Hatteras Crosses the Rubicon

A Hatteras GT63 cruises — on her own bottom — from Bermuda to the Azores, refueling three times during the transatlantic.

hatteras gt63
Views like this one from a Hatteras GT63 sistership are virtually all the Post One crew had for about 4,000 miles.Hatteras

Capt. John Crupi feared the "what ifs." It was, after all, believed to be the first time a boat of this kind might do what he was preparing to do with Post One.

She’s a Hatteras GT63 with a 1,900-gallon fuel capacity that will get her to the canyons at 40-plus knots, but not across oceans. And yet, that’s what her owner wanted.

The crew had endured a few bad experiences in 15 years of towing a 45-footer, and transport ships didn't offer routes near the grounds the owner wanted to fish. So, the idea was to cruise Post One on her own bottom 4,085 miles from Panama to Bermuda to the Azores, in tandem with the owner's mothership, the 148-foot Cheoy Lee Dorothea III. The team had to figure out how to transfer diesel to the Hatteras from the mothership's reserves.

Underway. Three times during the trip from Bermuda to the Azores alone. At 1,500 gallons a pop.

First, they tested a side-by-side setup, but wakes from both boats created havoc. Then they tossed a messenger line with a monkey’s fist at the end to the Hatteras’ bow. “We pretended that the messenger line was a fuel hose, to see if we could keep it there at 10 knots,” Crupi says.

Testing the Toughness of a Tournament Machine

hatteras gt63
(Clockwise from left) The 20-foot beam on the Hatteras GT63 not only helps in rough seas, but also allows for sizable accommodations belowdecks. The standard layout includes three heads and four staterooms: two with double berths for couples, and two with bunk-style twin berths for kids or crew; The crew of the Cheoy Lee Dorothea III keeps an eye on the sport-fishing tender Post One during the transatlantic crossing; Command central is on the flybridge, with guest seating to port and starboard for spotting the bite in all directions.Hatteras

That worked in seas up to 6 feet, so the system became attaching a fuel line to the messenger line. Crew would connect it to a special fitting and open a valve to transfer fuel. Post One got nail-biting low on fuel once as they waited out 6- to 8-footers, but "from that point," Crupi says, "it was pretty easy."

They’re ready to do it again, on November’s return crossing to Brazil — 3,000-plus miles.

“We’re an aggressive program,” Crupi told Yachting from the Azores in August, shortly after hooking up a 700-pound blue marlin. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”