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Old 02-13-2015, 02:25 PM   #1
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Californian versus Hatteras build quality

Been looking at a couple of 1980's boats on Yachtworld in the low 40 foot range. We has seen neither of them. One is a Californian 42' LRC and the other is a Hatteras MY. Both boats have twin Cat 3208's. The Hatteras has 4" more beam and 1" less draft but other than that, the boats seem very similar in size and function. Is the build quality similar for these boats?
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:22 PM   #2
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No, the quality originally was not the same. But after many decades the boat that has seen the best staying current, care and attention should get the nod. If all is equal (seldom is) after looking at both the Hatt gets the nod IMHO.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:24 PM   #3
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The build quality is substantially better with the Hatteras. Fit and finish of the interior is close
Wiring, rigging, plumbing, Fiberglas fuel tanks, heavy window frames, painted exterior, laminated glass, it goes on. All of these features are the reason you see so many old Hatteras's in great shape. Californians are popular in the Delta as they have nice layouts and have nice lines.
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
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Californians are good boats, but the build quality of Hatteras Yachts is a cut above most. They were put together with high end systems that are more easily serviced and up graded. You may ask how do I know. Fair. I have never owned one but had the slip next to the Hatteras factory slip. That is where they did extensive sea trials on their boats. When I say extensive, they actually took them to sea. There technicians invited me onboard, and I saw the raw systems exposed. There was quality throughout.

That being said, Sunchaser nailed it. At this age the boat with the best maintenance wins.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:23 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I suspected the Hatteras was a little better build. Many of them sure look good after all these years. Fairly certain we could be happy in either boat.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
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I am certainly prejudiced, but as the years went on I was increasingly grateful we bought a Hatteras. Beyond the quality, there is the invaluable support provided by their parts department spin off, Sam's Marine, and the ability to still get the as-builts for your specific hull number, as well as manuals and schematics for that model. Californians are nice boats, but I wouldn't remotely consider one unless it was priced significantly, say 30%, below a Hatt in similar condition.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:54 PM   #7
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A Hatt without DDinosaur's would indeed be a thing to be treasured and chased.
(Don't get mad at me George....)
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
I wouldn't remotely consider one unless it was priced significantly, say 30%, below a Hatt in similar condition.
Actually, the price differential is well over 30% and closer to 50% but as usual it isn't a straight apples to apples comparison. What I am really liking about the Cali is the walk around decks and greater fuel and fresh water capacity. What I am not liking is the aft cabin layout and the exterior teak has been painted white. Guess the next step is to look at them and see how much the YW pics and description jells with reality.
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Old 02-14-2015, 07:31 AM   #9
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The older Hatt's seem to be plummeting in price since about 6 to 8 years ago from what I was seeing when I was looking for a boat.

I watched a 60's vintage Hatteras 52 or 53 footer (older one that seemed an odd size)...recently Awlgripped exterior, interior varnish/finishes just redone...and running pretty well.

Not bristol by a long shot but not half sunk either. Watched the price go from 139,900 to just sold in the low 30s last fall.

It was not well advertised...with as many as I see floating and sitting in yards looking unused.....l would think there are great deals out there.
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:54 AM   #10
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I have been extremely happy with (and a bit surprised by) the excellent build quality of the Californian we bought as an inexpensive place to live while working in South Florida over the next five years. There are lots of old Hatteras 53s on the market, but to find one with the condition, hours, and upgraded systems of the Californian 45 we bought, I would have had to spend at least twice as much. There's a decent 53 docked right behind us that is for sale for $95K - but, of course, it's a 1975 model.

If I was using the boat more for cruising and less for living, I would probably have spent the money for the Hatt. The pilothouse and really robust, seakindly hull (how can you beat a Hargrave design?) would have made it worthwhile. But for living aboard, the layout and condition (and price) of the Californian were the tipping points for us. Either way, you can't go wrong - as long as you buy the right boat for your needs.
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:46 AM   #11
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The Hat is a better built boat BUT the typical HAT owner cruises far further up on the power band .

Engine life is actually related to the total fuel burn.

The Hat engines would need a careful look, even a compression test, before I would write a check.

Cat 3208 have to be removed to be rebuilt ,that's why there called throwaways,,no in frame overhaul possible.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:18 AM   #12
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I don't know Californians, but have worked on many Hatt's. Build quality is good, hulls very heavy and strong. Good quality systems. The downside is many older ones were powered just enough to semi plane, not enough to really zip, and when fuel costs went up they were just not practical to run at their designed speed. So folks ran at trawler speed, which is ok for engines generally, but the hull shapes and weight and DD engines made them rather inefficient as trawlers.

The 3208 does very well running at low power settings and is pretty efficient there too, so an old Hatt with those is a plus.

AC wiring on Hatts often are headscratchers. Well done, but some really bizarre location of panels. Same with Bertram.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
What I am not liking is the aft cabin layout and the exterior teak has been painted white. Guess the next step is to look at them and see how much the YW pics and description jells with reality.
I don't think you really want to try to decide which one is best, instead ask yourself which one is best "for you!" With Californian's you're really talking about three completely different styles of boats. The 70's early 80's Marshall boats were the classic trawler style with walk around decks, the later 80's boat moved from trawler to sedan cruiser style and in the late 90's, Marshall once again owned the name and built pilot house boats. The one thing they had in common was a very strong, solid, no core, hand laid up hull.

I always wanted a 48 Hat. LRC excellent boat and I love the pilot house style.

Nothing against either boat or styles, it's a question of what your style of boating will be. One of our major uses for a boat is halibut, ling cod and crab/shrimp fishing and the trawler, walk around decks with twin engines, superior maneuverability at slow speeds, fits that bill to a "T". You wouldn't dare take a Hatteras or one of the other two styles of Californian into the tight positions and tidal current situations, close to rocks and shallows, while fishing that we routinely take our 38 Californian into and without the walk around decks it would be a no go.

I think both makes are excellent boats. But you need to pick one that fits your needs. If I wasn't into fishing I would probably want one of the later model pilot house Californians or the 48 Hat. LRC. Personal Opinion Only!!
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:04 PM   #14
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since they have both lasted 30 years if they are in good shape the name doesn't matter.
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:07 PM   #15
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We recently sold our 1983 34LRC Californian. Can't talk to a comparison of the build but can talk to the 3208NA Cat with TD 502s which were out nightmare. If cooling systems have been neglected it will be big dollars to fix and the risers are hard to find and expensive. The first pair were only $350 dollars but the next pair were $700 plus for each. One transmission failed and than the second one. Spent months getting parts and some one to fix them. Rebuild was either New Orleans or Jacksonville. I will admit our mechanic wasn't the swiftest either. We were located in the middle of the two cities. My point is, compare the two power systems as well as the construction. Maybe that would help with the decision.
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