NMMA Hall of Fame Award
2007: Richard Bertram, Bertram Yachts and Paul Kuck, Regal Marine
It is clear that Richard Bertram was a man of passion, a passion that was relayed into all of the things that surrounded him, including his family, his friends, his career and even to his competitors. His constant drive, dynamic personality and fervent dedication to boating is unparalleled and has distinguished Richard Bertram and his renowned innovations as a pioneer in the industry since Bertram Yacht first began. He was a man that many now refer to as a legend in the sport fishing industry, whose legend lives on in the company that he founded nearly 50 years ago and all of those that continue their commitment to the core principles that Dick Bertram stood behind, continue to lead the Bertram brand into a bright future.
There is a long, involved history regarding how the Bertram brand began. There is clear proof that Richard Bertram’s passion for boats strongly guided him throughout his life and his career. He began racing sailboats as an adolescent and by the time he graduated college, he was already sailing on the America’s Cup yachts and winning the first offshore powerboat races. In fact, it was during a qualifying race for the America’s Cup that Dick Bertram came across his biggest opportunity for a future in the boating industry where a 23-foot powerboat running through the heavy seas caught his eye. Soon after the race was over, he sought after the owner of this impressive small craft, who was a respected marine architect named C. Raymond Hunt that had developed a novel deep-V hull that eventually became a signature of a classic Bertram design.
Bertram was already the owner of the world’s largest yacht brokerage, but was driven to produce a sturdy workboat to help around the marina. He built a 31 foot powerboat made entirely from fiberglass called Moppie and finally decided to race the boat in the upcoming Miami-Nassau powerboat race. Moppie ended up sweeping the competition and set a new world record in the time it took from the start of the race to the finish line in rough weather. As soon as the marine world got wind of the news, Richard Bertram and his Moppie became a legend.
Soon thereafter, they won almost every major offshore race in the world. A tamer version of the Moppie was introduced to consumers in 1961 at the New York Boat Show. Bertrams then stood for speed, competition and glamour.
Bertram newly formed Bertram Yacht Company, a distinct entity from the existing yacht brokerage and eventually opened a 25-acre plant in 1962 on the Tamiami Canal in Miami, where it still stands today, across the street from the yacht brokerage company. Soon, Bertram was producing boats at an incredible speed, producing almost a boat a day. Bertram was at the forefront of a nautical design and introduced a series of new breakthrough designs in 1962, which introduced a new breed of sportfishing vessels that combined cruising facilities and capabilities with traditional sportfishing equipment and seaworthy hull. These vessels set a new industry standard in yacht design for years to come.
Richard Bertram left the manufacturing company to a team of experts and new management who led the company into success and continued to build it as a trademark for sportfishing. Today, the company is still committed to honor the principles of the man that built the legend by seeking the best quality in craftsmanship, design, technology, ride and performance, thereby expanding a product line that now features eight different models. Bertram Yacht was acquired by the Ferretti Group in 1998, bringing the boats to a higher class of interior design and luxury. The Ferretti Group strives to remain the best in the industry with a team of over 100 specialized engineers, 2,800 employees and a global presence in 95 countries making progress for Bertram’s future.
All of those who now contribute to Bertram’s future, are committed to honor the man who built the legend and strive to attain the passion and excellence behind Richard Bertram’s love for boat building.