Review: Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish

By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

Hatteras 45 Sportfish Hatteras 45 Sportfish
Hatteras 45 Garmin joystick electronic controls Hatteras 45 Garmin joystick electronic controls
Hatteras 45 Express master bedroom Hatteras 45 Express master bedroom
Bathroom in Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish Bathroom in Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish
Galley in Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish Galley in Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish
Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish bunk Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish bunk

The Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish is probably one of the most impressive and desirable fish-hunting weapons around. It accurately reflects its sportsfishing claim but with a US$1.89M price it’s not for the faint of heart or light of wallet.

Some brands, through reputation or experience, command respect and when it comes to favourite boats – ignoring prices – this Hatteras range of sportfishing boats is near the top of my list.


Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish

Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish

The Hatteras Express 45 Sportfish is a stunning boat with impeccable parentage, born from a marriage of two American boating royals, Hatteras and Cabo, when they were acquired by the giant Brunswick Corporation. Now in the hands of Versa Capital Management, the new model owes its hull to Cabo and its interior to the progressive Hatteras design.

Lightweight foam-cored topsides sit on a solid glass hull with double chines and a tunnel system that provide stability and lusty performance.

If the Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish doesn’t stir your blood, I doubt there’s much pulse left in you because even sitting idle at the dock it looks the goods.


Hatteras 45 layout and design

Hatteras 45 fishing deck

Once on board it doesn’t disappoint. Where most homegrown game boats have a flybridge and enclosed cabin, this Hatteras is open and places the main helm on the raised helm deck. For chasing fish, the skipper can ascend the stylish aluminium tower to a full display of instruments and a commanding view of proceedings.

A traditional timber finish pervades the cockpit. The teak deck, coamings and boarding platform are at home in an ultra-modern layout that leaves nothing to chance, with fishing features right at hand. Your crew will be impressed by the raised mezzanine rear-facing lounges that make waiting for a bite comfortable while you’re just a step jump away from the action.

Already spoilt for comfort in the cockpit, a fridge and ice-shaver at hand and a Kenyon electric BBQ up the ante. A starboard-side door leads to the rear swim platform and the transom is also home to a deep 210L live-bait tank, while twin 1.2m-long insulated kill tanks plus macerator and lazarette are located under the cockpit sole.

Our review Hatteras Express 45 Sportfish is used for stand-up and fishing deep with electric reels so the central mounting plate has a finely sculptured Pompanette four-slot rocket launcher/bait station and there are sockets along the sides for the 24V reels. You can, of course, include your selection of fighting chair on the reinforced floor plate.

The cockpit has storage under the lounges, a bait station to starboard of the steps, hot and cold freshwater shower, fresh and saltwater wash-downs and a drinks cooler.

It’s only three steps up to the helm deck but views improve from there and the slight dip in the bow means that, even as the hull lifts underway, vision is unimpaired.

An L-shaped lounge wrapped around the port and back of the helm deck is a great place for travelling or entertaining, and there’s another Isotherm fridge set into a moulded cabinet to starboard, complementing the storage space under the lounges.

Placing the helm in the centre gives the best possible view of proceedings and allows matching Stidd companion chairs either side. Quarter-vents and a roof hatch provide a steady flow of air and can be quickly closed when spray is trying to get inside. Drop-down clears and an 18,000BTU air conditioner also keep things cool.

The wide dash has room for large screens in front of the skipper – the test boat has a pair of 15in Garmins to take care of navigation and fish spotting.

Garmin marine electronics on Hatteras 45

It seems no expense has been spared in fitting this boat out, with all conceivable extras from the options list included. Along with a FLIR night-vision camera, radar, water maker, Rupp hydraulic outriggers and automated teaser lines, I was highly impressed with the Cat Three 60 joystick control system. Most of the electronics are repeated in the tower, including the single-stick electronic engine controls that are a joy to use.

The companionway to starboard of the helm leads to the accommodation downstairs where two cabins and a single head reside, along with a galley and dining space. A single-cabin option is also available for those who prefer to trade the extra bunks for more lounging room.

Hatteras produces two versions of the Hatteras 45 – an Express Cruiser and the Sportfish here. They’re identical below decks, meaning the fishing model retains the luxury and style of its more laidback stablemate. White oak timber finishes and cream Ultraleather upholstery lit by natural light from wide skylights reflect a modern yet enduring minimalist design.

To starboard there’s an L-shaped galley with a long granite bench and extensive storage, Vitrifrigo ice maker/fridge, convection microwave, electric two-burner cooktop and sink with insinkerator. The four-seater lounge opposite has a smallish table – you get a bigger one and an extended lounge in the single-cabin offering.

The second cabin, to port forward of the lounge, has twin bunks, a wardrobe, ducted air and a roof hatch. Opposite is a roomy head with timber fit-out, quality inclusions and good head height in the separate shower.

The master cabin features a raised double island surrounded by overhead cupboards and cedar-lined hanging lockers. There are extra storage in drawers under the bed and lots of light and air through an overhead hatch, as well as ducted air.


Handling and ride

Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish in rough water

That Cat Three60 Joystick Control System is astonishing. It connects the hydraulic bow thruster with the props to give instant and accurate response, putting the boat exactly where you want it whether docking or backing down on fish. The power you have on tap shows clearly in these low-speed manoeuvres as the boat jumps to attention at a flick of the joystick. Be warned though before you order one that the cost of supply is listed at a not-insignificant US$155,860!

Shoehorning a pair of 18-litre 1150hp engines into this 45-footer was always going to be fun. In basic trim, 715hp C18s spin the speedo past 30kt, which is pretty much the benchmark for serious gameboats. The test boat is a totally different scenario and more than 40kt is achievable in a hull that rides soft and true.

We didn’t achieve those speeds on our test as the boat wore several months’ growth that held our progress back in the mid-30s but in the seas we encountered that was still plenty.

1150hp Caterpillar C18 marine diesel engines

Everything has a downside though, and the price of this awesome power is the fuel burn. Let’s just say: ‘if you have to ask, you can’t afford it’. I had to ask.

With a clean bum, expect 32kt at 1800rpm and 283L/h from both engines. Wide-open throttle will deliver 42kt – and 435L/h. Back off to just above planing speed and you will still suck down around 200L/h.

At all these speeds it’s eerily quiet and we felt equally well insulated from the waves crashing around us. A lot of skill and effort have gone into supressing noise, both from the engines and the elements.


Hatteras 45 price

Hatteras 45 Sportfish

You can order a basic boat with 12-litre 715hp marine engines from around $1,800,000 but as tested – with just about every option in the book included – the Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish price jumps to US$1,890,000. How do we put that in context?



• Stunning performance from twin 1150hp Caterpillar marine diesel engines.

• Looks a million dollars, with ride and handling to match.

• Everything for the serious fisho is right at hand.



• Galley table somewhat small.

• I’d like more forgiving ladder steps to the upper helm.


Hatteras Express 45 Sportfish sea trials

3028lt fuel tank (calculations using 10% reserve).


SPEED (kts)


RANGE (nm)

650 (idle)












1500 (planing)




















* Sea-trial data supplied by the author (650-1500rpm) and builder (1800-2300).


Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish specs

Hatteras 45 Express Sportfish price: US$1,890,000

Price as tested (ex. taxes and shipping)


Priced from

US$1,450,000 (ex. taxes and shipping)



Two staterooms, one head; Cat Three60 joystick control; twin Caterpillar C18s; integrated hardtop; cockpit freezer under mezzanine seating; oil-change system; helm deck refrigerator; helm companion Stidd chair; baitwell; electric grill; helm deck a/c; 220-240V/50Hz; East Coast style rails; water maker; cockpit teak; custom alloy tower; hydraulic riggers; ice machine; teak coaming boards; teak to mezzanine; teak cockpit sole; swim platform; Garmin electronics suite







TYPE Monohull planing

LENGTH 13.59m

BEAM 5.03m

WEIGHT 22,543kg





FUEL 3028L





MAKE/MODEL Twin Caterpillar C18 marine diesel engines

RATED HP 1150hp each



PROPELLERS Michigan five-blade 30x46.5in x2



Game & Leisure Boats Pty Ltd

Factory 1, Runaway Bay Marina,

247 Bayview Street, Runaway Bay, QLD, 4216, Australia

Phone +61 7 55 775 811




See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #265, on sale April 21, 2016. Why not subscribe today?

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