Hunt Harrier 36
MAY 2003
Length overall  36'6"
Beam 11'
Draft  3'
Displacement  12,000 lb
Fuel Capacity  200 gals
Water Capacity  40 gals
Standard power  Standard twin Yanmar 370hp diesels
Base Price  $395,000

The guys from C. Raymond Hunt Associates are behind this classic-looking fast express cruiser from Hunt Yachts in South Dartmouth, MA. They've put their distinctive design gestalt into other manufacturers' boats, designs that are as functional as they are beautiful, perhaps most notably the Grand Banks trawlers and East Bay Yachts. But more significantly, the late C. Raymond Hunt is the mastermind behind the deep-V hull that revolutionized the recreational boating industry.

Winn Willard, a partner at C. Raymond Hunt, worked with Ray Hunt for years before he died in 1978. 'Ray designed the Bertram 31in the early 60's,' Willard recalled as we basked in the aft cockpit at the Miami boat show. 'He also designed the Boston Whaler 13 with Dick Fisher about the same time. Prior to that, Hunt was designing powerboats, and before that, he designed sailboats. Ray grew up on the water, an intuitive boatman and designer with no technical education in design. The neatest thing was that he had the capability to think outside the box, and people often laughed at some of his innovations.'

Before Ray Hunt came along, Willard explained, 'most powerboats had flat bottoms, but his looked like sailboats with their deep-V hulls. You can see how he went from one design to the next. With no conventional education and no concerns about what people thought, Ray would grab ahold of an idea and beat it to death. I've been with Hunt since the early 70's, and we've been applying Ray's deep-V concept to a wide variety of boats ever since, from megayachts to jet skis. We've designed pilot boats with the deep-V hull because it works in nasty, rotten water.'

About five years ago, Willard and the Hunt team de-cided to design a smaller version of the Eastbay. 'We liked the idea and came up with the original 33-foot boat, a single engine, 30-knot, deep-V dayboat/ crusier,' he told me. 'We thought it was neat that you could design a single-engine boat that could go 30 knots, resulting in a blend of modern performance with traditional styling that would appeal to he sophisticated yachtsman.'

Willard and Hunt Yachts' operations guy, Peter Van Lancker, took me out to give the boat a go under some of the most trying conditions you could hope for at a boat show.

We ran down Biscayne Bay and out the South Cut, where the inlet was rolling. Outside, there were five-foot waves all chock-a-block, yet we were going a good 18 knots, taking the waves like a trooper with soft landings every time and only a couple of waves making it over the bow. This was a most impressive ride.

The boat tracked true even in these conditions, and running into the wind blowing 15,20 knots out of the east, the deep-V hull cut through and remained stable. In the opposite direction, the following seas did not cause it to wallow or fishtail, but track straight and true. Running back inside, we hit top speeds of about 40 knots on the relatively flat straight-away alongside the big freighters tied up to the pier. Truly a fun ride as well as an impressive one.

The detailing on the Hunt Harrier 36 is exceptional, beginning with the bright finished teak caps on the gunwales, running down to the teak sole in the cockpit and helm deck, and then to minute details like the nostalgic ovoid shape of the retractable stainless-steel cleats and mini fender cleats. There's a removable settee across the transom finished in an upholstery that's reminiscent of a BMW interior. The helm desk lifts with power-assist hydraulics to reveal the well-insulated engine compartment. Twin 370 hp Yanmar Diesels are standard, but the one I drooled over was nicely equipped with twin 440's.

The helm deck is one step up, protected by a Bimini top. There's an L-shaped settee in the port corner, with a triangular inlaid teak table. Across from that is an entertainment center with a large countertop equipped with sinks underneath flush lids, There's an icemaker underneath as well, and drawers hidden behind cabinet doors.

The forward section of the settee swivels forward and lifts up to form the co-pilot's seat. The helm seat is a broad bench, electrically adjustable fore and aft, and the helm pod tilts forward for easy installation and servicing of electronics. There's loads of room on the dash for a Raymarine display, and the AC/DC distribution panel is handily located to the right. The steering wheel is teak rimmed with stainless-steel spokes, a beautiful and practical arrangement.

The cabin is simple, yet beautifully appointed, with an elegant galley station to port, a double island berth centered on the bow, and an enclosed head to starboard, just enough accommodations for comfortable day cruising with the option for occasional overnighting. The light spruce ceiling boards contrast beautifully with the cherry cabinetry and shelving. There's a small but comfy sort of jump seat on either side of the foot of the double berth, with drawers and storage underneath the platform. A Samsung LCD flatscreen TV hangs on the bulkhead, providing easy viewing from the berth.

The galley has a nice, wide, faux-marble counter with a recessed stainless-steel sink and Kenyon single- burner butane stove, both of which rest underneath flush lids, neatly stowed in channels inside the cabinet under the counter. A small refrigerator sits behind another cabinet door. The microwave oven is hidden behind a cupboard door over the counter.

The head is quite roomy, the vanity has a broad countertop and a deep stainless-steel sink, and the toilet provides plenty of elbowroom. There's even a hand-held showerhead if you need it.

There are wide side decks leading up to the foredeck, which is protected by a high stainless-steel rail. The anchor locker is quite deep, with the anchor actually stowed down there, out of the way. The bow chocks are retractable, as is the bow light. The bow itself is a graceful rounded shape with a brightly finished cap rail. All told, this is a very elegant design.