Ritchie Howell Boats
Ritchie Howell Boats has turned heads on the dock with his notable yachts for almost 15 years now. The town of Wanchese, North Carolina, is where all the magic that this builder has been creating with his ever-popular tournament-winning boats, has taken place. And each hull is tweaked a bit to be even better than the last!
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To give you a closer look at just how special the Ritchie Howell yacht is, we decided to take a peek into what makes one of their special models —the 61-footer. This specific one, named Tokatomist, was built for Tom Howd and his family.
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Starting out with a Steve Mathews hull design, Howell added 12 inches onto the boat and gave it 4 inches width expanding her interior space yet ensuring the ride stayed smooth. This model’s surprises, compared to earlier boats, include an updated, more laid-back and easy shear line, bridge and window profile. The look is sharp and current and is well matched in its cruising performance. With a larger interior feel and more even proportions, she shines from any dock she’s made her temporary home at.
The 61’s bridge features a space laden wrap-around, L-shaped seating and a long bench seat all with storage underneath. There’s an awesome console in this area too that holds three 19-inch screens, engine interface readouts, the stereo, an indicator light panel, a digital compass, and digital data readout. And no worries about the equipment switches getting wet as they are kept out of any weather and protected under a lift-up glove box lid.
The centerline helm houses a sweetly finished teak pod. And there’s lots of goodies in her overhead radio box with another multifunction GPS/plotter unit, an autopilot interface, the ACR searchlight control and a VHF. Step behind the console and find two Release Marine helm chairs donned in a sport fabric to match the forward bridge seating.
Her ‘clean lines” cockpit is well laid out, and offers a mezzanine to port with plenty of tackle storage underneath, nice sized storage bins under the step and landing heading into the salon, a fridge and freezer under the step, along with a good sized lift-up seat entrance with a Lenco electric ram to help with lifting for engine room access. Heading over to the starboard side, a cabinet houses a nice built-in grill for cooking up some freshly caught fish and more storage underneath. In the mezzanine landing, there’s even an insulated drink box. A close eye may be kept on the Echo sounder and plotter from the screen mounted in the cockpit overhead.
Let’s not forget about her wing storage which is just aft of the mezzanine and lies outboard under the gunwale and then under the starboard gunwale, you’ll find raw and fresh water outlets. A large stainless fish box sits under the teak deck, along the centerline, with an access hatch forward of the fighting chair/rocket launcher station. Also aboard is a large Carolina transom fish box/livewell. Any owner and guest will enjoy her lazarette access, a rarity of a boat of its style. Some say that it stays dry without a lazarette hatch, yet others say that if there are any problems steering, or the bilge pumps or any other part has issues, you would have to crawl into the lazarette —which is the distance of the cockpit —or pay for a service man to do so. Ritchie Howell decided on a watertight hatch which allows access to the gear that matters housed in the lazarette. This keeps everything dry yet offers direct access to take a look should any situations arise.
Stepping into the engine room, we find Tokatomist’s 1,150 hp C-18 Caterpillar engines fitting beautifully. Impressive room is found around the engines along with easy access to the raw water pumps, oil change system and filters. Her 21 kW Caterpillar generator comes mounted at the forward bulkhead on the centerline making for easy access to the belts, water pump and more.
Access and serviceability were paramount when installing and mounting the Sea Recovery watermaker and pumps, allowing for any work of impeller changes and replacements to be done in no time. This beauty also has a Seakeeper mounted in the middle of the engine room just forward of the engines with plenty of room for service too.
If a Ritchie Howell build sounds like it could fit your bill, you won’t be steered wrong as this brand makes a stunning and classic sportfishing yacht while staying true to the spirit of fine craftsmanship. The company’s belief is by blending the finest in craftsmanship with speed, stability, ruggedness and a giant cockpit, they may offer their customers all that is essential for each individual build promising something extraordinary each time!