Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a production Hatteras 60. In fact, straight from the factory, it represents a fine, seaworthy vessel. But taking the old adage, “There’s never been a perfect boat” to heart – meaning perfect for everyone – owner Preston King decided that with a little customization, his boat could be perfect.
Everything electronic on Reel Time runs through a custom-written computer program that manages all the data displayed on any TV aboard. But that’s not all – that data can also all be sent to the owner’s home and displayed on any of his TVs there. The flexibility is extraordinary.
The electronics wizards at Micad completed all creative design work for controlling the entire onboard electronics suite. But the creation constitutes just half the challenge. To make such an installation look simple and clean is neither a simple nor a clean job. From experience, I can tell you that installing electronics in a logical fashion is a hard task that also requires artistic creativity. Crew West Marine Electronics gets the credit for pulling off this extraordinary layout and design.
Another custom feature ties the autopilot into the bow thrusters, so if you want to point the bow in a certain direction during a drift, you can set the autopilot, and it will hold you on that heading. You can also plug a desired sea-surface temperature into your sounder, then use it as a temperature waypoint and return to it time after time. Underwater cameras augment the cameras on each outrigger, the back of the flybridge, belowdecks and in the engine room, so no fish can hide anywhere in the spread.
I love the access to the tower from the flybridge. But let me back up. Perhaps the most unique custom feature on Reel Time is the fold-down buggy top on the tower. There is a relatively low, fixed bridge between the Pacific Ocean and the owner’s home. He couldn’t use a fixed tower and still be able to get his boat (docked behind his home) out to sea. Now, at the touch of a button on the flybridge, all the satellite domes and their attendant systems lock down. Then the antennas and the buggy top fold over toward the cockpit – below the level of the flybridge hardtop. And as a bonus, when the tower bucket is back up in place, it’s easy to get to and offers a secure spot from which to brace yourself during rough weather.
Reel Time also sports a pair of custom-built outriggers made from carbon fiber that are so light you can raise and lower them from the side decks one-handed!
All of the incredibly high-quality stainless-steel piping used for the rails, handles and so on is custom-made with welds ground to baby’s-bottom smoothness and polished to a full shine. Metal fabricator C-FAB produced all the stainless parts aboard, including the truly unique tower that, besides looking spectacular, sets this boat apart as one-of-a-kind.
Since this owner and crew travel quite far afield in their quest for big fish, several extra-large custom deep-freeze compartments on the flybridge ensure they’ll have plenty of good, trustworthy food.
West Coast anglers fish differently than their Atlantic brethren. Consequently, Reel Time’s owner installed a huge West Coast-style baitwell in the center of the cockpit that also supports the fighting chair or a removable
rocket launcher. You’ll find two more livewells up on the bow for casting live baits to sunning striped marlin or swordfish. Pacific anglers take their live-bait systems very seriously. Reel Time uses a two-speed air-conditioning pump to supply water to the baitwells. The pump is so powerful that the crew measures its flow not in gallons per hour, but rather in horsepower – 1½ horses, to be exact. Baitwell-pump redundancy includes DC pumps, plus a third separate pump for the wells on the bow.
Other changes and additions found in the cockpit include a much more advanced cockpit control station, a larger tackle station that Hatteras installed to its specifications and custom, thigh-high rails because walking to the bow is a much more frequent occurrence for West Coast fishermen. Yet another custom feature finds a full complement of tuna and mackerel tubes in the transom to hold rigged live baits so the crew can deploy them at a moment’s notice.
Since this boat anchors out often, Micad installed a specially designed inverter system with a heavy-duty bank of Northstar batteries. As soon as you shut down the generator, all systems automatically shift over to battery power through the inverter, and you can actually run everything except the freezers overnight without firing up a genset. The inverter system runs all the lighting, refrigeration in the galleys, audiovisual equipment, hair dryers, appliances, etc. And the freezers are all efficient enough that nothing defrosts overnight.
I have never been aboard any Hatteras with as much customization as Reel Time. From the customized livewell in the transom to the hydraulically operated tuna tower, this boat has been changed and upgraded to a dramatic effect. When asked why he chose to customize his production boat so extensively instead of just building from scratch, owner Preston King had this to say: “I was literally within minutes of plopping down a huge chunk of money for a much larger custom boat that had more of the features I wanted. But when I looked at this Hatteras 60, I realized that I could add the custom features I wanted and with the factory’s help, get exactly the boat with the amount of room I needed for considerably less money. It worked for me.”
You can read the original Hatteras 60 GT review we ran in Marlin (December/January 2008) to get a sense of what constitutes the loaded boat from the factory.
Power……T Caterpillar 1,800 hp C32 ACERT diesels
Hatteras Yachts / New Bern, North Carolina / 252-633-3101 / www.hatterasyachts.com