The Classic Boater Lifestyle Is Alive And Well In Bert Harris And His Donzi Baby.


Bert at the Helm on Lake Dora - photo Aaron LeDonne

At this years Lake Dora Show, we met Bert Harris and his Donzi Baby 14 footer. On the surface, the Donzi is cool as hell..but as anything in Classic Boating, the more you dig, the cooler the story gets. And in this case, it even got knocked up another notch. BAM.. Bert loves to use his boat. And we fell for it big time. This year the gang at Woody Boater swore to get shots and stories of folks playing with there boats. And Bert was our poster child this weekend.

Bert ripping across Lake Dora. Go Bert Go!

The Donzi Baby 14 is a true Don Aronow design, Bert owned the boat new with the motor just a hull.. He sold it a couple years later.. Then fast forward a couple years ago..Bert was down in Miami on a job so he went to go see his old boat mold at the home that he sold it to.. The guy had never done anything with it. .. Bert went by the house and it was being torn down. Bert asked where was the boat? The contractor had the boat and sold it back to Bert.. And Bert completed it and just finished it. Thats the story in bad grammar and abbreviated..

Old factory brochure cover. Thats not Bert driving by the way. And I dont see that gal wanting to do 4 foot leaps in the air either..That would be a short day on the water for sure

The bottom line is that Bert loves his baby, and thats what this is all about. Having fun on the water. These boats are designed to be used big time..

one second before this shot was taken the boat was sitting still.. Hole shot!

We asked Bert if he would like to go out and let us take some snap shots. As you can see Bert did not disappoint.. The jump is his first big jump Bert has made in his Baby… It was off the wake of Suzy.. He had been trying slowly all weekend. Woooohooody boating at its best!

Full turn.. It was a joy to watch skip around

lots of skipping across the water for sure. The little 4 banger really puts out!

Bert claims his first big jump! Photo - Alex Watson

Bert was also the big winner of the coveted 2012 Big Woodyt Award for being out there and having fun!

Thanks Bert and Aaron for letting us take some fun photos. Happy Boating!

15 replies
    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      That is the magic of the stern drive, rear CG and trimable thrust angle, literally cuts the drag in half compared to a mid engine inboard by simply getting more hull out of the water.  Bert doesn’t need a big V8 or the fuel burn that goes with it.  

  1. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I thought all Donzi’s came with a beautiful young woman draped across the bow.  Is that one of the things that was left off Bert’s unfinished from the factory boat?  I could live with a hull that had no factory engine, but no Donzi girl?  Hmmmmm.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Love that the award name was misspelled in your story:  “Big Woodyt Award.”  Keep it that way, will ya?  It fits. 

    P.S. Bert, thank you for the thrill ride performances. Such a sweet boat!  And, as the saying goes, you drive it like you stole it!  Too much like that in fact.  So, er, did you?

  3. chad
    chad says:

    YAY BERT! Congrats on driving the hell out of your cool boat.
    There should be an annual “GO BERT GO” award.

    • m-fine
      m-fine says:

      I vote to give the “GO BERT GO” award to the classic boater who achieves the highest height above water to hull length ratio each year.

  4. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Wow, that’s some major air. That stern drive must allow the little sweetheart to come down gently, else Bert would be leaving his jawbone on the dashboard.  Looks like he knows how to “walk” that chine.

  5. warren
    warren says:

    Always loved that Donzi model…had arguments with a Donzi dealer that told me they never made a 14…but I had a brochure on them when I was a pre-teen in the 60’s and now thanks to the net I have proof!!!
    The 14′ open fish was even rarer!!
    Great boat and great coverage

  6. 72 Hornet
    72 Hornet says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Bert and his Donzi at the show…Was one of the many highlights!  Maybe we can talk Bert into visiting Hessel this summer? LOL  Great to meet the gang from Woody Boater and enjoy the start of our new season!

  7. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    It’s not the outdrive that brings it down soft, it’s the deep V deadrise and strakes – ride in a Donzi or old Bertram and you keep bracing for the impact that never comes….:)

    Nice little boat and a great story of “keeping track”!

  8. MikeM
    MikeM says:

    Dick is right. That boat was unbelievably steady.  No chine walking, no slapping, no porpoising….just fast and graceful.

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