— By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— November 2003
A Beauty and a Beast
|This custom Carolina-built sportfisherman is as finely detailed as a Da Vinci and as tough as a nose tackle.|
At first the detail seemed of little import: two ten-inch-long stainless steel rods that were bored-out, flush-fit, and passed through the seamless teak covering boards to port and starboard on the Paul Mann 65. These one-off custom rods allow the line securing the optional 41-foot Rupp outriggers to pass through the covering boards and locked down via a clam cleat underneath. No bulky above-board hardware. Inconsequential? Not to Virginians Jack and Marilyn O’Donnell, for it was artisanal elements like this that led them to choose custom boatbuilder Paul Mann to construct their—and the builder’s—largest sportfisherman to date. Indeed, the 65’s clean look is the result of owner input, two-plus decades of Mann’s boatbuilding experience, and life-size mock-ups of almost all of the boat’s features.
“We chartered boats for 18 years,” Jack says, recounting his ownership of a charter-fishing business that included in its fleet a 44-foot Ricky Scarborough and a 54-foot Paul Mann. “The idea was to charter this one, ‘til we got it. I sold the charter business—the whole shootin’ match,” he adds with a wide smile. The O’Donnells plan to fish their 65 for pleasure only and do some cruising, and as you can see from the outrigger setup, they knew how they wanted their boat rigged.
Where those stainless steel rods leave off, the expanse and cleanliness of the all-teak cockpit begin. Because it has a mezzanine measuring 8'x2'x1'5" and houses stainless steel bait freezers, a cooler, and an ice maker, the sole is a solid, hatchless structure.
There’s no in-deck livewell or fishbox; they’re built into the transom and constructed of stainless steel. The unobstructed 196-square-foot cockpit was a beauteous sight to me as an angler, especially bathed in the glow of freshly oiled teak.
But the uninterrupted (except for the optional Release fighting chair) cut serves another purpose: Without a large deck hatch over the lazarette (which is accessed via a small companionway from the engine room), there’s no chance for water to drip down, keeping the area dry as a bone and clean as a whistle.
Leaving the cockpit to explore the engine room, which is home to two 1,400-hp Caterpillar 3412E diesels, I measured a comfortable 61 inches (I’m 5'7") of headroom and nearly 26 inches of space outboard of the engines. I did have to crawl over the mounted Craftsman toolbox to access the outboard portion of the starboard Cat, but you do need tools onboard. All regular maintenance points are easily accessed, and the space was, like the rest of the boat, neatly arranged and spotless.
Take that mezzanine, for example. A full-size mock-up helped the owners envision the finished product, and although Mann told me he wished he’d built it a hair lower—my feet dangled off its lounge—the owners told me they love it. In fact, Marilyn spent some quality time here during my day onboard, and it provides a great view of baits and battles without being in the way of the action.
A flying-bridge helm mock-up proved quite useful to Jack, too. Everything from the height of the single-lever Mathers controls to the of the wheel angle to the placement of the trim-tab switch under the teak helm pod was designed to accommodate his frame. (Jack is about six inches taller than me.) That’s why I had trouble reaching the tab switches and keeping clean sightlines forward when I ran the 65. That’s custom for you.
This article originally appeared in the October 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.