Used Boat Review: Hatteras 70 Series 2 Motoryacht
The timeless Hatteras 70 Series 2 Motoryacht proves the qualities and design elements required for a comfortable cruiser are just as relevant today as they were 30 years ago.
The story of Hatteras Yachts is awash with iconic models that blazed a boating trail. Willis Slane, founder of Hatteras Yachts in North Carolina, arguably launched production fiberglass powerboats in the United States in 1960. Slane’s passion for fishing is legendary as was his motivation for the development of the historic Hatteras 41 Convertible Yacht Fisherman, the largest fiberglass boat built at that time. Hull No. 1 was christened Knit Wits on March 22, 1960, and is still fishing today (discover photos of this ageless beauty at pmymag.com/july15).
Riding a wave of success with the 41 Convertible after the 1962 New York Boat Show, Slane commissioned yacht designer Jack Hargrave to reconfigure the deckhouse into a double cabin. Under the guidance of Hatteras general manager Don Mucklow, the craftsmen of Hatteras introduced the Hatteras 41 Double Cabin Motoryacht faster than green grass goes through a goose. In four months the already-respected Hatteras logo was on a motoryacht for the first time. Hargrave would go on to put his signature on all Hatteras models for more than three decades.
The single most popular was the 53, of which a total of 573 hulls were built during a 12-year period—349 were configured as motor-yachts and 224 became convertibles.
Willis Slane would die at age 44 in November of 1965. Prior to his untimely demise, Slane—always with his eye on the future and perhaps sensing his declining health—called up original Hatteras investor, David R. Parker and reportedly said, “You better get off your butt and come over here and protect your investment.” Parker certainly did and more, taking over the helm for the next 20 years. In 1968 Parker negotiated a sale of the company to North American Rockwell.
This is where the story of the 70 begins. Having substantial financial backing from its new parent company, Hatteras was able to launch 13 new models during the North American Rockwell reign, including the Hatteras 70 Motoryacht Series 1 in June 1970. North American Rockwell would rethink their involvement in the yacht industry by 1972 and sell to AMF, Inc. AMF continued to produce the 70 Motoryachts Series until March 1981. Moreover, the company delivered the first 70 Extended Deckhouse models in July 1976, and built 20 EDH’s before the model was discontinued in April 1983.
Shortly thereafter, in 1984, a company owned by investor Irwin Jacobs known at the time as Minstar, later to become Genmar, bought out AMF. Hatteras, under the Genmar banner, had Hargrave redesign the 70 Motoryacht and reintroduced it as the Series 2 in March 1988 and built 26 through August 1992. Also in March 1988, Hatteras introduced what proved to be the most popular of all the 70s built, the 70 Cockpit Motoryacht (shown here). Fifty-six were built through June 1997, accounting for 46 percent of the total 70s built and delivered.
The division of exterior and interior space on the popular Series 2 four-stateroom model makes her an ideal long-range cruiser or liveaboard. And the layout also lends itself to taking on occasional crew. The galley, with full-size household appliances and separate dinette sits abaft the pilothouse and is perfectly laid out. There won’t be any problem ending up fat as a tick after a long cruise thanks to this galley’s appointments. The entire area can be closed off while the morning folks in your crew get the coffee and griddle going.
The pilothouse has port and starboard doors for easy maneuvering. Boatbuilders take note! This simple design element is incredibly useful. The helm can easily absorb a complement of modern electronics and the settee is a great perch to plant yourself on a long slog up the coast with the autopilot working in foul weather. The lack of sightlines aft from this area takes a little getting used to; a camera showing the stern would certainly be on my list of upgrades.
There is access from the pilothouse to the bridge via a ladder that’s fairly steep, which is necessary to allot the space for the galley dinette. I’m not a huge fan of spiral staircases on boats, but some owners have retrofitted the ladder with a spiral staircase to allow a little easier passage between the two spaces.
The saloon is more than ample, especially on the Extended Deckhouse model. Most 70s have a formal dining area as well as a couch, which leads to the aft deck. So think about it: If you’re on a long cruise, there are five different social areas, not including the staterooms. That’s tough to beat on a boat less than 100 feet.
Speaking of staterooms, my favorite on the 70 is the amidships guest stateroom with awthartships berth. The island berth has plenty of room on both sides and two ports bring in light and air. Yet these ports look like they belong on a boat versus the odd sharktooth—or teardrop-shaped windows we see today that make the boat appear as if she is crying in disgrace. These Hatteras 70s overflow with these simple, tough, and easy-to-use systems and elements.
“The 70 is very spacious, but very private for owner and guest,” says Bill Mahoney of A&M Yacht Sales who has a very nice 1991 Hatteras Motoryacht Series 2 listed for sale.
I love the sound of the 870-horsepower 12V-71s coming into a slip with that low rumble. Later models were equipped with the 1,075-horsepower 12V-92s giving a little higher cruise along with increased fuel consumption.
Beware of some the aftermarket cockpit extensions where running gear and rudders were not moved; it made the boats a little squirrelly in some sea conditions. A good surveyor is worth employing if you’re considering one of these.
Between the four different models of the 70 Motoryacht that Hatteras offered from 1970 to 1997, 121 boats were delivered.
Joe Cacopardo, marketing director for Hatteras provided me with the data on the history of the 70 Series and also turned me on to the fact that the Hatteras design team will be introducing a new 70 Motoryacht in the 2016 model year. This will be the first 70 Motor-yacht that did not come from the loins of Jack Hargrave, and I hope they remember some of the elements that made the original 70 so darn popular. I look forward to experiencing this new Hatteras; I am certain it will be exciting. However, I am going to close this review with a line from the movie Bed of Roses, “There is nothing boring about a classic.”
Power & Motoryacht spoke to three brokers who each had a Hatteras 70 motoryacht listed on BoatQuest.com. Here’s what they had to say about these proven cruisers, and what buyers should look for in today’s market. ▶
Base Price $395,000 – $795,000
Displacement 103,000 lb. (approx.)
Fuel 1,596 gal. (can vary)
Water 345 gal.
Power 2/870-hp Detroit Diesel 12V-71s; 2/1,075-hp Detroit Diesel 12V-92s
Cruising Speed 11-19 knots