A Bit of Hatteras History / by admin

We are currently getting a whole fleet of Hatteri washed, buffed, waxed, and detailed for their spring launch before they disperse to Bay Harbor, Harbor Springs, and Charlevoix.  If you are not familiar with Hatteras, I suggest you read this great review of the company's history, "The Making of an Empire".  It is fascinating throughout.

Some of the highlights for me were:

Later, Jack Hargrave commented: "Willis had what he called the 'Hargrave Test.'  The production people would lay up a hull section to what the equations called for, then Willis and I would go out in the plant and kick the hell out of it.  If it didn't seem stiff enough, Willis would have the lamination people add some more layers."

"One day," Henshaw recalls, "I was doing some cabinet making in Station Six and along comes Willis with an older couple.  He came up to me where I was hanging cabinet doors and wanted to borrow my hammer.  I gave him a claw hammer and he walked over to the side of the boat I was working on and just whapped the hell out of it with the hammer.  Hit it so hard the hammer went flying out of his hands.  He then turns to the couple and said" 'Could I have done that to your wooden hull?' They said, 'No.' He sold that one right there."

Slane had added a very sporty 28-foot hull to the lineup and shortly was approached by the United States Navy [...] The Navy was impressed and wanted to order 200 of them.  The catch was they wanted to put government inspectors in different areas.  Willis told them he'd be glad to build them, but he wouldn't have the government tell him how to do it.  So, we lost the whole contract.  But, they bought those two Willis had prepared and made a mold off of them and built them in two other locations."

In 1984, a high-rolling investor named Irwin Jacobs appeared [...] "I [Jacobs] proceeded to try to buy it [Hatteras] from AMF and they not only weren't co-operative, they were downright rude.  So I bought AMF and sold off everything except Hatteras."

 

Photo credit HatterasYachts.com.