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Southern rocker Edwin McCain and the rebirth of a hauled-out Hatteras

When renowned southern rocker Edwin McCain hauls out a boat, he's definitely in it for the long haul. Known for beloved hits like I'll Be and I Could Not Ask for More, McCain is currently restoring a 1968 Hatteras at Marsh Harbor Boat Yard in Beaufort, South Carolina.

"I'm a chronic restorer of old things," says McCain, while peering up at his most recent project on boat yard blocks. "I've restored a 1984 Chris-Craft that I keep at Lake Keowee. I've also restored a green 1989 Ford F-250." He even hits the road in an already-classic 2000 45-foot Van Hool T945 bus named "African Queen." In addition, McCain's a licensed private pilot and has even researched purchasing and restoring a huge DC-3.

McCain's original goal was to buy a boat he could use as a base once he opened a planned club in Charleston with friends Dianne and Cecil Crowley--owners of ever-popular Red's Ice House and more on Mount Pleasant's Shem Creek. The club didn't happen as planned, but McCain found the boat he was looking for docked in a community on Hilton Head Island, made an offer, and became the third owner of the historic Hatteras. He had it towed to Savannah, then up to Beaufort, and started his biggest restoration project to date.

"The thick Hatteras hull, the woodwork, and the electrical system were all in good shape, so the first thing I did was pull out all of the upholstery and anything else that was smelly," he says grinning and crinkling his nose. With the help of Marsh Harbor Boat Yard owner Pete Gamble (who Edwin continually praises for his work) and others, Edwin also pulled out the twin 1968 Detroit 871 engines and had them rebuilt up in Greenville, South Carolina.

His long-time bus diesel mechanic, Robby Cauley--who cut his teeth on similar marine engines--did the engine work. From the engines to the Hatteras that holds them and including his Chris-Craft, his truck, and his bus, it's obvious that McCain's a big believer in American-made concepts.

His next step--sometime in 2013 if all goes well- is to start refinishing the interior in the style it was originally built, including three staterooms and heads below. "The interior wood is African Tiger-Striped Mahogany, which refinishes beautifully," says McCain, while standing at the original wheel. McCain does intend to add modern marine electronics and is unabashedly looking for manufacturers interested in contributing to the cause with electronics or other items in keeping with the project. He currently plans to add a small wheel up top and is also going to run an aluminum railing around it to accommodate bands performing above shoreside crowds when the restored Hatteras is docked.

Once the restoration is complete, McCain plans to move it up to Shem Creek for overnights and concerts. He also hopes to travel on it with his family, including his wife, Christy, daughter Tiller, and sons Ben and Watt. The two boys take credit for naming the Hatteras Instant Karla--a mispronunciation of an "instant karma" moment with their father, a moniker that stuck. "I really believe that boats like this one have souls," says McCain, who even purchased the domain name boatshavesouls.com. Log on for updates on the restoration of Instant Karla in coming months, as well as a fun video about the project.

Slane Marine
While researching his 1968 Hatteras, Edwin McCain learned about Slane Marine in High Point, North Carolina--a company knowns for its Hatteras restoration work. Willis Slane founded Hatteras Yachts in 1959 and coined the term "convertible" half-a-century ago to describe his 41-fotter Knit Wits, which showcased how Hatteras designs work well for both family cruising and sportfishing. His son, Tom, has continued the Hatteras tradition with Slane Marine since 1984 and specializes in finding, repairing and restoring the older yet still-beautiful boats. Slane Marine now has its own grounbreaking new offering--the Slane 62 Convertible. Tom proudly says that it "will be as friendly to the environment as it is to the owner's bank account." The truly "green" design features an optimized Carolina hull, serious attention to weight reduction, and the use of the latest Volvo IPS drives--yielding better performance, more interior volume and greatly improved fuel efficiency. The Volvo pod drives ensure comfortable and successful sportfishing; they virtually banish noise, vibration and exhause smoke in the cockpit. When paired with counter-rotating propellers, the IPS3 pod drives provide fuel savings of up to 52 percent. Furthermore, Slane Marine designed this new model to incorporate a removable mezzanine between the engine room and cockpit, which allows quicker turnover time between engine or genrator maintenance or removal (which also reduces labor costs) and, as Tom points out, will help keep the boat in service during the critical tournament season. slanemarine.com