The Build of my Carolina Sportfish, Designed by Jacques Mertens

by Peter Hagenaars - Curacao - Dutch Caribbean

Since I moved in 1994 from the Netherlands to Curacao, Dutch Caribbean, I always found that you need two things living on a tropical island – well three if you include rum, Arrr Arrr. One, a pool in the backyard and two, a boat to go big game fishing. Since I tackled the pool long time ago, I decided in June 2008 it was time to build a boat. After wandering the internet for plans, I stranded at the Bateau website which has a pretty big selection of plans to choose from.

Because of the almost never ending trade winds (they only end during hurricane season – how ironic is that), the sea over here can be rough with a pretty big chop and currents can be strong. So to me the most obvious choice was to build the 25’ Caroline Sportfish with a bracket –  an offshore boat based on the Carolina Sport Fishing boats lines with a big bow flair that hopefully would keep me as dry as possible.

On deciding on the model the deck was cleared and an almost a five year’s voyage started. At the time I couldn’t imagine it would take me so long. Often people ask me how many hours and how much money I put into the project. The answer is simple, I truly don’t know. I didn’t keep track on either  one.  I only worked on it when I felt doing so. In the beginning that was almost every day but there was also a year I only saw the boat when I parked my car in front of it. It was a wavy build process.

When I started there was only one marine shop on the island. Now there are five. At the time I had to order and ship materials mostly from the states. Since I didn’t really have a schedule there was a lot of wait time involved but also a lot more cost. For example, the seat I used on my leaning post was around US$ 400. When it arrived on the island, on top of the US$ 400 I had to pay around US$ 300 for shipping/handling and taxes. I had to find ways of being creative in the treasure chest department. This resulted in numerous vacations to the US stuffing our loot bags with all kind of boat goodies on our way back. This meant we saw a lot of places in the United States from north to south and east to west – beautiful country in which I really felt in love with. If it wasn’t so difficult to get a legal residence status, I think I would move there some time ago.

I’m drifting away so back to the subject. The boat is built in stitch and glue. The core is Okoume Marine plywood by bruynzeel and the epoxy Silvertip by system three. For the smaller projects such as the center console, radio box, benches and so on. Cheaper marine ply bought at the local hardware store was used together with West system epoxy. The glass used is mostly several layers of 12 oz Biaxial fabric inside and out. For the hard top I wanted to use a foam core, but since I couldn’t get foam material at the time,  I used P3 air conditioning ducting material as a core. This surprisingly worked out great and once encapsulated became very strong. I think if I wanted  I could use it as a standing platform for a tower. The paint used on bottom is Sea Hawk Island 44 Antifouling. The paint used on rest of the hull PPG High build epoxy primer, PPG Epoxy primer and PPG Concept Acrylic Urethan. For non-skid I used Kiwi grip – this is a great product I can really recommend to anyone. It’s a water based product that doesn’t require any mixing of sand or other non-skid particles. Just roll it with the special roller that comes with it and you are done. Textures from fine to aggressive can be achieved

Performance wise, the boat performs very well and is as I was hoping for a dry ride. Since it’s a very light boat it is also an economical boat. With the 300HP ETec she comes on plane in a heartbeat. The top speed I achieved with her was around 52 miles. I caught a lot of Tuna, Wahoo, and Dolphin with her but beginning of this year I decided to sell her. She was only on the market for a very short time before she changed to her new happy owner. In the meantime I started a new smaller project for bay use and barhopping. It is a 1936 15 feet Flyer designed by Bruce Crandall.

For more info on the Carolina sportfish:

A build video can be watched here:

A 245 page build thread can be found here:

A build Thread on the Flyer can be followed here:

About me: I’m Peter, born September 1971, The Netherlands. Occupation Property manager. Residence Curacao Dutch Caribbean.

About Curacao: Curacao is one of the six Dutch Caribbean Islands together with Aruba (west) and Bonaire (east). It’s located beneath the hurricane belt about 40 miles north of Venezuela. The other three islands are Saba St Eustatius and St Maarten together with St Martin (France). Those three islands are located within the hurricane belt.

More Info on Curacao:

More Info on the Dutch Caribbean:


    • I just didn’t took her out as much as I wanted, guess I’m still a cold weather guy, lot’s of times I came back with a headache after a full day in the sun, that together with ongoing maintenance, docking and other costs I decided with pain in my heart to sell her, sometimes you have to listen to reason instead of feelings

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