Hunt Design Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovative Boat Design

July 21, 2016

New Bedford, MA – C. Raymond Hunt Associates, a boat design firm that continues to expand on the legacy of its founder, C. Raymond Hunt, to produce innovative boats with rugged seaworthiness, is now celebrating its 50th year.

Hunt Deep Vee
Hunt designed deep-V hulls have been taming waves for 50 years Courtesy Hunt Design

“Ray Hunt was a genius, able to intuitively know how boats work and with the courage to experiment. We have taken Ray’s ideas and applied them, honing our expertise and knowledge from the days of the early deep-v hulls. Now we have an 11-meter RIB on virtually every large ship in the U.S. Navy, designed the vast majority of American pilot boats, and helped boat builders develop new products in new markets across the marine industry,” said C. Raymond Hunt Associates President, Winn Willard.

Hunt Design Staff
The Staff at Hunt Design Courtesy Hunt Design

Ray Hunt’s innovative approach to design resulted in several transformative designs in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Boston Whaler 13 and the Bertram 31 changed the paradigm of the fast powerboat. The Concordia Yawl and the 5.5-meter sailboats were trophy winners especially with Ray at the helm.


In 1966, and in his late 60’s, Ray partnered with John Deknatel to form C. Raymond Hunt Associates to expand the application and refinement of the Hunt deep-v hull to a wide range of boats. Under Deknatel’s leadership, the firm expanded its presence in the production boat and custom yacht markets.

John Deknatel and Winn Willard
John Deknatel ( L), now retired, partnered with Ray Hunt in 1966 to form C. Raymond Hunt Associates. Winn Willard (R), President, led the company into commercial and military markets beginning in the 1970s Courtesy Hunt Design

Designs have been created for major boat manufacturers including: Bertram, Grady-White, Boston Whaler, Robalo, Cruisers, Chris-Craft, 4 Winns, Southport, Grand Banks, SeaArk, Regal, and Wellcraft. Significant was the Eastbay 38, the first of the fast traditional cruisers that spawned an entirely new market; the first Robalo in 1970, a center console flats boat with offshore capability. Hunt has designed all Grady-White hulls for more than 25 years.

Hunt Designs Many Production Hulls
Hunt has designed a wide-range of hulls for production boat manufacturers. Hunt has designed all Grady-White hulls for more than 25 years. Other builders using Hunt designed hulls include: Bertram, Grady-White, Boston Whaler, Robalo, Cruisers, Chris-Craft, 4 Winns, Southport, Grand Banks, SeaArk, Regal, and Wellcraft Courtesy Hunt Design

Custom Hunt designed yachts have been built around the world at such yards as Burger, Palmer Johnson, Hinckley, Lyman-Morse, Nautor, and Royal Huisman.


The firm demonstrated its flexibility and expertise by keeping a foot in the sailboat market throughout the sailing boom of the 1970’s and 1980’s with designs for Cal, O’Day, Ranger, and Paceship. “I think we were unique among designers at the time doing power and sail design simultaneously,” said Deknatel.

Hunt Pilot Boats

Pilot Boats Design By Hunt Design

Pilot Boats Design By Hunt Design Courtesy Hunt Design

Starting in the late 1970’s Willard led the firm’s entry into the commercial and military markets. Designs have been done for the Navy, Coast Guard, police and fire departments worldwide. “The Hunt designed and Gladding-Hearn built pilot boats have proven to be the choice of the majority of U.S. pilots for their unmatched capability in rough seas. Pilotage is perhaps the highest use of the Hunt deep-v, given the demands of all-weather operation,” said Willard, President of the firm since Deknatel’s retirement last year. “That same experience has been applied across the breadth of Hunt designs.”

Hunt Yachts Surfhunter
Hunt Yachts Surfhunter models, one of several series of boats built Courtesy Hunt Design

In 1998, Deknatel and Willard began Hunt Yachts Inc. to produce its own line of classic New England style cruisers. Hunt Yachts was sold to Hinckley in 2013.


Located in the New Bedford Historic District since 2006 after 40 years in Boston, C. Raymond Hunt Associates employs a staff of 10 including naval architects, engineers, designers and administrative. Peter Boyce is the firm’s Principal Designer and Craig Obara is Chief Naval Architect.


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