As I inspected the Hatteras 92 motor-yacht, I could not help but wonder what Hatteras' founder, Willis Slane, would think as he stepped aboard such a vessel. Slane created the company with the aim of taming North Carolina's Hatteras Inlet. He chose a talented young designer, Jack Hargrave, and a new material, fiberglass, to build his dream. The successful results of this effort spawned a fleet of Hatteras sport fishing boats and motoryachts that over the years has expanded and changed with the market.
I suspect Slane would have been amazed at the size and sophistication of the 92. I also believe he would recognize the 92 as a product of the seed he planted 40 years ago. Hatteras avoided chasing the Euro-styling craze and has evolved in smaller, more cautious steps. Yes, the company has used the term "Euro" to describe a design or two, but it has not compromised its heritage in the 92. Hargrave's influence on styling is still evident. The 92 has clean, functional lines that please my conservative American tastes.
The Hatteras 92 offers a standard arrangement with side decks. A second version has a full-beam deckhouse aft. The tradeoff for more interior space may seem attractive, but you lose privacy and line-handling access in the deal. In my view, for these reasons, side decks are a must. The 92's afterdeck has built-in seating and a properly designed overhang that provides protection from the elements. It also could be enclosed with isenglass if desired. Above, the full overhang increases real estate on the boat deck. Here again, Hatteras has not given in to the stylist's pen. While the look might be considered less sleek by the inexperienced eye, good design makes sense and stubby overhangs do not. There is access to the flying bridge helm station from the raised pilothouse. An adjacent exterior lounge area has a wet bar, and the boat deck aft has access to the afterdeck.
The main deck arrangement has the saloon aft and a day head amidships. The space forward of the raised pilothouse can be arranged with a formal dining saloon and galley or an informal open galley layout. Two belowdecks arrangements are available. One has the crew's quarters forward with a VIP stateroom aft, and the other has the crew's quarters aft with a VIP stateroom forward. In either case, a full-beam master suite and two guest staterooms are amidships. Traditionally, crew accommodations aboard motoryachts were forward as this area is less spacious and less comfortable in a seaway. This location also placed the crew close to the pilothouse and engineroom, which was usually slightly forward of amidships. As cruising speeds increased in the 1980s, it became desirable to shift fixed weights, such as engines, aft and crew quarters followed. The best choice depends upon how an owner intends to use the vessel.
American designs, such as the 92, have more free space than many European designs. The master berth is king-size, and drawers and closets are useful, not simply decorative. Heads are accessible, and average Americans will fit in the showers. Laugh if you like, but these simple features are the cornerstone of cruising comfort. The 92 I inspected was finished in maple. African mahogany (shown) is offered as an option. Joinery detail and workmanship are in keeping with Hatteras' high standards.
The hull and superstructure are built of molded fiberglass. Hatteras uses a single adjustable mold with a 22'6" beam for its yachts from 84' to 100'. Superstructures are molded with a series of tooling, then assembled. The gelcoated hulls and superstructures are painted with urethane. For the record I have found Hatteras yachts built in the 1970s with finishes that are still serviceable today.
The hull is a hand-laminated combination of woven and stitched reinforcements set in polyester resin. A vinylester skin coat reduces the possibility of blistering. The solid bottom averages 1" thick. Foam coring is used in the topsides, superstructure and decks to increase stiffness and reduce weight. Stringers are fiberglass and capped with aluminum channels in the machinery space to provide foundations for the engines. Fiberglass structural bulkheads, web frames and interior soles are cored with foam, which is vacuum-bagged into place. Fiberglass fuel tanks are built independently of the hull, using fire-retardant resin. In my view, fiberglass is superior to other materials in this application and while building tankage integrally with the hull can save weight, I prefer not mixing fuel with structure. "Over-built" is the term sometimes used to describe the conservative Hatteras approach to boatbuilding. The fact is, Hatteras' methods are proven and have stood the test of time.
The semi-displacement hull was one of Jack Hargrave's last efforts. It has a double chine, relatively full forward sections and a deadrise of 6.5 degrees at the transom. A moderate keel enhances tracking at speed and reduces the effects of windage while maneuvering dockside.
A pair of 1,800 hp, Detroit Diesel/MTU 16V-2000s turn Twin Disc 4.72:1-reduction gears. Hatteras prefers the efficiencies of deeper reductions and plenty of blade area. The downside is the additional draft required by the larger wheels. The 6-foot 6-inch draft is achieved by tucking the 60- by 76-inch, six-bladed wheels into deep tunnels. Factory sea trial data indicates a top speed of 23-25 knots and a cruising speed of 21-22 knots. The 4,005 gallon fuel capacity should allow a range of approximately 587 nautical miles at 21 knots.
Old Hatteras yachts command top dollar these days for two reasons: They were well-built, and their designs were conceived without consideration for passing fancy. The 92 is no exception. It will cost about $6.3 million. This includes significant standard features, such as stabilizers, bow thruster and two 35 kW generators.
Contact: Hatteras Yachts, (252) 633-3101; www.hatterasyachts.com.