With the new GT70, Hatteras Yachts grows its sportfish line—and may regalvanize its legend along the way.
Hatteras Yachts has a long and well-documented legacy of building fiberglass yachts. The greatest testament to the company’s construction is probably the vast number of its boats still plying the fishing and cruising grounds of the world. But to my mind Hatteras probably gained its greatest share of fame from its distinctive convertibles. The latest fleet of the company’s sportfishing models includes a 77-footer and four models in the hard-charging GT series ranging from 54 feet to the newest and largest of the lot—the GT70.
Hatteras has a worldwide presence. Certainly it would surprise no one to see a 1960s-era, 41-foot convertible tucked away, secured to some pier, in an obscure Pacific archipelago. The GT70 takes that heritage to a refined level and very successfully melds more than a half-century of fishing know-how, modern design, and construction into a great-looking boat with a big bow, a sleek silhouette, some low-profile windows, and a dark wraparound painted mask.
“The mission of Hatteras with the GT series is to be an industry-leading provider of tournament sportfishing boats, designed for owners who favor quality ride, speed, performance, and traditionally influenced, luxurious interiors,” says Jeff Donahue, director of North American sales for Hatteras. “These principles have been the hallmarks of the Hatteras brand since Willis Slane founded the company 56 years ago and we remain true to those values today.”
The GT70—with a standard five-stateroom, four-head layout—was available for sea trial after a successful showing at the Miami show last February. A typical show positions its boats at a leisurely pace over the course of a week but the move-out is completed in about 48 chaotic hours. Everything from runabouts to superyachts leave their berths and form a conga line at each little causeway bridge all the way to Government Cut, treading water at each stop until they make a mad dash for the next 10-minute opening. It’s a true handling test for a vessel; things get really compact as everyone creeps up upon each other due to wind, current, and a sentiment that goes, “Jeez let’s get the heck out of here already.”
Donahue and I were at the console-style helm of the GT70’s open flying bridge (an enclosed bridge is available as an option) as boats stacked up between the concrete seawalls not far from the show. The 70 was predictable in her movements in extremely close quarters, though. She held station with merely a nudge of the single-lever controls or a tap of the thruster, as boats, some of them 100 feet or more, snuggled close.
Once we cleared the last bridge, depths tightened a bit in the channels. The GT70’s stingy 5-foot draft—thanks to the aggressive design of the prop pockets—proved its value as a passing stone barge forced us to the channel’s edge. Nevertheless, the big sportfish navigated through as the depth on the screen read a slim 3 feet below the transducer.
We finally cleared Government Cut after dealing with a stuck bridge, a grounded cruise ship, and channel closures due to the repositioning of a tug and dredge. The solid, resin-infused, variable deadrise bottom of the GT70 rose up, seemingly with a sigh of relief, into the swells of the Atlantic. There was no smoke from the 2,600-horsepower MTUs, even after idling for so long; we reached 30 knots in a blink.
In every direction, the 120,000-pound battlewagon tracked like a champ in the 4- to 6-foot seas, providing a soft reentry every time. The helm stayed dry, except for some windblown spray. The hydraulic, power-assisted steering made easy work of lock-to-lock turns, even at full cruise. The wash behind the transom at trolling speed, while active, offered clear lanes for trailing baits.
We slipped the single-lever controls into neutral and let the boat sit side-to in the noticeable beam sea. The 21-foot beam of the GT70 kept us comfortable, despite the top-hamper weight of the the Pipewelders full tower. (An optional Seakeeper gyro was not installed on our test boat.) Then Donahue jumped on the throttles, spun the Hatteras, and aggressively backed down into the stiff current. It was a head-turner; the GT70 exhibited minimum vibration and not a drop of blue water came over the transom. The only water that did enter the cockpit came through via hawse holes—and the scuppers effectively evacuated that with aplomb.
There’s no issue seeing the bow pulpit as well as the corners of the cockpit from the helm. The area for instrumentation on the steering console is abundant with angled, flat real estate for monitors and displays. Engine and system controls are housed in deep compartments on either side of the stainless steel wheel. Captains will appreciate the placement of the electric teaser reels within the fiberglass hardtop above. The smartly angled flying-bridge ladder with teak treads, even at full cruise, was easy to transit (camera in hand); that’s an always-appreciated feature.
This boat was outfitted with MTU’s recently introduced BlueVision New Generation control system. The unit control head interfaces with the propulsion system and offers the captain multi-tiered monitoring of all engine vitals and includes integrated stop/start, troll mode, and synchronizer.
The cockpit boasts 200 square feet of fishing space with mezzanine seating. Overhead vents pour cold air down upon those seats. Each and every hatch has deep gutters and heavy gaskets.
“The cockpit is the largest in its class, designed for hardcore fishing without losing sight of comfort and amenities pioneered by Hatteras,” says Dave Brown, director of product design. “Our GT70 features large fishboxes, ice chests, integrated freezer boxes, insulated bait boxes, a tackle center, and ergonomically designed seating with cupholders that all combine to provide a versatile cockpit for fishing or relaxing on the mezzanine.”
To keep up with the market and meet the growing competition from custom builders head-on, Hatteras has adopted a semi-custom approach for its clientele. In order to satisfy customer demand, the GT70 is a production boat with custom features and capabilities.
“We have the flexibility to customize arrangements and work with owners to personalize their specific tastes and desires,” Donahue says. “Our semi-custom build time is shorter and we have the ability to service a Hatteras yacht anywhere in the world.”
Indeed, the high-gloss teak joinery gives the saloon a custom feel. Hatteras didn’t feel compelled to fill every nook and cranny with furniture or clutter. This allows for a spacious and airy saloon. The sights outside can be viewed through the handsome frameless windows while seated. Designers lit the saloon well without jamming the headliner with excessive overhead lighting.
To starboard is a party-size, L-shaped settee as well as a five-sided dinette table with seating, both with stowage below. An island station with three barstools is off centerline to port. The galley, a step up from the rest of the saloon, has granite countertops and is easily worked and traditionally outfitted.
Accommodations below are suffused with the air of a custom build. All the door frames feel sturdily constructed, as do the doors themselves. The midship master has an athwartship queen berth with en suite head. The sound attenuation throughout the vessel is excellent. It’s breathtakingly quiet when at the dock, with minimal intrusion of mechanical or hull-slapping noise. A passing thunderstorm was barely audible below deck. The forward guest stateroom also has a queen berth. This cabin has an overhead hatch for ambient light and emergency egress if necessary. All the staterooms have an exacting finish with high-gloss teak joinery, spacious heads, stowage that’s easy to get to, and valence-mounted plenums that pump out enough cold air to chill a meat locker. Custom HMC mattresses are on each berth. The stateroom to port has over/under sleeping arrangements. This layout offers unencumbered space, superior rod stowage and functionality. That, combined with some comfortable crew quarters, makes this boat a winner for those traveling the grueling tournament circuit.
The aft two staterooms are configured for crew, and located a three-step drop from the main companionway. The port cabin has over/under berths, while to starboard is a single. There’s a walk-through head with doors to add privacy to each cabin, and direct access to the engine room.
Maintenance and repairs should be simple in the large, bright machinery space. The MTUs and Onan gensets show the compartment to advantage, but the ample Marine Exhaust systems, make it a little cumbersome getting outboard of the mains. The electrical wire runs are bundled and seamanlike. Exposed areas are painted or powder-coated. Each engine has a dedicated sea chest; the gensets share a third. Still another high-speed sea chest handles the rest of the raw water pickups.
“The tournament fisherman loves the exterior styling, the speed, the clean cockpit with great stowage, and our clean engine room where thoughtful professionals took the time to do it right,” Donahue says.
Hatteras will never be accused of underbuilding a yacht and the GT70 is certainly no exception. Combine solid construction and power and you get a ride that’s strictly Hatteras.
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NOTEWORTHY OPTIONS: Vetus bow thruster; Seakeeper gyro stablizer; teak packages; Alexseal Rascal Blue custom hull color (all Hatteras Yachts are painted); enclosed flying bridge; Pipewelders tower; and Maxwell windlass. (Prices upon request).
Generator: 2/21.5-kW Onan, Warranty: 2 years stem-to-stern, 10 years structural
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 69°F; humidity: 87%; seas: 4-6'
Load During Boat Test
1,425 gal. fuel, 330 gal. water, 4 persons, full gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/2,600-hp MTU 16V2000 CR
- Transmission/Ratio: Twin Disc 6848 SC w/ 2.93:1 gear ratio
- Props: 46 x 69.5 5-blade Michigan Wheel
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.