Custom design projects originate in a number of different ways. Most of our clients are experienced owners, and have well-developed ideas about what they want in their boat. Sometimes they cannot find an existing or production yacht with a combination of features that suits them, sometimes they are attracted to the combination of Hunt performance and styling, sometimes they simply want to be at the center of the process of creating an entirely new boat.
The design process usually starts with a meeting with the client, usually in person, but sometimes by mail and telephone, in which the size, performance requirements and general appearance of the boat are set forth. Hunt Associates then makes a preliminary study assessing the feasibility of the concept within the size and cost parameters selected, and produces preliminary drawings showing the essential features of the design. Sometimes we will prepare an extended series of preliminary drawings for a client who enjoys the process of exploring a number of different design directions. Once a preliminary design is agreed on, we prepare bid drawings and specifications which are detailed enough to allow a builder to estimate a final cost, and which allow us to resolve design questions in finer detail. The builder selection process varies. Sometimes the client has identified a builder in advance, sometimes there is only one suitable builder, and sometimes there are a number of possible builders who are asked to submit bids, which are evaluated not only for their price, but for the builders' specific skills, reputation, and experience.
Once a builder is selected, design work begins in earnest. In almost all cases, design work, preparation of working drawings and actual construction proceed concurrently, both to speed the process and to allow controlled evolution of final details, since the design process really only stops when the boat is finished. Hunt Associates believes in preparing complete drawings and specifications, and where possible in maintaining close contact with the builder, so the client is continuously represented and the project does not suffer from lack of leadership and direction.
After launching, we run a series of trials to assure that the boat runs as it should when delivered. Custom-built vessels are complex one-of-a-kind creations which often require adjustments to achieve their best performance. Hunt Associates' experience assures the client (and the builder) that the new boat will run at its best with minimum after-launch tuning. We keep in touch with our designs long after they are launched, both to give advice and service over the vessel's life, and because we frequently develop warm relationships with our clients, which it is our pleasure to maintain.