Innovators: Dick Bertram

Read about one of yachting's leading innovators, Dick Bertram.

Dick Bertram poses in a Rolex ad.

Dick Bertram

There are those who can create and those who have vision for the creation. Dick Bertram possessed both of those qualities.

On a rough-weather day 57 years ago, the renowned sailor and yacht-brokerage firm owner witnessed a 23-foot, deep-V boat demolishing nasty sea conditions. He was not a boatbuilder, but he saw the craft’s potential and asked, “What if?”

Bertram established his company’s home base in Miami.

The yachtsman's curiosity led him to locate the designer, C. Raymond Hunt. Hunt soon drafted a ­30-footer that Bertram built out of wood. The craft was named Moppie — Bertram's wife's nickname. In 1960, he raced the boat in the now-famous Miami to Nassau event, where his newly designed vessel crushed the competition.

By the time Moppie completed the race, throngs of enthusiasts wanted a boat just like her. So he became a boatbuilder, and the Bertram 31 was born. By 1971, 1,000 Bertrams were built. Today, countless models up to 80 feet in length ply the seas, and that 31 still enjoys a cult-like following.

In 1960, Dick Bertram built and raced this 30-foot, deep-V craft right into boatbuilding folklore.