“My kids have a saying: Incoming wind, outgoing tide makes for a bumpy Kennebec ride,” Rich Miner says about cruising aboard his Nantucket skiff on Maine’s Kennebec River. The Down East skiff’s flagship standing in the family was usurped when Miner, the co-founder of Android, added other rides, including a C.W. Hood-drawn Katama 30. Miner’s newest whip, the first Hood 35 LM, Shadow, represents all that he’s learned about Maine boating, technology and bespoke design.
While his success with Android means that Miner has his choice of yachts, his love of hands-on design and Maine’s working waterfronts, as well as his desire to commute between his Maine island properties, led him to commission the first Hood 35 LM. It’s also a C.W. Hood design, built by Lyman-Morse. And while it may look like a traditional, cold-molded Down East dayboat, it actually has everything, from Hamilton HJX Series water-jet drives to a planned Sea Machines autonomous command-and-control system.
Miner, who is 58, grew up in Natick, Massachusetts, roughly 20 miles from Massachusetts Bay. He was a suburban kid whose parents bought a small Bayliner that they kept in Gloucester. This served as his introduction to boating, but the sport’s gravitational pull didn’t resume until after he completed his undergraduate work, master’s degree and Ph.D. in the 1980s and ’90s, and then started the companies Wildfire and Android.
“Maybe 20 years ago, I picked it up again, when we bought our first place in Maine,” Miner says. The Nantucket skiff was the first of many small boats that would join his fleet there (see sidebar).
Years later, the Miners acquired a camp farther Down East. These properties border brine, allowing him to sometimes commute between them by water.
“At max throttle, it’s effectively a three-hour boat ride, door to door,” he says about traveling from his property on Atkins Bay in Phippsburg to his camp on Eggemoggin Reach aboard his previously owned C.W. Hood-designed Katama 30, which he acquired in late 2015. Part of his reason for building his Hood 35 LM was time. “I’d like to be able to be able to cruise back and forth in less than three hours,” he says.
So, that was one reason for the Hood 35 LM, whose reported top speed is more than 40 knots. Another reason was design.
“I have strong views on form, and I have strong views on function,” he says, adding that in his next life, “I’ll be an architect.” For him, owning the Katama 30 was a chance to “see what I like and don’t like in a boat this size.”
The Katama was originally a coupe, so Miner asked Hood to design a hardtop with removable windows. Hood delivered, and a working relationship developed. Four years later, Hood was in the endgame of building a 57-footer for a client with Lyman-Morse in Camden, Maine. “I really like Drew Lyman,” Miner says, adding that Lyman brings a generational shift to the company that his father, Cabot Lyman, founded in 1978. “He’s big into leveraging tech in really smart ways…but with really beautiful wooden boats.”
The Hood 35 LM is thus an exercise in form meeting its function, with a nod to other popular Maine designs such as the Hinckley Picnic Boat.
“I like the idea of a Picnic Boat, but more minimalist,” Miner says, adding that he appreciates cold-molded wooden hulls for their strength-to-weight ratio, overall resilience, and sound- and vibration-dampening properties. The Hood 35 LM also had to be small enough to frequent Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown (near one of his homes) while accommodating overnights with his family of four.
Miner worked with Hood to create custom cockpit bench seating that converts into two twin berths, an innovative V-berth that converts to a “queen-ish”-size master, and hinged windows and access panels that disappear into bulkheads. “It’s a really clean design,” says Miner, adding that the extra 5 feet of waterline between his single-jet Katama and his dual-jet Hood 35 LM accommodates the yacht’s advanced systems.
Advanced systems include twin HamiltonJet HJX Series water-jet drives and AVX controls, which should be ideal in the land of lobster pots. There are also dual 19-inch Raymarine Axiom multifunction displays, a Cyclone radar, a YachtSense digital switching and control system, a ClearCruise AR-enhanced navigation system, and a FLIR thermal-imaging camera. “It’s Android at its core,” Miner says of the Raymarine operating system.
Cooler still, Miner also spec’d HamiltonJet’s JetSense, an autonomous command-and-control system that Sea Machines builds. “It can be used a lot like Tesla Autopilot,” Miner says, adding that the system has several levels of autonomy. “One is better situational awareness while you’re at the helm,” while another is “a full autonomous version that can do a lot of the driving.”
In more traditional fashion, Miner’s Hood 35 LM carries 40 gallons of fresh water, 20 gallons of blackwater and 240 gallons of fuel, giving it a range of 240 nautical miles (with a 10 percent reserve) at its reported cruising speed of 32 knots at 30 gph. Hammers down, the boat will do 40 knots at 42 gph.
While Miner hadn’t yet taken delivery at the time of this writing, odds are excellent that the new boat will make negotiating the Kennebec a far more comfortable and technologically advanced affair, irrespective of wind and tide.
Lyman-Morse built a cardboard mock-up of the Hood 35 LM prior to construction. The helm looked boxy, so Miner worked with the Lyman-Morse team to create a curved carbon-fiber helm with a wood-veneer face and exposed carbon ends. Miner says the result is “beautiful and contemporary.”
Everything about Miner’s Hood 35 LM is aimed at meeting the aesthetics and practicalities of the Maine coastline. This includes lobster pots. To help evade these navigational challenges, the boat carries a FLIR M364C thermal-imaging camera, which can deliver high-definition color and thermal imagery, as well as blends of the two.
The Hood 35 LM is Miner’s flagship, but he owns several hundred feet of waterline. His armada includes a Katama 30, a Nantucket skiff, a Banks Cove 22 Center Console, 10 kayaks, a rowing shell, two Puffin tenders, a Portland Pudgy, a home-built wooden rowing tender, a Little River Marine Heritage 15 Carbon rowboat, two stand-up paddleboards and a canoe.