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A History of Hunter Yachts

Hunter Medinas waiting for the tide

Hunter Yachts were first made in the UK close to the Wakering marshes near Rochford in Essex. The company was founded by in 1969 by Michael Polard, as the Essex Boat Company.

At this time GRP yachts were still in the early stages of mass production, but all of this was to change when the company invested in a custom-built plant on the outskirts of the town and became Hunter Boats Ltd.

Hunter Squib 503The first, and most famous sailboat to come out of the new manufacturing plant was the National Squib – an open keelboat designed by Oliver Lee in 1967 and then first moulded in 1968. The Squib open yacht was a great success and has achieved national status – with over 800 being constructed.

Soon after the first production run, Michael Poland asked Oliver if he could add a closed deck to the Squib. This would enable the yacht to participate in the cross-channel JOG racing class. Oliver agreed to the request and added a fibreglass lid to fit the Squib Yacht and thus the famous Hunter line of sailboat was born.

Hunter Yacht Designs

Over the next few years, Oliver designed several Hunter Yachts – the 16ft lift keel yacht called the Hunter 490, the 23ft Hunter 701, and the Tracer Yacht – a mini yacht with a lifting keel. The yachts sold very well and soon many of the British Hunter Yachts would be seen in the marinas around the UK and overseas.

In the mid-1970s the company produced many racing sailboats, including the designs of Steven Jones and David Thomas. Steven Jones Hunter Boats 31 was the first production boat to use Kevlar laminates in its hull construction.

In 1975 David Thomas was bought on board to design a bilged GRP yacht – which went on to become the Sonata. This became an RYA National Status Class and remains a leading one-design cruiser-racer to this day. By the early 80’s Hunter started building boats with twin keels and moved away from racing boats to cruising boat designs. The first yacht in this new range was christened the Hunter Horizon 26 and in 1984 she won the Best Production Yacht of the Year award.

The Hunter Horizon 26 was soon joined by the Hunter Duette 23 (a twin keel hull based on the Sonata design), the Hunter Horizon Yacht 27, 272 and 273, and the Hunter Horizon 32 Yacht wheelhouse cruiser. The Hunter Horizon 32 also won Best Production Cruiser of the Year in 1987 as the company continued to specialise in cruising sailboats.

A new range for Hunter Yachts

In 1994 a new range with a hull shaped by David Thomas was produced. The new Hunter yachts had a longer waterline and a very subtle chine that runs from the transom to midship. The chine was designed to add further balance and ensure the yacht sailed in a straight line with great ease.

In 2003, Hunter Boats was bought out by the Select Yachts Group and added to its portfolio of marine companies that included Cornish Crabbers, Red Fox Yachts, the Landau Launch Company and Cornish Diva. Unfortunately, by 2008 Select Yachts themselves went into administration.

Hunter Channel 245

In 2009, Lauren Marine of Southampton purchased the rights, hull moulds and tooling for the Hunter range of boats and built them under the brand of British Hunter, to distinguish it from the American boat building company, Hunter Marine.

British Hunter have gone on to make a limited range of yacht models including the Hunter 20 Sport, Hunter 20 Mini C, Hunter Channel 245, Hunter Channel 27 and the Hunter Channel 31.

Summary of boats built by Hunter Boats:

Drag Reducing Propellers for Hunter Yachts

Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for a number of models in the Hunter yacht range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.

Read our FeatherStream & Flexofold Testimonials from Hunter Yacht owners 

Rope Cutters for Hunter Yachts

We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Hunter Yacht range. We keep a database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.

Check our full list of Hunter Yachts we have supplied rope cutters for here.

Visit the Hunter Yachts Association website

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