Sea Trials

07 Jun

CapKenFinely Tuned

Paul Spencer takes his latest custom 59-footer to a new level.

By Capt. Ken Kreisler

The Spencer 59 shows off her well-balanced exterior profile.

The Spencer 59 shows off her well-balanced exterior profile. Photo: Spencer Yachts

Paul Spencer made his mark as a respected captain and fisherman on the offshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean. As with most of his ilk, his passion for all things nautical began at an early age with summer jobs in the North Carolina fishing charter business and earning his ticket by the time he was twenty years old.

Paul Spencer

Paul Spencer

Armed with a personal vision of what a sportfishing boat should be able to do, and a hands-on, experienced-based approach to design and construction, he founded Spencer Yachts in 1996 in Manns Harbor, NC. From its humble beginnings in a tin shed, the facility now boasts some 125 employees with custom builds from 37- to 87 feet in length.

Attitudes is owned by Joe Pregont, a seasoned boat owner with a passion for real wood and sportfishing boats with style and flair, and along with Capt. Jamie Van Winkle, was drawn to Spencer Yachts with an image for his own version of the company’s time-tested and sea-proven 59 footer.

“I saw Mimi, a Spencer 59 in Harbor Island in the Bahamas and really liked it,” Pregont said. “After I met Paul there, and when finished making the rounds Stateside, I decided to build my first custom boat with him. This is my second Spencer now and I can’t wait to get her out on the water. They build a boat just the way you want it and I can’t say enough about the job he did.”


As with any custom build, the needs of the individual owner must be met. And for this particular project, it began with a request to make sure the living spaces of Attitudes were big enough height wise for the Pregont family.

With its custom interior, this Spencer 59 was just what her owner was looking for.

With its custom interior, this Spencer 59’s interior layout was just what her owner was looking for. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

“Most of the boys, including my son-in-law, are on the tall side, averaging about 6’5”,” said Pregont. “So when we laid out the interior, we made sure Spencer and his people took that into consideration.” To that end, and without sacrificing that sleek and proportional Spencer profile, Attitudes has an average of 78” or more everywhere inside, from the 80” in the accommodations area to as high as 84” in the forepeak master.

The galley and dinette areas.

The galley and dinette areas. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

With some of the larger builds, there’s obviously a bit more wiggle room. However, the art aboard this boat meant that the design had to be just right. “We measured every room layout and every space, not only on Attitudes but on others to make sure it was done to the family’s specifications,” added Capt. Jamie.

With excellent fit and finish noted everywhere, the salon features tons of rod and reel storage below the portside seating area and a rod closet below. A fully found galley is forward of that and a comfortable dinette sits to starboard. For the accommodations below, it was agreed that the three-stateroom, two head layout would include an open starboard hallway bunk, measuring some 80” long and 36” wide with massive storage area below. And whether in the forepeak or guest quarters, there is more than ample space in which to keep all those necessary items for extended trips away from the dock.


Well-lit and beautifully faired and finished off, the engine room is accessed through a center line hatch forward in the cockpit and once inside, offers more than ample room to access all necessary maintenance and service areas, batteries and electrics, pumps, valves, refrigeration units, air conditioning, sea chest, and switches as well as the CAT 21.5-kW genset, encased in a hushbox and mounted athwartships and in front of the twin C-18 1,150-hp Caterpillar mains.

“By the way,” Capt. Jamie said, noting the entrance. “I had that hatch and dogging entrance door there made wide enough to slide my spare props right in, eliminating any need for boxes being on the deck when we are traveling.”

Another noteworthy design down here is the alleyway leading from the engine space to the lazarette. Not only is it an excellent storage area, with easy access to anything you may keep here, but it also eliminates the need for a deck hatch thus preventing any chance of water intrusion during a tussle with a big fish or big water.


The centerpiece of her cockpit, complete with all the necessary accessories such as mezzanine, fish boxes, live well, refrigerated and freezer compartments, is the Bluewater designed chair. “I’ve been dealing with the company for years and really like the way Tom Ackel and his crew deliver a product,” said Capt. Jamie. Made with high-grade stainless hardware and selected teak, it’s the biggest one they make and will, as the owner and his family are motivated fishing enthusiasts, definitely see a lot of action on this boat.

With plenty of room for any kind of action that should come her way, the Spencer 59's cockpit is ready.

With plenty of room for any kind of action that should come her way, the Spencer 59’s cockpit, with its Bluewater chair, is ready. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

Her coamings and transom are all teak as well. Again, this owner really likes his boat trimmed out as much as possible and to show off the aft end of Attitudes, there are about 30 coats of varnish applied to transom before being covered with clear coat after which the gold leaf name is applied and then buried in multiple layers of clear as well. “We go out of our way to keep the deep drop lead and the marlins from scratching it up,” Capt. Jamie said, a wry, knowing smile covering his face. “All this stuff is the real deal with a custom boat.”


Simplicity was key to laying out the bridge area and to that end the helm features a three-screen electronics display. Practical and kind of ‘old school’ by some standards, it offers a clean, uncomplicated seating area forward for guests while giving the skipper all the tools and view aft for when the action is hot and heavy.

A full Pipewelders tower gives both captain and guests a lofty all around view.

A full Pipewelders tower gives both captain and guests a lofty all around view. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler.

Electric reels and radios are in separate overhead compartments and I found excellent storage areas here as well. The Pipewelders tower is an outstanding piece of equipment and finished off as good as any I’ve seen anywhere. “I try not to overdo it up here,” Capt. Jamie said noting how easy it is to reach anything he would need while fishing or getting from place to place.

Van Winkle also made particular note of the electronics wiring cabinet located below the helm and easily accessed via a side hatch. And after looking around inside, I could see why. All Hooked Up Electronics owner Koby Money gave Attitudes the kind of wiring job that is second to none, affording the system-savvy skipper, or technician, unfettered access to any work that may be required.


Once the jig is set up in the Manns Harbor shop, the hull is trucked the short distance to Wanchese where the interiors, engines, painting—this is an Emron painted boat—and the rest of the finishing projects are completed.

“The Spencer foreman and I would communicate on everything I wanted done during the build,” said Capt. Jamie. “And it’s all real special dealing with Paul, his family, and everyone else at the company.”

Attitudes is a cored boat—Divinycell and Core Cell—and upgrades the tried and true method with new materials. For strength, her backbone, being the stringers, is still laminated wood as are the chines.  All that is set on coring, which is glassed over and vacuum bagged. Once the whole boat is done it is then cooked by building an oven around it, this to cure it and get rid of some post-cure issues. “She’s the second boat we’ve done this way and because of the resultant weight loss, strength and stiffness, Spencer Yachts will be doing it from now on,” said Capt. Jamie.


“I just didn’t like the harmonics of the five-bladed props,” Capt. Jamie said to me as we headed out of Pirates Cove Marina in Stuart, Florida, for some time out on the water.

Swapping them out for a pair of Veem four blade, 31” wheels, once past the manatee and no wake zone, and as we started to accelerate, his reaction was immediate. “Now that’s how things should sound,” he said. “Quiet.”

Having not been aboard with the former props, I could not judge the difference but a smooth increase in speed was quite apparent as we approached 1750 rpm with a 70% load on. Holding her there, Attitudes moved through the water at 29 knots at what I would call a slow cruise. (Not too shabby at 1500 as well with a 23-knot rate.) When the throttles were moved up to 2000 rpm, at 76% load, I noted a 34.5-knot turn of speed with this, her fast cruise. She has a definite ‘sports car’ feel with quick response to the helm as she cut tight and steady turns, and tracked straight and true.  When we brought her back to the dock, and with a sightseeing boat sticking out nearby, giving us a rather close quarters situation, Capt. Jamie slid her right in as effortlessly as if our slip was wide open.


Spencer’s particular knack for building a boat results in a sleek, well-proportioned profile all wrapped around an impressive performance package. From the front of the house on aft, to the shape and size of the windows, to the sweep of the overhang, no two Spencer boats are the same.

A view from the bridge, Spencer Yachts style.

A view from the bridge, Spencer Yachts style. Photo: Capt. Ken Kreisler

With the 66-foot Alpha Bravo, a 74 named Flight Plan, Inappropriate, a 69-footer, and Gratitude, which measures 62 feet along with several more in the works, you’re going to be seeing a lot more Spencer Yachts on the tourney circuit in the near future. And that’s a good thing.

Spencer Yachts, Inc.
31 Beverly Drive, Wanchese, NC 27981
252-473-6567  |  252-473-6568

Performance Data

RPM                        GPH                    SPD/kt

1000                        16                        10.0
1250                        26                        17.0
1500                        40                        23.0
1750                        60                        29.0
2000                        80                        34.5
2200                        100                      37.5
2340 (WOT)            120                      39.5

As tested with 2 x 1,150-hp C18 Caterpillar diesels.

Spencer 59

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Posted by on June 7, 2015 in Sea Trials


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