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Posted by on May 22, 2009 in UK, US |

First Ride on the Hunt 52

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this one's an epic!

The new Hunt 52 runs up Narragansett Bay, R.I.

The new Hunt 52 runs up Narragansett Bay, R.I.

It wouldn’t quit raining around here a couple weeks ago, but for one shining afternoon in the first week of May, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay was flat calm and the sun shone brightly. I’d been up to Portsmouth the previous week for the slightly damp christening party for the new Hunt 52, built in Taiwan, and casually mentioned to Peter van Lancker, president of Hunt Yachts, that I’d be interested in going for a ride if there was a spot for me sometime.

 The 52's transom garage has an enormous amount of storage space.

The 52's transom garage has an enormous amount of storage space.

At the christening, an outboard popped out of Godspeed's garage.

At the christening, an outboard popped out of Godspeed's garage.

Onne van der Wal had already done his usual adequate job of making the boat look spectacular in his aerial photos for the company and, likewise, Billy Black had done an equally successful job on the interior shots, so I thought I’d share some pro pics with you (top and below).

But to give you an idea of the ride, I’ve added some other views from this amateur’s camera to give you a sense of the ride from onboard. (See if you can guess who took which pictures!)

The deck saloon is a beautiful combination of traditional and modern aesthetics.

The deck saloon is a beautiful combination of traditional and modern aesthetics.

The cabin layout is designed around the master stateroom in the bow.

The cabin layout is designed around the master stateroom in the bow.

The master stateroom head mixes practical tile and the quarter-sawn cherry featured throughout the interior.

The master stateroom head mixes practical tile and the quarter-sawn cherry featured throughout the interior.

The 52's sleek, low-sheer look disguises its spacious living area on deck and in the deck saloon.

The 52's sleek, low-sheer look disguises its spacious living area on deck and in the deck saloon.

I shared the day with much of the design team from Hunt Design, the company’s design arm, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The team include senior designer Peter Boyce and chief designer/VP Win Willard, the latter who had overseen the 52 project. With Ray Hunt at the helm (grandson of the founding designer), we ran through a test of speeds and trim angles at a series of different engine speeds, which I’ll report in a later review. I will disclose that despite a pretty full fuel load and at least 9 people aboard, we topped out 33 to 34.5 knots, running out to Newport’s Castle Hill , then back up the Bay in a slight fair current and favorable sea breeze (for the return trip).

Ray uses bow and stern thrusters to maneuver by the dock. After lowering the electric window, he can lean out for a better look.

Ray uses bow and stern thrusters to maneuver us away from the dock. After lowering the electric window, he can lean out for a better look.

When we closed the saloon doors, the engine noise faded away dramatically.

Until we closed the saloon door, the engine noise from the exhaust was significant, but once closed, the noise was minimal, even though the engines are right under the saloon.

The window treatment adds a modern element to the Hunt traditional styling. Hull No. 2 will have a more traditional treatment.

The window treatment adds a modern element to the Hunt traditional styling. Hull No. 2 will have a more traditional treatment.

Aft quarter at speed in the sun

Aft quarter at speed in the sun

The 52 comes standard with twin CAT C12 (705 hp); options include CAT C18s (1,001 hp) and Volvo IPS 900s (662 hp).

The 52 comes standard with twin CAT C12 (705 hp); options include CAT C18s (1,001 hp) and Volvo IPS 900s (662 hp).

To port, here's a comfortable seat at the forward end of the saloon table.

To port, here's a comfortable seat at the forward end of the saloon table.

And then flips around, raises up and becomes a secure leaning post or, with bumpers flipped down, a comfortable ride for two with good visibility forward.

And then flips around, rises up and becomes a secure leaning post or, with bumpers flipped down, a comfortable riding seat for two with good visibility forward.

Under the bridge and headed for home

Under the bridge and headed for home

Needless to say, it was a beautiful ride on the new Hunt 52. Owners Bob Price and Judith Funderbunk will enjoy this ride cruising to and around the Chesapeake Bay and possibly in the Bahamas next winter.

—John Burnham

Editor’s Note: Read a later review “On the Hunt, Aboard the Hunt 52” by Lenny Rudow.