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On the Hunt, Aboard the Hunt 52

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010 17:25

What’s the connection between a new Hunt 52, the world’s largest tapestry, a restored P-51 Mustang, and a barrel of oil? Each represents the potential of 25,000 man-hours of work. And while 25,000 hours may sound like a lot of effort, the Hunt is clearly worth it.

The Hunt 52 is designed to be run by a couple, so the company kept the boat as open and spacious as possible from stem to stern.

Designed by C. Raymond Hunt and Associates and built in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the 52 is the flagship of Hunt’s fleet and is unique among cruisers in its size range. First, consider the layout. Instead of trying to cram as much as possible into the available space, Hunt took the opposite approach. They kept the boat as open and spacious as possible from stem to stern, because the boat is designed to be run by a couple, with accommodations for a few guests. In many cases, that means the cabin is as voluminous as possible.

One of the voluminous cabins, with insets showing the galley

That’s great for boaters who spend their time indoors, but what about those of us who would rather have expansive exterior spaces? A quick glance at the cockpit proves that there’s more open-air available on this boat than on most of its competitors. A large settee and a trick table that converts between a dinette and a coffee table are the only furnishings back here, leaving the bulk of the cockpit wide-open for entertaining, sunbathing, or whatever else strikes your fancy. You want even more open-air territory? Walk down the pair of stairs to the huge swim platform, and stand back as the garage door raises on a lifter, exposing a 12 foot custom-built Hunt dinghy with a 20-hp outboard. Tubing, fishing, and all sorts of waterplay is now on the planner.

Inside the cabin, the amount of elbow room continues to surprise. The Hunt we tested had a galley-down layout, supplemented with an upper-level wet bar. That allows single-level entertaining, so you won’t have to dart up and down the companionway stairs every time someone needs their margarita refilled. In fact, you won’t need to leave the salon unless you’re cooking a full meal because that wet bar is practically a galley unto its own, with a sink, refrigerator, ice maker, stowage cabinets—it even has a dishwasher.

The bulk of the cockpit is wide-open with a trick table that can be converted from dinette to coffee table.

You wish it were possible to have all this in that wide-open cockpit? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, but the Hunt comes darn close to making it possible by turning cabin space into the almost-outdoors. Press a button and a huge electric skylight hums open. Now look all around, and note that you can see water in 360-degree views, thanks to the huge frameless windows which ring the salon. You want more salty breezes? Press another button, and two of the salon windows drop away. When it’s time for a bit of privacy press yet a different button, and Ocean Air blinds fall into place.

Huge frameless windows ring the salon, and two drop down for ventilation.

Belowdecks is also roomier than expected, partially because Hunt didn’t try to cram 60 feet of boat into 52 feet of length. With the standard twin-screw inboard arrangement there are two staterooms; many builders would have attempted to shoe-horn in a third. If you feel you really need that third bunk, however, it’s available in the IPS version of the 52, since the pod power option frees up some of the space usually needed for an engineroom.

With either power option performance is respectable, but the pod arrangement enjoys a notable efficiency advantage. Rigged with 1001-hp CAT C-18 inboards the Hunt has a 2100 RPM cruise of 30 mph while burning 76 GPH, for 0.4 miles to the gallon. With the 653-hp IPS Pod drives, however, 2100 RPM gets you the exact same speed while burning 43-gph, for a 0.7 MPG cruise.

Either way, you’ll be cruising in some seriously posh surroundings. Interior and exterior decks are all solid teak, the interior is finished in a bright, glossy cherry, and cabinetry, doors, and grab rails are also cherry. You’d rather all teak? Hunt can do it. You’d prefer to do away with that wet bar, gain some space, and keep the drinks in the galley? Hunt can do that, too. In fact, they’ll customize the interior however you like it, within reason. Just don’t get too crazy, or it’ll take them more man-hours to build the Hunt 52 than it took to make a 341 foot long tapestry—the largest in the world.


Posted: 2010-09-14 06:14:23