36 Harrier — By George L. Petrie —
|With twice the power of its 36 Express, Hunt’s new 36 Harrier is definitely “hairier.”|
Rarely do I take my wife Jo on boat tests, but when she heard about the new Hunt 36 Harrier, she said, "Sounds exciting. Can I go with you?" Since our home is only about a 90-minute drive from Hunt Yachts' offices in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and it was the first week of a long-awaited summer, it was easy to agree to the mini-getaway day trip. Besides, getting a second opinion is always a good idea.
Strolling down the docks in the quaint New England village of Padanaram, amongst Downeast-style cruisers and trawlers, it wasn't rocket science to pick out the Hunt 36 Harrier; her hard chines, low profile, and open cockpit commanded our attention. Not one to mince words, my wife conveyed her first impression succinctly. "I want one," she said. To be sure, based on looks alone, I couldn't disagree. But I opted to reserve judgment. How would the Harrier perform? Would she do justice to her namesake, the powerful fighter jet that can take off vertically, than blast into supersonic horizontal flight?
As you might imagine, it didn't take long to find out. While I readied the laptop, radar gun, and trim gauge, Hunt vice president Peter Van Lancker graciously offered to plumb the fuel-flow monitors. Never a pleasant task, the job went smoothly, thanks in part to the hinged deck that raises hydraulically, creating a 29-inch-high opening across the width of the bridge deck that affords easy access to the aft end of the engine space. Though it's a great feature, I was pleased to see that there's also a small hatchway forward, alongside the helm, so most routine engine room tasks can be accomplished without having to raise the entire deck.
With our test equipment in place, we found a semisheltered area near the shore of Buzzards Bay to run speed trials. It was just about noon, so the 10- to 15-knot winds had kicked up only about a foot of chop. Our first order of business was to run the acceleration tests; this is done from a standing start, by applying full throttle and then recording speed as a function of time. The test protocol is run several times, on reciprocal courses, and the average results are shown in a graph at the end of this and all other PMY boat test articles. The slope of the curve shows how quickly the boat can accelerate; a steeper curve means faster acceleration.
Well, after the first acceleration run, I thought the radar gun had hiccupped or maybe the laptop skipped because the graph indicated that the Harrier's speed jumped almost instantly from 20 to about 28 knots. We repeated the run, watching the radar gun carefully. Same result, four more times. For the first few seconds of each run, acceleration was brisk but not exceptional. But at around 1700 rpm, the Yanmars' turbochargers kicked in and the Harrier's speed jumped about 8 knots in a virtual heartbeat, a sensation so striking, it made the top speed of 38 knots seem almost anticlimatic. It was now clear how the Harrier had earned its name.
This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.