Davis 50 Sportfisherman
Length overall 52'6"
Beam 16"
Draft 4'4"
Displacement 40,000 lb
Fuel Capacity 750 gals
Water Capacity 150 gals
Freeboard forward 6'6"
Headroom 6'8"
Standard power T/Caterpillar 3406E 800bhp

Buddy Davis is celebrating a quarter of a century of designing and crafting those distinctive sportfishermen that are practically synonymous with his name. You know, those Carolina battle wagons with their sharp bows and flared foredecks designed to keep you high and dry as you plow through the 10-foot breakers at the mouth of the Oregon Inlet and head out to the canyons off the Outer Banks.

Buddy Davis knows those conditions well. Carolina born and raised, he started out working charter boats at the age of 13. In 1974, he launched his first boat, a juniper-planked sportfisherman, for the Oregon Inlet charter fleet. What began as a way to keep charter boat captains busy through the long off-season, 25 years and 250 boats later, is now a multi-million dollar international concern that's about to shift into high gear.

The new 50 Express Sportfisherman is a prime example of the reason why Buddy Davis is so famous and why his company is doing so well.

'We actually built our first express models back in the early 80s for tuna fishermen up in Providence, Rhode Island, back when people weren't building express models,' Buddy recalls. He speaks on a cell phone while driving from his factory in Wanchese, North Carolina, en route to Norfolk, Virginia, where he'll meet with his design team. In 1994, Buddy's company started pulling itself out of the morass caused by the ill-fated luxury tax.

'We were building customized fiberglass boats when we starting building this 50-foot model,' he explains. 'As we evolved back into the production mode, we developed the 50 into a good production boat. Now we're building a new deck plug. It's not going to be much different; the styling is exactly the same, but there will be a few detail improvements: more storage, better seating, a new electronics console.'

While there may be some argument for modifying the layout, there's not much to fault about the plan as it is. There are two basic layouts available for the current Davis 50 Express. They share a large, open cockpit and a spacious lounge just aft of the command bridge. Below decks in the long, sleek bow, there's a saloon with an L-shaped settee and a U-shaped galley, plus a guest cabin with a double bed. The galley features under-the-counter refrigerator and freezer, convection microwave oven, water filtration system, teak-and-holly flooring, teak veneer with solid teak trim, plus lots of counter space and storage.

In the basic plan, the master stateroom features a double berth to port with an upper single bunk to starboard. The modified plan features a center island double bed. Both layouts boast a cedar-lined hanging locker, vanity and drawers, deck hatch, and a built-in 13' color television with VCR and remote control. The master head in both plans features a separate fiberglass shower stall with a door. In the basic plan, there's also a second head on the port side aft that doubles as a shower stall.

But the greatest feature of the expressdesign is the topside. From the cockpit to the lounge on the command bridge, there's plenty of room for fishing and socializing whether at the dock or underway. The expansive cockpit features a large walk-through tuna door, transom fishbox, big scuppers, a shower, fresh and saltwater washdown system, freezer, tackle cabinet with recessed sink, bait center and tackle drawers, and a hatchway down to the engine room.

The adjacent command bridgedeck features wrap-around seating with vinyl cushions and storage underneath. At the helm station, you'll find a convenient refrigerator and icemaker, stereo system with CD player, along with full instrumentation well laid out on the central console. The centerline placement of the helm lends great visibility all around. There's a second seat to the right of the helm seat.

'Personally, I like having everyone together,' Buddy Davis says of the express layout. 'I fish with my three boys and our guests. Unlike a flybridge model, we're together all day. There are some compromises: it's five or six feet closer to the water, but other than that, there's no disadvantage.'

But if it's a flybridge you really must have, then you can choose the Davis 50 Flybridge Sportfisherman. The base price for the express is about $897,000 with twin Caterpillar 3406E 800BHP diesels. You can upgrade to DDC-MTU 8V200 900BHP's for an additional $56,000, or MAN 2840LE403 1050BHP's for $63,000 more.

By comparison, the base price for the flybridge model is about $992,000 with standard Cat 800BHP twin diesels.

Performance figures provided by Davis Yachts show the 50 Express, equipped with standard twin Caterpillar 3406E 800BHP diesels, doing 33 knots at 2300 RPM, using 80 gallons per hour for a range of 309 nautical miles with its 750-gallon fuel tank. Compare that to 15.5 knots at 1200 RPM, and the fuel consumption is 25 gallons per hour, yielding a range of 465 nautical miles.