Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Feb. 11, 2011 - We have a "new" boat

Today was a BIG day for us.  We closed on the purchase of a used boat.  Our "new" boat is a 1976 Hatteras 48LRC.  LRC stands for Long Range Cruiser, and is it ever!  It can go more than 2000 miles between fuel docks.  Wow, that's a long distance to cover in a boat.  Hatteras only made 49 of these LRC's and they have a great reputation as a very capable coastal cruiser.  Although it is only 3' longer than our Bayliner 45, it weighs twice as much and is a far superior vessel for heading out into the open ocean. 

In order for it to have long range it has to go slow. It is an 8-9 knot boat, compared to our Bayliner 45 which could go twice as fast if needed.  But speed has a penalty on the water and that penalty is high fuel consumption.  Once a boat exceeds it's Hull Speed the fuel burn rate skyrockets into unaffordable territory.  Hull Speed is a theoretical speed that is mathematically based on the length of the boat at the waterline.  For a 48' boat with a waterline length of about 43' 5" the theoretical Hull Speed is roughly 8.8 knots.  As you approach and then exceed 8.8 knots fuel consumption rises dramatically with with very little corresponding increase in speed.

A boat that is designed to travel at below hull speed is usually referred to as a trawler-style, or full-displacement hull.  Displacement hulls typically have a deeper draft and are considered more sea worthy.  There are other factors that effect seaworthiness such as the prismatic coefficient of the hull, the above/below waterline ratio (or A/B ratio), the depth and length of the keel, the shape of the chines, and of course the weight of the vessel.  After all I've learned about this boat, it definitely falls into the ocean-capable class of powerboats.  I have spoken to several owners of these boats and I know of two that have put more than 70,000 miles on theirs, and one who claims to have about 100,000 miles on his Hatteras 48LRC.  That's more than 3 times around the planet!!!!!  Wow, I think that defines Long Range Cruiser; don't you?

If you want to learn more about what makes a capable ocean-going powerboat, I would suggest reading Robert Beebe's book "Voyaging Under Power".  In just a few hundred pages you will learn what it takes to design a power boat capable of crossing oceans.  I found it fascinating and have read it cover to cover at least 3 times over the past 6 or 7 years.  I guess finally owning a proper displacement vessel was becoming inevitable for me; I've learned much about these designs and I truly appreciate what they have to offer in terms of seaworthiness.  It's either that or I'm just getting old and don't care about going fast anymore  :-)

So, what does our new boat look like:

Stern Quarter view of our "new" boat.

Sitting in Stockton California, waiting for us to buy her.

Hauled our for a survey on Feb 10, 2011

Heading back to the marina after the haulout.
To my eye it has a certain "purpose" about it.  It has work boat brawn, live aboard accommodations, and a "serious" element to it's lines.  It looks like a real boat to me.  I've spoken to so many people now about this boat that I can't keep track of them all.  By far the most common reaction I receive from life-long cruisers when I tell them we are buying a Hatteras 48LRC is "that's a wonderful, and very capable boat".  Also often heard is "that's a boat I would like to own."  Even several sailboaters I know that have gone around the planet know what the 48LRC is and tell me it's a great boat.  When the ocean crossing sailboater's are telling me its a good ocean boat, well, I feel confident in it's ability to take us to Mexico in 2013.

So, what about OUR boat.  Why did you buy THIS particular one I can hear you asking.  Well, basically being a cheapskate, price was a factor :-)  With the poor economy we struck a deal we just couldn't pass up.  It needs some work, but I'm capable of handling all of it's "needs."  I was impressed with the cleanliness and great condition of the interior.  I can say that the engine rooms needs a thorough cleaning and probably even repainting.  But, the motors were both recently rebuilt and should be good for another 30+ years of service.  It has twin 453 Detroit Diesels.  These are low-tech, old-school motors.  They were designed 50+ years ago.  They are basically bulletproof motors.  Most marine diesels will run 4,000-6,000 hours before needing a rebuild.  Many 453's in boats have gone past 12,000 hours and are still going strong.  I think with proper maintenance I should expect at least 8,000 hours out of the motors in this boat.  The hull and topsides are in good condition, but need some attention in a few places.  This boat has some decent electronics, but also some very old stuff.  It's not quite a turn-key boat by today's standards, but it is really ready to use.  So, for me, it's the perfect boat.  I can fix it's issues, upgrade what needs to be upgraded, make some changes that will allow it to fit our needs better, and do it all with my free labor and access to discounted parts and materials.

This is a boat we can own for a long time to come, take to much more distant cruising grounds than our Bayliner, and definitely be proud to own.  You can't find many other boat builders with the solid reputation for quality that Hatteras has earned.  Even though this boat is now 35 years old it is still a highly sought after vessel with a strong following, and an amazing reputation as a solid, seaworthy boat, with great livability.

We can't wait to get her back home!

Oh, we had to pick a name for our new boat so it could be documented with the US Coast Guard.   After a lot of deliberation and racking our brains trying to come up with a boat name, we finally agreed on:


Adagio means "leisurely", or "slowly and gracefully."  Our new boat is a slow boat with a top speed of around 9 knots, so Adagio seems to fit her, and our intentions of leaving for a year to leisurely and gracefully enjoy life afloat.