Being in the sailboat manufacturing industry for well over 40 years, Hunter Marine, today, known as Marlow-Hunter, is the leading sailboat and sailing yachts builder in North America. Their boats are known to be efficient, strong, and very classy in terms of design. Though Marlow-Hunter is a big name in the industry today, it was Warren Luhrs, who followed the family tradition of building and repairing boats, which eventually resulted in the birth of Hunter Marine.
Henry Luhrs, in the 1800s, used to build and repair recreational and fishing boats. He also owned a chandlery and used to outfit trading ships. His grandson, also named Henry, along with his sons John and Warren, continued the business after him. Eventually, they had become so productive that they started selling about a thousand boats per year. Henry, John, and Warren started their own company named Henry Luhrs Sea Skiffs. But soon enough, in 1973, Warren Luhrs decided to start a new sailboat manufacturing company and named it Hunter Marine.
The first-ever Hunter Marine production was the Hunter 25. It is a small keelboat, made of fiberglass and was designed by the iconic designer John E. Cherubini. This was the start of Hunter Marine, a fresh new face in the sailboat industry. The Hunter 25, and many other following models were very well received by the industry as well as by the customers. It seemed a smooth ride for Hunter Marine from there onwards.
In 1988, the company hit a rock, when the sales and production started to see a decline due to the low-quality production of boats. This was the result of Warren Luhrs leaving the company to focus on his single-handed ocean racing career. He won many races and set many records with his Thursday’s Child and Hunter’s Child boats. But eventually, he had to give up his racing career and return to Hunter Marine to save it from drowning. Upon his return, he carried out the reconstruction of the company, creating new network teams, and re-designing the boats. This was an inspiration he took from his ocean racing experience. He also extended the warranty period from one year to five years, to get better customer satisfaction.
During this phase, Canadian designer Rob Mazza was brought up on board to overlook the designs and coordinate with the production team on their processes. Under the guidance of Mazza, the Hunter 29.5 was created, followed by its larger version, the Hunter 336. Soon enough, another iconic designer, Glenn Henderson was hired to enhance the designs of the Hunter sailboats. He worked with Luhrs and his team until 2010. Luhrs and the team, along with Henderson, developed a few innovative elements that became popular in the market very quickly. These include the B&R rig, the water-ballast, and their trademark stainless steel cockpit arch. This resulted in an even more increase in the popularity of Hunter Marine in the industry.
But all of this started to fade with the declining sales of the sailboats. And soon enough, in 2012, Hunter Marine filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was then when David E. Marlow, the owner of Marlow Yachts, bought Hunter Marine. And the name was later changed to Marlow Hunter. Marlow Hunter went on to develop new models under the guidance of the Hunter Marine designer Glenn Henderson. Together they created several models based on older designs by Marlow Yachts. These include the Marlow Hunter 31, 33, 37, and 40.
Before Hunter Marine was sold to Marlow Yachts, it produced many magnificent sailboats that were really popular among the sailors.
The first-ever Hunter production was the Hunter 25, designed by John Cherubini and Bob Seidelmann. It was a 25-foot long recreational keelboat, which was essentially made of fiberglass. It was equipped with a masthead sloop rig, an internal spade-shaped rudder, and a fixed fin keel. The Hunter 25 was a monohull keelboat. It also had an outboard motor that helped in docking. A box-top version of the boat was also produced. Because of its tremendous popularity, a re-designed version was introduced in 2005.
One of the many other great models is the Hunter E33. This model is based on the vintage Hunter design and rocks a solid stainless steel cockpit arch, decks with spacious accommodations, and the original B&R rig. It also has the more extended saloon and hull windows, a hallmark of the Hunter. In 2012, the E33 was given the “Best Compact Cruiser” by Cruising World magazine.
Another great production of the Hunter marine is the Hunter 356. Designed by Glenn Henderson, the 356 was introduced in 2000. Similar to the Hunter 25, it is a recreational keelboat made of fiberglass. It holds a B&R rig, an internal rudder, reverse transom, and a fixed fin keel. It also has a mast-furling mainsail. It was one of the greatest productions ever by Hunter Marine. Just a year after coming into the market, the Hunter 356 won the “Best Production Cruiser under $200,000” award by Cruising World.
Even though Hunter Marine was sold to Marlow Yachts, it did not stop making its name in the top spots of the sailboat industry. In 2012, Glenn Henderson, along with Marlow Hunter, designed the fresh new Hunter 40. It was usually referred to as Hunter 40-2 to avoid it being confused with the original 1984 Hunter 40. The 2012 Hunter 40 has the standard B&R rig with a mainsheet traveler atop a stainless steel arch. It also features a reverse transom and a winged keel, a plumb stem, and an internal rudder. An interesting fact about the new Hunter 40 is that the first unit was designed and built in a span of mere eight weeks. This was to get it ready for the 2012 U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Many doubted the performance of this hastily built sailboat. But when it was tested after the show, it sailed so smoothly that the Best Boat judges could not stop themselves from naming it the best boat in the Cruising Monohull category.