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Hatteras 100 Raised Pilothouse

Heavy Hitter

Elegance? Comfort? Power? Yeah, but there are two more qualities that make this 100-foot beauty a true performer—technology and craftsmanship.

Wind whipping smartly through the palm trees outside my hotel window was what woke me up that morning. The plan we’d all discussed the evening before had been simple enough, albeit just a tad agricultural, by which I mean we’d all agreed to meet onboard the Hatteras 100 Raised Pilothouse at a very early, let’s-head-down-to-the-barn-and-milk-the-cows hour. I glanced at my Reactor watch in the dark, its numerals glowing faintly.

About four o’clock. I popped the Weather Channel icon on the ol’ iPhone. It prophesied wind speeds of 20-plus knots, which meant at least 25 knots offshore, maybe more. Rain spattered the window, as I drew back the curtain on a stormy, decidedly unpromising scene.

Jeeeesh, I observed to myself, letting the curtain fall back. “A photo shoot? In this? Right!”

Weather-wise, Turnberry Isle Marina & Yacht Club, on the northern edge of Miami, is a very protected spot, thanks mostly to all the high-rises around it. So as I walked briskly along the face dock there, heading for the 100 snugly berthed starboard-side-to, I noticed little more than a faint breeze wafting about, a condition that would no doubt expedite our departure for the wild blue yonder in an hour or so.

“Hey Bill,” said Capt. Greg Maduros, standing at the top of the gangway, his hand extended. Because it was December and colder than a wharf rat’s heart we went inside immediately. And because we were both on the scene well before our planned ETD, we took the opportunity to tour the 100’s engine room, a spot Maduros was very proud of.

As soon as I entered via the watertight door in the forward bulkhead of the crew’s quarters, I saw why. For starters, the place was flat-out immense, with over seven feet of headroom, a walkway between the mains that was darn near six-feet wide, and access to both Caterpillar C32 ACERTs that was wide-open, both inboard and outboard. The new owner of the 100, Maduros explained, had already possessed five Hatteras yachts and several other vessels over a long and salty lifetime and he was well versed in all things marine, whether that meant dealing with dirty fuel in dicey circumstances or specifying clearly labeled ball-valve handles. No bobbing and weaving around exhaust trunks or squeezing between hot diesels for him! 

Then there was the commercial-grade way Hatteras had laid out and installed the auxiliary equipment. The port and starboard Mastervolt battery isolators, for example, although of modest importance to the overall mission of the vessel, were nevertheless mounted on the forward firewall with aesthetically pleasing precision (i.e., dead level, absolutely upright, and uniformly distanced from other components) and, to facilitate removal should replacement ever be necessary, snap-on-snap-off stainless-steel retainer clips. Additionally, the color-coded and clearly labeled electrical cables interconnecting the units with the vessel’s big Mastervolt battery chargers and battery banks were secured in crisp, schematic patterns with cushioned cable clamps (on 5-inch centers approximately) and, in between, crisply applied, uniformly spaced cable ties.

“Beautiful work,” I noted, while closely inspecting the rubber boots covering the connector studs on each isolator. There were cable ties tightly seized around the bases of each, a small detail perhaps, but one that doubled the security of the little friction-fit devices, and virtually guaranteed protection against electrical shock. “Belt and suspenders,” I commented.

The fuel system was top-shelf too. It included a daytank mounted beneath the central walkway that both simplified the manipulation of fuel loads among the other four fuel tanks onboard and, by ensuring that all the fuel that was burned in the engines and gensets came from a single source, made keeping track of total consumption on long trips easier and more accurate. And talk about filtration! Not only were the mains outfitted with large, triplex 791000MAV Racors, so was the fuel-transfer pump. And get this! Draft marks had been installed at the stern—a commercial-grade feature if ever there was one—so the owner and crew could precisely gauge changes in draft due to fuel transfers from tank to tank. Can three inches, plus or minus, really be important? Over in the Bahamas? Or in some other skinny-water place? Yeah, buddy!

“Wow—a dirty-oil tank onboard too,” I noted while kneeling down to examine a polished-stainless oil-change manifold system, as clearly labeled as everything else I’d seen thus far. Dirty-oil tanks nix having to carry jumbles of empty, oily five-gallon buckets around between oil changes. They’re great! 

I was able to appraise and appreciate only a few more examples of niftiness before Maduros and I had to call it quits. The highlights included a set of long, welded-aluminum stowage boxes (for Racor elements, first-aid supplies, gasket kits, rags, etc.) each installed well above a main; polished stainless stanchions on either side of the central walkway, each serving as both an overhead support and a rough-water handhold; an air-intake system set up to automatically govern air pressure inside the ER, thus obviating the suction that sometimes makes engine-room doors tough to open at speed; and, last but not least, an ample tool chest secured along the forward firewall, with an adjoining workbench.

The sky was lightening when we got back topside. And in short order, with our photo-shoot models drowsily kicked back in the saloon and the mains nicely warmed up, I watched as Maduros worked his charge smoothly off the dock, an exercise that was so obviously enjoyable and delicately controllable that I was sorely tempted to break one of my big-time boat-test rules: Never maneuver a sold vessel unless the owner’s onboard and gives his permission.

Man! Oh man! At the behest of the ABT bow and stern thrusters only, the 100 slid sideways, away from her berth, like she was on ice. And then, once we were well off, Maduros used the mains, one ahead and the other astern (consecutively, not simultaneously), to rotate into the fairway. I noted virtually no vibration or low-end rumble at all during the process. And I could viscerally feel the torque the Caterpillars were putting into the water—clicking a stick into gear for even a second made the boat react. 

And yes, there were reasons for all this sweetness and light. Our 54-inch by 80-inch Michigan Wheel props not only had lots of diameter and pitch, they also had a total of eight, high-skew blades apiece, a setup that when teamed with our super-deep transmission ratio of 4.727:1, was cutting vibration big-time and concomitantly boosting torque. And there was something else, too—almost 30 percent of each prop’s diameter was tightly housed within a tunnel. No wonder the boat moved sideways so darn smoothly.

“Gotta be fun,” I observed enviously, as Maduros finished with the control station on the starboard wing of the flying bridge and eased on over to the cushy Stidd behind the helm console.

Sea conditions well offshore were what the ol’ iPhone had prophesied. Wave heights were averaging about six feet and the wind was gusting to at least 25 knots, and maybe 30 knots occasionally. There was a bit of good news, though—as luck would have it, the rains had stopped and the sun was up and at ’em. 

What a shoot, though! Walloping shots of spray assailed the flying bridge repeatedly, particularly when we headed straight up-sea into the worst of it, an orientation our helicopter-borne photographer seemed to particularly like. But hey, the ride the 100 handed us was nevertheless purest, rocking-chair comfort, thanks partly to the aforementioned aspects of propulsion and partly to the boat’s whopping 270,000-pound displacement. 

“You can’t beat a deep gear ratio in a big ol’ heavy boat,” I told Maduros, harking back to sea trials of other Hatteras motoryachts where very deep gear ratios were employed to maximize the operating efficiencies of relatively hefty, albeit very seakindly, vessels.

Driving details were equally sanguine. At the upper helm, sightlines were virtually unobstructed, all the way around. At the lower helm, the steep slant of the windshield, the thickness of the windshield mullions, and the comparative lowness of the overhead gave the area a claustrophobic feel. Sound levels were fairly low here, though, and, at both the upper and lower stations, the power-assisted steering seemed smooth and produced a comparatively broad turning radius, as befits a big boat with straight-shaft propulsion. The average top hop (which I measured closer to the shoreline in lesser seas) was respectable at 22 knots.

While the layout drawings and photography shown here give a fair enough representation of the sumptuousness of the 100’s four-stateroom-five head interior (with two-stateroom crew accommodations astern), there are a couple of standout features that bear mentioning. First of all, the galley, located all the way forward on the main deck, is as seriously residential and smart as it is homey. Couple a platoon of full-sized Jenn-Air appliances with wraparound cabinetry, an oak-planked deck, a large stool-surrounded island in the middle of things, and a couple of skylights overhead (with remote-controlled sun shading), and you’ve got a country kitchen that’s as fine as any you’ll encounter ashore. 

And then there’s the strikingly large lounge area abaft the helm station on the flying bridge—it’s about as inviting as a veranda with palm trees and magnolias. Under the part that’s shaded by the hartop, there’s a bar area to port (with matching barstools) and an ample, top-loading freezer and big L-shaped lounge to starboard. All the furniture here is mix-and-match modular and made of fiberglass, with top-shelf baseball-stitched upholstery. Further aft, beyond the hardtop, and thus open to the sky unless the canvas fly (stowed under one of the lounge seats) is deployed, is a heavily built teak table with a set of comfy teak chairs. Thick undergirding teak decks add a warm, classical touch to the ambiance.

“So you’re off to the Ocean Reef Club this evening?” I asked Maduros, after we’d finished with the photo shoot, disembarked the models, and returned to Turnberry to await the arrival of the 100’s owner. Maduros was leaning against the highly stylized railing that sidelines the stairway between the main deck and the raised pilothouse. He’d explained earlier that the railing had been precisely water-jet cut from a single sheet of ⅜-inch stainless and then welded and polished to a fare-the-well, a job that had required literally days of skilled labor.

“Yeah, for Vintage Weekend,” he replied, “Our owner loves to look at the antique yachts and stuff.”

Which didn’t surprise me in the least.

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This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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