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Hunt 36 Harrier - Power & Motoryacht Boat Test continued
Hunt 36 Harrier — By George L. Petrie — September 2002

Power Trip
Part 2: With all that muscle “under the hood,” the harrier lives up to her name.
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After we finished running numbers, Van Lancker suggested we dash across to Martha's Vineyard for lunch. As we began plying the two- to three-foot swells that were building out beyond the bay, I was briefed on how the Harrier came to be and how she differs from her next of kin, the 36 Express.

The Harrier and the Express both have the same hull shape, a Hunt deep-V with 24-degree aft deadrise, but that's about where the similarity ends. Hunt Yachts has built a few dozen of the 36 Express models, powered by a single 420-hp Yanmar diesel and offering the accoutrements one would expect in a cruiser of that size. Hulls are constructed with foam-cored composite material; high-end, but not exotic.

With the Harrier, Hunt pulled out all the stops, trying to get maximum performance from the hull. For starters, it doubled the horsepower. Our test boat had two 420-hp Yanmar diesels; twin 370-hp Yanmars are standard. All that muscle is converted to thrust by super-cavitating propellers in shallow tunnels that afford a flatter shaft angle as well as reduced draft. While excessive propeller cavitation is destructive in most cases, super-cavitating props are specially designed to cavitate all the time, a characteristic that in applications like this one boosts speed and efficiency. Moreover, the Harrier hull is built of high-tech composite materials; fiberglass hybrids with Kevlar and carbon fiber reinforcements, vacuum-bagged and laminated with high-strength epoxy resin.

Hunt Yachts will tailor the Harrier’s layout to suit the needs of each owner, even to the point of lengthening the bridge deck and eliminating the foredeck trunk, as it did for the owner of our test boat. Van Lancker later discussed some of the unusual features in the layout of our test boat, the second Harrier to be built. She’s owned by a gentleman who races a large sailing yacht, and the Harrier is used mainly as a tender to the sailboat. Accordingly, she is fitted out as a day boat rather than a cruiser. Below decks there’s a V-berth in the bow, a head with shower to starboard, and a chart table to port, where the galley might otherwise be located. On deck, aft of the helm, there’s a small sink and a deep chill box. Though Spartan, her accommodations were nicely fitted; solid and functional, with just enough brightwork to convey a proper nautical flair. About the only fault to be found was some shabby-looking caulk that had been applied around the base of the fiberglass cabinets on the bridge deck, inconsistent with the otherwise first-rate workmanship.

So, how did the Harrier fare in our dash to the Vineyard? No surprise; her deep-V hull mocked the two- to three-foot seas, taking air when she could and coming down as gently as a ballerina. With her modest weight, she rides high and dry. But because of that, the hull seemed prone to what I call “dynamic loll.” At higher speeds, when riding on a smaller wetted-bottom area, the hull showed a tendency to take a small list. Not uncommon in hulls with high deadrise, it was easily eliminated with a slight nudge of the trim tabs.

With all that muscle “under the hood,” the Harrier lives up to her name. Whether it’s a quick run for lunch, a full day on the water, or a weekend getaway, this is one yacht that can turn any trip into a power trip.

Hunt Yachts Phone: (508) 994-2000. Fax: (508) 994-2036.

George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at Webb Institute and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is

Next page > Hunt 36 Harrier Specs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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