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Yachting Magazine December 1966

The U.S. Navy's new patrol craft for policing the Mekong Delta. An unconventional craft for fighting an unconventional war. Only 31' long, she has diesel power coupled to water jet pumps for shallow water operation. A completely equipped little battle wagon, she mounts twin fifty calibers forward, a single 7.6 m.m. aft and armor protection for the crew. The canopy is not for sun protection. It is intended to bounce off grenades for "close in" engagements.
Hatteras prototype hull hits a hard-over turn at full throttle. Unobstructed bottom permits hull to quickly reverse direction.

   Private industry helps the Navy
   develop a new type of tactical craft


THE MILITARY EFFORT in Viet Nam is drawing on resources from all parts of our economy. A great diversity of equipment is being required to fight this strange war half way around the world, and each branch of our armed services appears to be coming up with special vehicle and weapon requirements. The adaptability and utility of helicopters has received great attention; the employment of slow but maneuverable World War II propeller driven bombers is notable, and now the Navy has come up with a special little patrol craft designed to deal with Viet Cong movements in the Mekong Delta.

These new river patrol craft have received considerable national publicity in magazines and newspapers. Readers may recall an especially vivid write-up in "Time" entitled, "Policing the Dragons." But as is often the case, there is a story behind the story. What has not been given general recognition concerning these patrol boats is the imaginative and dedicated effort given by certain pleasure boat industry members during the program.

The writer was fortunate enough to be associated with certain phases of this interesting development. I have talked to no one involved with the PBR program who is not admiring of the effort of one man, Willis Slane, the late president and founder of the Hatteras Yacht Co. Willis died in the fall of 1965 while his PBR candidate prototype was being evaluated by the Navy. The final design is in a very real sense a memorial to his initial effort.