Advice on a Hatteras please

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Jun 16, 2010
I have been looking for a trawler to do the loop for less than $100K. I've considered Island Gypsy, President, Grand Banks, Marine Trader and others but have now come across a 1987 36' Hatteras Sedan with twin 375 hp Caterpiller Diesels, in great shape, low hours, that meets my budget. Its not that much different to the President 37 Sundeck I was looking at in terms of power, and I prefer a sedan layout. And from what I have researched, Hatteras has an exceptional reputation for building solid quality yachts. So my question is, can I run this at trawler speeds (7-8 knots), or alternating on one engine to get the fuel economy I'd am looking for without wrecking the engines. 2-4 gallons per hour is what I am looking for. Your advice would be appreciated, as well as any comments you might have on the 36 Hatteras sedan, or Caterpillar* 3208TA engines. Does this make any sense* as a Great Loop boat when fuel economy is important?
Hi Piper

They are mighty big engines to be running even if you use one the fuel consumption will be high

As for running on one engine, yes that is ok, however there are two ways to do this

Either lock the shaft of the motor you are not using or as the gearbox will probably need cooling then a bit of plumbing to get water through the gearbox oil cooler is needed so that the oil in the box does not overheat.

Running on one engine is better than 2 throttled back as there is a bit of load and not glazing the engines


-- Edited by AllanY on Thursday 17th of June 2010 05:47:04 AM
While running at idle is not ever a great idea the loop is under 1000 hours , and there are many places where you can run 1800rpm for a half hour to help the engine.

I would cut the oil change sked times in half , tho the filters can be changed by Da Book.

375 engines was the "marine " get up on a plane pleasure boat rating , 5 min at most.

So operating at 3gph 50 hp may lead to a shorter life , but who cares?

Most marine motorists operate underway 100 hours a year , so there will still be loads of life for resale.

IF you change oil frequently and run at speed as often as you can , there should be no resale problem.

White smoke and oil puking is the fear from underloading and burnishing the cylinders.

I am a big fan of the Hatt Sedan Cruiser as well. I like the looks and I like the speed. If you are seriously concerned about fuel I think you should be able to run the engineS at 8kts at around 5 gallons an hour. I am basing this on an acquaintance that has a Californian 42 with the same engines. I am not sure what you should gain by shutting one down. I would also do some research on the "windmilling transmission" phenomenon. I do know there are some trannies that will allow for it under certain speeds.

If you are highly concerned about fuel economy, I would suggest finding another boat. The older Mainship 34s are a steal and would be much more in line with what you want to do. They are CHEAP and they are single engine and they will get you your fuel goals. They obviously do not have the fit and finish of the Hatteras. Anyway, that is a thought. There is a Hatteras 36 in these parts for sale....with floscans. There are also a couple out there running around with Cummins which might be a slightly more fuel efficient engine at those speeds not to mention a little more space in the engine room. Another boat I would consider would be the Californian 34...although there are many(most?) with twins....some with 3208Na....and more exterior teak than I care for.

Therein lies my dilemma as well.....a mid 30s sedan with no teak....just isn't much to choose from with those 2 simple criteria.
Folks, thank you very much for your insights. I really appreciate it, especially given this is a trawler site, and the Hatteras is not a trawler. The Cat 3208TA diesels have 900 hours on them. If they have been well maintained / serviced does anyone have any perspective on their useful life in terms of hours?

And anyone else who has thoughts on this Hatteras for doing the Loop and fuel economy, please feel free to add your comments.
There are a lot of boats for sale out there and deals-are-a-plenty. 750hp is a lot for a 36' boat, and one thing seems for sure, there no reason to be in THAT much of a hurry doing the loop (not an expert... just an opinion). If it were me, I'd keep looking. If fuel economy is your barometer, find a Grand Banks or a solid Taiwanese-make with one or two 120 Lehmans or Perkins 6.354's.

-- Edited by GonzoF1 on Thursday 17th of June 2010 01:34:14 PM
The turbo IS a turn off as turbo engines frequently need RPM to maintain a positive pressure, frequently 1500rpm .

This may be fast for the many 10 Kilometer speed restrictions on the Canadian canals.

I would take a good look , and then go visit the cat guy.

On some Perkins we were able to remove the turbo , with no problems at all. Just a tubing game.

These Cats were light duty and used in light delivery trucks and skool buses , which is great , as low RPM and ideling is part of their use requirement.

A simple de tune , parts from the truck junkyard might make the Loop easier on the engine.

The cost of the boat , and its ultimate resale value return is of more concern than if it is $10.00 or $20.00 an hour of fuel for part of 1000 hours.

The price of this boat seem very very high to this Floridian. A Hat 40 hat sold for about $22K with small Detroits .

Look in the classified section this spring.

$30K should get a great boat , needing nothing but this weeks electric toy selection.
Dunno about "unturboing" the cats....sounds like way too much trouble and expense only to kill the resale value of the boat.

3208s are excellent engines. They should give you good service well past 3000 hours. Especially in THAT boat where there was never a need to push them to their limit just to get average performance. Good luck. Like I said, I do like these boats.
And if you are truly concerned about what others think about 3208s, maybe start a new thread with 3208 in the title and you might get some more action.
I have the 3208 375 hp cats and here is what I know (or think I know). *According to Caterpillar (you can call them, they are quite willing to chat, and of course who knows more than they do on these engines?) you can run the engines for extendend periods at very low rpms with no adverse effects although they do say that you should run them up to 'speed' for 20 minutes every 8 hours. Specifically in my case I wanted to run my engines at 1,000 rpm and they said 'have fun'.* At 1,000 rpm I cruise around 6 knots depending on conditions and burn just under 7 gph for both engines combined.* Now that I have had the boat for a few months, I actually run around 1,500 rpm usually and get around 9 knots at 10 gph so that works better for me.* Cat told me that these diesel engines*were designed for commercial use that includes plenty of idling and low rpm use, the turbos don't even start 'coming in' until about 1,200 rpm and I have found them to be trouble free with routine maintenance.* I know all the experts will say these are too much engine for slow speed cruising, but I*prefer having the extra power available and not needed vs the other way around.* My boat is a little bigger and heavier, but I can run these engines up to 2,100 rpm (which is 50% power) and make 13+*knots burning just under 16 gallons per hour, an if needed these will run all day at 62% power which is 2,400 rpm burning 24 gph and making 15 knots.* has all this information and more on the engine section of the site.* I had Cummins engines in my last boat which I really liked, and I am finding these engines to be excellent as well with the added benefit that you can get parts if needed anywhere in the world for these engines with no problems.
The NA (non turbo) was rated 210hp @2600rpm, but their horses are way smaller than Detroit horses.

This is an advantage as you need minor power, not huge power.

To remove the turbo , is not a perminant mod , just for 1000 hours of low speed loop running.

IF the turbo is on pressure at 1200rpn, running there will be OK,for the turbo

, but you will still need a power run when you can, and the 1/2 time oil changes.
Hello everyone. I really appreciate your advice and perspectives.* I'm on the Great Lakes, and once I've done the loop, having a boat with power in reserve somehow appeals to me in handling the rough stuff if necessary. I suspect the Hatteras would have a much nicer ride than more traditional trawler-like hulls of the 2 other boats on my short list. I'm also hoping to make a run from Florida to the Bahamas during my adventure .. again the Hatt might be the preferred choice crossing the stream.

I've been a sailor for 40 years and know what its like being offshore in snotty weather, especially northern Lake Huron.* I like being "outdoors" when on the water, hence the sedan (as opposed to a trunk or pilothouse) design most appeals to me. I'm going to look at three boats this week: the 1986 Hatterras 36 sedan with twin 375hp CATS, a 1985 Island Gypsy 36 with twin 135 hp Ford Lehmans, and a 1981 34 Californian Sedan with twin 200 hp Perkins. I got into this whole seach thing with an idea of a single 120 hp max* diesel as being my ideal (fuel burn issue) .... but you all have been through this "search for your perfect boat" thing ... and know how one's perspective can change in this process. Thanks for your insights !
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