Yachts 80 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
|Moving up or scaling down, Hatteras’ latest might be your ticket.|
Let me float a nautical conundrum past your bow. Imagine you’re the owner off a 70-something-footer and want to move up to something bigger yet still manageable by a couple. Now imagine instead that you own a 120-footer and would like something smaller, yet with all the megayacht-class amenities you’re used to.
In both cases, your solution is a yacht in the 80-foot range, but which of the many boats in that size, built by quality yards with solid reputations both here and abroad, could make you happy? After spending two days aboard the Hatteras 80, I suggest that she’s a perfect candidate. With a generous 21'3" beam, she has the kind of space and features that both upsizing and downsizing boaters are looking for.
I first saw the 80 during her debut at last year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and a few months later I was invited to accompany Capt. Terry Stansel on her passage from Lauderdale’s Pier 66 Marina to the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Stansel usually doesn’t skipper 80-foot motoryachts. He’s Hatteras’ fishing captain and, more often than not, lives aboard the 54-foot company convertible Hatterascal on what can be a grueling 305-day-a-year tournament and boat show schedule. As the regular Hatteras motoryacht captains were busy, he got the call. It turned out that the 80 was nearly as new to Stansel as she was to me. “Ken,” he said when I arrived, “looks like you and me both have to get used to this rig.” Considering we were both novices with her, Stansel and I looked over her operating features so that when we did let go the lines, we’d avoid any “monkey moves,” those embarassing situations when, out of ignorance, people start jumping around aimlessly trying to head off trouble.
The first feature I happened upon that I thought would appeal to owners moving both up and down was the lower helm station. It makes you feel like you’re on a big boat, yet you feel completely in control. Seated in one of two comfortable, leather-covered pedestal helm seats, I had excellent views through the two-panel windshield, despite its heavily padded mullions. The second such impression came from the expansive helm array, including a PC-based system with an LCD touchscreen mounted in the center and flanked by a Northstar 952XW GPS/plotter and a closed-circuit TV. This is the kind of setup I’m used to finding on megayachts. The PC system was developed in-house by senior electrical engineer Walt Hucks, and it provides instantaneous screen switching at the touch of a finger.
After firing up the standard 1,550-hp Caterpillar C30s, I scrolled through several parameters and quickly gained access to a ton of information. I found visual and audible alarms for the mains, gensets, gears, high bilge water, a.c. power loss, and even smoke detectors. I also accessed operational data such as rpm, gph, load, and boost pressure. The log even gave me information on previous alarms and anomolous conditions, information that would be helpful in establishing an operational base line as well as indicating problematic trends. This is the kind of data any responsible boater would be interested in having.
Other features here would also appeal to both smaller- and larger-boat owners. The first is a pair of pantographic doors to either side and, to port of where I sat, a pair of elevated seating areas with tables, one forward and the other along the aft bulkhead. Both had granite tops and a pair of stools and offered excellent views, again reminding me of the pilothouses on larger vessels. (Opt for the enclosed-bridge version, and the lower pilothouse becomes the galley, creating a larger dining room.)
The rest of my self-guided tour would have to wait, however, as we were ready to shove off. As Stansel and I planned our departure on the expansive bridge deck, we noticed that the “active station” lights on the Study electronic controls were so small that they were virtually invisible in the sunlight.
We were in a tight corner of the marina, and with so much boat behind us and a fairly bothersome current abeam, I positioned myself aft on the edge of the bridge as an extra pair of eyes, just in case things went south. As it turned out, Stansel performed a seamless maneuver by utilizing the wing stations on each side of the forward bridge helm. “Looks like a short learning curve on this boat,” he smiled. With almost three hours of cruising time to Key Largo, I could continue looking through the boat.
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.