LOA: 41’9” / Beam: 14’3” / Draft: 4’0” / Displ. (approx.): 35,000 lbs. / Fuel: 500 gals. / Water: 150 gals. / Power: (2) diesel engines
For TJ Karbowski, it was all about the fishing—the camaraderie, the excitement of the chase, the joy of being on the water with a good boat under him. Whether it was bluefish and striped bass in and around Long Island Sound or running offshore at the Montauk shark tournaments, Karbowski had loved it all since he was a boy.
“My grandfather and father had boats,” Karbowski says. “Fishing—that’s all we did Saturdays and Sundays. It was blue fishing at that time. Then we started doing the Montauk shark tourneys. The marine basin tournament was big back then. I fished my first one in 1989.”
Then he started thinking about fishing as a profession.
“I would see the charter boats in Montauk out shark fishing or coming back to the dock with stripers everyday, and I said to myself, ‘I gotta do this,’” he says. And he did. In 2003, Karbowski, now 41, from North Branford, Connecticut, started chartering part-time with a 35-foot Luhrs. About three years later, he went full-time, opening Rock & Roll Charters in Clinton, Connecticut. He needed a heavier, bigger boat.
“I looked at Viking, Bertram, Blackfins, Posts and Oceans,” he says. “Then, I got on a 1986 Hatteras 41 Convertible. I felt it in my gut right away. This is the boat. I knew it without hesitation.” Prices at the time ranged from $185,000 to $200,000, and Karbowski paid just under the average for the Series II model, an updated version of the original Hatteras 41 Convertible, one of the most influential designs in modern boating.
The Hatteras had several things that he wanted: a flybridge that permitted more room for guests; a cockpit comparable in size to those on some bigger sportfishing boats; a walk-through transom door; and an underwater exhaust system. The 20-year-old boat was in excellent condition, although it was dated, Karbowski says, “Like your grandmother’s house. Nice, but it needed redoing.” He gutted 90 percent of the boat and installed a new interior. The Hatteras has been working out for him ever since.
During Karbowski’s charter-fishing season—from May to around Thanksgiving—the boat makes two trips a day, beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. With as many as six people on board, Karbowski roams the Sound chasing striped bass, bluefish, fluke, porgies and blackfish. “It pretty much runs all the time,” he says. “I’d say we make 250 trips a year.”
Power comes from a pair of Detroit Diesel 6-71s, delivering a cruising speed around 16 to 17 mph and a fast cruising speed around 20 mph. Karbowski plans to do an engine rebuild soon but says, “These engines have served me well.”
While some boats are faster than his Hatteras, none are more seaworthy, Karbowski says. “I’ve been in a lot of weather and never have I been worried that the boat was going to let me down,” he says. “All loaded up with fuel and water, it’s extremely stable. It’s one of the strongest, most seaworthy boats around.”
Having that peace of mind means that he and his guests can focus on fishing. His clients include everyone from CEOs to construction workers, and he enjoys having kids aboard. “We get lots of them, and they love it,” he says. “They’re out there to have a good time, and they’re excited. And this is a nice, big boat for them. It’s roomy and stable with all the comforts on board. This boat has been a big part of what has made my business successful.”
The Hatteras 41C Series II is an updated version of the original Hatteras 41. The Series II debuted in January 1986 with sculpted lines, a rakish bridge and a stepped sheer line. It rode a modified-V hull with solid fiberglass below the waterline and coring in the topsides. With a focus on weight reduction, the stringers, deck and bulkheads were molded composite. The 125-square-foot cockpit had a molded-in tackle center with a built-in sink, prep area and tackle stowage. Options included a freezer, a circulating bait well, a removable in-deck fishbox and a set of cockpit helm controls. The flybridge helm controls were accompanied by twin helm chairs. The interior had a saloon with an L-shaped lounge, a high-low table with chairs and an entertainment center (advertised back then with a color TV and stereo cassette player). Hatteras offered galley-up or galley-down arrangements; both came with a refrigerator, a stove, an oven and a microwave. The master stateroom had an island queen berth, and there was a guest stateroom for two. (A few single-stateroom models were built.) The single head compartment was equipped with a stall shower. Standard power was a pair of 485-hp diesels. n
Knit Wits, a 41-foot sportfishing boat built in High Point, North Carolina, 200 miles from the ocean, debuted in 1960. She was the brainchild of Willis Slane, a Carolina angler. Designed by a young Jack Hargrave, the fiberglass boat revolutionized the sportfishing industry with her rugged performance and upscale amenities. The Hatteras 41C Series II is an updated version of that legendary boat.
This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue.