The latest from Hatteras ... 48 tons of serenity.

HAS THIS GUY flipped his deadlight? Is he crazy? Jack Heine, Hatteras Yacht's Chief Test Engineer, spins the big destroyer-type wheel of the 67 Extended Deckhouse Cockpit M/Y like a lunatic contestant on the Price Is Right. Hunkered down on the pilothouse deck, with feet planted wider than his shoulders and the veins at his temples and in his neck bulging, he cranks frantically with all his might, hardover port to hardover starboard, lock to lock, seven turns in seven seconds.

Meanwhile, the Hynautic hydraulic throttles are flat maxed-out and so's the propulsion package downstairs, a set of DDC 12V-71TAs, in a full-beam engine room, honking a combined and lusty 1,740-hp tribute to the greater glory of the diesel gods. Top speed: 26.1 mph. Displacement: a hulking 48 tons.

"Watch this," yells Heine, as the 67 spearheads a tight, scimitar-like wake across the broad, brown deserted surface of the Neuse River. He alters his stance just a tad, bends over once more, grabs a spoke with all the delicacy of a gorilla breaking bones and wrenches the wheel all the way back to port. Jeeze.

"Now for some serious S-turns," the maestro puffs. And before the 67 has had a chance to settle down even a smidgen, he begins ratcheting the wheel, hardover to hardover, back and forth, again and again and again, with the very fury of the damned.

"Now you try it, Bill," Heine steps back at last, panting. "Try to make this baby do something weird."

And I do, finding to my surprise that I can't and that there's a certain perverse charm in treating a $1,325,400 motoryacht like a Panama Canal tractor tug.

 

AHHHHHHH – Taking it easy never looked so good. Or felt so fast. Top speed: 26.1 mph. we liked the separate pilothouse and all the solid comfort that Hatteras is famous for.

 

FRITO RICOCHET

Heine's not crazy, of course. He's just an intensely enthusiastic Hatteras employee, personally charged with the duty of thoroughly testing each and every new model, making sure it can safely withstand extreme conditions, of the sort the average owner may never encounter or contrive. Like the editors of Boating, Heine subscribes to the notion that hands-on-with-a-vengeance boathandling is the only way to honestly test such highflown advertising brochure phrases as “Hatters…a name known the world over for quality at sea.”

There were four people aboard the 67 the day I tested her. During Heine’s crazed exercise in oversteering, all of us were in the pilothouse, either standing about or sitting on the plush settee abaft the steering console. Seas were running less than a foot on the lower Neuse. It was lunch time. Horizontal surfaces were strewn about with the passel of whole-wheat tuna sandwiches, chips, soda cans and wrapping paper.

Heine’s onslaught occasioned not a single catastrophe. No loss of balance. No Diet Pepsi spills. No flying Chickens Of The Sea. Nary a Frito ricochet. The windshield was entirely innocent of mayo, once the fat lady had sung.

With or without optional Naiad stabilizers ($33,730), the 67 responded to each of the multiple turns with dignity, banking slightly to the inside in almost every case. Riding a LA-Z-BOY recliner should be so harrowing.

The explanation for this phenomenal display of stability is a bit complicated. Not all vessels in the 67’s size range could have behaved so serendipitously, especially at top speed. Worst-case scenario, 1) the pilothouse and its contents – the food and us – could have gone lurching around like a bunch of basset hounds in a cement mixer, 2) instead of banking slightly into each turn most of the time, the 67 could have leaned away precipitously, 3) an outboard rudder could have stalled or “blown out”, causing the boat to sheer out of a turn while in the midst of it, a disconcerting phenomenon at best, 4) the wheel and its attendant hydraulic could have resisted Heine’s efforts so fiercely that damage was done.

STOUT STUFF

Why didn’t any of this nastiness happen? The hull of the 67 is of the modified-V type (15 degrees of deadrise amidships, 6 ½ degrees of deadrise at the transom). For speed and dryness, the bow is sharp, with plenty of flare and flam. For comfort and stability, the aftermost part of the bottom is comparatively flat and chines are hard.

Plain stuff. In addition to it, there are numerous engineering details below the waterline, of a less apparent but very important nature, that put Hatteras, as a builder of boats, in a league by itself.

To begin with, to get the kind sheer turning power demonstrated during Heine’s S-curve shenanigans, especially in heavy displacement yachts like the 67, rudders with a very high aspect ratio are called for. To simplify things a bit, this means that depth dimensions of the 67’s rudders are considerably more than the longitudinal dimensions.

On the 67, the ratio of depth to breadth is close to 2:1. Rudders are stocks are combined in one, solid casting of Ingot 423 manganese bronze, a material that is almost as strong and durable as solid, stainless steel. The major drawback associated with high-aspect-ratio rudders, in fact the factor that most seriously limits the ratio itself, is the incredible amount of torque that must be withstood in turns, particularly of the hardover variety. High-aspect-ratio rudders and the steering gear associated with them must be built to stout stuff.

I was once asked to test ride a big yacht with high-aspect-ratio rudders. During some high-speed runs, involving swooping turns, the rudder stocks twisted out of the bottom of the hull, primarily because the fiberglass there was not beefy enough to withstand the torque and leverage exterted on the rudder and rubber stocks.

Hatteras hulls have the reputation for being beefy, solid glass below the waterline, approximately an inch thick in way of the keel. Steering gear is top of the line, Hynautic hydraulic, with rams custom made to handle the 67’s design and displacement. Two additional factors contributing to turning power and stability are a low vertical center of gravity (VCG) and a longitudinal center of gravity (LCG) that is just slightly abaft amidships.

A low VCG diminishes rolls and is produced by 1) positioning batteries and machinery as near the bottom of the boat as possible, 2) fitting all tanks on centerline, as low as possible, and baffling them thoroughly to reduce free-surface effect and 3) employing cored construction above the waterline, particularly in decks and superstructure.

Location of engines accounts for the favorable LCG (about 53 percent of the distance from stem to transom) and an optimum running attitude of about four degrees. A lesser attitude might be indicative of what is known as “bow steering”, characterized by poor tracking at displacement speeds.

The 67’s rudders are of the balanced variety, meaning about 25 percent of the rudder’s surface is located forward of the stock. Balanced rudders make steering underway physically easier because the torque of passing water assists the whole rudder by pushing on its forward, balancing portion. The trick is to position the stock correctly. Put it too far aft and torque gets excessive. An improperly balanced set of rudders, at planning speeds, will produce so much extra torque that the wheel can be literally torn from the helmsman’s hands during a hardover turn.

Finally, the 67 handles the way it does because of a keel design that works. Generally speaking, the keel is big enough to produce good tracking and afford some protection for the running gear in a grounding situation. It is also small enough, and short enough, so it doesn’t substantially interfere with the boat’s ability to turn quickly.

IT AIN’T THE BARGAIN BASEMENT

in terms of construction, fit and finish, the 67 is typical Hatters. For that matter, so’s her sistership, the 60 Extended Deck M/Y, which is essentially the same boat, minus cockpit. Fiberglass stringers and transversals are hat-section-shaped, filled with closed-cell urethane foam and thoroughly glassed into the hull. No chopper guns are used in the layup. Imron paint covers the gel coat on topsides and superstructure. There’s a barrier layer of Blisterguard below the waterline on the hull.

Underwriters-Laboratories-approved fuel tanks are made of fiberglass, rather than welded stainless-steel with seams that can crack. All though-hull fittings below the waterline are double-clamped and bonded. Electrical and plumbing runs are logically laid out, as is the fuel manifolding system.

The 67’s machinery spaces amidships (with standing headroom) are immense, particularly since the standard Onan 20kw genset, Cruisair unit and Speedaire air compressor are located in a separate generator room forward. It’s my opinion that on a boat of this size and complexity, the generators should be standard. Such is not the case here, though. A second Onan is optional ($18, 235).

Concerning layout, there are two especially noteworthy details that distinguish the 67 (and the 60 ED M/Y) from other in the Hatteras line. First, by putting an open, U-shaped galley and dinette area on the main deck with the salon, the entirety of the lower deck, except for the machinery spaces, can be devoted to berthing.

The Hatters 67 has four staterooms, including a full-beam master aft, with a whirlpool tub, private head, a VIP with queen-sized berth amidships and two more guest staterooms farther forward, one of which could be turned into a den or office.

The second note-worthy layout detail has to do with modifications that have been made to the 67’s deckhouse to enlarge the salon while ensuring the boat’s popularity on the international market, especially among boat-owners who like nice, wide sidedecks, so paid crew can do their jobs without having to pass through the salon.

While sidedecks have been retained on the 67, the house has been widened slightly and extended aft a couple of feet. By comparison with other Hatteras yachts, this makes the sidedecks narrower and shrinks the covered deck astern, a scenario that has one distinct advantage, a salon that’s BIG. The sidedecks on our test boat, by the way, were still wide enough to give the chunkiest of deckhands plenty of elbowroom.

The name Hatteras is not synonymous with bargain-basement prices. As noted earlier, a 67 EDC M/Y, with 12V-71Tas, separate, fully-equipped pilothouse and flying bridge with control station and large lounge/entertainment area, lists for $1,325,400. An Ocean Alexander 66 Flybridge M/Y with the same engines (and twin generators) will cost slightly less, about $1,300,000. Bear in mind, however, that the upscale, Taiwan-built Alexander is a larger boat, with a comparable LOA that does not include a cockpit. Perhaps a closer match is Viking’s new 65 Cockpit M/Y. it’s priced at $1,195,000, with twin 12V-71TAs.

A down and dirty synopsis? During our S-turn boogie woogie on the Neuse, as gruesome an orgy of punishment as I’ve ever seen a motor yacht’s steering gear endure, not a single door, drawer, light fixture or duette blind came adrift, anywhere onboard. From the radar mast on the flying bridge to the Rule 3500 pumps in the bilge, the 67 handled the whole fracas with clear, unclouded serenity…a fact that seemed to surprise Mr.Heine not in the least.