Goin’ Goin’ Gone
By Capt. Bill Pike
Some while back, I had the opportunity to sea trial a brand-new Hunt 52 Express, a relatively fast and very comfortable straight-shaft Down Easter with a deep-V running surface designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates. More recently, Power & Motoryacht featured another 52 Express (see “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” in the October 2013 issue) that sported an entirely different powerplant—a couple of Volvo Penta IPS900s. Certainly, the straight-shaft boat that I ran generated some serious speeds (check out our performance data shown below). But, it’s interesting to note that, according to some data the Hunt folks sent me, the IPS-powered version of the 52 is pretty darn fast as well, in addition to also being comparatively fuel efficient. Indeed, the 52 with IPS, says Hunt, should top out at approximately 30.3 knots (compared to our test boat’s 35.9 knots), with a total fuel burn of just 63.3 GPH. My test data indicates that, to achieve about the same speed via straight-shaft technology, the total fuel burn is going to be at least 70 gph and probably a good bit more.
The layouts for the straight-shaft and IPS versions of the 52 are considerably different. While the former offers two staterooms and two heads in a galley-down configuration, the latter is more expansive thanks to IPS-generated space savings. More to the point, the IPS version features an extra stateroom (with full headroom and single berths that can be pushed together to form a double) abaft the central bulkhead of the boat and below the saloon. On the main deck, both IPS and straight-shaft versions are somewhat similar. Each features a starboard-side helm station forward, but beyond that there’s a great deal of customization that’s available. In fact, the company prides itself on the fact that each 52 Express it builds is wholly distinguishable from all of her sisterships except, of course, when it comes to climbing behind the steering wheel.
Once the 52’s PVC-cored hull is infused using stitched e-glass and vinylester resin (to nix osmotic penetration), more PVC is fitted into the bottom of the hull to serve as forms for four major-league, hat-section-type longitudinals that run bow to stern. Because Hunt builds the 52 longitudinally (a technique common to aircraft construction), ring-like web frames are used for athwartship strengthening inside the hull, not transverse members that reside wholly or partially belowdecks. Decks and superstructure, by the way, are also cored with PVC to reduce top-hamper weight. And the 52’s shoebox-style hull-to-deck joint is belt-and-suspenders all the way—not only are hull and deck flanges secured with polyurethane adhesive, they are additionally fastened with through-bolts and fiberglass tabbing around the entire interior of the vessel.
Besides her classical, Down East appearance, what sets the Hunt 52 apart from many other watercraft in her size range is her time-tested deep-V running surface, invented decades ago by C. Raymond Hunt and refined over the years by the engineering firm (Hunt Yacht’s sister company) that carries his name. There are plenty of good reasons why Hunt’s deep-V undergirds its own hulls as well as the hulls of several other manufacturers today, like Grand Banks, Regal Boats, and Grady-White. For one thing, the deep-V’s knife-like shape (the 52’s bow sections are especially sharp) tends to slice seas, as opposed to pounding them into submission. And then, when balanced precisely, Hunt’s hulls tend to run at optimum angles of attack (our test boat’s running attitudes maxed out at a perfect 4.5 degrees coming out of the hole), a virtue that produces great sightlines, solid efficiency numbers, and a sea-stompin’, sea-chompin’ driving experience, especially on days when, as the old-time seafarers used to say, “the hawk’s out.”
Hunt Yachts, 401-324-4201; www.huntyachts.com
: 63,000 lb. (half load)
: 750 gal.
: 150 gal.
: 2/1,001-hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT diesel inboards
: 16-kW Northern Lights
: 2/705-hp Caterpillar C12 ACERT; 2/700-hp Volvo Penta IPS900s
: ZF550A, 1.97:1 gear ratio
: 32 x 43 Hung Sheng NiBrAl 4-blade
Volvo Penta IPS ($108,000); upgrade to C18 ACERTs ($110,500); electronics package ($35,000); custom dinghy ($17,750); 10.5-hp Lewmar stern thruster ($11,100).
Air temperature: 70°F; humidity 57%; wind: light, variable; seas: calm; load: 745 gal. fuel, 128 gal. water, 2 persons, 400 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Stalker radar gun. GPH estimates taken via Caterpillar display. Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.