Mann 63 — By Tim Clark
|Its frame-and-plank construction is steeped in tradition, but this Mann has not been left behind on the evolutionary ladder.|
Its frame-and-plank construction is steeped in tradition, but this Mann has not been left behind on the evolutionary ladder.
"I’m an original Mann from Mann’s Harbor," says the founder and namesake of Paul Mann Custom Boats, located in–you guessed it–Mann’s Harbor, North Carolina. "I started sportfishing offshore when I was 13, as a mate. Beginning at 21, I ran a charter fishing boat for 15 years. Back then we’d fish during the summer and then in the winter work in the boat shops. That’s how I learned the traditional way of building Carolina boats. There are not many true Carolina boatbuilders left."
Talking by telephone, I could have been forgiven for picturing Paul Mann’s operation as one of those quaint, sleepy yards out of WoodenBoat Magazine had I not been aboard the 63-foot DeeLarryUs two days earlier. There wasn’t anything quaint or sleepy about skimming over the St. Lucie River near Stuart, Florida, at more than 45 mph. While there’s no doubt Mann is a traditionalist, in the Outer Banks even purists can’t resist performance.
"I define a true Carolina boatbuilder as a frame-and-plank builder," Mann tells me. "But we’ve taken the frame-and-plank technique to a whole other level." To build boats that better withstand the adversities of offshore fishing while making the most of ever-more-powerful engines, Mann has adapted modern materials and methods to time-honored Outer Banks techniques.
The frames in the 63 were made from white cedar grown and milled in North Carolina. Mann planked the hull with 3/4-inch white cedar under a 1/4-inch layer of okoume marine-grade plywood, a many-plied tropical-hardwood sheath free of voids at the core. Then the builder encapsulated the hull, inside and out, with hand-laid fiberglass infused with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Bulkheads made from one-inch okoume were also encapsulated in glass and glassed into the hull sides. For stringers, Mann used stout clear fir and, beneath the engines, added aluminum laminates before coating the stringers, too, in fiberglass. When securing the engines, the bolt holes were drilled and tapped for extra strength.
While the 63’s hull is a fusion of the old and the new, construction of her deck is thoroughly contemporary. Its backbone of aluminum box-beam framing was covered above and below with layers of Decolite, lightweight balsa-cored glass. For the superstructure, Mann once again used marine-grade okoume sheathed in fiberglass.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.