It’s hard not to feel self-conscious when you find yourself surrounded by professional sailors, fishermen, and other twenty-somethings. They’re at the top of their game: no family, no 9-5, and a body that still bounces back from a pummeling day-after-day. Even worse, too many small boats these days seem to be designed exclusively for such die-hard boaters, leaving the rest of us feeling like we’ve gone twelve rounds with Floyd Mayweather instead of just out to the canyons for a few hours of fishing.
Which is precisely why it was such a relief to step aboard Hunt Yachts’ brand-new 32’ center-console and instantly recognize that at last someone had built a boat for the rest of us — the weekend warriors. From the moment I stepped aboard, the 32cc seemed to be celebrating my mid-life status. My creaky joints thanked me for using the built-in, port-side extended center console step to retrieve the spring lines — no deep knee-bends needed. And while I’d like to think that the throttles on the twin Yamaha outboards could’ve gotten me out of our tight slip without a scratch, the Yamaha Helm Master joystick control kept my departure stress-free. Lastly, the ample storage made the fenders and docklines disappear quickly, helping my parental need for a clutter-free deck.
Hunt 32cc Specifications:
•Draft: 1’6” (hull)/2’1”(prop)
•Displacement: 9,000 pounds (fully loaded)
•Fuel Capacity: 225 gallons
•Water Capacity: 25 gallons
Once we’d cleared Hunt Yachts’ protected dock in Portsmouth, though, the 32cc showed me that my days of enjoying a thrill ride weren’t entirely over. Though the 32cc comes standard with Yamaha 250s (an inboard is also an option), the boat we tested, Hull No. 1, was equipped with twin 300s, an upgrade that helped the signature Hunt Deep-V hull jump out of the hole in an instant, even while pushing a sizeable 9,000 displacement. An automatic trim system brought the bow down so naturally that my passengers might’ve thought I did it myself! Throwing the throttles down summoned up an impressive 5200 RPM and sent us down Narragansett Bay at highway speeds — I’ll take Hunt Yacht’s Gregg Weatherby’s word for it that we were hitting 55 mph — but the glass console surround let me enjoy the speed without the windblown, teardrop-inducing rush that is too often experienced at such velocities.
The pitfall of center-console boats, of course, is that sometimes the helmsman is the only comfortable person aboard. On the 32cc, though, the wide console keeps the wind off the transom bench (the bench folds up for fishing), and even the J-shaped forward seating area is comfortable at all but top speed. By extending the console across the port side, while still allowing a standard walk-through to starboard, Hunt has created a boat that serves many masters.
Belowdecks, the extended console has also opened up options barely imaginable on a dayboat like this. The galley includes a microwave, mini-fridge, and plenty of counterspace for preparing lunch or mixing up an evening’s cocktails. A bifold door keeps the cabin spacious while also allowing for a full head and shower (there’s another shower outside, should you want to hose off on the swim platform). The portside bunk seems a bit cozy for a grownup, but for small children who need a nap it’d be just the ticket. And with an aft-facing doorway, those kids can safely come up on deck when they awake — a design feature that shows how in tune Hunt’s design crew is to their target customers’ needs and daily lives.
Of course, those customers are as individual as each of Hunt’s yachts, and with a base price of $269,000 (with twin Yamaha 250s), the 32cc will not be a fit for every boating family’s needs or resources. But if you’re proud to claim your status on Friday night as a weekend warrior, I’d say there are few boats on the market that will let you do it in as much style. —Capt. Joshua F. Moore, USHarbors
—Capt. Joshua F. Moore, USHarbors