While some production builders dabble in semi-custom arrangements, Bonadeo Boatworks of Stuart, Florida, is that increasingly rare, fully custom builder located outside of the Carolinas. When I asked Larry Bonadeo, founder of his eponymous outfit, how far they’ll go when customizing a boat, he laid it out in no uncertain terms: “We’re a total custom shop within the constraints of the hull.”
Meaning: You’ve got a hull, make of it what you will. Literally.
When I ran into Bonadeo at the Miami boat show, he was aboard hull number one of their 45 Express Walkaround. But possibilities abound. Options include a convertible, center console, or closed or open layout, depending on the owner’s preference. “It revolves around you, your personality and the things you like to do,” Bonadeo said.
True to its name, the walkaround space on either side of the 45’s enclosed layout is exceptional, with plenty of room to maneuver should you hook up with a game fish in rough seas. On the bow, there’s fore- and aft-facing seating for four, with a sunpad forward of the laminated helm enclosure. Up above, the marlin tower has a second set of controls, including a bow thruster and joystick. The tower arch has been painted black, along with the antennas and radar, to reduce glare, while also giving it a sleek, dual-tone look.
What started as a pet project to design a center console for his personal use evolved into a family-run business. The 45 is the flagship model from Bonadeo, who has been building boats inspired by the custom Carolina and South Florida schools of design with his son Tony for 15 years. (His youngest son, Angelo, recently came on board full time.) On the 45, Bonadeo blends design aesthetics, which is evident in the Carolina bow flare, softer tumblehome and a soft broken sheer.
Bonadeo spares no expense in utilizing the latest composite technology. The main structures utilize Kevlar, carbon fiber, e-glass and Core-Cell, all of which are resin-infused and vacuum-bagged. The result is a displacement of 19,800 pounds (dry), but the overall weight depends on what features the owner chooses to add. Load it to the max and its longitudinally stepped hull provides a soft, dry ride while running through serious chop.
The owner of hull number one prioritizes entertaining on board, so there’s a grilling station on centerline and tons of storage arrayed around the cockpit—plus a hot-water shower hose for good measure. For hull number two, the client is a highly successful tournament angler on the competitive sailfish circuit, and he’s requested a boat designed around hardcore fishing. (The second 45 will also be an Express Walkaround.) Not only does that mean a difference in fishboxes (Bonadeo is adding stainless liners, per the owner’s request), but also more teak (including a teak cockpit deck) and more power.
Both owners will be using their 45s as a primary vessel. While the owner of hull one was moving up in size, the second client is downsizing from a sportfish—a nice example of how the 45 falls in a sweet spot for all kinds of prospective owners. When it comes to Bonadeos it’s really up to you. —Simon Murray
Displ. (dry) 19,800 lbs.
Fuel 655 gal.
Water 100 gal.
Power 4/300, 400 or 450 hp
Cruise Speed 37 knots
Top Speed 49 knots
Standard Horsepower 1,600