By Len Bose
May 23, 2015
Last year I ran out of time to complete my annual story on Newport Beach's 20 most interesting boats. I came up with the idea of blending our interesting boats into my column throughout the year. Now that the year is almost at the halfway point, I decided I had better get started.
When I walked past Deidre and Steve Bird's fighting softened yellow, 38-foot Buddy Davis convertible Proud Bird the other day I stopped, turned around and went back to introduce myself.
I first noticed the boat about four years ago while walking the docks and then again this spring at Basin Shipyard while she was hauled out for her spring maintenance.
Proud Bird is one of four 38-foot convertibles that the legendary Buddy Davis designed and built in Nanchese, N.C. Davis had an extraordinary reputation for building very seaworthy and smooth-riding boats. Best known as a master at capturing the Carolina look, Davis designed and built boats that were known for their sharp entries and dramatic bow known as the "Carolina Flare."
The Birds' first boat was a 25-foot center console Grady White used as a transition boat and after a couple years they started looking for a new boat online. They found the Buddy Davis 38, then known as Last Chance, in Vero Beach, Fla. After many questions they obtained an acceptance of offer, sight unseen, and headed to Florida.
It was love at first sight for the Birds while they made their way through the sea trial and surveys. After the completion of their deal they took the boat down to Fort Lauderdale and placed it aboard the yacht transport ship from YachtPath. Three weeks later Proud Bird was splashed in Ensenada, Mexico, and the Birds then brought her home to Newport Beach.
Proud Bird is now often seen at Whites Cove in Catalina, cruising the harbor or fishing our local waters. The boat is powered by twin Detroit Diesel 485 horse powered 6-71 TI engines. She has a 14-foot beam and displaces 35,000 pounds. Her cruising speed is 18 knots with her top speed reaching 22 knots. She is known for her modified V hull that provides a soft ride that can be wet although it sits comfortably at anchorage.
Her teak interior is satin finished to the highest of standards that shows a grace, beauty and craftsmanship rare compared to today's new boat construction standards. When entering the main salon I had to take a step back to admire the attention to detail and yet simple functionality of this vessel.
To starboard is a large L-shaped settee with a custom high-glossed teak convertible dining table. To port are two campaign-style armchairs with an entertainment center and electric panel hidden within the interior teak cabinetry.
Continuing forward and to starboard is the down galley with teak and holly cabin sole. The galley features a side by side sub-zero refrigerator/freezer with teak-faced doors. Other features include a microwave, large stainless steel sink, stove top and plenty of storage.
Moving forward and to starboard is the guest stateroom with upper and lower berths, locker and privacy door. Across and to port is the head with stall shower and large vanity.
In the bow of the boat is the owners stateroom with a centerline double island berth, hanging locker. This stateroom is to die for and looks comfortable from the moment you lay eyes on it from the boat's cockpit.
The cockpit layout is designed with the fisherman in mind along with the proper yachtsmen. The engine room is accessible from the cockpit along with a tackle station.
The fly bridge helm station is trimmed in teak along with the custom teak helm chairs. Forward of the helm station is a large beautifully appointed bench seat.
Buddy Davis built some 400 yachts between 28 and 78 feet. Proud Bird is only one of four boats built by Davis that I have seen on our West Coast.
To my eye, Proud Bird is a work of art and is why she has been added to Newport Beach's most interesting yachts list. Make sure you give her the whistle of beauty along with two thumbs up to the Birds next time you see her cruising down the bay.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.