It’s no secret that the high-performance segment of the marine industry is a shadow of its former self so many companies that established themselves in that arena are expanding their reach to attract more business.
One such company is Latham Marine, which is best known for its hydraulic steering and high-performance throttle and shift controls. Years ago, the Fort Lauderdale-based company started making the Latham Hydraulic Lift for Formula’s line of cruisers and yachts. More recently, Hatteras Yachts has started using the lift for its 100′ Raised Pilot House Motor Yacht.
“Latham is the only company that could do it the way WE wanted to have it done,” says, Dave Clubbs, Senior Marine Engineer for Hatteras. “Bob Latham knows his stuff; they build first class quality—everything is well thought-out and they are a great company to deal with.” he adds. Among the noteworthy features on the Latham lifts are that they have no external hoses to corrode or get caught in the lift mechanism. The hydraulics are self-contained in the structure and they operate with a remote and with safety stops to protect passengers. Additionally, the lifts are custom-designed to the load capacity needed for a given vessel. Hatteras’ satisfaction with the Latham lift led the company to have Latham Marine to also develop a new rudder for the GT Series Convertibles.
On the new Cheoy Lee Alpha Express yachts, a 76 Flybridge and 87 Sportbridge. Gene Weeks, project manager for the Express line, knew of Latham from his years of offshore racing and working with performance boatbuilders. Weeks needed to correct an over-steering issue created by the electric-over-hydraulic steering in the original 76 Express. He solved the problem with a full hydraulic Latham Steering system. During additional sea-trials Weeks reported, “The change was immediate and noticeable. With our hull design and Latham steering, the boat tracks like it’s on rails. Now, anyone could drive this boat.” Weeks is consulting with Latham Marine on complete steering packages for the Cheoy Lee Alpha line of yachts.
Ironically one of the current boatbuilders who most values Latham Marine’s steering is the third generation of the family that kick-started Bob Latham’s career – Yellowfin Fishing Yachts. John Nagler was a well-known yacht broker who started selling performance boats in the late 1960s. When he needed someone who could service the boats, he called the “new kid” he had heard about, and Bob Latham became a mobile rigging and service provider. That led him into racing and his big score with the invention of the hydraulic steering system for offshore raceboats.
Today, Nagler’s grandson, Wylie, is the owner and builder of Yellowfin, widely regarded as one of the best offshore fishing boats in its class. Latham parts have been integral to Yellowfin’s high performance reputation for nearly 40 years. Yellowfin’s 40’ RIB tender powered by a single, Seven Marine 557 horsepower, all aluminum, supercharged V8 small block outboard has custom steering designed by Latham Marine.
Bob Latham’s reputation led the engineers from Seven Marine to collaborate with him on a steering system that was ‘stealthy’ and robust enough to withstand the power and torque of the 557’s horsepower while incorporating the steering cylinder inside the swivel bracket according to the patented Seven Marine design. The motor stands 90” tall and weighs 1,000 pounds. Seven Marine’s engineers designed the steering with the cylinder in the steering arm, rather than in front like other large outboards. This gives the motors structural integrity and a clean appearance.
Finally, Intrepid Powerboats’ 375 Center Console and 475 Sport Yacht feature Latham steering as well as custom Latham dive door hinges with matching deadbolt door locks. Regardless of the type of boat, when companies need quality components they turn to Latham Marine. See why at lathammarine.com.