CEO of Bertram Explains the New 540 - 09/17/2008

The new Bertram 540 has been designed to capture the hearts and minds of fishermen who -- while they would like giant tuna carcasses strapped aboard and black marlin trophy mounts -- aspire to something more than a big boat that is an easily cleaned washbasin for fish blood and guts. The Ferretti group is building a boat for the more sophisticated sportsman, a man who is looking for more than just good fishability in a convertible and also wants a luxurious cruising boat and a classy entertainment venue.

The 540 has a very sharp entry at 44-degrees and a deadrise at the transom of 16-degrees.

While the Bertram 31 which was introduced in 1961 was the first and possibly most popular Bertram ever built, the 54 which came out in 1984 was arguably the best convertible Bertram built in its glory days that ended about 20 years ago. Then, the company was bought by people more interested in making a buck than building boats and for 10 years this gold-plated brand wandered in the wilderness and became seriously tarnished. In 1998 the Ferretti brothers, two Italians passionate about boats and boat building, rescued Bertram and began a process of renovation and renewal that has now come full circle with the introduction of the Bertram 540.

We asked Giovanni Vacchi, CEO of Bertram Yachts, what sets the company's new creation apart, not only from the old 54, but also from other convertibles built today.

Giovanni Vacchi
Giovanni Vacchi, the new Executive Chairman and CEO of Bertram Yachts.

Q: What is the "breakthrough" you refer to in the press release we published two weeks ago?

A: We believe that the design of the new 540 is a breakthrough thanks to its unique capabilities to combine, in the same yacht, a traditional sport fishing machine with a luxurious cruising yacht...allowing the owner and his/her friends and family to maximize the time spent on the sea and to, therefore, improve the quality of the free time they have available in their lives.


This is the optional layout Bertram offers with a lower helm station forward of the galley.

Q: What are the new "innovative elements never before" introduced in a convertible?

A: This is the first time Bertram has implemented a forward window to a sportfishing yacht of its class. The windows bring a refreshing new element to a sportfish of this category and transform both the exterior and interior of the yacht. From the outside, it appears as though this battlewagon will not let anything stand in its way. From the inside, these windows allow for all of the natural light to enter into the interior of the yacht and brighten the entire salon, giving it a lighter more spacious feeling.

Large port and starboard windows have been incorporated into the new 540 design. Developed by Ferretti group’s Advanced Yacht Technology, these windows are rock solid and will exceed the expectations of our customers for their powerful durability to withstand the most intense conditions while navigating the roughest waters. Thanks to high innovations and advanced product development that is made available to Bertram from the Advanced Yacht Technology Center, this new window design actually strengthens Bertram’s rock solid hull design, as they are reinforced right onto the fiberglass hull. The windows also provide beautiful, sweeping views of the surrounding ocean from within the stateroom, providing more natural luminous light into the yacht.


The galley aft permits the chef to pass lunch and snacks out the rear, retractable window.

Also, the yacht was built to appease the cruiser as well as the avid, competitive sport fisherman. Therefore, new luxurious features, such as a retractable aft cockpit window that recedes down for easy access between the galley and the cockpit, were incorporated into the design. It is an excellent feature for entertaining friends and opening up the yacht to the activities taking place in the cockpit. Premium Integrated sound systems and other stylish options provide pure pleasure for elegant entertaining.

Q: In the mid-1980s convertible builders stopped putting in windshields because they turned the cabin into a "hot house," they often leaked, and with the helm on the flying bridge, they wasted valuable space. How are you handling these issues?

A: The salon, dinette and galley areas have two (2) dedicated 16,000 BTU A/C units, which will discharge through overhead valances on the port and starboard sides that are subtly placed along the entire length of the salon.

The master stateroom of the 540 has lots of light thanks to the innovative hull port treatments pioneered by Italian boat builders.

Q: How are you making up for the lost storage space?

A: We do not feel that this new window design takes away from the space available on the boat at all. We have simply reallocated the storage on the new 540. Also, due to these windows, the yacht actually feels more spacious than other models of its size. The aft galley layout is quite open and inviting and has been designed with extra storage room. In fact, extra storage space has been integrated in both the hull sides and underneath the boat. Also, the cocktail table by the salon seating area offers extra storage inside and additional room was created to store up to 25 fishing rods with ease. Added tackle storage has also been built into the mezzanine area and the fish boxes have been made larger and deeper alongside the fighting chair for easier access.

Q: What is the "dry displacement of the boat?

A: Laden displacement is 82,853 lbs. Unladen, or 'dry' as you call it, is 64,375 lbs.


The starboard side of both salon versions has this large sofa arrangement which is far larger than on most convertibles this size.

Q: Will the boat come with engines options smaller than the MAN V-12 CR 1224-hp diesels?

A: No, Bertram customers typically require higher cruising speeds.

Q: Is the hull completely new, or is it a modified version of the old 54?

A: This is a completely new hull.

Q: What is the deadrise at the transom and forward where the hull meets the water? Please describe the chines.

A: The deadrise at transom is 16 degrees. The deadrise at the forward waterline is 44 degrees. The chines are 12” wide at the transom and taper off to zero thickness at the bow of the boat. The chines maintain a relatively horizontal surface throughout the forward extension.

Q: What fishing features will this boat have that the old 54 did not have?

A: This yacht features an underwater exhaust and maximized storage space to hold up to 25 fishing rods. Additional tackle storage is incorporated into the mezzanine along with a baitwell and freezer. The transom fish box can also be converted into another baitwell or icemaker with ease. The fish boxes on the cockpit floor have been made larger and deeper and are now placed on each side of the fighting chair for easier access from the transom door.

Q: What features for cruising will the 540 have that the old 54 did not have?

A:The new 540 model has a large fuel capacity tank [1,524 gallons, 5,769 liters--Ed.], which allows you to enjoy your time out on the water longer. Also, new features have been incorporated in order to maximize leisure and provide the ultimate entertainment experience for all of those onboard, including integrated stereo sound systems on the bridge to relax while you are cruising, and iPod connection for easy control of music from any location on the yacht. Other added features such as LED lighting, and additional cup holders add to this experience. This yacht will also be offered with a fully equipped lower control helm station as an option. Combined with the wrap around windows, this new option is an excellent feature for either navigating the yacht comfortably in challenging weather conditions or to enjoy unobstructed views of the surrounding ocean with ease from the luxurious salon.

Q: When will the new 540 be available for viewing?

A: The new 540 model will make its world debut at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show in October of 2008.

The business end of the 540 is pretty standard except for the rear window which allows those inside to see the cockpit action and pass out lunch.