Say the Jolly Green Giant decided to take a vacation from the oceanless plains of whatever inland hellhole he comes from. If he went to the coast and ho-ho-hauled your boat out of water, then shook it up and down like a maraca, would stuff come falling out of the cabin? On many relatively small, hardcore offshore fishboats, the answer would be no. Builders know these boats have to be designed and built tough enough to take serious punishment. But when it comes to yacht-size gold-platers, builders get cocky. They think LOA will make up for smart design and tough construction. Then one day, after punching through a nasty inlet, the owner climbs down from the flying bridge to discover that his sterling-silver flatware has jiggled all the way down to the shower sump.
Do you want a boat that’ll keep your forks in the drawer and your rods in their holders, whether the seas are glassy or ghastly? Take a recon of the Hatteras 64. You’ll discover that everything in this boat is going to remain intact, come hell or high water or big-ass greenie.
****SECURI-TAY.**** Take the 64’s galley as an example. Every slide-out drawer in it is covered by high-gloss, cherry-finished cabinetry that closes securely and keeps everything in place. Pop open the cabinets and you’ll see that the drawers have beefy aircraft-style latches locking them down so they’re doubly secured. Now check out the refrigerator and freezer. They dog down as well, so you’ll never find your lunch scattered across the sole. Can the rest of the boat take abuse as well? Hey, this is a Hatteras. This company’s well-deserved reputation for toughness continues with a solid fiberglass hull that’s laid up with vinylester resin. Its structural support comes from foam-cored stringers and vacuum-bagged composite bulkheads. Hullsides and decks are cored with high-density structural foam. Hardware is backed with pretapped aluminum plates, hoses are double clamped, and all chairs on the bridgedeck plus the fighting chair are mounted on pretapped aluminum backing plates. Wiring is securely loomed and held in place with cushioned clamps-no jiggly connections here, no matter how rough it gets.
Tough is good, but smart is even better. So Hatteras designed a variable-degree deadrise hull with a convex entry, which tapers from 21 degrees amidships to 2 degrees at the transom. The convex entry is designed to reduce impact acceleration, and a pair of strakes improves stability and tracking. I could get into more funky design details, such as the metacentric height, stagnation lines, and waterplane area, but all that gobbledygook can be summed up as such: This boat kicks ass. I fished on it all day in a steady three-foot chop with a few four-footers and the oddball mega wave mixed in, and there was never a moment of discomfort. We trounced the seas at a 35.3-mph cruising speed, and even running wide open outside the inlet was no problem.
When we trolled, the real beauty of the 64’s hull design came through. Sure, it handles the waves like a champ but it’s also stable while trolling in a beam sea. Usually you have to give up some stability to enjoy the benefits of a steep deadrise, but remember that the Hatteras tapers back to a mere 2 degrees at the transom. As a result, we could keep our baits swimming right alongside a mahi-infested weedline, and my feet felt like they were on terra firma.
****COLLISION COURSE****. The Hatteras isn’t the only boat in this class that runs well in the rough stuff yet remains stable in the trough. Another is the Bertram 630 (about $2.5 million with 1,550-bhp diesel inboards), which features a wave-splitting 16-degree transom deadrise. But there are plenty of other factors that set the Hatteras apart from the competition – and a lot of them have to do with fishing. With three rodholders running down the wings, rocket launchers along the tower, and two flush-mount holders in the gunwales, running a spread of 14 rigs will be a piece of cake. Naturally, there are teaser reels set into the hardtop over the helm, and there’s a pair of fishboxes in the deck that each measure 5’5″ in LOA – Sprout and his entire extended family could live in them, when they aren’t piled full of 100-pound tuna.
Forward in the cockpit, serious anglers are in for a real treat. The 64 has a mezzanine, which is more commonly seen in larger sportfishing boats. It adds tremendously to the crew’s comfort when they’re waiting for a bite. My test boat had a drinkbox to starboard, a 10-cubic-foot freezer to port, and a bait box with a lift-out stainless-steel liner in the middle, but you can mix and match this arrangement to fit your style of fishing. Plumb any one you choose to the icemaker, and you’ll never have to haul plastic bags aboard again. Did I mention that any of these units can also be plumbed as a livewell? Or if you so choose, put a livewell in the transom. Bottom line: If you buy a 64, the cockpit units will be set up however you like them.
The perks in the cockpit are the ones I like the most, but it would be negligent to ignore those belowdecks. If you’re going to spend an extended period aboard, the number-one bonus in my book is the master stateroom’s opening ports. They eliminate the cave-like atmosphere the vast majority of sportfishing boats in this class suffer from. These aren’t wimpy, either – they look like they came straight off a battleship. That means you can gaze upon the cabin’s matching fabrics and glistening wood finish in natural sunlight. And if you enjoy the glow of naturally illuminated wood, you’ll also appreciate the cherry blinds and valances. While your attention is directed that way, make sure you feel the flow of chilled air coming from them. See the air conditioning vents? Of course not-they’re integrated into the valances so your eyes can enjoy the same luxurious buttery-smooth surfaces your body will, when you stretch out on the settee. One other thing you can’t see is the chest freezer in the attic, which holds more bait than most anglers will use in a season of fishing. Will the puff-daddy cabin help you catch more fish? No, but it will make buying this new sportfish a no-brainer to your wife. And if you see a huge green guy wading around in the marina, point the bow right at him and firewall the throttles. My money’s on the Hatteras.
Hatteras 64The Highs Everything dogs down, latches shut, and secures firmly in place. Construction is second to none. Cockpit units can be arranged however you choose. Interior frou-frou factor is clear off the scale. The Lows Anchor locker can’t be accessed from below. Compass positioned on forward brow of the bridgedeck is too far away. With a 1,950-gallon fuel tank capacity, plan on spending about $5,000 to fill ‘er up.
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Draft: 4’10” ****
Displacement (lbs., approx.): 100,000 ****
Transom deadrise: 2″ ****
Bridge clearance: 15’1″ ****
Fuel capacity (gal.): 1,950 ****
Water capacity (gal.): 393 ****
Price (w/standard power): $2,750,000 ****
Price (w/test power): $3,000,000
STANDARD POWER Twin 1,550-bhp CAT C30 diesel inboards. ****
OPTIONAL POWER Twin diesel inboards to 3,600 bhp total. ****
TEST BOAT POWER Twin 1,800-bhp CAT C32 ACERT V-12 diesel inboards with 1,959 cid, swing-ing 40″ x 68″ seven-bladed Nibral props through 3.0:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items) Trim tabs; anchor windlass; batteries, battery charger and parallel system; Northstar electronics suite; electric tilt-away helm station; 42″ plasma flat-screen TV; 20″ flat-screen TV; CD/DVD player AM/FM stereo w/surround sound system; master stateroom opening ports; under-counter refrigerator and freezer; 4-burner cooktop; microwave/convection oven; vacuum-flush commodes; cockpit tackle center w/bait refrigerator/freezer; chilled icebox; 2 integrated, macerated fishboxes; Glendinning Cablemaster; fresh/raw-water cockpit and anchor locker washdowns w/quick-disconnect fittings; oil exchange system; central vacuum.