Proving a yacht’s value within her market niche requires a bit of time — probably a year or more for the model’s owners to sort out their impressions after the new wears off. Evaluating her true potential is something that can be done only after many trips in a variety of sea states and long weekends aboard at quiet anchorages. I’d certainly be willing to make these kinds of tests, but no one has offered. Be that as it may, the 44 Express Sedan from Hunt Yachts made quite a first impression on me.
“Straight stem, a bit more than a suggestion of spring in the sheer line, graceful curvature in the transom: These elements determine the aesthetic character of the Hunt 44, placing her squarely within the family of designs from C. Raymond Hunt Associates and Hunt Yachts.” I wrote that in my October 2010 Design column, and then I waited impatiently for two years to take the wheel.
I discovered that the Hunt 44 Express Sedan is more of a scaled-down 52 than a scaled-up 36, and she gives owners of smaller Hunts a logical step up to the big time. Her conservative styling is crisp, friendly and practical — and dare I say timeless? I suppose that word’s all right, because variations on this basic theme are more than 80 years old and appear to be headed well into the future. The designers at C. Raymond Hunt Associates have artfully blended the practical elements of their military craft and pilot boats with a hint of lobster boat and a sprinkling of whimsy from the runabout era of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Unlike the general arrangement plans of many contemporary yachts in this size range, which follow artistic European trends in creative use of space, angles and curves, that of the 44 Express Sedan makes perfect sense, even to someone who isn’t an avid yachtsman. A newbie — often the buyer’s spouse — can step into the cockpit and see a back porch, the furniture placed to form an intimate conversation area. The deck box on the port side of the cockpit hard against the salon bulkhead houses a top-loading refrigerator; the one opposite contains an electric grill. Anyone up for a cookout at sunset?