Post 1: For those just coming to our blog let me get you up to speed on the Hatteras 48 LRC’s. Beginning in 1975 and ending in 1981 Hatteras built 49 of the 48-foot LRC trawlers. Most of these seaworthy vessels had two staterooms but two were built with 3 staterooms. Belle is one of the two with three staterooms. Of the 49 original vessels 48 remain and they can be found all around the world.
Our Belle started life in 1978 as hull #36 and after the first owner had her for 4-years she was purchased by Fred and Sharon Kirsch. They named her Playpen and rightly so… They apparently raised their two children on the boat and managed to take our Belle to 32 countries and every state you can get a boat like this to in the US except Hawaii. She even made the Panama Canal crossing. They proudly owned her for 28-years.
After we bought Belle in Baltimore Fred and Sharon made one final trip on the old gal and brought her to Charleston where we flew to pick her up. We never saw the Kirsches as they left the morning of November 21 and we arrived that afternoon. Other than a short sea trial we had never taken the boat out on the water, much less attempted to navigate her, and our orientation was a mix of sales and “what the hell is that part” as we spent a couple hours on her. It took me two days to feel comfortable just firing up the engines.
At 33-years young Belle, like all the other Hatteras LRC’s built between 1975 and 1985 (Hatteras also produced 42-ft, 58-ft and 65-ft LRC’s), has nearly a two inch thick hull, fully protected running gear and an interior that’s a mixture of mahogany and Afromosia teak. All of the LRC’s have beautiful lines and the American icon, Jack Hargrave, who designed these boats made the following statement about the need for graceful boat lines; “if they can both cook why not choose the pretty one.” Hey, I didn’t say it. I am just the benefactor of his great design. And, if you can’t thank Jimmy Carter for anything else you can thank him for creating an oil crisis so severe that Hatteras was forced into building these 8-10 knot fuel efficient trawlers.
So, after eight days on the dock at Isle of Palm, South Carolina installing radar, navigation software, hardware, and provisioning her, and with much trepidation, we pulled Belle into the Atlantic ICW and headed south. Our first port of call was Dataw Island Marina, near the town of Beaufort, S. Carolina.