Release Boatworks 55 Walkaround Flybridge
With wide side decks running all the way around the house, the Release 55 will provide the perfect fishing platform.
Boats are made to go forward, not backwards. When you’re hooked up to a big fish, it makes more sense to put the angler in the bow (if you can) to chase the fish down, retrieve line and quickly close the gap between the boat and the fish. That’s what makes walkaround boats, with wide side decks providing easy access forward, so desirable to offshore fishing crews. But there are a lot of other benefits to this style of boat, with the only drawback being you lose some living space.
Release Boatworks has steadily built a growing cadre of fans for its walkaround boats that offer maximum fishability. All of their boats have single-level side decks for unimpeded access to the bow. They also let the crew set lines from the midship gunwale if need be when kite-fishing for sails or deep-dropping for swordfish.
The custom builder’s latest model, the 55 Walkaround Flybridge, is its largest vessel to date with three staterooms and a tackle room. The first 55 will serve as a tender/dayboat for a superyacht and spend most of its life in the Caribbean.
“This particular customer liked the idea of a regular walkaround with a flybridge,” said Release Boatworks Founder and Owner Jim Turner. “One of the requirements was seating for 15 people. They also do a lot of diving, so we’re adding a tank-filling compressor and storage for a dozen tanks.”
This owner decided to skip the lower station to meet that seating demand, but the company has another 55 sold on which the owner opted for a second helm down below. Release builds out the interiors to the owner’s specs, and actually creates plywood mockups on the floor of the shop that the owner can walk through, touch and feel to make sure the layout meets his or her needs. The salon on this vessel will have a large U-shaped dinette and a forward galley.
“We’re taking customization beyond a drawing,” Turner said.
Range and stability were the owner’s two main requirements as they plan to use the boat for overnight and multi-day fishing and diving excursions. To meet that demand, Release installed not one but two Seakeeper 6s and the boat will hold 1,275 gallons of fuel.
“They wanted at least a 500-mile range, that was a parameter, and we ended up with 600,” Turner says. And while the boat really doesn’t need two Seakeepers (they are not redundant, but rather mounted on either side of the centerline, so you have to run both gyros simultaneously for them to work), “it will have an inordinate amount of stability. At some point in their projections our engineers had to stop because the roll reduction was as high as they could calculate.”
The Release 55 Walkaround Flybridge catches your eye with its classic convertible look, unbroken sheerline and tumblehome aft. Erwin Gerard designed the hull form, which is projected to hit a top end of 44 to 46 knots with twin 1,622-hp MTU 10V 2000 M96Ls. The boat will cruise in the mid-30-knot range, and once it gets to where it wants to fish, the boat will undoubtedly raise big pelagics with a clean wake for the trolling spread. All of Gerard’s boats raise fish. He designed the Gamefisherman hulls, which have been some of the fishiest boats to every ply the sea. (Quick side note: Release Boatworks now owns Gamefisherman.)
Release plans to reveal the new 55 Walkaround Flybridge at the 2022 Ft. Lauderdale boat show. She’ll be a strong, quick vessel constructed using a blend of vinylester/polyester resin on the structural laminates, vacuum bagged with Airex foam cores. And while it was definitely built with the intention of trolling offshore, the 55 will be a lot more than a fishing boat.
“Everyone knows the walkaround is a hardcore fishing boat, but it’s really a great family boat layout,” Turner says. “When I built our first boat I had three young daughters. I didn’t consider the safety factor of the walkaround. You can have kids getting the dock lines without shimmying around the side of the house to climb up on the bow. It’s not just a fishing boat. I never saw that aspect until we built the boat and started living on it with kids.”
55 Walkaround Flybridge Specifications:
Displ.: 54,000 lbs.
Fuel: 1,275 gal.
Water: 150 gal.
Power: 2/1,622-hp MTU 10V 2000 M96Ls