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Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - Daniel Hard­ing Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

All trends point to cen­ter con­soles—what we’ve taken to call­ing su­per con­soles— grow­ing in size. The race is on.

Find­ing the 65 Estrella at the Mon­tauk Yacht Club couldn’t have been eas­ier, not just be­cause of the boat’s mon­strous size, but be­cause there is a buzz you can fol­low from the park­ing lot to its slip. Tire kick­ers, se­ri­ous sport­fish­er­men and mo­to­ry­acht own­ers are drawn to the 65-footer like moths to a flame. Dur­ing the drive to Mon­tauk, I pre­pared my­self to not come off as too im­pressed.

That plan works well right up un­til I come to the boat’s tran­som and ogle its quint 627-horse­power Seven Marine out­boards. Math has never been one of my strong suits; I need to sum­mon the cal­cu­la­tor on my phone to learn that there is a cor­ral of 3,135 horses strapped to the new­est mem­ber of the HCB fam­ily.

Any­time a boat is launched that pushes the bound­aries of what’s pos­si­ble, it’s in­evitable that it will re­ceive a strong re­ac­tion. I vividly re­mem­ber hear­ing peo­ple scoff at how “un­nec­es­sar­ily big” the Reg­u­la­tor 41 was when it de­buted a cou­ple years ago in New­port. To­day, with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of cen­ter con­soles in the 50-plus foot range, that boat looks damn near mod­est.

HCB’s 65 Estrella is no ex­cep­tion. We posted a video to our Face­book page dur­ing our test (shame­less plug: if you’re not fol­low­ing us, you’re miss­ing out) and it sky­rock­eted in vi­ral­ity. In a few short days it reached nearly a mil­lion views and re­ceived thou­sands of com­ments. As is the na­ture of the In­ter­net, the com­menters were split down party lines. Many ad­mired the su­per con­sole. Then there were the haters: “Who needs that much horse­power?” “What does that thing cost to fuel up?” “Un­nec­es­sary.” “Who would want a 65-foot cen­ter con­sole?” These were but a few of the com­ments made by key­board war­riors.

I silently cheered when HCB builder Tim Har­mon came to the sup­port of his em­ployer on Face­book: “To all the peo­ple hat­ing, I build these boats and un­til you step foot in this yacht you have no clue what this beast has to of­fer. It’s im­pres­sive.”

It was amaz­ing how strong of a re­ac­tion the boat got (you can read more about this record breaker on page 62) but even trolls make a point from time to time. Yes, all those ponies re­quire a lot of fuel. Most of us can’t front the fuel bill. Most boaters don’t need 65 feet of walka­round fisha­bil­ity. Most peo­ple don’t need to go 52 knots. And you know what? That’s OK. This boat isn’t for most boaters. Start­ing at $3 mil­lion, it’s for a se­lect few. Among the first buy­ers are an heir to a beer for­tune, roy­alty in the UAE and hall of fame ath­letes you’d rec­og­nize by their first names.

What im­presses me most about this boat isn’t its horse­power, LOA or even the mo­to­ry­acht in­te­rior, (OK, an in­te­rior mirror that turns into a TV, blew my mind) it’s how the builder was able to break a record for size and power with­out sac­ri­fic­ing han­dling or fit and fin­ish. It’s these el­e­ments that I be­lieve will trickle down—like good in­no­va­tion does—into smaller boats that many of us can af­ford.

From the sport­fish­ing docks of Mon­tauk to so­cial me­dia ac­counts, HCB is rid­ing a wave of pop­u­lar­ity com­ing into the Ft. Laud­erdale In­ter­na­tional Boat Show where she’ll de­but to the masses. As the big­gest cen­ter con­sole ever built, the spot­light will un­doubt­edly be strong; she’ll en­joy celebrity sta­tus for some time. But we all know that there’s another hun­gry boat­builder some­where out there silently work­ing away on a 70-footer. Records, after all, are made to be bro­ken. I can’t wait to be there when it is.

For the fore­see­able fu­ture, the HCB 65 Estrella will stay the world’s largest and most pow­er­ful cen­ter con­sole.

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