Armed with a few used and rented tools and with Mucklow as their teacher, the crew began to piece together the boat Slane and Hargrave had conceived. She was a 41-foot trunk cabin sportfisherman with a 14-foot beam and was to be powered by a pair of 275-hp Lincoln V8s. She would carry 324 gallons of fuel, 200 gallons of fresh water, and her designer calculated a top speed of 34 miles per hour.

 Later, Jack Hargrave commented: "Willis had what he called the 'Hargrave Test.' The production people would lay up a hull section to what the equations called for, then Willjs and I would go out in the plant and kick the hell out of it. If it didn't seem stiff enough, Willis would have the lamination people add some more layers."  

 On March 22, 1960, precisely on schedule, the first boat was trucked out of the garage, down Wrenn Street, and sent on her way to Morehead City. There, she was christened by Slane's wife, Doris, as the Knit-Wits. Willis Slane's vision was outdistanced only by his energy, perseverance, and salesmanship. He took seven orders that day for the boat now designated the Hatteras 41 Convertible Yacht Fisherman. Success brought expansion and building boats in a garage didn't last long. Less than two years after it began, the Cinderella story moved into a better castle, a brand new facility on Kivett Drive.

  Slane and his creation were, to say the least, a sensation. In January of 1962, Slane & Co. took their 41-foot production yacht to the New York National Boat Show for its debut on a greater stage. The boat was hailed as the "... largest plastic production-built power cruiser." (Chris-Craft had two 50-foot wooden hulls in the same show.) Reaction in the local media was a publicist's dream. Photos of the 41 were splashed allover New York's newspapers, including the Herald Tribune,

 Daily News, Mirror, and the World-Telegram and The Sun. The photograph showed the 41 on its trailer about to be towed over the George Washington Bridge. In the cockpit were four showgirls from the Broadway musical "Sail Away." Even the venerable New York Times made mention of the company's $650,000 worth of orders taken at the show.

 Forty years later, Hatteras Yachts is firmly established as a benchmark against which other boats are compared. The 53 was the most popular model: 349 motor yachts and 224 convertibles were sold in a 12-year period.

 Remarkably, a few of those pioneers who brought Knit-Wits and her sisters into the world are still with the company. Curly Cook recently recalled: "My first job was as low as you can get: sweeping floors and dumping trash. I was learning, like everybody else. Nobody except Don Mucklow knew anything about fiberglass. When I went to work there, the only thing they had was the framing. We planked it and made a two-piece mold. We planked it with narrow stripping and then came back and glassed over that. Then we had to sand it down with sandpaper. It took forever!"

 Cook is now (and has been for a long time), a customer service rep for Hatteras and generally regarded as the best in the business in that category.

"We hired Curly Cook and a couple of buddies, about 17 or 18 years old. One day, they were sanding on the side of a hull .I say 'sanding. ' Curly was leaning on one elbow against the hull and rubbing at it with the other: Don Mucklow and I were standing back watching them, wondering if they'd ever amount to anything. " -Ray Myers.

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