Go Get ‘Em
A trip to the Bahamas shows that this 63-footer has taken fishablity, speed, and comfort to the next level.
The Hatteras GT63 Open Flybridge isn’t your ordinary battlewagon. She can scream over the waves and keep you comfy all at the same time. Not to mention, she’s well-equipped to catch some fish.
I was sitting at the helm of the Hatteras GT63 convertible with my hands on the wheel, comfortably seated in the optional Pompanette International Series ladder-back helm chair. Below decks twin 1,900-horsepower Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels (optional) purred at 1750 rpm, and with a full load of fuel and water and five crew, my test boat was cruising along at a cool 30 knots over the abyss and toward the aquamarine shallows of Bimini.
To say that Hatteras has come up with smooth-riding hulls for its GT Series is an understatement. The sea was admittedly calm, but I think it was the 63’s solid fiberglass variable-deadrise hull with its fine entry, convex foresections, and near-flat running surface that nearly lulled my crew into dreamland. That hull and the 63’s fiberglass stringers are laminated using resin infusion, which optimizes the glass-to-resin ratio and in turn offers a stronger structure with lighter weight than a comparably sized hand-laid boat.
The night before our departure, I’d crashed in the queen-berth-equipped forepeak VIP of this four-stateroom battlewagon (a three-stateroom option is available), and after setting the Cruisair air conditioning to a comfy 69 degress and breaking out a book, I fell out before even getting to chapter one. Heck, the next morning my iPhone alarm was ringing for two minutes before I heard it. As someone who spends a lot of time sleeping onboard boats, I can say with confidence and from experience that this one is comfy.
One thing that wasn’t sleepy was the 63’s performance. While her 30 knot, 1750-rpm cruise—at about 68 percent engine load and 124 gallons per hour—was enough to get us to Bimini in 90 minutes, she could’ve easily shortened the trip. Her 2000-rpm cruise speed, which will be more of a real-world setting on nice days, averaged out to 35.4 knots. That ups the burn to 152 gallons per hour, but for the hardcore sportfisherman it means a good shot at being the first boat out to the fishing grounds on tournament day. And speaking of leading the pack—in slick-calm conditions, our 63 averaged a top hop of 40.1 knots at 2250 rpm.
Not only that, but our boat was definitely equipped to catch. In her optional teak cockpit sole were two fishboxes capable of holding several bigeye tuna while under the mezzanine was enough freezer bait stowage for several tournament stops. In addition, the Pipewelders outriggers and tower give this beast the tools for hunting down billfish feeding on baitballs and the ability to spot tailing swordfish cruising on top. She was also outfitted with an optional Pompanette fighting chair for those days when the marlin are just too big to fight standing up. Fish or no fish, it was still great to be out there trolling and watching the four-rod spread skipping along, towed by the ’riggers while the squid chains were being pulled by the optional Maya Epoch electric teaser reels. But all too soon we pulled lines and headed back to the Club. At 40 knots, it didn’t take long to get there.