Indeed, the Marlow-Hunter 31 is a thoroughly modern pocket cruiser that also includes many familiar Hunter features, including a B&R rig with swept-back spreaders that eliminate the backstay. You’re not finding that on any imports. But when you start to scratch the surface, it’s also abundantly clear that there’s some serious innovation happening here, particularly in the methods and materials used to piece the boat together.
We tested the M-H 31 on Chesapeake Bay during last fall’s Boat of the Year trials, and got totally skunked on breeze: zero, nothing, nada. It happens. But while a couple of the judges and I vainly tried to put the boat through its paces, David Marlow and the third member of our panel, systems expert Ed Sherman of the American Boat and Yacht Council, disappeared below, two salty dogs lost in private banter. Whatever were they discussing?
Later, during deliberations, Sherman spilled the beans. “We had a fascinating conversation,” he said. “He’s a man on a mission who really wants to reinvent the Hunter brand. Part of the way he’s doing that is to take a hard look at long-term durability while trying to build a product that’s easier for his factory workers to assemble. He’s invested a huge amount of time and R & D in developing a database of what works and what doesn’t. It blew me away.