GT65 Carolina in the Launch & Delivery Phase
The highly anticipated debut of the new Hatteras GT65 Carolina at the Miami Yacht Show is just around the corner on Feb. 13-17. But before that can happen, this beautiful new sportfish needs to complete the final phase of its construction process in “Launch & Delivery,” or “L&D” for short.
First, Monique Richter, owner of “Creations by Monique Richter,” arrived at the Hatteras factory to paint the first new GT65 Carolina’s name (and the name of her owners’ fishing team) Fish Tank, on the transom. She also hand-painted faux teak on the cap rail and the flybridge half-round, adding to the yacht’s uniqueness.
Next came the big moment: The Hatteras team launched the GT65 Carolina into the water at the factory docks. Seeing the yacht in her element put a proud smile on the face of everyone who participated in her build process, from design and layup to wiring, installation, and paint.
Then L&D began in earnest ‒ an intense period of testing for every new Hatteras, both at the dock and on sea trials on the Neuse River, which runs through New Bern, N.C.
“All of the systems are fired up ‒ the AC, engines, generators, Seakeepers, etc.,” said Jeff Donahue, Hatteras Yachts director of sportfishing.
“Caterpillar validates the engines during sea trials.”
At the same time, outfitting continues both in the boat’s interior and exterior. The tower and outriggers are installed. The live well and cockpit systems are checked and doublechecked.
"Everything that has an on/off switch is run during L&D,” Jeff said.
Custom fishing items such as the tuna tubes that Fish Tank’s owners ordered also are fitted onto the boat at this point. The electronics package is installed at the helm and tested. Hatteras allows owners to pick the electronics system of their choice for their new boat.
Finally, all the soft goods designed for the interior are delivered to the boat and set in place on board. They have been wrapped and stored carefully up until this point in order to keep them pristine. If you get the chance to tour the new GT65 Carolina at the Miami Yacht Show, you’ll see what we mean. Donahue has seen a lot of Hatteras sportfishing yachts delivered, but Fish Tank, with its high level of customization, really stands out.
“It turned out to be everything we wanted it to be,” he said.
GT65 Carolina in the Paint Shop
One of the last stops that a yacht under construction at our New Bern factory makes is the Paint Shop—and now it’s the GT65 Carolina’s turn. She’s in for a lot more than just a quick coat of paint, however. At Hatteras Yachts, achieving a beautiful, glass-smooth finish involves ten steps utilizing six different materials and takes a crew of up to twenty workers more than ten days to complete.
The first step in the finishing process is to dewax the hull by stripping and sanding its original gelcoat exterior. All surfaces are coated with a blue dye, which helps the paint crew to identify any high or low spots and eliminate them.
Next come the protective coatings, which help to prevent blistering and add additional layers of protection that enable the hull to withstand the punishment it will take in rough conditions offshore. Below the waterline, two layers of epoxy barrier coat are applied, as well as two coats of anti-fouling paint. Above the waterline, the yacht receives three applications of polyurethane topcoat. In between coats, the workers sand all the surfaces by hand, a procedure that can take several days.
The yacht’s superstructure, which has all its windows and ports masked, receives the same meticulous attention. Every square inch is sanded by hand for hours. Extra time is spent on the areas around the windows and doors, ensuring that all lines are crisp and every surface has a mirror finish.
Owners can have their Hatteras yacht’s hull (above the waterline) and topsides custom-painted any color they choose. Laura and Chris Jessen, owners of the first GT65 Carolina, Fish Tank, specified their fishing team’s signature blue-gray shade for their new boat. The exterior paint contains a UV coating to help shield the color and finish from the sun.
All this attention to detail will pay off in a smooth, beautiful finish, higher durability, lower maintenance and greater longevity for the yacht.
You will be able to see the results for yourself when the GT65 Carolina makes its world debut at the Miami Yacht Show, February 13-17 in Miami, Florida. Sign up for your tour now at HatterasRSVP.com.
Attaching the Superstructure
Up until now, the hull and superstructure of the new Hatteras GT65 Carolina have been built in two separate parts that traveled down the line next to each other. After laying up the hull and pulling it from its mold, we kept it open in order to be able to install the boat’s engines, plumbing, electrical wiring, luxury furnishings, and componentry in it more easily.
Once that part of the build process was complete, it was time to lift the yacht’s superstructure up via the heavy-duty crane system we have installed in the factory ceiling. Then, we lowered it gently onto the hull, with the two parts overlapping to form a perfect “shoebox” fit.
Next, our workers used a four-part process of adhesive caulking, fiberglass, Monel screws every three inches, and a heavy-duty 316L stainless steel rub rail to bond the hull and super together. The result is a unified hull and superstructure that won’t flex even when the GT65 Carolina’s owners are fishing on it in rough conditions offshore.
The GT65 Carolina’s Fresh and Functional Interior Design
How do you take a highly successful luxury sportfishing yacht series to the next level? By paying fanatical attention to every design detail. So, when we decided to replace the Hatteras GT63 with the next-gen GT65 Carolina, we not only enhanced the new model’s exterior lines and improved its sportfishing functionality, but we also created a yacht with the most beautiful, functional and flexible interior design on the offshore tournament circuit today.
In doing so, the Hatteras Yachts in-house design and engineering team has had the pleasure of working with award-winning anglers Laura and Chris Jessen, owners of GT65 Carolina Hull #1, currently in build at our factory in New Bern, N.C. The Jessens have drawn on the experience they’ve gained over the past six years successfully campaigning their Hatteras GT63 Fish Tank to curate and customize their new GT65 Carolina.
“Chris and Laura are heavily involved,” said Hatteras Yachts Interior Designer Cullen Moser. “They know what they like and what they don’t, so the process has been great! Surprisingly, that makes for a much easier build. They use their boat and they use it a lot, so having their input from start to finish will only make the new one function better for them and their crew. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters.”
The GT65 Carolina’s interior layout differs from the GT63’s floorplan in several significant ways. “We started with the layout and design of the salon and galley area, which resulted in a more traditional sportfish peninsula layout as opposed to the island layout we did on the GT63,” Cullen said. Other GT65 Carolina owners will have the option of choosing a peninsula or island counter for their boat depending on their individual preference.
In addition, Cullen said, “The stairs to the lower level have shifted slightly to the port side, which has allowed the master stateroom to get a little bigger than on the GT63.”
Below decks on the GT65 Carolina, a spacious four-stateroom, three-head arrangement is standard, but owners can choose from several different versions. “We are offering a 60-40 split-bow arrangement, as well as a tackle room where the port aft stateroom typically is,” Cullen said.
The interior design process for the new boat began in earnest the first time the Jessens came to the Hatteras factory and Cullen showed them an array of different woods, stonework, soft goods and other materials to choose from. Her collaboration with Laura and Chris has resulted in a fresh new look for the GT Series.
“The interior of the new Fish Tank is by far the most contemporary sportfish interior I have ever been a part of,” Cullen said. “All aspects of the boat are indicative of contemporary design – from the wood selection and cabinetry details to furniture and lighting.”
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Cullen Moser on the interior design of our GT65,” said Laura Jessen. “My vision for this boat has been far from traditional since day one and Cullen jumped right onboard. She came to our home and got a feel for what we were looking for – a light and bright coastal contemporary interior with durable, low-maintenance fabrics and finishes. Moving away from the traditional dark red-toned woods and high-gloss interiors.”
“One of the first decisions we needed to make was the wood we would be using for their cabinetry throughout their boat,” Cullen said. “I had a couple of selections for them that leaned toward the contemporary side and ultimately they chose Beechwood Grey. The selection of the wood drove the remainder of the design decisions from flooring to countertops to all soft goods that would go in the boat. The countertops in the galley and all of the heads are quartz. The colors are muted with small pops of color in each area. We also are utilizing materials that can withstand high use and traffic, including solid-surface tops on nightstands and dressers; LVP in the entire upper level, as well as the lower companionway and port-side staterooms, and fabrics from companies such as Perennials, Holly Hunt and Ultrafabrics. All of the lighting on this boat has been chosen specifically for this project to complement and enhance the overall look and feel of the interior. We are using LED overhead light fixtures from BCM, which are square with a white metal bezel.
Cullen continued, “There are so many unique items on this boat that we are incorporating into all areas of the interior. We are working with Release Marine, who will be staining the teak on the helm chairs and fighting chairs a custom gray to complement the interior wood. The toe rail, belly band and salon door will be faux-painted by Monique Richter to match these pieces from Release.”
The Jessens’ GT65 Carolina will reflect the couple’s personal tastes and requirements throughout. “There are very few areas in this boat that have not been specifically designed for this particular project,” Cullen said. “It is by far the most custom interior sportfish I have done with Hatteras.”
“It’s been a fun and seamless process from laying out the salon, bedrooms and baths to choosing soft and hard goods,” Laura said. “This interior definitely will be the first-of-its-kind on a sportfish and we couldn’t be more excited to see it come to fruition.”
Forged by 60 Years of Innovation: The Hatteras GT65 Carolina’s Hull
Ever since Hatteras Yachts pioneered the use of fiberglass instead of wood for building pleasure boats over 40 feet with our first sportfish, the Knit Wits, back in 1959, we’ve been introducing technological innovations to the yachting industry. Over the past 60 years, we’ve launched a long list of industry firsts (click here to learn more).
So, it should come as no surprise that the Hatteras Yachts engineering team has been utilizing advancing technology – and developing some of our own – to design and build the first GT65 Carolina, now under construction at our factory in New Bern, N.C.
“The design goals for the GT65 Carolina were greater speed, improved efficiency, better fuel economy, and a smoother ride,” said Glenn L. Spain, Hatteras | CABO Yachts mechanical engineering manager. In order to achieve this, he continued, the engineering team used high-tech Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to test and refine the GT65 Carolina’s new hullform.
“We create a digital model of the hull in the computer. We locate the center of gravity, weight of the boat and the desired speed,” Spain said. “The program iterates the calculations for power required until the result converges. This takes approximately 23 hours per data point. We ran dozens of data points to establish the idea design for weight and LCG.”
An evolution of the proven Hatteras GT Series performance hull, the GT65 Carolina’s propriety hullform features a new propeller tunnel design.
“We reviewed and redesigned the propeller tunnel entry design to improve water flow into the propeller, providing more thrust per horsepower,” Spain said. The new hull is designed to get owners to the fishing grounds or their next boating adventure at fast cruise speed in the mid-30-knot range, and a top end of over 40 knots.
Standard power for the GT65 Carolina will be muscular workhorses – twin Caterpillar® C-32A 1,600 BHP diesel engines. Owners who want to lead the fishing fleet can upgrade to twin CAT C-32A 1,800 BHP diesels or twin CAT C-32A 1,900 BHP diesels.
The GT65 Carolina’s hull also is purpose-designed to accommodate the latest gyro stabilizing system from Seakeeper – twin Seakeeper 9s – without compromising fuel capacity or range. These new units will provide additional comfort on board the yacht when seas get choppy while you are trolling for big fish or hanging on the hook overnight.
Once the hull design for the GT65 Carolina was blueprinted, a mold was created and its high-tech construction began in the Hatteras Yachts Lamination department.
“We used a technique to lay up the hull that we call ‘integrated infusion’,” said Bob Arthur, Hatteras | CABO Yachts manager, structures and composites. “The longitudinal stringers, made of cross-linked PVC foam, are resin-infused at the same time as the hull, creating a monolithic unit,” he said.
Hatteras, once again, is pioneering this new process for the production yacht-building industry.
“It saves weight and adds strength to the hull,” Arthur said. “We used a relatively new vinylester resin formula and special fiberglass in the layup. In the end, the GT65 Carolina doesn’t weigh appreciably more than the GT63.” He continued, “We’ve been resin-infusing hulls for a long time, but we’ve really upped the ante with the GT65 Carolina.”
A Bigger Fish Tank
Chris and Laura Jessen, their longtime sportfishing captain, Ben Horning, and the Fish Tank Sportfishing team have racked up some amazing accomplishments over the past seven years in their Hatteras GT63 Fish Tank – including winning the 2019 Los Sueños Triple Crown billfish tournament series off Costa Rica.
Recently, they decided to take all the experience they’ve gained in successfully campaigning their boat and collaborate with Hatteras Yachts to design a larger tournament-level sportfish. The result is the new GT65 Carolina, which will unleash the next generation of GT Series convertibles when it launches in late 2019.
“We’ve been fishing on our Hatteras GT63 since 2012, and we chose Hatteras again because we have had a tremendous experience,” said Chris Jessen. “They build a high-quality boat at Hatteras with amazing attention to detail. We’re honored that our ideas and designs will live beyond our boat and influence the legendary Hatteras Sportfishing line.”
“Hatteras is thrilled to collaborate with Fish Tank Sportfishing,” said Hatteras Yachts President and CEO Kelly Grindle. “Chris, Laura, and Captain Ben have incredible expertise, have logged thousands of hours on the water, and have released countless fish. We will be designing a boat where every detail has been considered by world-class anglers.”
The sleek GT65 Carolina will take the GT Series in a fresh design direction while still maintaining its core DNA. The new model also offers accomplished anglers like the Jessens the ability to add a high level of customization to their new boat.
“The Jessens have been in near constant contact with the Hatteras design and engineering teams about this boat,” said Cullen Moser, Hatteras interior designer. “Everything has been well thought out, down to the custom-designed tackle center. This boat is truly made for them.”
The GT65 Carolina features a flybridge designed for the professional sportfishing captain, including a flush-mounted “glass cockpit” instrument array at the helm and excellent sightlines. A curved, ergonomic ladder leads down to the huge cockpit below, where every square foot maximizes fishability and comfort. The mezzanine incorporates optional integrated seatback air conditioning, along with large, standard stainless-steel built-in storage boxes.
The Jessens’ new Fish Tank will be optimized for catch-and-release angling, while other owners can add the fishing features and equipment that suits their personal angling style. The GT65 Carolina’s four-stateroom, three-head interior layout takes full advantage the boat’s added volume over the GT63, both in living and storage space. The large salon/galley arrangement is wide open to ease traffic flow, provides breathtaking views through the huge windows, and gives owners the space to entertain and feed a crowd. The fully equipped galley includes a peninsula counter with room to entertain friends.
Below, the master stateroom is the largest found in a convertible of this class. Both the master and the forward VIP feature en suite heads. The standard lower-deck arrangement also includes two large guest cabins with bunks, with a shared head between them.
Hatteras GT Series boats are designed to top out at over 40 knots and to cruise in the mid-30-knot range, even in rough conditions offshore. For the GT65 Carolina, the Hatteras engineering team utilized Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to create a new hullform and tunnel design that will take the boat’s performance and handling to the next level. In addition, the hull and stringer system will be infused as a single part, an industry first, to reduce weight and increase strength.
The GT65 Carolina features an all-new engine room layout for ease of maintenance and serviceability. In addition, it is purpose-designed to operate with optional twin Seakeeper 9s without impacting fuel capacity, for owners seeking additional comfort at sea.