From Tree to Shining Sea - Power & Motoryacht
At the Bayliss Boatworks facility in North Carolina, experienced craftsmen build high-quality sportfishermen by hand.

Photos by Austin Coit

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There’s something mesmerizing about a Bayliss on the water with its throttles open wide. Maybe it’s the way the knife-like bow slices through the sea or how its famous flare flicks water away from the topsides.The finish on these boats is at such a level that you could be forgiven for thinking they’re built in some space-age facility with carefully calibrated robots. Step inside the builder’s Wanchese, North Carolina yard and you’ll quickly be reminded that these are custom boats made carefully by calloused hands.

Stringers are laminated before being placed in the hull jig.

Stringers are laminated before being placed in the hull jig.

The final layer of planking is finished on the port side. On the 60-foot Mama C, there are two layers of 3/8-inch plywood on the sides and three layers of 3/8 on the bottom.

The final layer of planking is finished on the port side. On the 60-foot Mama C, there are two layers of 3/8-inch plywood on the sides and three layers of 3/8 on the bottom.

It all starts with a special delivery. A truck loaded with Douglas fir and plywood from the West Coast drops the payload at Bayliss. There’s a joke that’s often repeated around this yard at times like this. “We always say that we take big pieces of wood, cut ’em into small pieces of wood and glue ’em back together into big pieces of wood,” says John Bayliss Jr., the son of the company’s owner/founder of the same name. “So yeah, you get a stack of lumber, a stack of plywood and turn it into one of these boats.”

Omie Mann (left) and Chris Huff (right) work on a base plate for a prop box. Most builders would order this part, but that’s not the Bayliss way.

Omie Mann (left) and Chris Huff (right) work on a base plate for a prop box. Most builders would order this part, but that’s not the Bayliss way.

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No two Bayliss boats are the same. Each one gets its own jig, is cold-molded and supported by laminated stringers.

The owner of the 60-foot Mama C came to Bayliss wanting a boat that would be used for one thing: fishing. And fishing hard.

The interior is relatively Spartan; there’s plenty of stowage and places for crew to sleep for an overnight, but the owner didn’t want a cabin that required a lot of fuss to clean and maintain. “It has all the attention to detail we have in all our other boats, only it’s just much more simplified. Most of our guys don’t stay on their boat anyway,” says John Bayliss Sr. “They want a boat that’s easy to clean up inside and out. Then they can go back to their house or condo or wherever. They spend most of their time outside fishing because that’s what really matters to them.”

Mama C

Mama C

The striking, tournament-ready sportfisherman was a labor of love not just for the owner but the entire Bayliss team. It took 85 people 16 months and 30,000 man-hours to bring Mama C to life.

The hull crew (Orlando, Matt, Wayne, Santiago, Larry, Dilmar and Adolfo) builds the hull, flips it over and does most of the belowdecks construction.

The hull crew (Orlando, Matt, Wayne, Santiago, Larry, Dilmar and Adolfo) builds the hull, flips it over and does most of the belowdecks construction.

“My dad has said these boats are kind of like our children, and that's true. They go away and you want everyone to talk good about ’em,” says Bayliss Jr. “We want to blow everyone away with every boat we put out, and raise the bar every time. That’s the inspiration for everyone to get up in the morning and come back here to work.”

Everything, including the hull, is block-sanded by hand to achieve a fine level of finish.

Everything, including the hull, is block-sanded by hand to achieve a fine level of finish.

VIDEO: Talking Boats With John Bayliss

The editors of Power & Motoryacht and Anglers Journal catch John Bayliss at the Custom Boat Shootout where he reveals the secret ingredient that makes his boats special.

Video produced by John V Turner

Click here for Bayliss Boatwork’s contact information and index of articles ▶

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This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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