2018 Hunt 72

Climbing aboard the 72, I was reminded of the first time I met the boat at the Newport International Boat Show months earlier. She towered above her siblings—a mix of runabouts and weekenders—like a protective older sister. She bore a resemblance to the other models, but it was also apparent this boat was different.

Third in Hunt’s line of Ocean Series yachts, which includes a 68 and 80, and the result of a collaboration between Hunt Yachts and Taiwan’s Global Yacht Builders, she is a semicustom boat.

On my visit to Newport, I immediately appreciated the attention to fit and finish on the 72. A gleaming mahogany interior with navy-blue accents gave the boat a classic look. My aversion to crowds and the large congregation in the salon sent me scurrying to the engine room and crew’s quarters where, again, attention to detail was apparent. Beefy handrails between the Caterpillar C32s, easy-to-inspect inboard Racors, and an amply sized workbench forward were all salty touches that boded well for the new 72. I knew then that, selfishly, I wanted to be the one to test this boat.

Stepping into the salon, this time at Palm Beach, I found yet another crowd milling about. The owner Roger Smith and his wife, Jennifer, a photographer, and a pair of prospective Hunt buyers were eagerly awaiting our departure.

I sidestepped the crowd, like I’m known to do, and made my way up to the flybridge where I found interior designer Martha Coolidge doing the same.

The flybridge was indeed pleasant with a number of social spaces that included an amidships bar. As we slipped our lines and made our way through the long, no-wake zone toward the inlet, the flybridge became a popular spot from which to enjoy the South Florida weather.

The only spots without mahogany are the heads because, according to Coolidge, they’re smaller areas that you want to make as bright as possible. It’s a balancing act to make the boat feel dark and handsome yet altogether bright.

Powering the boat up through the inlet I noticed very little speed hump; the 72 glided—not unlike a plane—onto, well, plane. I looked to my left at Roger and thought how fitting that was, since he pilots his own airplane. He would explain that he values three things above all else in his vessels: “The important considerations for a boat/plane are speed, handling, and the ability to operate them on my own,” he says. “I enjoy being hands-on.”

I continued taking the boat through any wake I could find, even running her in tight circles, like a dog chasing its tail, to kick up some waves.

One thing quickly became clear: This is a driver’s boat. Sightlines were excellent; she was sporty and quick with a 31-knot top end, and perhaps most importantly felt solid underfoot.

“Well, it’s built to ABS guidelines, so there’s some serious structure in this boat. There are rib frames that go all the way up the side,” says Van Lancker. “None of the furniture aboard is holding the boat together. It’s built as a structure then the furniture goes in. That makes a huge difference in how the boat handles in a sea.”  —Daniel Harding Jr.

[dt_fancy_title title=”Specifications” title_size=”h3″ title_color=”title”]

LOA: 71’3”
BEAM: 19’6”
DRAFT: 5’5”
DISPL.: 130,000 lb.
FUEL: 2,050 gal.
WATER: 490 gal.

POWER: 2/1,900-hp Caterpillar C32
TRANSMISSION: Twin Disk Quickshift, 2.09:1 gear ratio
PROPELLERS: 39” x 42” 5-blade NiBrAl
GENERATOR: 2/25-kW Northern Lights
PRICE: Upon request