Hatteras 100 RPH

A recent visit to New Bern, NC, home of Pepsi and Hatteras, allowed us to catch up on the construction of its new flagship: the Hatteras 100 RPH.

At one point or another, all companies face this challenge when introducing a new model: How do you strike the right balance between innovation and tradition without losing loyal customers? Hatteras Yachts, which recently designed its flagship and is well into the build of Hull No. One of its new 100-foot raised pilothouse motoryacht, seems to be on the right track.

When we visited in early August, there was much to see of the new flagship, including the elegant composite hull, fresh out of the mold, and a full-size mockup of the lower, main and upper decks, spread out in a rented commercial space close to the shipyard.

Every component of the interior, from the beds to the helm console, coffee tables and lounge chairs on the sun deck, were built to scale in cardboard and plywood. The mockup had the dual purpose of helping the Hatteras design team—under the guidance of Hatteras’ manager of product design, David Brown—come up with the best spatial arrangements and also affords owners the opportunity to give their input while getting a feel for the new motoryacht.

The mockup, even with its obvious limitations, makes it a lot easier to visualize the space than the best 3-D rendering or the most detailed general arrangement.

On our tour, we followed Brown through the midship opening located on the starboard side, which leads to a small foyer. Straight ahead, a set of stairs leads to the pilothouse, but if you make a left on the main deck, you head to the vast dining and salon area with long side windows. The space between mullions is wide to open up the view, and the built-in furniture—concealing storage and audiovisual equipment—is low profile. The mockup has no ceiling, but with an 83-inch design height (nearly seven feet), the interior should feel anything but confined. Make a right from the sideboard entrance and you head to a large galley with an attractive cooking island (option one) or a private ondeck master suite (option two). In both cases, forward-facing windows and a large dimmable skylight will bring in plenty of light. The lower deck accommodates all other suites—including the full-beam master in a four-stateroom layout option—with the crew accommodations aft. Thanks to an extension of a few feet from the original design, crewmembers now have two ensuite cabins (one larger for the captain) plus a true lounge and galley.

The sun deck, designed to line up with the transom, is particularly spacious. Modular furniture will allow owners to decide where to set up the bar, dining area and sun pads, giving them the ability to build the layout that fits their needs. There is also plenty of room for tender stowage on the sun deck, but Hatteras intends to offer a European version that will include a garage. However, Brown says that, nowadays, many owners choose to tow the tender or have it stored on the yacht’s hydraulic swim platform, which is available on this model. There is also an option for an integrated beach club.

For the interior of Hull No. One, slated to debut at the 2013 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Hatteras retained Fort Lauderdale-based design firm A La Mer to create a décor that is a good blend of contemporary and classic design: matte finish, darker woods (wengé and ebony) and fabrics in earth tones, designed to appeal to many. The builder did not want to go too far in any given direction to start but, of course, each owner will be able to personalize the yacht through a vast selection of woods and finishes, or even bring in a designer of their choosing.

The yacht’s exterior is the work of Team For Design by Enrico Gobbi, based in Italy and the Middle East. It is a somewhat surprising partnership for Hatteras, a company steeped in the North Carolina boatbuilding tradition—at least, it’s surprising until you find out that the goal was to give the new flagship a more global appeal. A graduate of University of Architecture Venice, Team For Design’s Gobbi has had a hand in many projects including the edgy open-style Ketos 43 for Viareggio-based Rossinavi. Team For Design has also recently worked with Italian shipyard Dominator and US-based Regal Marine. The studio’s credo is to design clients’ “dreams with a realistic vision.”

The collaboration on the 100 RHP was a success, even with the slightly different design approaches. In the end, the visions meshed well. The finished design is a good blend of Hatteras tradition (particularly evident through the hull’s beautiful bow flare and double chine design) and European styling (with nice long lines, big porthole openings, long hull windows and a well-integrated flybridge deck).

On the construction side, the hull and the superstructure were each built as one piece, and the hull bottom and sides up to the water level are hand-laid in solid fiberglass, just like all other Hatteras yachts. Engineering and hardware will give the 270,000-pound (displacement weight) yacht ship-like amenities. The elongated windows, for instance, will have 8mm-thick glass (instead of just 6mm), and the yacht will have 350-pound dual anchors, zero-speed stabilizers and bow and stern thrusters. The passageways running along the main deck are wide and will be lined with solid handrails. Teak is specified for the aft main deck; teak decking for the rest of the yacht and teak caprails are optional. Overall, though, Hatteras has made all the amenities standard on board this yacht—in total there will be no more than 16 or 17 options available.

Only the response Hatteras Yachts will get after introducing its new flagship in the fall of 2013 will validate its approach, but there is already plenty of evidence that indicates that this new flagship will move the needle forward without letting go of Hatteras’ rich heritage.