It also happened that Slane had recently been to Miami and chanced to meet Don Mucklow, one of the first boat builders to embrace the new technology of fiberglass. Mucklow had built a 27-foot runabout, powered by a pair of Corvette engines, that had won the Miami-Nassau race two years earlier. Slane was intrigued. He was something of an adventurer himself, an expert pilot who first taught flying for the Army Air Corps in World War II and later flew The Hump over Burma from India to China and back again many times.

 But, like many, Slane was skeptical of the new material's strength. The word itself, fiberglass, seemed to connote weakness. Fibers were limp. Glass was something that shattered when you knocked it off a table. Mucklow challenged Slane to try to break the hull. Slane accepted and firewalled the throttles, heading out of Miami's Government Cut at more than 40 mph and into a nasty chop. The boat, he quickly learned, could take a lot more than he could. He was impressed and intrigued.  

 So, as he sat in the clubhouse and listened to the moiling winds and saw the local fishing boats rocking timidly in their slips, he mused aloud that someday soon somebody would build a boat that could handle Cape Hatteras' weather – and that it would be made of fiberglass. He began to extrapolate on his vision: it would have to be about 40 feet long to accommodate four to six fishermen. Further, he mused, it would have to be luxurious enough that a family could use it for cruising, as well.

 "You're crazy," his friends laughed. "Fiberglass is o.k. for a small runabout, but not for a big boat."

 Not only that, Slane continued, it should be built in High Point to take advantage of the city's craftsmen nurtured by the furniture industry.

 That brought a howl of derision.

 "You can't build a 40-foot yacht in High Point. That's 200 miles from the ocean."

 Willis Slane, it is said, slammed down his fistful of playing cards and replied: “You wanna bet?"

 Six months later, having immersed himself in fiberglass technology and after consultations with a bright young West Palm Beach naval architect named Jack Hargrave, Willis Slane and a coterie of recruits opened the doors on Hatteras Yachts in what had been a Pontiac dealership on Wrenn Street in High Point.

" I'll never forget the respect I had for Don Mucklow, because I worked for him. One day we were in his office and somebody fired up an engine out in the plant. Don heard it and grabbed the intercom and shouted. 'Cut that engine off. You're running it dry!' He could tell from the sound of the exhaust that it didn't have water in it like it was supposed to. " -Aubrey Ingram

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