The Disappearing Market for Small Convertibles — Are These Eight Boats the Last of the Breed?
Bertram 390 Convertible
February 29, 2015 (Updated Febuary 2017)
Anyone who has ever searched the market for a late model convertible from 30 to 40 feet has learned first-hand that, compared with other categories like center consoles or express cruisers, there usually isn’t a lot to pick from. The reason? According to manufacturers, it’s all about economics — the cost of building, say, a 35-footer isn’t that much less than building a 40-footer. Interestingly, the only small convertible being built these days is the Tiara 3900, an expensive top-tier boat more focused on cruising than hardcore fishing. For the record, the next smallest convertible currently in production ( early 2017) is the Viking 42 introduced in 2012.
It’s always difficult to predict the future, but is seems a safe bet that we won’t be seeing anything new in the small convertible market anytime soon. That said, here are eight late-model convertibles under 40 feet that may in fact represent the last of the beed.
Cabo 35 Flybridge
At a Glance: Cabo's first boat hit the sweet spot with sportfish enthusiasts on both coasts. Huge cockpit with in-deck fish boxes, transom livewell, aft-facing seats (over the engine boxes), and plenty of tackle storage. Tastefully furnished two stateroom interior boasts a comfortable — if compact — salon with facing settees and overhead rod racks, large master stateroom with island queen, head with separate stall shower, full service galley. (Small guest cabin has over/under berths.) Hull modifications in 2000 improved headsea performance. Tournament flybridge features professional-grade helm layout with large electronics console. Quality like this is hard to find in a any boat. Cat 375 or 435hp engines cruise at 24–25 knots. A serious sport fishing machine with tons of eye appeal.
Availability & Price: Found in all major markets. Starting in the low $100K range for early models.
At a Glance: Ferretti-inspired Italian styling and traditional Bertram muscle are joined in one of the best-selling boats in her class. Two stateroom interior with cherry cabinets features a wide open salon with L-shaped settee, overhead rod storage, dinette and entertainment center. Guest stateroom has side-by-side berths; master stateroom has an island queen bed. Single transverse fuel tank helps minimize trim change throughout fuel load range with minimum effect on the ride. Large cockpit with engine room access and lift-out fish box can easily handle a full size chair. Engine room is on the small side. Note V-drive transmissions. No racehorse but a good all-around perfromer. Cruise at 26–27 knots with Volvo 480hp diesels.
Availability & Price: A popular model, asking prices for used Bertram 390s run from the mid $150s to the high $300K range.
Egg Harbor 37 Sport Yacht
Riviera 37 Convertible
At a Glance: Competitively priced Aussie import designed for fishing or cruising became one of the top-selling boats in her class. Functional interior with teak trim is practical but not luxurious. Master stateroom is forward with large centerline island berth. Aft to port is enclosed head with large stall shower followed by the galley. Guest stateroom with over/under bunks is to starboard. Most were equipped with a lower helm. Note modest 324-gallon fuel capacity — West Coast models were offered with optional extra fuel. Foam-filled stringer grid system adds stiffness and reduces weight; solid fiberglass hull has a collision bulkhead and two watertight bulkheads. Considered a lot of boat for the money during her production years, Riviera sold a lot of these boats. Cruise in the mid to high 20s with 380 QSB Cummins diesels.
Availability & Price: Well represented on both coasts. Newer models are close to $300K ask.
At a Glance: Versatile Egg Harbor convertible combines traditional Jersey styling with high-end interior and large cockpit with transom door, tackle center, direct engine room access — rare in a boat this size — and transom livewell. Standard two stateroom interior with the galley up includes an elegant master stateroom forward with island berth, guest stateroom with over/under berths, convertible salon sofa (with rod storage below), and large head with full-sized shower stall. Entertainment center is built into front windshield area. Beautiful teak or maple woodwork is on display throughout the interior. Tournament-style flybridge is large for a 37-footer with room to walk behind both helm chairs. The Egg’s low-deadrise hull is quick to accelerate. Cruise at 26–28 knots with twin 420hp Caterpillar engines (30+ top).
Availability & Price: Definitely an East Coast boat. Prices start in the low $200K range.
Tiara 3900 Convertible
Albemarle 325 Convertible
At a Glance: A small boat with a big reputation for handling rough water. The compact salon houses an entertainment center forward, a small dinette table for two, and a pull-out double berth in the settee. Standup head includes a separate stall shower. Air conditioning, teak cabinets and trim, and an entertainment center were standard. Very large cockpit for a 32-footer. Note aft-facing seats on either side of the helm console. To address complaints about a harsh ride, a major redesign in 1999 moved the engines forward 10 inches, replaced the original three-tank configuration with a single fuel tank, and recessed the trim tabs into the hull. Cabin headroom was also increased in 1999, and a transom door and lift-out fish box were added in the cockpit. Albemarle sold a ton of these boats up and down the East Coast.
Availability & Price: Mostly an East Coast boat. From $75K up to $100K-plus.
At a Glance: The only convertible under 40 feet currently in production. Everything a serious angler of cruiser could ask for in a premium boat of this type. Luxurious teak interior boasts a surprisingly spacious salon with facing Ultra-leather lounges, mid-level galley with Corian counters, deluxe master stateroom with island berth, and cozy guest stateroom with over/under bunks and rod storage. Open front window section is a nice touch in the salon. The cockpit—on the small side for a convertible this size—comes standard with bait prep center with cutting board and tackle drawers, large transom livewell, in-floor fish/storage boxes, transom shower, and access door to a large engine room with good service access. Flybridge layout is as good as it gets. Cummins 540hp (or Cat 575hp C9) diesels cruise in the mid 20s and (30+ top).
Availability & Price: Found in all markets including Canada. Asking prices start at $350K.
Luhrs 36 Convertible
Luhrs 380/40 Convertible
At a Glance: A big 38-footer with an LOA of nearly 41 feet and a mega-wide 14'11" beam, the Luhrs 380 dwarfs most anything in her class when it comes to cabin accommodations. (Called the 40 Convertible in 1999–2003.) The high-gloss cherry interior was offered in several two stateroom configurations, all featuring a spacious main salon with convertible sofa to port and the galley forward, a large master stateroom forward, and a port guest cabin with over/under single berths. The double-entry head has a separate stall shower. Cockpit features include molded tackle centers, livewell and in-deck fish boxes. Big-block gas engines were standard but most 380s were sold with diesel power. No lightweight, 420hp Cat (or 440hp Yanmar) diesels cruise at 20 knots. Luhrs made some poor quality boats over the years; the 380/40 wasn’t one of them.
Availability & Price: Lots of 380s are usually available. Asking prices begin at around $100K.
At a Glance: Easily one of the best-selling convertibles this size ever produced. Molded flybridge steps in the starboard cockpit corner were considered hugely innovative in 1998; now lots of convertibles have them. (The steps are great, but they take up some space in the aft salon area.) Wide 13'10" beam provides the interior space of some 40-footers, but the roomy accommodations come at the expense of a relatively small cockpit. The two stateroom layout is similar to most convertibles this size with berths for six and large head with stall shower. Topside, some flybridge space is given up to accommodate the molded steps, but not too much. Fishing features include a transom door, transom fish box, and a molded bait prep center to port. A factory half tower was standard. Cat 420hp (or 440hp Yanmar) diesels cruise in the mid 20s (about 30 knots top).
Availability & Price: Plenty to choose from in most markets. Priced from the low $100s.