The field of tournament fishing boats has become crowded in the past 10 years. Boatbuilding legends and young upstarts have been locked in battle, creating custom masterpieces with no expense spared. Production convertible builders have reinvented themselves by launching ever-faster and more sophisticated designs geared toward serious fishermen. Hatteras has stepped up to the plate with the GT series of designs, which includes a 54, a 60 and a new 63-footer I recently sea-trialed in south Florida. I have several Hatteras yachts on my short list of favorites — now I’ll have to make room for another.
Hatteras did its homework for the GT series, and the company suggests that it did not have to look far for inspiration. A handful of small custom yards on North Carolina’s Outer Banks have been building sport-fishing boats for a generation, and these days they compete head-to-head with custom tournament boatbuilders in southern Florida. Carolina boats are known for the tumblehome in their after sections and generous flam in their forward sections — “Carolina flare” in the local vernacular. Today the two regional schools have in many ways melded, setting new standards for styling, finish and performance. To my eye it is this standard that defines the GT63.
The sweep of the GT63’s sheer and her tumblehome aft are a tip of the hat to her birthplace; still, her Hatteras pedigree shines through. This DNA has its roots in the very first tournament boat designs — the first Hatteras was penned by the late designer Jack Hargrave, who began his career at the Rybovich yard in southern Florida. The cut of the GT63’s stem and the modest flare/flam in her forward sections are not overdone — they’re perfect. Her soft, sculptured house lines are not boxy or exaggerated — they’re balanced. In my opinion she is one of the best-looking boats Hatteras has launched in years.
The GT series has a look and feel that is tailored to the high-end tournament market. Our test boat’s standard arrangement had four staterooms and three heads, with an en suite midship master and a larger stateroom forward. Two guest staterooms, with upper and lower berths, share a third head, which has access from the passageway. The main cabin is open, with a salon area aft and a galley and dinette forward. An optional layout with three staterooms and an office may be practical for some, while the optional three-stateroom arrangement with galley down seems a bit odd for a boat of this size. According to Hatteras, this arrangement is directed toward the European and Middle Eastern markets. Our test boat’s satin-finish, raised-panel cherry interior was beautifully crafted. Satin-finish mahogany is also available.