The Spencer 30 is a 30.08ft masthead sloop designed by John Spencer and built in fiberglass since 1975.

The Spencer 30 is a moderate weight sailboat which is a reasonably good performer. It is very stable / stiff and has a low righting capability if capsized. It is best suited as a day-boat.

Spencer 30 sailboat under sail

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Little Cunning Plan

A plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Little Cunning Plan

1975 Spencer 1330

I’ve been having an on-line love affair with Spencer boats ever since we saw that 1968 Spencer 44 , Mondo Mer, up in Seattle a year ago. Fortunately, that boat was recently purchased by a couple who have contacted us and are loving that boat. Whew! That was a close one.

I always love the way these boats look ‘on paper’ with their roomy interior and fine sailing abilities. So I was excited to see this 44 foot 1976 Spencer 1330 that has been listed for sale up in Vancouver, BC for many moons. When our broker called to make arrangements for to see this boat, he said we were just in time because the owner was having it surveyed in order to donate it to charity. WHAT??? We felt we better hurry because it might just be a great boat and maybe we could get it for a pretty good price.

spencer 30 yacht review

The bow of the Spencer 1330 in the pouring rain.

True to Pacific Northwest form, it was pouring down rain. Literally.

My first impression of this boat consisted of two things: first, very pretty lines. I always notice that. Second, it’s really big. But it had many things that interested us, including a very nice steel hard dodger that protects the cockpit from rain and sun. We appreciated that on the day we went looking. This boat has a center cockpit, which is something we think we would like because it gives you an aft cabin that can be mighty comfortable on some boats. There are lots of opinions about center cockpits but since we’ve only owned two boats, and both of them aft cockpits, we figure we could get used to it.

spencer 30 yacht review

You’d likely want windshield wipers. They would get a lot of use up here.

I also really like the idea of mast pulpits. I know there are many times I would appreciate them even on Moonrise. So having them out at sea would give me a feeling of security.

spencer 30 yacht review

Hatch doors

I also thought the hatch doors were interesting and seemed extra sturdy. I think I would like this set up but have no experience with it myself. I admit that the rain was coming down so much that we didn’t spend as much time outside as usual. So on to the living quarters.

spencer 30 yacht review

My niece and nephew enjoyed the salon on the Spencer 1330

I really loved the interior of this boat. Like the 1968 Spencer we looked at, this boat has an awesome layout that includes a versatile and comfortable salon. The full galley is to port at the base of the companionway, with a dining/chart table to starboard. Then you still get two decently sized settees and a good table in the main salon. What luxury that would be! The salon was a little dark due to the fact that there are no ports, only hatches. But lighting can be added.

spencer 30 yacht review

Here’s the galley.

The galley was well equipped and had ample storage. Everything appeared to be in good shape.

The v berth in this boat was adequate and there is a full head for that cabin. There is a good hanging locker close to this berth and additional storage in the cabin. Storage is definitely NOT an afterthought in this boat.

spencer 30 yacht review

The V berth

The passage to the aft cabin has good headroom, meaning you don’t have to crouch down and shimmy through to that cabin. There is also incredible storage all along the hull in that passageway. Engine access, which is basically an engine room, can be had here, and is also available through a door in the aft cabin. The idea of having an engine room fills my heart with joy for my husband’s sake.

spencer 30 yacht review

Who doesn’t want this kind of easy-access storage on a boat?

spencer 30 yacht review

Engine access galore! And an almost new engine, too. Can’t beat that with a stick.

The aft cabin in this boat (which is also accessible from the cockpit through its own companionway) is pretty nice. Yes, I would prefer the ‘centerline queen’ berth that some people say so scornfully when talking about the recent spate of condo-type boats. But that’s because I like my sleep and don’t want to have to crawl over Mike, or vice versa, to visit the head in the middle of the night. Generally more than once. But that would not deter me from this boat. We could live with it the way it is.

spencer 30 yacht review

Here’s the aft cabin. I gave the berth a try and it was fine.

Both of the heads in this boat are large enough to be comfortable and have plenty of storage.

spencer 30 yacht review

This is the head for the main cabin.

The interior of this boat is in very nice condition. Frankly, I cannot understand why this boat has not been sold but I wonder if its very size might have something to do with it. It’s only speculation, of course, but the only reason we walked away from this boat knowing we would not make an offer is because it is just too much boat for us. It’s really huge, which is why the accommodations are so great. There is plenty of room inside to do everything well. It is possible, though, that getting moorage for this boat in the Vancouver area might be a problem. Another boat owner we talked to there said there is a waiting list for slips in Vancouver.

Also, while this boat would be very comfortable, I kept thinking about how much we like sailing in our Puget Sound area and how much more trouble it would be to take out a boat this big. There are a lot of big boats in our marina, and they rarely leave the dock.  I also thought again about how I would handle a boat like this if Mike were incapacitated for any reason. I want to be as self sufficient as possible when we do our voyage. The very last thing I would feel good about doing would be to call for help because Mike was sick and I couldn’t handle the boat by myself. It makes me shudder to even think of it.

In addition to that, anything that went wrong on a boat this size would cost us a fortune and while everything looked good on the outside, I haven’t seen the survey for this boat so I have no idea if expensive repairs would be needed. I’m not sure we can really afford to keep a boat like this in good condition without compromising our retirement, and we can’t do that. I kept seeing dollar signs everywhere I looked. We’d have to get a mighty good price on a boat like this in order for it to pencil out.

Still, I am delighted we looked at it because it’s only by looking that a person can be sure of those kinds of things, and now I won’t bother to look at boats this big, even if I do like them. Every time we look at another boat, we learn something about what we want. So this crossed these worthy, but large, Spencers off of our short list.

13 thoughts on “ 1975 Spencer 1330 ”

Do you know if the owners donated this boat yet? I can’t find a date on your post so not sure when this went up. This is one of the boats that is on our short list – we’re looking to upgrade from our 34fter. Thanks!

This review was written in November of 2012. We do not know what became of her. We really did like the Spencers and on the West Coast, they do come onto the market from time to time.

Good luck finding your next perfect boat but enjoy sailing Chance while you have her.

Check this one out For Sale in Ladysmith BC .

Hi There, We bought this boat from the SALTS society. Have had it for 2 years now. Very, very happy with it. In the process of a refit as would expect for this age of vessel. There is a sister boat to this for sale in Nanaimo, B.C. right now. They came aboard and copied the aluminum dodger that we have and did a really nice job of it. Not sure why they put it up for sale actually. Let me know if you have any questions about these boats. I pretty much know them inside out now. They are not perfect but are excellent in many many ways. At time of construction were ahead of their time in many ways as well. Cheers, Ralph

How wonderful that this awesome boat found a good home. I went back and read my review of that boat and then had to laugh. We walked away from it because at the time we felt like it was ‘too much boat’. Then we went and bought a 47 foot Brewer!! Logic. It has no place in boat buying decisions. But you got an awesome boat. Sometimes I wonder if we should have held out for a Spencer, but we just knew our boat when we saw it. Very glad to hear this worthy vessel is in good hands! I remember that dodger and was very impressed with it. Our Galapagos has a full hard dodger as well and we love it.

I think this boat started at “Bluey II” and I was the second owner …and had it for almost 20 years. I sold it and it was then renamed Sanctuary (3?). I know the new owner did extensive changes which I was not happy with as the quality of replacement / new items were not in line with the quality of the boat. This was a GREAT boat and we loved it – but our circumstances changed and it made sense to pass it on. Overall, probably one of the best sailing boats in its size.

I still think we would have loved that boat! And yeah, I’ll bet it sails like a dream.

Hi ! Thanks for this. Always interesting to know the history of the boat we now own. Over all I am happy with the descision we made to buy but it has been an immense undertaking (as a side project….Ha ha) anyway about 3/4’s of the way through a major major refit (4years I think) Other than bolting things through the balsa cored deck the construction is good. I just replaced 6 feet of the bow deck due to delamination. Installed a new hydraulic windlass system at the same time and no more coring nonsense. It’s all solid fiberglass up there now. How are you making out with your new boat. I have a feeling we are in similar circumstances. Hope it’s going well for you and you’re having fun with it too. If you ever sail up to the gulf island, let us know, maybe we can have happy hour together and swap stories. Cheers, Ralph

Wow! I see you guys are already in California! Hope you’re having a great time! Cheers! Ralph

Hi there! Yes, we are down the coast now, taking our sweet time going to Mexico! I read your previous comment and wow, you really have done a lot to that boat! That’s a great boat, however, and I’m sure you will not regret any of the efforts you are putting into her. I bet she sails like a dream! Sorry we missed you in the Gulf Islands! We spent several weeks there waiting for our new headsail to come in. It remains a favorite destination and we have grown to really appreciate the quiet and protected anchorages those islands offer.

Hi Melissa, Glad to see you have the courage to follow your dreams. It takes courage to stop working and leave. My wife and I did that in 2003 to 2005 . Got to New Zealand then came back. Time well spent. We plan to get this boat ready for a similar cruise In the near future. You guys will have more fun than you thought you could have! May the wind be at your back! Cheers, Ralph

It does take courage to leave the full time work scenario. And a certain amount of denial as well. So far we are loving it, even when we have bad days. That Spencer is going to be awesome out here!

If you or someone you know are looking for a Spencer 1330 , this one is for sale out of Ladysmith BC. the price was just reduced to 109,000 CDN

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  • Sailboat Guide

Spencer 35 MK I

Spencer 35 MK I is a 35 ′ 0 ″ / 10.7 m monohull sailboat designed by John Brandlmayr and built by Spencer Boats Ltd. between 1960 and 1983.

Drawing of Spencer 35 MK I

Rig and Sails

Auxilary power, accomodations, calculations.

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.

Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio .311 Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.

SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64) 2/3

  • SA : Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D : Displacement in pounds.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.

Ballast / Displacement * 100

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.

D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.

Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam 1.33 )

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.

CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

From :

The Spencer 35 is a semi-custom bluewater cruiser designed by John Brandlmayr. Many of them have made offshore passages, including the well known “Whisper” owned by noted author Hal Roth. There were 64 hulls produced in Canada by Spencer Boats Limited during a production run that lasted more than twenty years.

Spencer Boats began production of moulded fibreglass sailboats in 1958 with the Spencer 28. The yard was located on Canada’s west coast, in the town of Richmond, British Columbia. Eventually, the line of sailboats grew to include numerous models up to 53 feet in length. The most popular was the Spencer 35, introduced in 1962.

The popularity of the Spencer 35 was no doubt helped by several books written by Hal Roth. These books, classics of early cruising literature, described the adventures of Hal and Margaret Roth aboard their Spencer 35 Whisper, which was built for the Roths in 1966.

Most of the models in the Spencer line were designed by John Brandlmayr, a prolific designer of a wide variety of pleasure and commercial vessels and co-founder of the company. John died suddenly in 1974, and a few months later his partner Phil Hantke also passed away. John’s wife Pat, who had been involved in the business since day one, carried on the business for the next decade with the assistance of their son Grant (who went on to become a naval architect himself) and the company’s skilled employees.

Like many sailboat builders, Spencer Boats ceased business in the economic downturn of the early 1980s. The last Spencer 35 was built in 1983.

Configuration and Construction

The Spencer 35 is an attractive traditional design. With an overall length of 35’ and a displacement of 12,000 pounds, it has a full keel with a cutaway forefoot and an attached rudder. It has a narrow beam of 9’6” and a waterline of 25’ that lengthens considerably when heeled. There are traditional wineglass sections and 4500 pounds of lead ballast encapsulated in the fiberglass hull. The standard rig was a sloop, with optional ketch and cutter rigs. Tiller steering was standard, although the occasional boat can be found with a wheel.

Yachts built by Spencer Boats enjoy a reputation of being very well constructed. Spencer Boats attached the bulkheads and deck to the hull while the hull was still in the mould, to ensure that the hull remained undistorted. The hull deck joint is heavily fiberglassed, forming a strong monocoque structure. The bulkheads are bonded to both the hull and deck, and the furniture is also bonded to the hull for additional support.

One advantage of the wineglass sections is that there is room in the bilge area for tankage, and this is where both the fuel tank and the main water tank are found. This keeps the considerable weight of the fuel and water supplies down low, and also frees up space above the cabin sole for storage. The tanks are moulded of fibreglass and then glassed into place.

There were significant changes to the design with the introduction of the Spencer 35 Mark II in 1974 (although some of the modifications may be found on some earlier boats as well). Prompted by the experiences of Hal Roth on Whisper, the cabin on the Mark II was extended 30” aft. This resulted in a smaller cockpit that was more suited to ocean cruising. It also resulted in considerably more room below. In addition, the Mark II has an improved rudder design and a higher aspect rig.

The Mark II also has an airex cored hull, rather than the solid fiberglass hull of the original design. Spencer Boats was a pioneer in the use of cored hulls, and by all accounts the hulls have held up very well. The coring starts several inches down from the sheerline and continues to the turn of the bilge, below which the hull is solid fiberglass. The deck is cored with end-grain balsa. The Mark II also has a substantial fibreglass toerail, instead of the teak toerail found on earlier boats.

There is no “standard” interior layout for the Spencer 35, because of its semi-custom nature. Rather than being built to standard specifications on a production line, each boat was built in accordance with the wishes of the commissioning owner. However, there is commonly a forward cabin with a v-berth followed by a decent sized head to starboard and a hanging locker to port. The narrow saloon generally has two settees with a centre-line table, although some boats have one U-shaped or L-shaped settee and an offset table.

The original design has a small galley aft to starboard, and a side-facing chart table to port. The Mark II model has a much more spacious galley (well known designer Ted Brewer described the galley layout as one of the best he had seen on a boat this size). In addition, the Mark II added a quarterberth and has a forward facing chart table.

The headroom in the main cabin is a 6’4″, with a few inches less in the head and forward cabin. The berths are all a generous length as well. The interior finishing varies, as some of the boats were sold as kits. However, the yard finished interiors are of a high standard with attractive teak joinery. The size, style, and location of portlights and other fittings and hardware may differ considerably from boat to boat, because of the semi-custom nature of the production.

The Spencer 35 is surprisingly nimble and responsive for such a traditional looking design. With its moderate displacement, narrow beam, and slack bilges, it is relatively tender initially. However, it stiffens right up at 25-30 degrees and has a very good capsize ratio of 1.68.

The Spencer 35 is generally very well-behaved on all points of sail, although it can roll a bit downwind in heavy following seas. Not surprisingly, it does not point quite as high as many more modern designs. However, it has decent performance upwind and doesn’t pound in a chop (although with its low freeboard and high angle of heel it can be a bit of a wet ride).

It has a very seakindly motion, with a high motion comfort ratio of 32. While It isn’t likely to be first across the line in many races around the buoys, it is a respectable long distance performer – the Spencer 35 “Haulback” placed first overall in the 2002 Singlehanded Transpac.


Similar boats.

Cape Dory 36

Francis Kinney Pipedream 37

Links, References and Further Reading

» Ted Brewer, Spencer 35: She’s capable of cruising anywhere in the world in comfort , Good Old Boat, Issue 38 – September/October 2004 » Ferenc Mate, Best Boats to Build or Buy (1982), Chapter 23 (focuses on the Spencer 1330, but also addresses the Spencer 35 and Spencer yachts generally) » Hal Roth, Two on a Big Ocean (1972), After 50,000 Miles (1977), Two Against Cape Horn (1978), Always a Distant Anchorage (1988) » Marianne Scott, Bluewater Spencer: A baby-blue Mark II Spencer 35 heads for the horizon , Good Old Boat, Issue 38 – September/October 2004 » Spencer Yacht Owner’s Association’s Facebook Group

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Spencer 70 IPS

  • By Dean Travis Clarke
  • Updated: March 22, 2011

spencer 30 yacht review

Paul Spencer qualifies as about the most progressive custom boatbuilder in America. He pushes the limits even amidst naysayers. And so it has been with his several boats powered by Volvo Penta’s Inboard Propulsion System (IPS). Skeptics abound, but so far everyone who actually drives one develops the passion of a convert. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Spencer’s boats are all fast, beautiful and successful fishing machines no matter how they’re powered — which is why Volvo commissioned Paul Spencer to build its new corporate flagship to showcase the abilities and efficiencies of IPS power.

Penta Gone is a 70-footer with three engines totaling 2,700 horsepower. Most 70-footers will come with a pair of 2,400- or 2,600-horsepower diesels — almost twice the horsepower of Penta Gone . Consequently, weight and distribution became the most critical design challenges. Going back through many previous tests of comparable boats, my sea trial showed that this Steve French designed Spencer 70 IPS burned up to 40 percent less fuel than the higher-powered machines did at the same speeds. The balance of this boat is so exacting that it has barely measurable bow rise and the running attitude virtually never changes.

Leaving tiny Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Virginia, conditions proved downright sporty, with six-foot seas and a hundred tiny johnboats dotting our path as they filled their bilges with speckled trout. Cruising straight into the offshore seas at 20 knots proved a nonevent — at least until we came suddenly upon some 8- to 10-footers that caused us to back off. Once past the shallows, we turned beam-to the seas and ran smoothly and dryly at 30 knots turning 2040 rpm.

Volvo QL trim tabs actually stem from a design by Humphree Interceptor trim tabs. Not only do they adjust fore, aft and lateral trim, but they shave four to six seconds off time to plane. They also work automatically as stabilizers.

Penta Gone was off to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show the following morning and had already been fully loaded with fuel. Despite this, I topped out at just over 38 knots turning 2362 rpm and burning 134 gallons per hour total. The triple 900-horsepower diesels burned about 77 gallons per hour at 25.5 knots while turning 1800 rpm. And where most boats this size cruise today — at 30 knots — we used a total of 108 gallons per hour. I’m certain a half-load of fuel would improve both speed and efficiency. With the pods rotating rather than rudders, this 70-footer turns beautifully at cruise and, when slowing, scribes an ever-tighter arc.

A common complaint from anglers and crew is that the IPS through-prop exhaust system deposits too much turbulence in the wake. On this boat, you can press a button and have cutoffs channel the exhaust through the transom. Seven knots showed a clean wake with the cutouts opened. There’s a “snail” button for slow trolling-valve mode.

Sport-fish mode on this boat qualifies as truly remarkable. Back down straight as an arrow at 10 knots without taking a drop over the covering boards. Spin like a 30-footer. Change direction like a quarter horse. And the dynamic positioning system will hold you within a few feet of any position.

Everything in the boat is weight conscious. The modular interior consists mostly of tri-cell coring and light-ply. The composite hull (with solid glass at each through-hull) has a layer of Kevlar over a foam composite core.

The fuel tank runs almost full length on centerline, placing the weight of the fuel on the center of gravity, so no matter what the fuel level, the attitude of the hull never changes.

The Volvo team made only minor design changes in the running surface of Spencer’s proven 70 hull, including more aggressive chines and decreased rocker at the transom.

Spencer moved equipment from the engine compartment to the forward cabin bilge for several reasons: to place the center of gravity accurately and to clean out the engine spaces since they end up needing considerably less room with IPS. As a result, this compartment turned out to be one of the most maintenance-friendly I have seen. Access to crew’s quarters, with its two athwartship singles, head and shower, is through the door in the engine room.

There are fine wood veneers and lots of ambient light below, but up top, the flybridge with its all black décor sucks up light like a sponge — and that’s purposeful. You see no reflection while looking through the flybridge windows when driving from the aft station.

spencer 30 yacht review

From those aft overhang controls, you can see the fighting chair and everything else. On Penta Gone , the aft window opens, making the view much clearer.

Not that Volvo expects problems, of course, but the mezzanine, with refrigerators, freezers, stowage, Kenyon grill and the like, is completely removable. The transom livewell with its aquarium window is large enough to double as a sizable fish box.

The elevated galley affords an unobstructed view both outside and down into the cockpit. There’s an almost-full-width dining table all the way forward and the tinted cabin-front window provides a great view of the bow.

The master cabin has in-hull windows that look beautiful from the inside (not so much from the outside, in my opinion). There’s a guest double to port and the larger guest cabin in the bow sports an island queen berth and private head with shower. It also gives access to the unusual belowdecks compartment where lots of equipment that normally resides in the engine room hides.

It’s no secret that the offshore fishing community is change-averse. But pod propulsion represents a truly improved mousetrap. As for raising fish, during last summer’s tournament circuit, Penta Gone had one two-week stretch when it released 42 marlin. That’s good enough for me. ** LOA:** 70’6″ Beam: 20’4″ Draft: 5’1″ Displ.: 83,000 lb. Fuel: 1,380 gal. Water: 220 gal. Engines Tested: 3 x 900-hp Volvo IPS diesels Price: Upon request

Spencer Custom Yachts, 252-473-6567; ; Volvo Penta, 757-436-2800;

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Albemarle 53 Spencer Edition First Glance

  • By Jim Hendricks
  • Updated: September 8, 2021

Albemarle 53 Spencer Edition rendering

Two legendary North Carolina boat brands— Albemarle Boats and Spencer Yachts —have announced a partnership that will result in a new semi-custom 53-foot Carolina-style sport fisher, the Albermarle 53 Spencer Edition. At this writing, design work has been completed, molds finished and construction has gotten underway at Albemarle’s Edenton facility. The 53 Spencer Edition will be the largest boat model in the Albemarle line.

The first 53 will feature a flybridge configuration with classic Spencer styling and a hull engineered for high cruise speeds—with the seakeeping ability that characterizes both Albemarle and Spencer. The interior will boast an open salon layout, three staterooms, and two heads.

Topside, an island helm arrangement, forward facing lounge, and bench seating will offer abundant accommodation and excellent visibility from the bridge. For fishing, the 160-square-foot cockpit is complemented by a transom fishbox, transom door, and a mezzanine design with engine room access and molded boxes that can be customized to accommodate a variety of storage and refrigeration.

Albemarle 53 Spencer Edition interior layout

“Our team is truly excited as many months of planning are now coming to life,” says Keith Privott, director of sales and product development for Albemarle, who notes that the hull will be vacuum-infused with vinylester resin and foam core. “This will make it our strongest, yet lightest design to date. The entire boat is loaded with innovative details and features that will set new standards in the world of sportfishing and allow our customers to go further and do more.”

Read Next: Albemarle 27DC First Glance

Says Paul Spencer, president of Wanchese, North Carolina-based Spencer Yachts: “While our custom boats have gotten increasingly larger in recent years, I have always appreciated boats in the 50-foot class and recognized their true competitive tournament ability. This project is a return to our boatbuilding roots, and we are really looking forward to having this 53-footer to offer.”

Albemarle 53 Spencer Edition bridge layout

For power, the first 53 will feature twin MTU 1,600 hp turbo-diesel inboards, but this sport fisher can also be ordered with twin Caterpiller 1,000 hp D12.9 turbo-diesels or twin Caterpillar C18 1,150 hp twin turbo-diesel inboards.

The first Albemarle 53 Spencer Edition is scheduled to debut at the Bahia Mar in-water venue during the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 27-31. To learn more, visit Albemarle Boats .

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Spencer 70 – Boat Review

  • By Sam White
  • Updated: February 9, 2017

I’ve always been fascinated with the back stories behind some of the incredible sport-fishing boats on the water today, especially the custom builds. Most are built for specific purposes: to travel and fish distant locations, or compete at the highest level in tournaments. Bid Time, the new 70-footer from Spencer Yachts, is something completely different.

Her owners, twin ­brothers in the paving business, enjoy a wide variety of activities on the water. They’re passionate fishermen, and although they may fish only a few tournaments each year, they target nearly everything that swims. A typical season may find them chasing tuna or fishing for sails off Florida or in Mexico. Bottomfishing for big grouper and snapper? Check. Scuba and freediving? They love it. Just hanging out with their families and kids on the hook in the Bahamas? Yep, that’s on the books too. So when they were looking to upgrade from their current boat, they went right back to Paul Spencer (this is their fourth from the popular North Carolina boatbuilder).

I had a chance to check out Bid Time in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on a blustery day in early December. Welcoming me aboard was Capt. Mark Rogers and mate Austin Spitz.

As we started going over the boat’s cockpit layout, several interesting features quickly caught my eye, starting with a 1,000-pound-per-day Eskimo ice maker and the huge dump bin that spans both the upper and lower levels of the mezzanine on the port side. “The owners love to tuna fish,” Rogers says, “so we wanted to make sure we always have plenty of ice.” The next two boxes were set up to be used as either refrigerated or freezer space, with the lower one serving as storage for rigged baits, eliminating the need for an on-deck bait cooler. Moving starboard is the engine room access hatch. On the starboard-side of the salon doorway, a Kenyon grill is housed in the top of the box while tackle storage drawers are in the front and side. The side drawers are configured to hold a huge supply of lead weights for bottomfishing, a nice custom touch. Below in the mezzanine deck is a 70-gallon livewell. And while the owners don’t do a ton of live-baiting, there’s also a secondary fitting under the gunwale that can supply seawater to either an on-deck livewell or tuna tubes. Nice.

A fully insulated Carolina-style fish box occupies the transom, along with full-teak covering boards. The rest of the gingerbread though, from the transom to the bulkhead and even the toe rail around the bow, is faux teak, a painted finish that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. “Not only does it save a ton on maintenance, it’s also considerably lighter than real wood,” Rogers says. And it can also be easily touched up in the field.

One other notable feature was the lack of fish boxes or any other hatches in the cockpit sole. No matter how waterproof a builder makes them, any hatch will eventually leak water down into the lazarette below. Bid Time had a Pompanette rocket launcher in place for sailfish season, although it’s easily swapped out for a full-size Pompanette fighting chair when chasing blue marlin.

Engine Room

Most boat reviews begin in the engine room for practical reasons: It gets darn hot down there after running the engines through performance testing, so it’s usually best to head below early.

Bid Time features a pair of 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT engines. These are the new Tier 3-compliant engines: powerful and fuel efficient. A pair of Cat 29 kW generators provide house power; Bid Time can run on just one generator if needed, but having a second backup helps when traveling to remote locations.

Forward of the engines are the filters for the Dometic Spot Zero system. This is an especially nice touch since Bid Time’s hull is swathed in a beautiful dark Corinthian blue color that would easily show hardwater spots.

There’s a Fireboy fire-fighting system and an AC/DC fuel transfer pump; even in the remote chance of both generators failing, the captain can use battery power to transfer fuel between the boat’s main tank, which holds 1,600 gallons aft and 500 gallons in the forward tank. Bid Time also holds 500 gallons of fresh water.

Living Areas

Stepping inside the salon is reminiscent of entering an upscale English pub, with its dark satin-finished walnut wood complete with crown molding throughout, an unusual touch that looks terrific. A wraparound settee to port and matching couch to starboard further lend appeal to the interior.

Each of the doors and the companionway entrance overhead are inlaid with a wood burl for a unique accent. The master suite is forward, and the VIP stateroom is to port; there’s an additional guest berth to port with over/under bunks, and a crew quarters to starboard with another set of over/under bunks. Each of the four staterooms and three heads is accented in different soft goods and furnishings, giving each one an individual look and feel.

Rather than the usual washer-and-dryer setup that’s found on many boats, the team at Spencer Yachts converted that space into a tackle locker on Bid Time. This easily holds four 80s, six 50s and six more 30s, with rods and butts broken down and locked into place — there’s additional rod storage on the bridge for nine more outfits.

The galley is another area that received quite a bit of custom attention. The countertops are made of natural granite that’s been cored to save weight, with four-drawer refrigeration, a cooktop and convection microwave oven. There are plenty of additional storage drawers that line the back of the galley, with pullouts for a Keurig coffee maker above and a custom bar setup below. The television swings out on hidden brackets to reveal an Xbox (a must-have for kids on board) as well as a full-size printer, an invaluable piece of gear when traveling to foreign destinations, which often request multiple paper copies of passports, cruising permits and other boat paperwork.

The helm is dominated by a pair of 22-inch Garmin multifunction displays, surrounded by carbon fiber in the electronics compartment. The teak helm pod holds the Cat engine displays, while the VHF radios, controls for the Seakeeper gyrostabilizer, trim tabs and other accessories are mounted in pods flanking the helm. A cool feature: In the overhead looking forward is a recessed display for the Furuno backup nav system and radar. When chasing yellowfin tuna under birds, the captain can just glance up to check the radar while looking ahead.

Two sets of teaser reels occupy the overhead: Miya Epoch US-9s offer the option of pulling dredges, while Precision Auto Reels have the speed to quickly retrieve squid chains or lure-style teasers, even from a hot blue marlin. The full Pipewelders tower looks beautiful and complements the Pipewelders hydraulic outriggers. Up top in the tuna tower, there’s another 12-inch Garmin display, engine and bow-thruster controls, and a remote for the Miya Epoch teaser reels, so it’s fully functional. On the bow, there’s a Delta anchor with low-profile chute, which offers the flexibility to anchor out in destinations that are well off the beaten path.


Spencer Yachts builds its boats with an eye on speed and fuel efficiency, so that means an extensive amount of cored materials in their construction. A cold-molded boat, Bid Time tips the scales at around 83,500 pounds, despite being 70 feet in length. Carbon fiber was used throughout the boat for its strength, rigidity and very light weight. She’s both tough and beautiful.


Our test conditions were pretty sporty outside Ponce Inlet, with 20-knot winds and white-capping 5- and 6-footers. Rogers pointed Bid Time up the beach, dropped the tabs a bit and eased up the throttles. In a few seconds, we were up on top of the seas, and soon we were cruising at 33 knots without any spray hitting the bridge curtains. Rogers says that at 70 percent load, the boat is cruising at 34 knots while turning 1,850 rpm and burning 130 gph. Bump that up to 80 percent load, and she’s making 36.5 knots at 140 gph. That’s full of fuel and against a hard outgoing tide too. Wide-open throttles yield a top-end speed of 43 knots and 200 gph. The boat also backs down at over 7 knots without taking water over the transom, and is more than a match for any billfish in terms of maneuverability.

Far from a one-trick pony, Bid Time was built to handle many different assignments with style, from tournaments and fun fishing to travel and even diving and island hopping with the kids. Whether at home in Florida or far afield in a foreign destination, Bid Time can handle anything that’s thrown her way. She’s another winner from Spencer Yachts

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