Say the names Fexas, Sarin and Hargrave, and even casual marine enthusiasts will immediately think of a Midnight Lace, a Westship and a Hatteras-distinctive designs by naval architects with individual visions.
Add to that list C. Raymond Hunt. His classic Bertram 31 is still quite popular, distinguished by its even sheerline, sharply angled prow, low profile and pronounced deep-V. The new Hunt Harrier 36 has all those attributes, along with the satisfying performance I've experienced with my Hunt-designed Conch 27. After a day spent testing the new 36, I can say she provides an exemplary, dry ride and is a real performer in moderate seas, especially when they are on the nose.
As we reached open ocean during our sea trial, the waves were methodical sets of 3- to 4-footers. The lanky, bearded Peter Van Lancker, vice president of operations at Hunt Yachts, showed no mercy at the helm. He delighted in dropping the hammer and letting the 36 eat foam.
As the 36 busted water at 36 knots-plus, I found measuring interior decibel levels adventurous at best. The 36 rose, crested and landed, though, without a thud or spray on the windshield. The 440 hp Yanmar diesels missed no beats throughout the acceleration curve as we circled the inlet buoys and sampled the sea from various quarters. Slowing to a more appropriate 2100 rpm and a respectable 25 knots, the express boat handled following, quartering and beam-to seas with grace.
Though her dark hull puts the 36 in the day boat/overnighter category, this design should not be confused with the pack. She is more than just a rough-water taxi. Hunt Yachts fitted the cruiser with satin-finished cherry joinery, strong ball bearing hardware and velvet-lined jewelry compartments beside the queen berth, which sits atop the bow thruster and stowage.
Since the primary mission of this boat is to be in motion, the bridge deck and helm area are her focal point. The layout is thoughtful, and the helm is of proper height for standing or leaning under way, thanks in part to the placement of the powder-coated (and comfortable) electric Stidd helm seat. Electronics will fit nicely. Being the dinosaur I am, I was glad to see separate throttles and clutches.
The companion seat may be powered, as well, making it an extension of the settee or a dedicated companion chair. Six guests should be comfortable in the additional seating, near the day bar and table.
Hydraulic rams lift the entire bridge deck for engine inspection and service. Centerline access in the engine compartment is good. Outboard, the water tank snugs things up, though the hatch extends enough for work to be performed from above. The hatch is well insulated, keeping the decibels at a manageable level.
A step below the bridge deck is the cockpit, where our test boat's optional teak planking added luster and powder-coated rails assisted in making the step down. The 36's bright white mast was, in some respect, her centerpiece. To me, it made a statement a lesser design would not have been able to. The freeboard was a touch low, but depending upon applications and the absence of small children, that may be a plus.
Performance and strength are derived from Airex core in the hull and Airlite in the deck and superstructure. The E-glass and epoxy resins are vacuum-bagged and oven cured. Carbon fiber is used to stiffen the longitudinal stringers without adding weight. The hull is finished with Awlgrip.
Base price for this gem with the 370 hp engines is $395,000, but it doesn't take long to boost the bottom line north of the half-million-dollar mark by upgrading the engines and adding a hardtop, electronics and the teak package. If you intend to use the 36 as a day/weekend cruiser, those bells and whistles will create an upscale, finely finished look.
On the other hand, a diving or fishing enthusiast might want to stick with the smaller engines and increase her range. Maybe even let the higher maintenance options, such as the teak, go by the wayside and consider how awesome the 36 would look with a full tower and outriggers.