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Hatteras 80

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.

Up on the bridge deck I found a wet bar with three stools just aft and to port of the helm. Aft of that is a seating area with stowage below, and opposite the wet bar is another seating area, this one with a table. A Gaggenau electric double grill sits in a cabinet with a large stowage compartment beneath, and the sunpad to starboard can be fitted with a hot tub. A tender and Marquipt 1500 davit are fully aft. It was easy to see how, with this kind of equipment and space, the bridge deck could serve the needs of owners accustomed to larger spaces and those looking for more.

There are two stairways down to the main deck, one aft and one forward. I took the latter and made my way into the main-deck space that encompasses the dining area, galley, and saloon. This, I discovered, is where the 80 shows her megayacht-class nature.

There are fine woods, like the Java and mahogany dining table and the African mahogany cabinetry, plus butter-soft leather on the expansive port-side saloon couch. Other touches include sculpted valences and soft wall coverings. All this should make the interior of the Hatteras 80 familiar to a big-boat owner used to a high level of luxury and enticing to an owner looking for more luxury.

Regardless of whether you’re on a 40-footer or a 140-footer, entertaining is a favorite pastime. On the 80, there’s space aplenty. There’s a wine cooler in the dining room, while the saloon has a wet bar with bottle and glass stowage, a Whirlpool ice maker, and a 42-inch Sony plasma TV in a beautiful cabinet. But while watching big-screen, hi-def TV and listening to music through a killer sound system will keep you and your guests occupied for a time, someone is inevitably going to get hungry. And that’s when they’ll head for the galley. As my 80 did not have the optional enclosed bridge, the galley was to port and through the hallway separating the lower station from the main deck. Big-boat owners and up-and-comers will find this space well equipped for preparing anything from finger food to a sumptuous sit-down dinner in the adjoining dining space, directly to starboard. Three granite countertops provide acres of workspace, and appliances include a Sub-Zero 650 upright refrigerator with freezer, ice maker, full size Whirlpool self-cleaning oven, four-burner electric stove top, trash compactor, and dishwasher. The Sharp microwave/convection oven is in its own cabinet on the bulkhead, and there are a number of cabinets above and below, as well as plenty of drawer space for provisioning.

When it comes time to enjoy the food, that spectacular dining table and elegant decor will set an enticing mood. And should conditions be favorable, the aft deck, with its transom seating and table, provides the right setting for alfresco dining.

The theme of elegant surroundings and amenities that can appeal to a wide variety of owners continues in the accommodations area. One of the most important things I noticed in the four-stateroom layout was the abundant stowage space. Whether you’re into extended weekend jaunts or long trips away, the Hatteras 80 can provide plenty of room for you and your guests.

The forepeak’s queen island berth has eight stowage cabinets and a full-length cedar-lined closet. Aft and to starboard the standard single berth (my boat had the additional optional Pullman) has a chest of drawers and full-height cedar closet. The VIP lies opposite and has a queen-size berth, full-size cedar lined-closet, chest with nine drawers, and ten overhead cabinets. The full-beam master is amidships and has a double-door entry, full-size cedar-lined closet to starboard, and double-door cedar closet to port, plus a chest of 12 drawers to either side. The optional twin en suite heads on our boat share the shower. As with the master, each stateroom has an en suite head with stand-up shower and granite countertops and soles. The decor is tasteful and definitely megayacht-class.

Thanks to calm seas, we were able to cover the almost 70 miles to Key Largo in about three hours with the twin 1,550-hp Caterpillar C30 diesels turning about 2000 rpm and burning about 100 gph total. That translates to 0.27 mpg, not bad for a 189,000-pound yacht. With the Hatteras’ tanks topped off at 2,158 gallons, we could expect a 529-mile range; not exactly megayacht class, but not bad.

I was left with several impressions after my time aboard the Hatteras 80 motoryacht. First, she’s a beautiful, well-appointed yacht with sumptuous living accommodations that are second to none. Second, she could easily be handled by a couple, which makes her particularly attractive to megayacht owners looking for a simple, less expensie lifestyle. She also has good range and comes with an extensive list of standard features and, therefore, a short list of options. However, the most important impression I came away with was that this boat effectively bridges the gap between large motoryacht and megayachts. So, whether you’re looking to simplify you life with a smaller boat or cadge a little more luxury and space, you’ll want to take a good look at the Hatteras 80.

Hatteras Yachts
(252) 634-4895

This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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