Compiled by Dan Spurr
Alive and Well: C. Raymond Hunt Associates
When the Hunt office recently sent us a set of drawings for a 64′ (19.5m) rapid response boat, we thought it was high time we caught up on the state of the company. And we did just that in a lengthy phone conversation with vice president Winn Willard, who has been on staff at the Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm since 1970, arriving just a year after president John Deknatel took the reins from founder Ray Hunt.
By way of background, Hunt was a brilliant thinker best remembered for developing the deep-V hullform. Its attributes were ably demonstrated by Moppie, the boat he designed for Dick Bertram, who won the 1960 Miami–Nassau Race in punishing conditions. Hunt’s sailboat designs were equally impressive, from winning an Olympic Gold Medal, to competing in the America’s Cup, to the heart-stopping beauty of the 39′ (11.9m) Concordia yawl. Hunt died in 1978, at age 70.
Today, C. Raymond Hunt Associates provides services to the commercial, military, production, and yacht sectors, and is comfortable in each.
“We’re diversified like that,” Willard says, “probably because Ray Hunt was. He had his hands in all sorts of crazy things; he was more of an inventor than a designer.”
In the 1970s and ’80s Hunt designed for a number of production sailboat companies, such as O’Day, but hasn’t done any work in sail for some years now. A key client has been powerboat builder Grady-White, with whom Hunt has an ongoing contract to provide a specified number of hours of service each year. Grady-White determines the nature of those services, but however it is spent—design, engineering, or other—it assures Hunt of a guaranteed fee. “Sometimes it’s designing a new boat,” Willard says. “Other times it might be working on a specific engineering task.” Hunt had a similar arrangement with SeaArk (Monticello, Arkansas). In exchange for the guaranteed work, Hunt agreed not to design aluminum boats for anyone else. Another long-term relationship was with Grand Banks, for whom Hunt designed all the Eastbay boats. More current is a recently completed boat for Regal (Orlando, Florida). These sorts of arrangements are available to all new clients, from performing specific tasks on an hourly basis to complete design and naval architecture services.
In the custom-yacht sector, Willard says they always have one or two projects going on, though the recession has impacted the number. As of this writing, Hunt has a 42′ (12.2m) twin-jet, Downeast-style motoryacht in build at Lyman-Morse (Thomaston, Maine), and a larger proposal on the hook. “Custom yacht work,” Willard says, “is showing signs of life. Our sweet spot is under 100′ [30m]; I’d have to move to Cannes if we wanted to play that [superyacht] game.”
In the commercial sector, Hunt has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilders (Somerset, Massachusetts), designing pilot boats since 1978. “In that arrangement we don’t design pilot boats for anyone else,” Willard says. “We basically market that product jointly. If there’s a sales trip to go see a pilot organization, I get on a plane with Peter DuClos from Gladding-Hearn and we go.” Gladding-Hearn has three pilot boats in build right now, plus a fourth counting a 64′ Rapid Response Boat, which Willard says is multifunctional. First, it must meet the requirements of response in 33 CFR, Part 155, Salvage and Marine Firefighting Requirements; Vessel Response Plans for Oil. It also will see service as a pilot boat, as well as an on-call launch to ferry passengers and supplies to ships offshore. Distribution of deadrise has evolved from the early constant 24°; the designer’s description of the response boat says, “Deadrise distribution is still the same as all our hulls; 20° aft twisting to 50° plus forward.”
“We’ve chased a lot of Navy work, some successfully, some not successfully,” says Willard. An example of the former was a RIB project with longtime military contractor Willard Marine (no relation), Anaheim, California.
Hunt Yachts was started by John Deknatel and Winn Willard in 1998. “We laugh now, that we must have had temporary insanity,” says Willard. “We had some molds we thought we could use. We offered the project to Grand Banks because they wanted a smaller Eastbay. But they turned the project down. We had people who wanted to buy the boat, so we started to sell them and had them built for us under contract. Then the builder said they didn’t want to build them anymore, so one thing led to another and we got into the building business, and it just grew.”
Hunt Yachts is run by Peter VanLancker (see Professional BoatBuilder No. 81, page 26; and No. 103, page 122), whose résumé includes TPI, C.E. Ryder Corp., Blackwatch, Boston Whaler, and OMC. Willard says the shop employs 30–40 and turns out a couple dozen boats a year. “We have no dealers,” he says. “It’s pretty much factory direct. Actually, we do have a few dealers but they don’t get the traditional discounts. Factory dealerships are all the rage right now, so our position is really just dumb luck. We wanted dealers but couldn't offer the usual 25% margin.”
Hunt’s eagerness to diversify has even led to some nontraditional projects, several via the U.S. Government–backed program called Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), whose mission is to “grow the economy” by helping small businesses develop new technologies for commercialization. Hunt passed the initial research phase to develop a ramp on a hovercraft that can handle loading and off-loading a 140,000-lb (63,420-kg) M1 tank.
C. Raymond Hunt Associates, 5 Dover St., New Bedford, MA 02740 USA, tel. 508–717–0600, fax 508–717–0620, website www.huntdesigns.com.
Exemplary Marine Trades Training
Few would argue that one of the marine industry’s greatest challenges, and weaknesses, is the dearth of formal, intensive educational opportunities for would-be and existing boat technicians and builders—particularly programs that result in certification or a degree. Such programs exist, but most training still takes place on the job, in short bursts at classes lasting anywhere from 90 minutes to a few days.
Skagit Valley College is one of the few institutions offering formal training in the marine trades. On a recent trip to Anacortes, Washington, I had the opportunity to tour the facility, which is also home to a high school program for juniors and seniors and the NW Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing & Technology. It is among the most thorough marine technical learning environments I’ve seen.
Educational programs include virtually all facets of boat building and repair, taught by skilled staff (all staff members possess certification in their instructional areas) in a state-of-the-art building with classrooms, labs, and workshop areas. Much of the building's electric power comes from a sophisticated solar array; heat is geothermal.
Students come from a variety of backgrounds, including those attending high school and college as well as others already working in the marine trades, and individuals seeking adult continuing education. The Skagit Valley College program has been around for several decades and was for most of that time located at the nearby Whidbey Island Campus, at Oak Harbor, Washington. As good as it was, it lacked the visibility, physically and figuratively, of the current Anacortes location in an area surrounded by commercial and marine industry operations.
Building the new skills center and moving to Anacortes was the result of a partnership with the Skagit County High School districts. The facility is the fruition of a plan to co-locate, and it benefits from the resulting synergy of the high school and college curriculums. The goal is to serve about 100 students per year.
Programs for college students offer an Associate of Technical Arts degree and Marine Technical Certification. They operate in traditional college quarters, each of which is 10 weeks (fall, winter, spring, and summer). High school programs are traditional semesters. Specific certifications include the ABYC’s Electrical, Corrosion, Systems, Refrigeration, and Gasoline and Diesel engine installations. Students also can take exams for the National Marine Electronics Association’s Marine Electronics Installer and Advanced Marine Electronics Installer ratings, as well as the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s Certified Composite Technician.
I was impressed by the life-size cutaway mock-ups of boats, complete with operational primary systems, and electrical and electronics test benches stacked with students’ projects; it appeared no expense had been spared. Marine equipment manufacturers and dealers, many from around the region, have donated a wide array of gear and components, including diesel and gasoline engines, sterndrives and outboards, and plumbing, sanitation, and hydraulic steering systems. There’s a distinct atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration between this facility and the marine industry, and with good reason: the school turns out well-trained and certified professionals who are in demand.
The Skagit Valley College program is dedicated to delivering world-class marine technology training and curriculum through continually improving processes and practices, outreach, and collaboration. The school certainly appears to be living up to those expectations.
Skagit Valley College—Marine Technology Program, 1606 R Ave., Anacortes, WA 98221 USA, tel. 360–766–6282, website www.skagit.edu.
Innovative Composites Partnership
Two progressive composites companies based in the United Kingdom—one a manufacturer of high-performance fabrics, and the other of resin systems—partnered to offer a lightweight, sustainable alternative to glass fiber composites. Amber Composites, based in Nottingham, and Composites Evolution, based in Chesterfield, appeared to be looking for each other.
Amber’s managing director, Jonathan McQueen, says his firm needed a sustainable fabric to match its Multipreg 8020 prepreg epoxy resin system: “After evaluating many sources for sustainable fabrics,” McQueen said in a press release, “we are pleased to offer a proven solution from Composites Evolution, who have created a capable material backed by a solid supply chain.”
At Composites Evolution, managing director Brendon Weager said, “We have a lot of customers ask for prepreg using our Biotex flax fabric, and worked closely with Amber Composites to ensure this solution was available.”
Biotex flax fibers are processed the same way as glass fibers, generally by filament winding or pultrusion, and are available in woven and noncrimp types. In manufacturing, they are also employed the same way: hand layup, vacuum infusion, and resin transfer molding (RTM). The three products currently available for use with Amber Composites’ resins are 420-g/m2 2x2 twill, and 420-g/m2 and 510-g/m2 (12.4-oz/sq-yd and 15-oz/sq-yd) plain weave. Widths are from 1.25m to 3m (4′ to 9.8′).
Amber Composites touts its Multipreg 8020 resin system as having flexible low-to-medium cure schedules of 70°C–130°C (158°F–266°F), which is suitable for autoclave and vacuum-processing carbon, glass, aramid, and flax reinforcements.
Amber Composites, Amber Dr., Langley Mill, Nottingham NG16 4BE, U.K., tel. +44 (0) 1773 530899, fax +44 (0) 1773 768687, website www.ambercomposites.com.
Composites Evolution, 4A Broom Business Park, Bridge Way, Chesterfield, S41 9QG, U.K., tel. +44 (0) 1246 266 248, fax +44 (0) 1246 266 249, website www.compositesevolution.com.
A Carl Schumacher Beauty
Everyone wonders how they’ll be remembered when they’re gone. Architects have their buildings. Writers have their books. Yacht designers have their boats. Carl Schumacher, who died in 2002, will probably be best remembered for his refinement of Nathanael Herreshoff’s 26′ (7.9m) sailboat Alerion. Capt. Nat built two: Sadie, built for himself, belonged to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland, in the 1970s. Peter Chase, my cousin’s husband, was a shipwright there and had use of the boats. During one sail, Chase gripped the slender tiller and said, “Everything is just strong enough.”
Other builders were equally enamored of the design: the Sanford Boat Co. (Nantucket, Massachusetts) built it in cold-molded wood, and Proper Yachts (Stratford, Connecticut) adapted it to fiberglass.
Schumacher’s version, designed for a Connecticut yachtsman and later put into series production—first by Holby Marine and then by Tillotson-Pearson Industries—was stretched 2′ (0.6m), making his Alerion Express a little faster and a little more impressive in profile. One wonders what other similar designs Schumacher drew before his untimely death. An answer came recently, when builder Mark Lindsay brought his Cepheus IX to last summer’s WoodenBoat Show, in Mystic, Connecticut. Lindsay—who, along with his Boston BoatWorks, was featured in PBB No. 99—answered our query for more information with the following e-mail:
“The owner who commissioned her was a lifelong sailor and ocean racer who loved beautiful boats that sailed quickly and easily. Over his long sailing career he had many boats created by inspired and imaginative designers such as Olin Stephens, Aage Nielsen, Germán Frers, and Dick Carter. His last offshore boat, Cepheus VIII, was the result of the owner’s dream to build a modern New York 32 at half the displacement with lines of an Alerion 28 and to use her strictly for cruising. I urged the owner to reduce the overhangs, and Carl Schumacher drew a lovely 40′ [12.2m] boat with 32′ [9.8m] waterline and narrow beam that I built in 1991. Although she was never cruised, we raced her frequently and successfully and sailed in the Bermuda Race the following year to 1st in class and 5th overall.
“Ten years later, as the owner approached his 80th birthday, he asked Carl to draw Cepheus IX for day-sailing near his home in Rumson, New Jersey. The boat needed to be fast and responsive and easy to sail. He wanted to be able to take friends and family in comfort and yet be able to singlehand the boat whenever he felt like going out. The Jersey shore can have light air or a good breeze and many places where the water is thin. The final design is 23′4″ [7.1m] overall on an 18′5″ [5.6m] waterline, 6′8″ [2m] beam, and 2,178 lbs [987 kg] displacement. The keel/centerboard gives a 2′7″ [0.8m] draft with the board up and 4′7″ [1.4m] with the stainless steel board down.
“The owner remembered fondly one of his favorite offshore boats with her varnished topsides and asked if we could build the new boat that way. Having recently built some lovely and light bead-and-cove-strip canoes, I recommended that approach. The hull is 5/8″ [16mm] Spanish cedar with glass cloth on the topsides and a layer of biaxial glass on the inside and outside below the waterline. The molded Herreshoff-style sheerstrake is varnished ash. The very comfortable coamings, and the toerails and trim, are varnished mahogany. The keelson, stem, trunk carlins, deadwood, and deckbeams are also mahogany. The decks and bulkheads are mahogany marine plywood finished with epoxy and two-part polyurethane paint. There are three separate watertight flotation compartments forward and under aft cockpit seats, and a motorwell with a fairing plug on centerline just forward of the rudderpost.
“The 7/8 sloop rig is simple, strong, and easily handled with slightly swept spreaders, an adjustable backstay, strut-style boom vang to control leech tension, and roller-furling 100% jib. There is ample headroom under the boom, and the simple mainsheet system leads to a barney post right by the helmsman's forward hand. For racing there is a symmetrical spinnaker. The boat sails beautifully with board up or down, tacking through 85°. It will spin 360° in less than its own length and be up to speed in a couple of boat lengths.
“I was fortunate enough to be the one the owner called last year when he realized that as he neared 90, singlehanded sailing wasn’t in his future, and he offered me the opportunity to buy the boat, saying he knew how much I loved it. In her only race so far, we sailed against our local PHRF fleet of 30′ to 40′ [9.1m to 12.2m] boats and finished third, boat for boat, correcting to second, only a few minutes out of first.
“Everywhere I go, people stop me to ask what kind of boat it is or to tell me how beautiful it is. One man out for a cruise with his young family in a fiberglass motorboat came alongside and said, ‘You’d better take good care of that boat because there aren’t many in the world like that!’ And three bikini-clad young women going by later shouted over to me in unison, ‘Who’s a pretty boat? You are!’
“As a result of several inquiries we are entertaining requests for building slots for next year, and we would be pleased to work that into our schedule if we get three orders.”
Boston BoatWorks, 256 Marginal St., East Boston, MA 02128 USA, tel. 617–561–9111, fax 617–561–9222, website www.bostonboatworks.com.
Expanding Epoxy Foam
New from PRO-SET, a division of Gougeon Brothers, makers of WEST SYSTEM epoxy resin and other products, is an expandable epoxy foam that product manager Joe Parker says is ideal for filling sailboat appendages. He writes:
“PRO-SET Expanding Epoxy Foam is designed and formulated to be used as a high-strength, cast-in-place core for sailboat rudders, centerboards, daggerboards, and keels. We expect it will also be great in lifting foils on the new generation of foil-borne sail and powerboats.
“The cured foam has a nominal density of 15 lb/cu ft (0.25 g/cc). For its density, the M1034/M2037 has exceptional strength of over 550 psi (4.0 MPa) for compression, tensile, and lap shear. The expanded and cured foam has excellent water and chemical resistance and very uniform cell size, which provides uniform density through the thickness of the casting.
“We anticipate it will have additional applications outside our traditional boatbuilding markets. An example is as an expand-in-place core for water turbines or vertical-axis wind turbines. Because of its excellent water resistance, it will work well in the industrial flotation applications of the oil and gas industry. It can also be used to fill cracks and voids in concrete or masonry for civil infrastructure repairs.”
The two-part system—M1034 resin and M2037 hardener—is mixed in a 2.5:1 ratio by weight or 2:1 ratio by volume. Mixing time is a minimum of two minutes; foaming begins simultaneously. It creates a closed-cell foam that is said to bond fiberglass, metals, and low-density core materials. Parker says it also can be used as a core for lightweight composite structures.
While room-temperature cures will give properties adequate for many applications, optimum numbers are achieved by post-curing at 160°F (71°C). Demolding time at 77°F (25°C) is 120 minutes. Pot life is 20–30 minutes at that same temperature. Shelf life is six months for the resin and one year for the hardener.
The product is available in kits of 13.5 gallons for $1,075.57 ($80/mixed gallon), and a larger kit of 120 gallons of mixed material for $7,759.18 ($65/mixed gallon). It’s believed to be the first product of its type produced in North America.
PRO-SET, PO Box 656, 707 Martin St., Bay City, MI 48706–0656 USA, tel. 888–377–6738, website www.prosetepoxy.com.
All on the Web
When you buy a new automobile, you get an owner’s manual that tells you many things—tire pressure, oil change schedule, and what all the buttons and dials on the dashboard mean. The manual won’t tell you how to change a head gasket, but not many owners are that deep into their vehicles anyway.
In the boating industry, not all manufacturers provide owner’s manuals. In fact, for years, the lack of documentation was a joke, a big, fat wart on the industry’s reputation. That’s beginning to change, thanks in part to companies realizing that customer service is what sets the most successful businesses apart from the also-rans. The Internet is playing a part, too. As we reported in “Under Control” (PBB No. 122), in the early 1980s Stingray Boats owner Al Fink saw the personal computer revolution coming and began developing his own proprietary UNIX-based software to manage every aspect of the business, from production to sales to customer service. Every customer has a personal account that provides access to a great deal of information about his boat—spare parts, warranty, service schedules, and more. There’s no paper; it’s all on the Web.
Since our 2010 report, we’ve seen more of the industry move toward the Web. One example is PierVantage, a yard-management system that we wrote about in PBB No. 127, page 10.
Now comes VesselVanguard, a Web-based subscription service that basically does what Stingray Boats’ system does for boat owners: collects and organizes all the manuals, warranties, and service schedules and records in one place—an owner’s account accessed via a computer, smart phone, or other device that can connect to the Internet. Rather than reserve an onboard shelf for the manuals one might expect to carry (for the engine, genset, electronics, pumps, etc.), and the logs to record maintenance and repair information, the solution nowadays is to digitize everything. When set up, VesselVanguard issues e-mails or text alerts advising the owner it’s time to change the engine oil, for example.
Two prominent boat companies, Grand Banks and Beneteau, recently purchased VesselVanguard’s service for their customers. Beneteau’s publicists say the company is increasing its warranty on all sailboats and powerboats by two years as a result.
For individual subscriptions, the initial $579 setup fee is followed by an annual renewal of $179.
VesselVanguard, 3 Church Circle, Suite 325, Annapolis, MD 21401 USA, tel. 888–214–1710, fax 443–458–7176, website www.vesselvanguard.com.
PlanetSolar Completes Circumnavigation
The 115′ (35m) solar-powered catamaran—conceived to show the world that it is possible to create a commercially viable ship that does not depend on fossil fuels for propulsion—completed a 37,000-nm, 19-month circumnavigation consuming zero liters of gasoline or diesel. Andre Moltschaniwskyj, a member of the Craig Loomes design team, described the fascinating development of the boat, in which desired cruising speed and solar panel output led to the eye-popping length, 75′ (23m) beam (flaps extended), and 5,778 sq ft (537m2) of solar panels. Moltschaniwskyj’s article appeared in PBB No. 124, page 22. PlanetSolar spent the summer of 2012 harbor-hopping in the Mediterranean Sea, and was scheduled to perform some impressive stunts, such as powering music concerts and other events with its enormous lithium-ion battery reserves.
Funded primarily by private partners (in particular Candino Swiss Watch and Immosolar), the project is based in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
In discussing New Zealand–based Stabicraft’s sale of nine observation boats, called the 659 Wheel House, to Saltwater Inc. (Anchorage, Alaska), for service-monitoring Alaskan fisheries, the company’s managing director, Paul Adams, said, “It’s a real coup.”
He added, “This is a significant order for Stabicraft. It has traditionally been difficult for non-U.S. boat manufacturers to supply vessels to be used in government projects.”
Saltwater is a private organization that gathers data on wildlife and fish stocks for the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Gillnetting is the prime focus of this two-summer effort; each boat will have an operator and an observer on board.
While no reason was given for Stabicraft’s selection, one might look to the 659WH’s specifications for clues. The boats are aluminum alloy—1/4″ (6mm) plate for the hull, and 5/32″ (4mm) for the pontoons and cabin. Nothing extraordinary about that. Unique is the system of hollow tubes incorporated in the topsides in a U-shape, with the apex at the bow and excluding the transom. From Stabicraft literature: “The 659 Wheel House features continuous tubes of individually sealed flotation chambers providing a ‘Life Ring’ of 2,276 liters [601 gal] of buoyancy on the upper-outer extremities of the boat. With the addition of an airtight chamber between the floor and the hull, these boats are virtually unsinkable. At rest, the GII Pontoon design sits in the water, giving increased stability for when the observers are moving around the forward cockpit.” Additional buoyancy chambers, along with the fuel tank, are underneath the floor.
Specifications for the 659WH: LOA 22′6″ (6.9m), beam 7′8″ (2.3m), fuel capacity 75 gal (284 l), weight 2,425 lbs (1,100 kg), power 2x 150-hp (113-kW).
Stabicraft says it “pioneered positive-buoyancy boats, producing its first rigid-hulled aluminum pontoon boat in 1987.” The company has 32 dealers in New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia, and North America.
Stabicraft, PO Box 1616, Invercargill 9812, New Zealand, tel. 0800 478224, U.S. tel. 888–467–8224, website www.stabicraft.com.