Here's a chilling specification: 600 pounds of ice per day. That's how much the standard icemakers on Hatteras' new 65 Convertible can make. Why so much? You need ice for your drinks-and, of course, ice for your fish. Obviously, the folks at Hatteras think you might be catching some mighty big fish. But put into context with the rest of the boat, 600 pounds is just about right. It's no more extreme than, say, constructing an inch-thick hull bottom of solid fiberglass, which is what the Hatteras designers did. Excessive? No-extensive would be a better word. The 65 Convertible is built with extensive strength, design advancements, and opulence. And it's ready for anything, including icing down fish that weigh a ton.
SYSTEMS CHECK. Examples of the Hatteras' built-like-a-brick-uhhh-boathouse attitude can be seen from stem to stern. The solid-fiberglass hull bottom is backed up by a double-thick, solid-fiberglass keel, foam-filled glass stringers, and vacuum-bagged bulkheads. All are fiberglassed to the hull while it's in the mold to ensure a perfect shape. The hull-to-deck joint is caulked, screwed, and glassed on the inside before being capped with a 1 1/4" stainless-steel rubrail. Stanchions and cleats are backed with tapped-aluminum plates. Bottom line: You won't find a stronger 65' production boat on the water.
Other systems are just as bullish as the basic construction. Take a look at the wiring-behind the electronics flat, in the engine room, or anywhere else a tinned-copper strand was run-and you'll see tiewraps every 4" and supports every 8" to 10". Wires are all marked and color coded. Have a look at the enclosed flying bridge door. It's watertight, and it looks like Hatteras lifted it from a nuclear submarine. Same goes for the massive aluminum overhead supports and the fiberglass-encapsulated steel engine mount supports. One feature I'd like to see added are engine-driven crash pumps. Yes, the Hatteras does have electric pumps that hop to in case of emergency, but engine-driven pumps provide a wider margin of safety.
THE HIGHS: Hit a dock and you'll turn it into toothpicks before damaging the hull. Maneuverability is nimble. Check out the full-size bathtub, fluted cherry valences, and onyx/marble countertop.** **
THE LOWS: Engine-driven crash pumps would add a wider margin of safety. No cockpit coaming bolsters? Tsk, tsk. The fuel burn is as high as any boat we've tested in the last 10 years.
Those who have spent any time aboard a Hatteras expect such beefy construction; it's a mainstay of the company's reputation. So what sets the new 65 Convertible apart from its predecessors? The most obvious changes are in styling. The 65 Convertible's frameless windows, powder-coated grabrails, and foot pedal-opening tackle station and bait freezer now match those found on Hatteras' other new models. But there are several more significant changes that you won't notice right off the bat-they're below the waterline. The prop pockets have been tweaked to allow a slight change in shaft angle, reducing both inclination and draft. A bigger change is the addition of aft chine rails, which extend about 6" off the running bottom alongside the cockpit, narrowing as they go forward. These rails effectively increase the running bottom's beam by about a foot. Additional running bottom provides more planing surface for increased lift and a quicker time to plane. Since they remain submerged at trolling speeds, coming up to the surface only when the boat rises onto plane, the rails also boost slow-speed stability. Another change of note is the rudderpost shelves, which have been upgraded to fiberglass. Previously, the shelves were made of a mix of metal and wood and were prone to rot and corrosion.
One last change that merits mention is the cockpit washdowns. Don't you hate screwing on and off those poorly threaded hose ends? That irritant is eliminated with the quick disconnects on the 65 Convertible's washdowns. Yeah, it's a little thing and most people won't even notice it, but you'll love the saved time and avoided aggravation.
BATTLE STATIONS. The most obvious mission of the 65 Convertible is, of course, hunting down and catching gamefish. In this regard, the 65 Convertible is still at the top of the heap. With eight rocket launchers on the bridgedeck rail, six in the cockpit wings, four in the gunwales, and four on the fighting chair, the boat can bristle with 22 instantly accessible rods. There's stowage for twice that many, counting the lockers under the bridgedeck lounge and those in the cabin. Cockpit space? You could park an SUV here. But beware of it getting scratched-there are no standard coaming bolsters. They've become a common feature on many other boats, and I'd like to see them surrounding this cockpit, too.
** **This is a lot of boat, and many anglers will wonder if 65' is too much when you need to back on a billfish that suddenly changes direction. Sure, oppose the engines with the throttles at idle speed and the boat comes around slowly. But don't forget, you've got two gargantuan seven-bladed 48"-by-88" props on 4"-diameter shafts, with a total of 3,600-bhp behind them. There's plenty of bite, plenty of power, and plenty of beef to use those powerplants aggressively. Do so, and you'll find that maneuvers are anything but sluggish. Same goes for top?end speed. The Hatteras 65 Convertible breaks 39 mph, which beats out the Davis 65 Convertible's ($1.5 million with twin 1,400-bhp Caterpillar inboards) top end of 35.2 mph. Note, however, that the Davis runs with 800 fewer horses and, accordingly, burns significantly less fuel-106 gph at 2100 rpm and 136 gph at WOT. Other differences between the Hatteras and the Davis? The Hatteras' list of standards is a bit more extensive, which partially explains the significant difference in price. The Davis' standard genset, for example, is a single 30kW unit, whereas the Hatteras carries two 21.5kW gensets. Another nifty feature our test boat sports is the helm station monitor and engine room camera system. Want to take a peek at the powerplants as you cruise? No need to slow down and go belowdecks; just press a button and the monitor displays a real-time image of the entire engine room. ****
ROUGHING IT. Inside, the 65 Convertible is just as ornate as you'd expect from a $2.3 million yacht. Maybe even more so when you consider such goodies as the full-size bathtub in the master head, fluted cherry valences, and countertops made of onyx and marble. What's more, the boat's interior is easy to work on or fix. Overhead and bulkhead panels are attached with Velcro. If a stumbling guest snags her five-carat diamond ring and tears the picture-perfect padding, the panel can be easily replaced. And if wires, ducts, or fasteners need to be accessed, you don't need so much as a screwdriver to get to them.
A touch that adds to both form and function is the half-circle stairway leading to the staterooms. The curvature of the stairway is not only pleasing to the eye, but it also blocks the view of anyone looking through the salon door. That adds privacy to the living space and keeps dock walkers from catching a glimpse belowdecks. If you don't think that's important, just remember: Lots of people, like every single person who passes by, are going to turn their heads in your direction. Because, after all, anyone can tell with a mere glance that this boat is the ultimate battlewagon.
LAST WORD. If you've got a few mil to kick around, look no further-this is your boat.
Displacement (lbs., approx.) ..........103,000 ****
Transom deadrise...5° ****
Bridge clearance..18'2" ****
Minimum cockpit depth..........2'2" ****
Max. cabin headroom ..........6'8" ****
Fuel capacity (gal.) ..........1,800 ****
Water capacity (gal.) ..........455 ****
Price (w/standard power) ..........$2.3 million ****
Price (w/test power) ..........$2.6 million ****
STANDARD POWER: Twin 1,400-bhp V-16 diesel inboards. ****
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin diesel inboards to 3,600 bhp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Twin 1,800-bhp Detroit Diesel 2000 DDEC V-16 diesel inboards with 1,953 cid, 5.15" bore x 5.19" stroke, swinging 48" x 88" seven-bladed Nibral props through 3.975:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Antifouling bottom paint; recessed trim tabs; anchor roller; anchor w/chain and rode; bait prep center w/cutting board, sink, 4 stowage lockers, and tackle drawers; fighting chair deck reinforcement; 4 gunwale-mounted rodholders; removable, macerated fishbox; transom livewell; compass; power-assist steering; oil exchange system; cable TV/phone jacks; fresh/raw-water washdowns w/quick-release fittings; water heater; 6-zone, reverse-cycle a/c; 5 entertainment centers w/TVs, VCRs, and CD stereo systems; 4-burner stove; refrigerator/freezer; icemakers; microwave; electric heads.