This paper presents an experimental and numerical study of a scale-model Horizontal Axis Hydrokinetic Turbine (HAHT). The model turbine is based on the U.S. Department of Energy Reference Model 1 (RM1), with the blade geometry modified to reproduce the design Cp–TSR performance curve of the RM1 at the flume scale Reynolds numbers (5 × 104–10 × 105). The performance and wake structure of a 45:1 scale turbine were measured using a load cell (torque applied on shaft) and a magnetic angular encoder (rotor rpm), and by planar particle image velocimetry, respectively. The details of the rotor flow field and three-dimensional wake evolution are analyzed from the numerical solution of the RANS equations solved around a computational model of the turbine. The comparison of experimental and numerical results highlights the strengths and limitations of the experimental and numerical analyses in the characterization of HAHT. Useful guidelines for developing experimental flume scale data and using them for validating numerical tools, as well as for performing a similar type of analysis and design validation of full scale devices as pilot projects start to go in the water in the United States, are provided.