Bill Hunt stepped out of a Barcrusher 640C into a Veitch 27 Hardtop. That’s the equivalent of stepping out of a Series 1 Land Rover into a Maybach. The Captain catches up with Bill in Mallacoota aboard his citrus orange Nautic-Hunt.
Bill Hunt has the cheeky grin of a naughty schoolboy, with ginger hair and chubby cheeks to match. Only Bill could get away with calling his boat Nautic- Hunt (say it slowly). He says it’s a play on his surname and reckons he contemplated Quick Hunt, but Nautic stuck. Being bright orange, everyone notices Bill’s boat.“Most people love it,” he says. “They want to get a few photos at the servo and always have a chuckle at the name.”
Bill works in civil construction, offering end-toend service on major infrastructure through his companies Maffra Trenching & Boring, and MTB Underground Solutions. It’s not the kind of job for schoolboys — even though Bill acts like one when he gets behind the helm of his new Veitch 27.
COMPARING APPLES AND ORANGES
We ask Bill why he upgraded from the Barcrusher to his new orange crush, suspecting it’s because of the six steering wheels he broke on the Crusher. He says there’s a bit more to it. “I did love my Barcrusher. It was a good, quick, light boat, which caught a lot of fish. But I wanted something a bit different, something that wasn’t everywhere. I went for a test run with Roger Veitch and loved it.”
It turned out to be one tough test run on a blustery 25-knot day off Lakes Entrance. “My daughter and I had been fishing the six-mile mark in the Barcrusher that morning,” Bill recalls. “She came on the test and loved the ride as much as I did! It was like chalk and cheese compared to the Barcrusher — much softer and drier.”
It was a big move for Bill, not just in size, but also capability — and budget. His co-pilot, 12-year-old Bella, also had a big say in the decision. “I spend a lot of time on the water with her and my other daughter, Bridie,” Bill says. “I wanted a big dry platform that was fast and easy to handle with just me and the girls.
It’s a completely different ride to my old boat. I haven’t spent a lot of time in deepvees, but I really like it. In fact, I love it.” Bill fine-tunes the boat based on his mood. “It’s got the ballast around the 500L mark,” he says. “I can separate the back and front tanks from the dashboard — just undo the valves and let her go if I want to get a bit loose. But she does like the weight, so most of the time I run with full tanks.”
No stranger to heavy hauling, Bill slips into the saddle of a 2019 F250 Lariat when it’s time for towing duties. “It’s got a 6.7L powerstroke engine with 4.5 tonne off the bumper,” he says.
The whole rig comes in on the trailer about 4.3 tonne, full of fuel and water. Now Bill’s hatching big plans to expand his fishing territory well beyond his local spots off Corner Inlet and Lakes Entrance.
FIT THE BILL
Once ordered, the new build gave Bill the opportunity to customise, starting with a generous helm seat with no backrest. “I’m a big boy and I like a bit of room,” Bill explains. “You can sit anywhere, at any angle. It suits me well.” The sexy black leather upholstery with matching orange stitching comes courtesy of local boy Colton Wilson, from Concept Covers in Bairnsdale. All the upholstery was done in the Veitch factory under Rog’s watchful eye.
Bill is smitten with the look of the whole boat. “Coming front-on, she looks a bit like a battleship — an assault weapon, I suppose,” he laughs. And the inspiration for the colour? “Citrus, I love orange!” Bill says, pointing to his ginger hair for emphasis, as though we hadn’t already noticed the similarity between his boat and his head. “It was white, but there are a lot of white boats around, so I thought I’d go orange. Wes from Form A Sign did the wrap.”
The donks are a pair of Yamaha 300s that help Nautic-Hunt boogie along at up to 100km/h. They are paired to a Yamaha Helm Master system.
Now throw in three 16-inch displays, an autopilot, a 24-inch Fantom radar, FLIR night vision camera, GMR blackbox radar, GRID video and two 1kW transducers. The wiring was done by Chris Bennett from Ace Marine Electrical, who says it took about 150 hours. A CZone switching system manages all things digital, even running operations with preset modes dialled in for cruising or fishing.”
Working with Roger Veitch was a key selling point for Bill. “I hit it off with Rog straight away,” he says. “He’s a really good guy and bent over backwards for me. We did a lot of things on the fly. He was changing options on his other builds, so he incorporated them into my boat.” Rog returns the sentiment. “Bill is a happy-golucky bloke and very likeable,” he says. “He wanted so much in the boat and pushed us with options like diesel heaters, lots of screens and the digital wizardry.
Bill’s boat was also the first real production fit-up we did in-house at the factory. But from start to finish, he did it all with a smile on his face. Seeing that face on the water says it all. We’re all incredibly proud of the boat — no-one more so than Bill.”
Veitch Boats 1/29 Rovan Place, Bairnsdale, Victoria.
(03) 5141 0022