Production boat importers all like to claim that their range of yachts is the fastest, most comfortable, strongest, best value-for-money and most modern. When you put them altogether in a small area, therefore, bragging rights become very important.
According to Matt Hayes, CEO of Sydney-based US Yachts, this year’s Sydney International Boat Show can’t come quickly enough as he warms up for some good-natured ribbing of two of his competitors.
“Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery,” says Hayes, a former Olympic sailor. “If so, the designers of two European brands are obviously big fans of the American-built Hunter range that we represent.”
Hayes points to two key design features of the Hunters which he says have been copied.
“Hunter was the first brand to come out without backstays, instead using swept-back spreaders to maintain mast integrity,” Hayes explains. “This allows a more elliptical shape to the roach of the mainsail, which multihulls and America’s Cup boats have been using effectively for years.
“The traditional triangular-shaped main is actually quite inefficient, whether on racing boats or cruisers. That’s why jumbo jets don’t have triangular wings. The Hunter sail shape puts more of the sail area towards the top of the mast, where the wind is always stronger, and gives a much better and easier-to-handle overall sailplan than a masthead rig with 150% genoa. But you can’t have a fully-roached main when you have a single, fixed backstay, like most production boats do.”
Hayes says the recent release of unstayed masts by Dufour has given him some ammunition which he can’t wait to fire.
The other brand Hayes says is paying homage to Hunter is Beneteau with their arch or Targa on the Sense range, which has also been a feature on Hunter yachts for many years.
“The Hunter arch is a great feature on a cruising boat,” he says. “It keeps the mainsail traveller out of the cockpit, making socialising easier, and it also makes a great anchor point for a bimini, to provide shade to the helmsman while cruising or at anchor.”
“We (production boat importers) all get along pretty well usually,” Hayes concluded. “But I’m certainly looking forward to my first stroll around the pond during the boat show….”
US Yachts will have the Hunter 37 on display at the show, along with the new Elan 320 and Elan 394. For more information go to www.usyachts.com.au.