With the Cabo Yachts brand getting absorbed into the fold at Hatteras, the folks at the headquarters of the storied brand from New Bern, North Carolina, had a great opportunity to increase model offerings, and the new Hatteras 45 Express Cruiser combines the best of both brands. A roomy helm deck, ample fishing room in the cockpit and a well-appointed belowdecks living area make this a desirable rig for owners wishing to run their own boat with liveaboard capacity and the social aspects that express boats offer. Hatteras offers the 45 Express in Cruiser and Sportfish configurations, as well as in two layouts: single-state and two-stateroom models.
We tested the single version. This flexibility makes the boat appealing for those looking for that midsize express for living space, fishing room and a large helm deck where everyone is part of the action.
The helm sits along the centerline with two helm chairs, single-lever controls and the engine user interfaces in easy view.
The electronics screens lie within reach of the helmsman on their molded dash panel.
The frameless windscreen provides good visibility forward from the helm, but the curtain configuration on the test boat limits visibility aft a little bit. A large cabinet with a countertop, a refrigerator and heaps of storage underneath sit along the starboard side of the helm deck. To port, a large, L-shaped bench seat comes with a table and more storage.
Helm and Cockpit Seating
The cockpit on the 45EX comes with a complete sculpted mezzanine deck to port, with the entrance to the helm deck lying offset to starboard. Fully outboard to starboard, a storage cabinet contains an insulated drink box in the top.
The mezzanine has storage beneath it and offers a great place to watch the baits on an offshore trolling day. Under the mezzanine deck to port lies an insulated box, and to starboard, a large storage bin sits under the deck. A molded armrest for the mezzanine seat has a drink holder along the inboard end of the seat.
Our test boat has fold-out seating under the gunwales that make the cockpit a great place to hang out after a day fishing. A 56-gallon combo fish box/livewell with an observation panel window comes molded into the transom. Two large, deep fish boxes that double as storage lie in the cockpit sole. Lazarette access is along the centerline aft and opens up for good access to rudder ports and the aft bilge pumps and storage.
Salon, Galley and Stateroom
All the way forward, the master stateroom features a queen island berth, with storage beneath and above it along the outboard walls. A door aft and to starboard in the stateroom opens into the ample head, which contains a large vanity, designer fixtures, a shower and mirrored cabinets. You can also access the head from the main cabin without entering the master stateroom.
The salon area of the 45EX houses the full galley, which is set to starboard, with good counter space, a big sink, storage cabinets above and below, and a microwave and cooktop. Two refrigerator/freezer doors sit under a counter along the aft bulkhead of the salon area. A long bench along the port outboard has a good deal of storage underneath it. Moving up to the helm deck, the entrance to the belowdecks area is offset to starboard, making the helm area nice and uncluttered.
The 45EX has an integral molded hardtop and house sides, with large windows and an open bulkhead with clear drop-down curtains to enclose the helm deck. This rigid house creates an air-conditioned space without the leaks and temperature-regulation variances that typical express boats with canvas enclosures suffer from.
You get to the engine room through the helm-deck floor hatch. The C18A Caterpillars are nicely nested in the space. Things are a bit tight, but for a 45-footer, she offers good access to raw-water pumps, belts, filters and the like. The generator sits back under the mezzanine deck, where it might be tough to work on, but the basics, such as checking oil, should be easy. The electrical, plumbing and equipment layout and execution is clean and tight.
We ran the 45EX on a beautiful South Florida day with a 10-knot breeze out of the north and sunny skies. The 45 seemed quite nimble and maneuvered well, with her beam providing good separation of her props and rudders. She trolled clean at sailfish speeds and a quicker speed for lures, and she sat nicely for drifting or flying kites. Pushing her up on plane caused little bow lift, and the horizon was not lost on acceleration. She gained speed quickly, making 20.2 knots at 1,400 rpm, burning a mere 25 gph. Advancing the throttles to 1,600 rpm, she burned 32 gph at 26.9 knots, quite a gain in power and speed for not much more fuel per hour. A fast cruise of 2,000 rpm produces 35.9 knots at 43 gph, and on the pins, the 45EX turned 2,330, zipping along at an honest 40.5 knots while burning 60 gph.
Versatility of the 45EX
The 45EX offers a good deal of amenities in a spacious midsize express. Her stylish looks, plush accommodations and noteworthy performance make her a candidate for the short list of anyone looking for an express capable of reaching the offshore fishing grounds, or a great liveaboard for weekending.