Hatteras skipper Chris Leyden looked down the M90 Panacera’s hullside, all the way to her massive, bang-strip-equipped quarterguards, making sure our fenders were appropriately deployed. Then, using the Caterpillar 360 joystick engine control, he began walking the big boat slowly alongside as marina guys materialized and began taking our lines. As our tie-up eventually concluded, Leyden grinned widely at me, obviously well pleased with joystick docking Hatteras-style, an exercise he had just experienced for the first time.
“Now that was sweet,” he said, with a gesture that incorporated everything from the joystick to the superb sightlines from the wing station to our giant, eight-bladed props, geared down to an extraordinarily deep, torque-boosting gear ratio of 4:1. “Real sweet!”
Earlier in the day, we’d sea trialed the 90 in the open Atlantic amid 6-footers mostly, but with some 8-footers thrown in. Remarkably, the vessel was able to shoulder her way through this stuff and still produce wholly reasonable and reliable performance numbers, including a rousing (under the circumstances) average WOT velocity of 23.1 knots. Not all big boats could have done the same, I’d say. But then, not all big boats sport a whopping displacement of 245,000 pounds.
This number’s a little deceiving. On the one hand, the 90 picks up some serious weight savings via her fully resin-infused hull, resin-infused decks, and resin-infused stringers and bulkheads. But on the other, a variety of factors add weight including extras like three all-fiberglass fuel tanks; solid wood in onboard bulkheads, doors, and furniture (as opposed to lighter, veneered foam cores that can deflect or fail); and heavy, durometer-appropriate, rubber-like pads from Soundown on the interior soles that keep noise levels low.
Driving was a blast. As I spun the wheel at the topside station, sending the boat into a large, long figure-of-eight eight, I noticed only a modest inboard heel, a slight loss of RPM, and little more than a saltwater spritz wafting over the flybridge. Moreover, controlling the boat was virtually effortless, thanks to the responsiveness of her Sea-Star electric-over-hydraulic steering.
“Mind if I try pulling up a bearing line on the radar, maybe use that sea buoy out there as a target?” I asked, easing the throttles back so I could play with the 90’s brand-new HattCON total ship management system, which is capable of monitoring and controlling virtually everything on board the 90 via a swipe, tap, or toggle.
After activating the RADAR icon on a touchscreen, I quickly located the EBL (Electronic Bearing Line) icon, tapped it with my index finger, produced an instantaneous EBL and again, with my finger, moved the line to intersect the target produced by the buoy on the radar screen. A mere couple of seconds got the whole job done!
“Amazing,” I opined. “I’ve operated lots of shipboard management systems over the years, but this baby’s gotta be the most intuitive one yet. It’s iPhone-esque.”
After we’d gotten properly tied up, I toured the four-stateroom, four-head interior of our 90. Highlights included expert, made-in-USA craftsmanship, a dimmable skylight over the galley island, an electrically activated glass slider between the cockpit and the salon, and an engine room will numerous redundancies, from triplex fuel filters to a set of AC bilge pumps to back up the more conventional DC pumps.
My conclusion? The Hatteras 90 Panacera is super-sophisticated—HattCON is as cutting edge as it gets. But she’s also super-safe and seriously seaworthy, thanks to all the boatbuilding expertise Hatteras enjoys—56 years of it! —Capt. Bill Pike
DISPL.: 245,000 lb.
FUEL: 3,285 gal.
WATER: 820 gal.
TEST POWER: 2/1,928-mhp Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesel
PRICE: Upon request