Brothers Don and Harlan Hult began Hult Craft Boat Works in the mid-1950’s. They made and sold wood boats and also offered kits to customers who preferred to build their own. The business was very successful. Their biggest production year was 1957 when they sold 100 boats. About that time, fiberglass was beginning to take over the industry and Hult Boats had to close its doors.
When out of the blue a hull became available, Don was hooked. Now began the search for parts. He had to search around the country for the components he needed. Not only was this not easy, he discovered what inflation had done to prices. A windshield used to cost $25; this time Don had to pay $515 plus freight. A stern light cost $45 – he remembers paying $2 or $3. “I’ve got more money in the metal trim and the windshield than what we used to sell the whole boat for,” said Hult.
Early this year, after 360 hours of labor, Don completed the final Hult Craft Boat. While there’s always the possibility of another hull from Nova Scotia out there, still hanging in someone’s garage, just waiting to be used, chances are there will be no more Hult Craft Boats built.
Editor’s Note: Don and wife Marilyn will be bringing their unique craft to the 27th Rendezvous in Red Wing. Be sure not to miss it!