Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
Hatteras GT63 Mission Statement
The team at Hatteras showed no hesitation in stating that the mission statement of the GT63 Enclosed Flybridge is to provide the look, feel and customer experience of a custom convertible while still maintaining the peace-of-mind that can only come from a production boatbuilder such as Hatteras. The GT63 EFB is designed to break the 40-knot barrier (which I confirmed during the test), but also to provide a high level of luxury and comfort for the whole family when cruising. The GT63 is intended to be both a fishing machine and a good cruising boat in the finest traditions of the convertible concept. Finally, Hatteras intends the GT63 to be a collaboration between the customer and the builder to customize the boat as much as possible for the individual's needs and tastes.
In the rarified atmosphere of 60-something convertibles virtually all of the boats on the market these days are beautiful and well-built, and to a great degree look like each other. In fact, most of the distinguishing features of the Hatteras GT63 can't be seen with a casual walk-through at a boat show. Here is a list of some of the major elements of the GT63 that we think set her apart from her competitors--
Solid fiberglass bottom.
While it would certainly be easy to use a balsa core in the bottom and on the hull sides to make its boats lighter, that wouldn't be consistent with the hull strength that Hatteras has built its reputation on. All Hatteras hulls -- even the relatively light GT series -- does not budge on this point. The fact that the first Hatteras convertible ever built -- which was 52 years ago -- is still in service, makes the case. Above the water line in the hull Hatteras uses a solid, closed cell foam core.
Resin infusion has allowed Hatteras to build the GT's hull with a glass to resin ration of 60%, rather than the other way around. This allows laminates to be both stronger and lighter. Bulkheads and other parts are also vacuum infused for higher quality and lower weight.
When compared with other boats in this class the Hatteras GT63 has the shallowest draft. A lot of that has to do with the props being recessed into modest pockets under the hull. These pockets run fully back to the transom, and can even be seen from dockside. In addition to reducing draft, these pockets also reduce the shaft angle to 6 degrees which in turn creates more efficiency and higher speed. At 5'0" (1.52) draft the GT63 is able to go across the Bahamas Banks and navigate most places in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere.
With a 20' beam the Hatteras GT63 is also the widest yacht in class -- in one case by 1.5' (.45 m). That is a lot, and it pays off for the owner of the GT63 in many ways. For example, it means living spaces below are larger and beds are wider. It means more space in the engine room, and more room in the saloon and a deeper dinette. Added beam also means more stability both when running and when anchored.
In class, only Hatteras coats its hulls with polyurethane paint. Because gelcoat is porous it retains dirt which dulls the finish. Further, gelcoat oxidizes far faster than does polyurethane paint. All of this means that the finish on the GT63 will stay brighter and glossier longer, and will need a lot less maintenance. Paint is also far easier to repair.
Unique fuel tanks.
Hatteras pioneered the development of fiberglass fuel tanks which are hard to make. In the case of the GT63 there is one large fuel tank with baffles in the keel of the boat which is an integral part of the hull. This gets weight as low as possible in the vessel, adds to stability, and creates an effective second bottom where the tank is located. In class only Hatteras tanks are UL approved.
Proven Carolina design.
For over 80 years charter skippers on the famous Carolina Outer Banks made their living by taking anglers out to the continental shelf to catch big game. Many of these captains built their own boats in order to meet the demands of their very specialized profession. Their boats had to be fast and dry, seaworthy and sea-kindly, but also economical to operate. The Hatteras design team studied these boats and put their best attributes into the GT63.
Tank tested hull.
Truth be told, not many powerboat hulls are ever tank tested. The GT63's hull was tested at the world-famous Stevens Institute of Technology. Hatteras designers in collaboration with Donald L. Blount and Associates (arguably America's most famous and expert naval architects when it comes to powerboat hulls) have created a remarkable hull that I found to be both fast and comfortable.
The GT63's entry at the bow is as sharp as they come, but as the bottom moves aft it is warped from deep-V amidships to just 8-degrees at the transom. This gives the GT63 the flattest stern sections in class. These sections are one of the reasons that the boat can break the 40-knot barrier. They also make the boat a lot more stable both running and when at anchor. Because the forward sections take the seas and the stern is always fully immersed these aft sections have very little effect on riding comfort.
Engine room air intakes
Notice that the GT63 does not have large openings in her hull sides for engine room air intakes. The conventional system is vulnerable to sloppy seas and salty mist that can play havoc in an engine room. Hatteras brings air to the engine room through the inside of the gunwales in the cockpit -- the most protected and dry areas of the boat.
I cannot make a list of elements separating the GT63 from other boats in class without mentioning the engineering, technical staff, and shop floor personnel at Hatteras. They have an incredible depth of experience and that is why they had much to do with writing the ABYC standards that the entire U.S. boating industry uses as a building bible. The second part of the equation is expert and careful systems installations, which these days is one of the major aspects that defines one brand from another.
Performance and Handling
The Hatteras GT63 measures 63'10" (19.46 m) length overall with a 20’ (6.1 m) beam and a draft of 5' (1.5 m). Our test boat was fitted with a pair of CAT C32 ACERTs producing 1900-hp each.
We reached a top speed at 2310 rpm of 40.2 kts, basically the Holy Grail of speed for boats in this class. We had a 3/4 load of fuel aboard, half water and five grown men. At that speed she was burning 200 gph for a range of 344 nm. Best cruise came in at 1500 rpm with a speed of 22.6 kts. That reduced the fuel burn to 88 gph for a range of 436 nm. We had a very respectable time to plane of 9.3 seconds and reached 30 mph and 15.7 seconds. I think these are remarkably good speeds for such a heavy vessel (the FB version weights 102,000 lbs.) and this model weighs even more. Undoubtedly the open version will go even faster because of the reduced weight and windage.
As for sea handling capabilities, she tracks straight and true whether running into, behind, or beam to, all while exhibiting an approximately 5-degree bow high attitude. With her wide Carolina flared bow she throws water well off to the sides and produces a very dry ride.
She is most responsive to the helm at low speeds where the maneuverability around the dock was exemplary. As speed increases turning radius increases, so when you get offshore you won't be making any hard cranking and banking turns, and your guests will be very thankful for that.
With a simulated fish on, I was able to put over 10 kts on the GPS while backing down, and had full directional control over the stern. Minimum trolling speed was less than 2 knots and produced a crystal clean wake.
We’ve been saying for years that convertibles make great cruising boats, in addition to being battlewagons. The folks at Hatteras seem to agree as evidenced by this GT63 EFB. Her split-personality comes through loud and clear by looking at her battle-ready cockpit combined with a beautifully laid out interior that had me feeling like I was in a dedicated cruising motoryacht. Indeed, the GT63 is a motoryacht.
We'll begin with a look at the cockpit that features 173 sq ft. of open space and mezzanine seating for watching the action. Above is an extended overhead offering protection for the seating. Underneath the upper level of seating is an optional 7 cu ft. freezer and just below that is a standard bait box. To the center is access to the engine compartment and lazzarette. But remember, Hatteras will let you customizes these things to your heart's content.
To starboard is a bait center with a standard storage bin at the top, tackle storage below with drawers that are lined with stainless steel, the middle drawer has a cutting board that is removable and rubber feet will allow it to be placed on top of the bait center. Removable dividers allow for a wide assortment of gear to be placed inside. Below is a chilled box connected to an ice machine. At the steps leading to the saloon is a self-draining wet storage locker, and then a refrigerated drink box that holds four cases of beverages. Under the starboard gunwale is a door for connecting your shore cord and an enclosed gaff and boat hook storage compartment. Massive cleats are through-bolted to stainless backing plates and dock lines are lead through massive stainless hawespipes. At the transom is a tuna door that I found quite easy to access, with a hot/cold cockpit shower just inside the entry. A beefy dive ladder is all it would take to solidify this GT63 as a dive platform as well.
All the caprails are nonskid, and at the transom is a standard livewell that is aerated and macerated. To the port side is another shore power connection and both this, and the starboard connector, have electric reels. You'll be storing your catch in one of 2 – 60” (152.4 cm) flush-mounted in-deck fish boxes, with finished hatches held up by two stainless steel struts.
The engine room is accessed through a stairway that is exposed by lifting a section of the mezzanine seating in the cockpit. You first walk through the lazzarette with wide open storage space to both port and starboard, interspersed with some of the more mundane mechanical equipment i.e. compressor, air conditioning units. The control panels for the two cockpit freezers are also located here.
Continuing forward through a watertight door you enter a very well laid out engine room. There’s standing headroom between the engines (at least for me, call it 5"9"/1.75 m) and the gleaming white engine room is a study in efficiency. Our test boat was fitted with the twin CAT C32 ACERTs producing 1900-hp each. Both engines were bolted to through vibration reducing engine mounts in stringers that came up to my hips, and were 3'1" (.94 m) apart. All systems are easily accessible, and include a fixed fire extinguishing system, three 3700 gph bilge pumps, reversible oil changing system and remote engine control panels. A single 21.5 kW generator is standard, and our test boat was equipped with the optional second unit as well.
No air intake boxes.
Because the GT63 gets its engine room air from the cockpit there is no need for large air intake boxes or expensive demisting equipment. Thus there is much more room outboard of the engines, making 360-degress engine inspection easy even underway.
The enclosed flybridge is accessed via a ladder in the cockpit mounted at a roughly 20-degree angle, or an optional spiral staircase in the saloon. I would definitely opt for adding the spiral staircase as it takes you from a protected environment down below to another protective environment up above. The exposed cockpit ladder leads to the exposed after deck of the flybridge.Once again, Hatteras aims to please and if you would like to eliminate the interior staircase and use the space for something else, that can be done. I particularly like the spiral stairway because in a seaway there are banisters to lean against which gives a more secure feeling.
The flybridge is thoughtfully laid out with an L-shaped seat to port that includes rod storage underneath, and opposes a granite countertop with refrigerator underneath, and an optional flatscreen TV that pulls down from the overhead. Obviously a high table could be mounted here that would greatly add to the utility. Also, if you wanted to give up the view, more conventional sofa seating could be installed with a coffee table turning the space into more of a sky lounge.
The helm is forward mounted and flanked by double-wide observer seats both port and starboard. There is comfortable seating for two adults on each side to keep the skipper company. This is noteworthy because some builders fail to provide enough seating for companions facing forward. There is drawer storage underneath these seats and convenient footrests are built into the forward cabinets. Hatteras is not in the electronics business, and ships its boats with basic electronics. For that reason the helm looked rather Spartan on our test boat, but I could clearly see that there was more than enough room for four large screen displays, although Hatteras had configured it with room for three. I must commend the Hatteras designers for two things to do with this instrument console: first, they lowered it so the top of the screens do not rob much-needed visibility from the windshields as I often seen done on large motoryachts; second, the wheel is bus or truck-style, not a vertically-mounted destroyer wheel. While this may be a battlewagon, the bus-style mounting of the wheel is much more comfortable and much easier to use.
A pedestal-mounted helm seat was positioned in the center of the deck. A watertight door leads to the aft deck where there was a seat with storage next to the aft control station giving a commanding view of the cockpit. Naturally this control station had Palm Beach controls and I found them comfortable for my frame, allowing me to maintain a clear view of the action as I backed down on our mock fish. Hatteras can modify the height of this to suit any skipper.
Saloon and Galley
A pushbutton in the bulkhead actuates the automatic sliding door to the saloon. The entire deck level was surrounded on three sides by frameless tinted glass. Fabric overhead with wood trim is installed on a track system for ease of service. Immediately to port is an L-shaped leather sofa with storage underneath, and opposing the flatscreen TV and icemaker.Our test boat has a coffee table with a burlwood top which doubled as a storage container. There were two stools for the bar side of the galley island. The A/C comes wafting over the valances both port and starboard above the windows and this is a much classier-looking design than a more conventional grate running along just under the overhead.
The line between the saloon, and the galley/dinette is marked by the carpet ending and Amtico flooring beginning. A U-shaped settee is to port wrapping around a teak table on dual pedestals. The galley is to starboard and features top-of-the-line equipment in its L-shaped layout. The custom styling is evident from the granite countertop, to the tile back splash, and the raised woodwork on the expertly joined cabinetry. A flat surface four-burner stove lies just below a microwave concealed behind cabinets with a garage door type access. That microwave cabinet door is also connected to a micro switch that activates both the microwave and the stove beneath… neither will work with the door closed. There's enough free counter space to prepare a gourmet meal, and refrigerated drawers reside both in the galley proper, and the granite covered island in the center of the galley.
The companionway to the accommodations deck is offset slightly to the port side and creates another transition from the Amtico flooring to a carpeted deck. Our test boat featured the four-stateroom layout, but there is an optional three stateroom layout that includes office space. Additionally, there is a galley-down layout that also has accommodations for crew’s quarters.
The master stateroom has the same wainscoting and raised wood paneling that we saw above decks. This is a customizable item, so if you would prefer something else, go for it. Additionally, the master stateroom has a rich-looking sea of leather as the headboard, which gives a nice mix of old school charm combined with modern decor. Air-conditioning discharges are routed through the valances overhead.
Immediately to port from the companionway is the first guest stateroom, and this is the stateroom that can also be utilized as office space. Carpeting continues from bulkhead to bulkhead, the fabric headliner and bulkhead coverings are all on track systems for service access. The upper berth is a Pullman style that lifts out-of-the-way when more room is desired, or only a single berth is to be utilized. I was happy that the stateroom accommodated a full-length mirror, LED lighting, both a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, and separate climate control.It is important to note that this guest stateroom is across the passageway from the master and it has plenty of room. This is a place where the boat's 20' beam pays off.
There is a second guest stateroom forward and to port, that is much a mirror image of the aft guest stateroom with the exception of this one having two fixed berths rather than a Pullman berth.
Guest head/day head and laundry
The guest head is forward of the first stateroom on the port side. As the only entry to this head is exposed to the companionway, it also serves double purpose as a day head. We correctly move back to Amtico flooring but the decor theme of raised wood paneling and fabric wall covering continues. The same pattern of granite countertops that we saw in the master head, and indeed above decks, is repeated here. There are two storage cabinets flanking a mirror above the sink, the base cabinet has drawers and additional storage space.
Forward of the guest head is a door housing a stacked washer and dryer. Please note that these are separate units and not a small, combo type.
Bow VIP stateroom
Fully forward is the VIP stateroom with an en suite head. The stateroom features a tapered queen berth and much the same features that we've seen in the other staterooms. There is additional storage underneath the berth accessed by lifting the foot of the bed, which will in turn be held open by a pair of pneumatic struts. An overhead hatch provides natural light and ventilation, and is held in the closed position by four latches.
To starboard is the en suite head with much the same features as we've seen in the previous heads, including a separate shower stall and mirrored ceilings.
I think Hatteras did an exemplary job on the GT63. She is very fast yet offers a very sea-kindly and stable platform that has an inherent measure of safety and strength built-in. Her lines are classic yet as modern as tomorrow in the tony world of big game sportfishing. I like her tumble home at the stern with the protruding streamlined pods that cover her side-mounted cockpit scuppers. How cool is that?Clearly, this yacht was not made for a bunch of guys on a simple overnight fishing trip to the canyons. She is a much more sophisticated boat than that. Rather, this is a solid fishing platform built around a trusted pedigree that can also be used as a comfortable cruising yacht.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Hatteras GT 63 (2012-) is 46.3 mph (74.5 kph), burning 200.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 757 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Hatteras GT 63 (2012-) is 40.0 mph (64.4 kph), and the boat gets 0.26 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.11 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 450 miles (724.2 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 1900-hp CAT C32 ACERT.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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