Joining the New Hampshire Boat Museum’s annual auction committee in 2017, Hunt Leavitt recently received the Hank Why Volunteer Award. “Throughout my life, I have had a passionate affair with boats, both professionally and as an avocation,” remarked Leavitt.
This ‘affair’ began when he was a kid. “Starting off as a kid water skiing, exploring, and island-camping with my large family, I discovered outboard hydroplane racing and pursued it on and off for more than 40 years,” he explained.
During that time, Leavitt also engaged in whitewater canoeing, chartered big sailboats, and restored nearly 100 boats. “Although much of my business life was in corporate America, I was also president of the Alcort Sailboat division of AMF and owner of McKee Craft, a fiberglass boat manufacturer,” he added.
As a volunteer, he said his time has primarily been focused on boat valuation, research, and description development as part of the Museum’s auction committee. Admitting surprise at receiving the Hank Why Volunteer Award, named in honor of longtime volunteer Hank Why who passed away in 2021, Leavitt expressed excitement for the future of the New Hampshire Boat Museum (NHBM).
“I think the Museum’s future move to Moultonborough is a brilliant plan, providing much more exhibit space, much greater visibility, and the opportunity to tap into a whole new world of members and volunteers,” he said.
In April 2022, NHBM announced an expansion to a new location at 130 Whittier Highway in Moultonborough, NH. According to NHBM Executive Director Martha Cummings, the new location features an existing facility that offers significant benefits. “We will have a year-round, climate-controlled building for exhibitions and educational programming, greater visibility, and a better space to preserve and display the museum’s collection,” she noted.
NHBM’s continued growth and expansion, however, would not be possible without volunteers like Leavitt, according to Cummings. “He knows the value of boats and motors,” she explained. “Hunt can find something interesting to say about a sunfish sailboat to a Donzi motor boat to a Chris Craft…He is quiet but his knowledge is so valuable, and he is first and foremost a tremendously kind and generous person.”
When not volunteering his time at NHBM, Leavitt spends his summers on Cow Island with his wife and the rest of the year in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Founded in 1992 by antique and classic boating enthusiasts, NHBM is committed to inspire people of all ages with an understanding of, and appreciation for, the boating heritage of New Hampshire’s fresh waterways. NHBM exhibits, events and programming covers everything from boat charters, boat trips and race boats to canoes, wooden boats, outboard motors, sculling, sailing sunfish, and Lyman and Johnson motors. Some of our hands-on programs take place on Lake Winnipesaukee. NHBM is sponsored in part by Goodhue Boat Company, Eastern Propane and Oil, Stark Creative, KW Lakes and Mountains, Meredith Village Savings Bank and FL Putnam.