The Back Story
Hunt Yachts is rather unique in the boating industry -- it is a boat builder that grew out of a naval architectural firm. Founded in 1961 just after the famous deep-V Moppie captured the imagination of American boaters with her feats of offshore racing prowess, battering across Florida's Gulf Stream and leaving competitive powerboats literally hours behind. Overnight C. Raymond Hunt and Associates became a household name among boaters as boating magazines told how this boat and Dick Bertram could beat any boat afloat offshore. The Moppie – with her 24-degree, constant deadrise deep-V hull -- evolved into the Bertram 31 which kept generations of offshore fishermen happy. The same basic bottom design went on to be used in boats designed to go fast in rough water all over the world and has not been improved upon to this day in the opinion of most.
John Deknatel was Ray Hunt's partner when the design company was formed and together they built a reputation as one of the world's leading marine naval architectural firms. Ray Hunt died in 1978 but the firm lived on and grew under the stewardship of Deknatel . Over the years C. Raymond Hunt and Associates designed the hulls for such brands as Bertram, Four Winns, Grady-White, Grand Banks, Boston Whaler, Chris-Craft, Wellcraft and many others. The company also got into commercial vessels and his designed the pilot boats -- which are famous for going out in almost any weather condition. Virtually every major U.S. harbor has pilot boats designed by Hunt Associates.
An Idea Is Born
In the late 1990s the Hunt Design Office developed the concept of a downeast-styled day boat/weekender with modest accommodations that could go moderately fast with a single engine and make comfortable passages to places like Nantucket, Provincetown, Bar Harbor and Mohegan Island in a deep-V hull. The boat would be economical to operate, fun to drive, and be practical for a weekend yachtsman.In 1998 the design for a 33-footer that met those criteria was bicycled around to all of Hunt's boat-builder clients, but there were no takers. Since the design could not be sold, the designers decided that they would start their own company to build the boat. Hunt Yachts was born to build the 33, an open express that was more an open day fishing boat than a weekend cruiser.Today Hunt Yachts builds 10 different models from 25' (7.62 m) to 68' (20.7 m) in three separate series of boats. The Surfhunter Series, as its name implies, are rugged fishing boats -- with cuddy models 25, 29, and 33, plus a 25 center console. The Harrier Series has three models 25, 29, and 36. And the largest line is called Hunt Express Cruisers. The models are all hardtop express downeast yachts -- 44, 52, and 68. Needless to say, the 68 is to die for.By 2002 the 33 had evolved into the 36. In 2003 she was introduced at the Miami Boat Show and it was given the NMMA Innovation of the Year award in boat design. The panel of judges liked the versatility of the boat, its sea-keeping abilities, and of course, its rugged downeast styling that was a refreshing alternative to the mass of Euro-styled express cruisers which were a glut on the market.
In 2009 Hunt Yachts developed hardtops for several of its yachts and the 36 was one of them. With the hardtop the boat became even more oblivious to quick changes in weather that can boil up and turn foul most anywhere boaters like to go.
Becoming a Hunt Client
Before we get to the details of the 36, perhaps we should first find out who might be interested in this yacht…and for whom this yacht is best suited. She is not for just anyone. Hunt leaves those kind of boats to the mass marketers. As we said, this boat is semi-custom which means she doesn’t come cheap, and it takes a refined eye to appreciate her.
The folks at Hunt Yachts tell us that most of their customers are veteran boat owners who have developed over the years some pretty firm ideas of what they want in a boat. When those ideas coincide with the length, beam and capabilities of one of Hunt Yacht’s existing models as far as the hull and deck are concerned, then a design collaboration can begin on the details. If on the other hand, what the customer has in mind will not satisfactory fit into one of Hunt's existing hulls, then a completely custom boat from keel up can be created. In this case the Hunt design team will endeavor to put the client's dream on paper (by means of the latest computer aided design software, of course.) The project will then be sent to several respected boat yards to bid on the construction. In most cases, complete custom boats are not built by Hunt Yachts.
Mission of the 36
The mission today of the 36 is essentially the same as it was when the concept first developed in the Hunt offices in 1998 -- a capable day boat for a discerning yachtsman/yachtswoman with an occasional weekend outing or long weekend with a significant other, or with one or two kids.
Some buyers may want to use the boat exclusively for entertaining on day trips and others might want to fit the boat out for a little longer cruising than what the Hunt designers originally had in mind. We think both of these extremes are nicely doable in the 36.
Dreaming the Dream
Everyone reading this article has an ideal boat in mind or is searching for that ideal boat. For most people we know, both time and money are in short supply these days. That is why 36’ (27.97 m) is a good size – it is large enough to go most reasonable places even in snotty weather, but it is small enough to be affordable even if you do have to take out a second mortgage or delay junior’s trust fund a few years. In polling several members of the BoatTEST.com staff we discovered that each had a slightly different idea of how they would want their semi-custom Hunt 36 to be built. Essentially, the below decks area of the 36 is fixed because the interior is built in fiberglass pans designed to fit in the boat. Given that caveat, some minor latitude might be possible as you will see below. However it is on the bridge deck, in the salon area, and in the cockpit where Hunt can substantially customize the boat for its customers. Here's how three of the BoatTEST.com staff would modify the 36 to make it their ideal boat--
– He is married with a teenage daughter and has a summer house on Cape Cod. He would keep his 36 in Chatham, MA and travel out Nantucket Sound into the Atlantic where the fishing is good.Steve would outfit the cockpit for fishing by putting a bait prep counter with freezer under along the forward bulkhead to port. He would make the bench seat along the transom fold-away so he could stand there when fishing. The teak grate swim platform is in the way for fishing, but his daughter would like to use it at anchor, so he will put it on hinges. When he is fishing it would be up alongside the transom and out of the way. Capt. Steve would put a remote control console to starboard against the forward bulkhead so that when a fish is on either he or a friend could jocky the boat. He'll put a hatch in the sole to starboard for a fish box, and of course four rod holders in the covering boards. On the bridge deck Capt. Steve would eliminate the forward cushion on the L-shaped dinette and install a Stidd seat facing forward for his navigator. Daughter or Mom can join him in the double helm seat. He will take out the wet bar sink and install a high/low flat screen TV just like the ones he sees on the big motoryachts he tests.Forward Capt. Steve would drop the dinette table down and make that into a permanent berth for his daughter and install a privacy curtain. The boat comes standard with a Pullman berth that stows outboard of the dinette and will hold 150-lbs. (68 kg.), so if Steve's daughter wants to invite a chum along, keep her light.
Day Cruiser/Entertainment Spot
Chris Hughes, BoatTEST.com COO –
Chris is married with four kids and likes to take his family on day outings on Long Island Sound from his home port in Greenwich, CT. Chris also likes to take friends on evening cruises during the summer. Starting forward, Chris would convert the V-berth into a U-shaped banquette with a café table. This will make a cozy venue for cocktails with his bride when out alone or a convivial place to socialize with friends when there is a crowd aboard. On the main deck on the starboard side Chris would eliminate the wet bar and replace it with a small table in the middle of the starboard bulkhead with two director’s chairs on either side. In the cockpit Chris would maximize the entertainment possibilities by adding a fold-away seat in the gunwales on the starboard side that would seat another two or three people. He would then put a narrow cabinet along the forward bulkhead so the counter could be used for drinks, ice, and trays of food. Inside the cabinet he would have an ice maker, refer and shelf storage. All told, Chris’s layout could comfortably seat 20 to 22 people.
Long Range Coastal Cruiser
Jeff Hammond, Director of Testing –
Jeff has had his heart set on some serious long distance coastal cruising for some time, so he would configure his semi-custom 36 differently than either Capt. Steve or Chris -- and differently than the Hunt Design Office originally envisioned the boat. Jeff would customize his 36 by replacing the wet bar in the salon with a full galley complete with stove top, microwave, sink and refer below the counter. With 40" (11 cm) of fore-and-aft counter space all of this can be adequately handled. Like Capt. Steve he would add a Stidd companion seat to port to maximize the sets of eyes looking forward, and shorten up the L-shaped dinette. Below, Jeff would make three changes. First, he would take out the mini galley and replace it with a stacked washer/dryer combo unit. Second, forward of that in the room left, he would add a hanging locker. Third, to port he will have the dinette taken out and convert this area into an office with desk and chair with cabinets and shelves for his camera equipment and other gear. Forward in the V-berth he would put cabinets on both sides to pick up some much-needed storage utilizing the bow flare. In the cockpit Jeff would install racks for scuba tanks on the starboard side and put in bins under the aft bench seat for scuba gear such as weights, fins and masks. The electric air compressor, wet suit storage and the like would be in the lazzerette on the port side, accessed by a special hatch created for the purpose.Jeff would also install a single engine, increase the fuel capacity to 275 gallons (1,045 L), double the water capacity to 100 gal. (380 L) and install a watermaker.
Propulsion For A Purpose
Once a buyer has determined the mission of his 36 the next task is to select to most appropriate propulsion system. Hunt offers seven different propulsion packages for the 36 from three different engine makers with three different drive systems. How's that for choice? The options range from a single Yanmar 380-hp diesel engine to a 480-hp CMD QSB5 single diesel, both driving conventional inboard running gear...to twin Volvo Penta 435-hp D6 diesels driving through Hamilton 274 waterjets. The 26 can also be powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS400 or IPS500 pod/joystick systems, generating 370-hp and 435-hp each, respectively.Hunt Yachts has conducted speed trials on most of the 36s they have built so have a lot of data with which a prospective buyer can dial in exactly the kind of performance desired. The figures given below are from Hunt Yachts, as we have not tested any of their boats.
Powered by a single Yanmar 380-hp 6YL3A-UTP diesel engine Hunt reports a top speed of 29 knots and a best cruise of 20 knots getting 2.0 nmpg. (That is why our Director of Testing would install this engine and increase the fuel capacity to 275 gallons, as it would give him a range of 495 nautical miles with a 10% fuel reserve.)
At the other end of the horsepower spectrum, powered by twin diesels we find some interesting numbers. Hunt tells us that with twin 435-hp D6 Volvo Penta diesels with conventional drives the 36 has a WOT of 39 knots and a best cruise of 27 knots getting 1.0 nmpg.
Powered by the same engines driving through a pair of Hamilton 274 waterjets the boat also had a top speed of 39 knots, but a best cruise speed of 20 knots, getting 1.5 nmpg. That means with the same customized 275 gallon tank and a 10% reserve, the 35 could theoretically cruise 247 nautical miles with the 435-hp diesels and conventional drives and 371 nautical miles with the waterjets.
Hunt Yachts estimates that with the IPS500 options the 36 will have a WOT of 42 knots, and a best cruise of 23 knots getting 2.3 nmpg. Here is where the pod drives shine, as with them the 36 can have a theoretical cruising range of 569 nautical miles.
Bridge Deck Enclosure Options
The 36 started out life as an open express cruiser but almost immediately people started adding Bimini tops and side curtains ($4,200). Later a "hardtop" was added complete with Lewmar hatches, handrails and radar mast ($22,500). Today a "custom hardtop" with enclosure on three sides and a canvas "backdrop curtain" is available to add to the base boat ($46,750).
Price Range -- A Ball Park Estimate
Obviously with a semi-custom boat it is impossible to quote an exact price. The folks at Hunt tell us that in the last 300 boats they have built no two were the same. But to let you know what ball park you are playing in, the base price of the base 36 powered by a 380-hp Yanmar diesel is $443,500, and that is an open boat. The top you select is extra.The option list for the 36 is relatively short which means most of the equipment that you need for cruising comes standard. Essentially engines, tops, teak air conditioning and electronics is what come extra. Add a second Yanmar diesel and you are looking at nearly $100k more. IPS, joysticks and Hamilton jet drives move the boat's price sill higher. But for that price -- whatever it is -- you will be getting a boat that has virtually all of the prestige and panache of other names from downeast, but for significantly less money. So, if you been thinking about a versatile 30s-something semi-custom boat we think you would do well to learn more about what Hunt Yachts has to offer.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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