Restoring the Original Hatteras
What Price Glory?
“The boat took a bad hit during a hurricane,” says Rick Breitenstein, production manager for Hatteras Yachts in New Bern, North Carolina, and the guy who headed up the most recent restoration of the 54-year-old, Jack Hargrave-designed Hatteras Knit Wits. “And mold took over afterwards. We had to gut her and start over.” Breitenstein tapped his entire workforce for the project, although to guarantee elbowroom only four or five people could actually work on the boat at any given time.
The accommodations area forward (with two staterooms and a head) was in part salvageable. Teak veneers were applied over mahogany plywood bulkheads and other surfaces that were still okay and secured with 3M 94ET contact adhesive. Then came Watco teak oil and new soft goods. Curtains were created in-house and the rest came from the Canvas & Upholstery Center (www.canvasuphcenter.net) in St. Augustine, Florida.
“The after half of the boat was the toughest,” explains Breitenstein, “She’d been repowered during an earlier restoration but the replacement diesels were iffy. We sent ’em off to Western Branch Diesel (www.westernbranchdiesel.com) for rehab.”
Everything else was extracted from the engine room as well. Then the place was cleaned and painted and many new components (fuel hoses, bilge pumps, bonding cables, etc.) were added. Eventually, the refurbished diesels, with brightly polished valve covers, were remounted with fanfare.
The mahogany bulkhead at the rear of the saloon (with big sliding doors) had to be torn out, along with most of the rest of the saloon’s fitments. “We couldn’t get the right mahogany so we switched to teak,” says Breitenstein. “We went with Brazilian cherry for the flooring.”
Windows were problematic. Badly corroded aluminum frames were impossible to replace—nobody manufactured them anymore. So Breitenstein installed new windows via the flush-fit method Hatteras uses today. Sikaflex provided the adhesive, and teak trim was added on the inside. “Not quite original,” comments Breitenstein, “but it’s hard to tell the difference.”
An Alexseal paint job was the final step. “We finished ’er last fall,” says Breitenstein, “About nine months after we started. We had a big event here at the plant to celebrate and everybody who’d worked on the boat signed the back of the access hatch at the lower helm.” The price tag? Breitenstein demurs on giving exact figures. “Let’s just say,” he laughs knowingly, “it was gloriously high!”
This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.