Photos by Tom Spencer
When one discerning owner decided he wanted an express cruiser with modern touches, exceptional fit and finish, high speed and custom details, he knew exactly where to look—the tiny town of Hubert, North Carolina (population 2,842), home of Winter Custom Yachts. It’s here that Tim Winters and his trusty team turn out cold-molded Carolina beauties that are just a touch more unorthodox than the rest of a field, which is both lauded and crowded.
“We like to do things a bit different.,” Winters says. “Recently we have been concentrating on making our interiors more contemporary than you might see on some of our competitors.” Carolina boats are generally considered rather conservative, particularly on the interior, but that’s a trend Winters bucks. “Usually you see traditional teak on boats from this area, but this 50 has quartersawn walnut, which is very different. It’s a rich chocolate color, and it gives a nice contrast to the white walls and headliner. The countertops are a white marble color, too, so contrasts are everywhere. It makes for a very interesting, and we think beautiful, look.”
The 50, which was recently delivered to an owner near Wilmington, North Carolina, doesn’t just stand out for her distinct interior. This (not so) old girl can fly. With quadruple 425-horsepower Yamahas hanging off her transom, she can hit a zippy 41 knots on the pins while cruising steadily at 31 knots. That transom, by the way, is specially designed to extend the yacht’s elegant tumblehome all the way around her aft end for a look so retro chic that it calls to mind art deco automobiles of yore. When coupled with a gently raked sheerline and a striking aquamarine hull color, this 50 is the kind of yacht that will turn heads at marina bars from Bermuda to the Yucatán Peninsula and everywhere in between. Notably, the Winter 50 doesn’t have that trademark Carolina flare typical of vessels built to brave the rough-and-tumble Oregon Inlet. Instead it has internal, integrated spray rails that split the seas while further helping her stand out from her Tarheel State cousins.
For a cold-molded vessel, the 50 displaces a relatively petite 39,000 pounds wet and loaded, thanks in part to Diab foam coring above the hull. That light weight helps with speed and efficiency, but it serves perhaps an even more important purpose for the owner, who needs to navigate shallow waters to the tune of about 4 feet near his home dock. The 50’s consequently shallow draft (2 feet, 10 inches) offers up the happy coincidence of allowing the boat to safely navigate the famously skinny waters of both the Bahamas and the west coast of Florida.
The boat’s bridge deck has three forward facing Release helm chairs (a boon in any seaway) complemented by a triple Garmin screen set up. “The owner spends his time traveling,” Winters says. “This owner is a guy who knew what he wanted and he did all the hard research. And that research led him to us, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”
Indeed, sometimes the most valuable treasures can be found in the smallest of places.
Winter Custom Yachts 50 Specifications:
Fuel: 987 gal.
Water: 180 gal.
Displ.: 39,000 lb. (wet)
Power: 4/425-hp Yamahas