There are great powerboat designers, and there are great sailboat designers. Then there is Ray Hunt, a rare individual who was able to transcend both disciplines.
Hunt’s unorthodox path toward becoming a designer and builder began when he was a boy sailing small boats in Duxbury, Massachusetts. He grew and blossomed into an accomplished helmsman, winning local races and world championships alike aboard R boats, Q boats, 8-Meters and, later, J Class yachts. While his formal education ended in prep school, that racing experience provided the groundwork upon which Hunt created dozens of the greatest design innovations of all time.
“Some say the lack of formal design experience greatly benefited Hunt,” says Winn Willard, vice president of C. Raymond Hunt Associates. “He never learned the rules, which pushed him to learn more. He had confidence, courage and vision.”
Perhaps his greatest innovation, still widely used today, is the deep-V hull. With a sharp entry V-shape carried from bow to transom, it yields an evenly distributed displacement that helps a vessel track straight in a variety of sea conditions. The first deep-V hull was used in his 1949 design of a boat called Sea Blitz. The hull shape would obtain national acclaim after its use on the Bertram 31 Moppie, which won the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race in 1960 in record time. An article about that race and the unique hull ran in Sports Illustrated, and the rest, as they say, is history. The seminal hull shape would go on to be used in the original Surfhunter, fleets of pilot boats and military vessels alike.
Hunt would pen countless other award-winning racing sailboats and powerboats, as well as the extremely stable cathedral hull that was used in the always popular 13-foot Boston Whaler.
Today, his ingenious and unrestricted approach to modern boat design is continued by the ever-creative team at C. Raymond Hunt Associates and Hunt Yachts.