390 CONVERTIBLE (2005) OL
    Available

    39' BERTRAM 390 CONVERTIBLE (2002) "WITTS END"

    THE THREE-NINETY. A craft that's perfect in both form and function. The Three-ninety is everything a Bertram should be. Waves seemingly disappear beneath the famous deep-V hull, and no matter the conditions, neither quality nor safety are ever in question.  At speed or at rest, the convertible exemplifies the ideal combination of sport fishing performance and cruising comfort. It is a craft for those who will not compromise - Pure, but far...

    THE THREE-NINETY. A craft that's perfect in both form and function. The Three-ninety is...

    THE THREE-NINETY. A craft that's perfect in both form and function. The Three-ninety is everything a Bertram should be. Waves seemingly disappear beneath the famous deep-V hull,...

    $349,000.00
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  • 38' DONZI ZFX CUDDY (2010)
    Available

    38' DONZI ZFX CUDDY (2010) "CAB 2.0"

    [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Donzi Yachts

    [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Donzi Yachts

    [displayForm id=9] Photos and description courtesy: Donzi Yachts

    $169,000.00
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