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Hunter Yachts History
Hunter Yachts were first made in the UK close to the Wakering marshes near Rochford. It was in 1969 a time when GRP Yachts were still in the very early stages of mass production. Shortly after it's conception, the company moved to a new custom built factory near Sutton Rd, in Rochford. This is where Hunter boats would be made until 2004.
Perhaps the first most famous sailboat was the National Squib. Designed and finished by Oliver Lee and first moulded by Hunters (then called the Essex Boat Company) in 1968. The Squib open Yacht was a great success, and it achieved National Status. As a testament to a brilliant design they are still built to this day ( although not by Hunter Boats). Total Squib Yachts constructed now exceed 800.
Shortly after the first production, Michael Poland asked Oliver if he could put a lid on a Squib. With a closed deck, the squib could then go cross-Channel JOG racing. All this on a yacht that would cost less than a set of B&G instruments today. Oliver agreed to the plan and designed a proper fibreglass lid to fit on the Squib Yacht. Michael Poland's favourite pastime was hunting, so it was decided the new model would be called the Hunter. Thus began the creation of the famous Hunter line.
Over the years Oliver designed several Hunter Yachts for the renamed company Hunter Boats Ltd between 1969 and 1975. The 16' lift keel Hunter 490, the 23' Hunter 701, and the Tracer Yacht (a mini Squib Yacht with lifting keel). This Yacht was a revamped Hunter 19 Yacht that had her name changed to the Hunter Europa. All yachts sold well, and soon many British Hunter yachts would be seen in harbours around the UK and abroad. In 1975 Hunter boat management team met designer David Thomas they were much impressed by his one-off Quarter Tonner called the Quarto.
David said he wanted to design around bilged GRP Yacht and so the Sonata was created. She became an RYA National Status Class and remains a leading One-Design cruiser-racer to this day. In 1984, Hunters decided to investigate the possibility of developing Twin Keels Yachts and move towards cruisers rather than trying to remain in the low volume Cruiser-Racers market. The first in this new range was the now famous Hunter Horizon 26. In 1984 she won the best production Yacht of the Year Award. She was soon to be joined by the twin keel Hunter Duette 23 (a Sonata development with twin keels), the Hunter Horizon Yacht 27, 272 and 273, and the Hunter Horizon 32 Yacht wheelhouse cruiser.
It was 1994 when Hunter Boats introduced the new range with a hull shape Designed by David Thomas. Theseyacht hulls have long waterlines, excellent stability and a very subtle chine that runs from the transom to midships. This chine adds further to balance, and therefore the team produced a hull that sails in a straight line with great ease. Hunter Boats was revived in late 2009 again known as Hunter Boats Ltd, in Southampton and they continue to build the fabulous range of British Hunter Yachts.
A history of Hunter Yachts was researched by Network Yacht Brokers Barcelona in 2018
Hunter Yachts History
The most significant yacht British Hunter ever made to date was the Mystery 35. In 2003 Hunter Boats was taken over by Select Yachts (builders of Cornish Crabbers). Then In 2008 Select Yachts themselves went into administration. After this Lauren Marine took over the Hunter name, and build rights to some smaller Hunter models, In 2009 Hunter Boats Ltd was set up again. They make a limited range of models. A re-formed Cornish Crabber company now build the Mystery range under the name of Mystery Yachts.