Judging by the reaction from anyone who had any part in the recent restoration of a classic 1969 Bertram offshore raceboat, it’s easy to tell that the project was one they will never forget. No matter if it was the person rebuilding the stringers, the one machining the many custom pieces or the guy rigging the staggered Mercury Racing 520 engines, everyone at the late-October reception to celebrate the re-launch of the 31-foot Bertram, White Tornado, appeared to be overjoyed after seeing the finished product at TNT Custom Marine in North Miami.
And when the boat impresses the socks off of people like Mike Thomas, the co-owner of TNT who oversaw the project, and offshore racer Sammy James, who was the head of Bertram Racing in the ’60s and ’70s, there’s no doubt the reactions are genuine.
“I am so grateful that I was able to drive the boat—boy is it a beautiful piece,” said James, who got to know the experienced owner of the boat who wished to remain anonymous by helping research the nearly 50-year-old vessel. “Everyone involved did such an amazing job. It’s been more than 40 years since I’ve driven a Bertram so that made it even more special. The fastest we ever had one of those boats was 75 mph and this one—with the drives tucked under in a fairly conservative setup—ran 78 mph when we were on it at the unveiling.”
Classic Bertram White Tornado Raceboat Unveiled at TNT