Kings of Custom

The newest pair of HCB 53s reinforce the company’s reputation for building ­uncompromisingly custom boats.

It starts with a passion for boating,” says Elias DeLaTorre, owner of HCB Yachts. From there, he notes that while HCB doesn’t change its hull engineering, the company will go to extremes to customize everything else on the boat. “We have elite customers, big businessmen, accomplished people with good ideas. We capitalize on that—we learn from our customers. It may not make us money, but we roll their ideas into our line—that’s part of our business plan.”

DeLaTorre says his operations partner “hates it,” as he handles the additional engineering. HCB may build 15 to 20 boats from the same plan, but each one is unique, which creates return customers.

Exemplifying extreme customization, HCB is completing two 53 Sueños models that are diametrical—one is a fishing machine, and the other is the ultimate luxury cruiser. One will ply the waters offshore of Panama, and the other will island hop in the Bahamas. Both builds include long lists of custom features.

“When our customers dock, they want people to see it,” enthuses DeLaTorre. “They say, ‘That’s my boat!’ Anywhere they go, everyone will know—it’s the difference between having an HCB and a production boat.”

The Fishing Machine

An avid fisherman who owned a traditional sportfisherman decided to build an HCB as a high-speed fish boat. Wanting to blast to the bite at 45 knots, he opted for quad Seven Marine 627-hp outboards.

prm2_HCB 53 Sueños

According to HCB, over $100,000 was spent to engineer additional custom changes, like adding air conditioning to the mezzanine lounge seating on the aft deck, complete with two refrigerators and a deep freezer under the lounge—a first for HCB. Twin Dometic 16K BTU AC units, a 40-gallon diesel tank and a 15 kW Westerbeke diesel generator were added to keep a number of outdoor spaces cool in the heat of battle.

Tuna tubes, a water maker, a 500-pound/day ice chipper, Hooker Electric 2500 Bait Pumps in the two 60-gallon live wells, four fish boxes with chill plates and a BlueWater rocket launcher add to the fishing features, along with HCB’s standard port and starboard tackle stations and an oversized freezer coffin box in the bow. In addition to a grill, the owner had a Miele stovetop installed in the cockpit and a Miele oven in the cabin, so he can cook Panamanian-style rice to accompany fresh catch.

Commercial-sized Marsh Tacky outriggers, a Seakeeper 6, a larger fuel tank and a generator added significant weight, but even at 45,000 pounds, this HCB will reach 52 knots. “Nobody else would do what we did on this boat,” says Andy Simons, the sales person who coordinated the 85-plus custom changes the customer requested. But the boat will have anglers gawking and exclaiming, “Qué es eso? What is that?!”

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“Rolls” with It

Many HCB customers are also car enthusiasts, and the owner of the newest 53 loves his Rolls Royce; he is also a performance junkie and boat racer, so his customizations were aimed at speed and luxury. The first major change was powering his boat with quint Mercury Racing 450R engines, a first for HCB.

Llebroc suspension seats, front and rear, will keep the captain and guests comfortable underway, as will the air-conditioned cockpit and the summer kitchen constructed in varnished teak with a built-in grill, ice maker, sink and hydraulically operated 72-inch TV that rises between the galley and back seat—not to mention the JL Audio sound system complete with 56 speakers and 20 amplifiers.

prm_HCB 53 Sueños

The boat was sent to prestigious Ultimate Auto in Orlando for custom paint and branded cowhide upholstery. Lumishore underwater lights and a Shadow Caster full-spectrum LED light system were installed to complement the high-gloss teak used on the gunwales, coaming and interior. The cabin boasts automotive influences, like Rolls Royce custom paint, a starlight ceiling and hand-built teak cabinetry.

The standard flooring was upgraded by Hopps Woodworks to ¾-inch solid custom teak with exotic black wenge wood.

The boat is planned to debut at the November 2020 Florida Powerboat Club Poker Run in Key West.

“High-profile guys with lots of toys like projects—it’s a diversion from their business, and they look forward to emails from our engineers—not necessarily the one about their next big deal,” says DeLaTorre. “They like our uniqueness and reliability, and they love their boats. They push the envelope, and we’ll do anything that’s not too crazy or doesn’t make sense. They are used to getting their way, and that creates give-and-take and a bond. We are building second or third boats for these guys, but that is where we set the bar, and nobody is copying us.”

HCB 53 Sueños Specifications:

LOA: 52’11”
Beam: 13’
Draft: 3’8”
Displ: Approx: 31,500 lbs.
Engines: Quint 450R Mercury, Quad 425 Yamaha or Quad 627 Sevens
Fuel Capacity: 1,000 gal.
Water: 60 gal.

This article originally appeared in Outboard magazine.

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