at the 2015 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
President of Hunt Yachts
What customer demands are making the biggest impact on the new builds at Hunt Yachts?
Outboards are a big trend everywhere. And case in point for us, we’ve added outboards to our lineup and we’re promoting them more and selling them more. We’ve included outboards on our 25 Harrier and 26 Center Console. What’s really new for us is that we built a 29 Surfhunter with a pair of 300 Yamahas and a 29 Harrier with another pair of 300 Yamahas. This really was the summer of outboards. Out of nowhere I’m looking at the production line and I’m saying, Oh my god what happened?
There’s a lot of reasons for the outboards’ popularity; they’re very reliable, they can be fixed easily; and they fit the Florida strategy for the new 32. Being able to lift the motors out of the water will be huge for boaters in Florida. And then there’s the performance of an outboard that is like Whoo-whee! This is a lot of fun. A pair of Yammies can give you a 48-knot boat. Now it’s even more of a sports car. And our hulls can handle that kind of power. They love that kind of power. Maybe a boat that was going 34 knots can now do 48 knots.
How does Hunt Yachts try to stand out from the crowd at the Ft. Lauderdale show?
I like to use the analogy of a lacrosse stick. When I was playing lacrosse they threw a bunch of wooden sticks on the ground and told you to pick one. Now there’s three different catalogues with 3,000 different heads in each. Our society is so sophisticated, we have so many choices it’s unbelievable. More than you would ever need. The key is to carve a niche within a niche that fits your brand.
How large a role did customer demand play in the new 32 CC?
We took a lot of cues from how people are using their center consoles. We wanted a luxurious well-appointed center console that could really satisfy the women and family in the equation and didn’t put fishing above everything else. I’ve caught a lot of fish in my day and I know for a fact you can catch fish in a canoe if you really want to. But on the other hand when the friends and family get on board they’re on a luxurious boat that is different than others.
Are center consoles becoming more family friendly?
The demand for more family-friendly center consoles isn’t really new; I was working on developing more comfortable aft seating [on center consoles] when I was at Boston Whaler in the early ’90s. It’s important though. That’s why we focused so much on the head. We wanted it to be accessible when running; a lot of other center consoles don’t have the companionway where you need it. You shouldn’t have to move furniture to get to it. And the large interior space isn’t cavern-like, it has a big glass window in the front and it’s airy. You have a place to make sandwiches, store or microwave food, and there’s even a little bunk and enclosed head and shower all accessed from a companionway. And the cockpit has ample, luxurious seating. Again we took a lot of clues to orient it towards family use. And yet, you can fish. We have the rodholders and livewells.
What is one of your favorite things to do [besides sell boats] at the Ft. Lauderdale show?
Most nights after a boat show I typically fall and crash [laughs]. But there are an awful lot of canals to cruise around that are really quite interesting. Yeah, get out on the water, that’s the deal. Just find a way to get out there. If you’re at the boat show you probably love being out on the water so go do it. Even if it means taking a ride on the water taxi. The homes and boats you’ll see are over the top, and they’re everywhere.
Peter Van Lancker
- Builder: Hunt
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.