Bertram 450: Boat of the Year

The mission: To refine or redefine powerboats. For this year’s winner, the envelope please…

Freedom of choice is overrated. Want proof? Consider the convertible sportfisherman, a boat designed to free us from having to choose. Do you want to fish? Or cruise? Hey, don't choose. With one of these boats, do both.

But all boats are compromises, and convertible sportfishermen are no different. Are you a passionate angler or a serious cruiser? Will you settle for a fishboat you can cruise from, or a cruiser you can fish from? See. You're still faced with a choice.

Real freedom is freedom from choice. And buyers of convertible sportfishermen never had that freedom as much as they do with the Bertram 450, an updated classic that's so much more. Its clever use of interior space changes what you've come to expect from boats in this class. The most obvious differences can be found in the guest stateroom's side-by-side berths and in the main cabin, which features a cocktail deck. Say goodbye to the conventional salon/dinette/galley layout. Never before has a boat this size featured such amenities. Never before has a sportfisherman been so...convertible.

Its prowess as a fishing machine remains unquestioned. And during our test, this 35,000-pound bluewater battlestar with its standard twin 660-bhp Caterpillars hit 30.1 mph at 1800 rpm, which produced a range of 334 statute miles. Its top speed: 39.6 mph. And at WOT it was about 10 percent more fuel efficient than several of its competitors.

In other words, the 450 is one fast, quiet, well-laid out, stylish ride, and Richard Bertram would be proud. That's why it's BOATING Magazine's Boat of the Year.