If you are planning to buy a bluewater boat and you haven't been cruising previously, why not hire someone like John Neal for his consulting service
Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction
The small fee pales in comparison with a poor boat buying
The beauty of using someone like John is that he does not have any financial interest in what you buy. He and Amanda have cruised 100's of thousands of miles and have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn't. In the interest of full disclosure, I have no affiliation with John or Amanda other than bumping into them a few times and chatting.
We have met people while cruising who are perfectly content with their Hunters. Some have done some pretty impressive passages (IE: Pac NW to Panama
, San Francisco
to NZ, etc.) Better weather forecasting and planning can reduce the likelihood of any boat being caught in survival conditions. We're supplying a set of cruising sails
for a 40.5 that will be headed to Australia
in the spring. I'm sure the boat will be fine. Personally I'm not keen on rigs with deeply swept back spreaders. That results in more work for me protecting the sail from chafe, particularly if it has full battens. Traditional cruising routes involve reaching and running.
One of our friends with a fairly new Hunter that lost
told me that Hunter has a 4% rudder
failure rate. That would concern me if it's true as most Hunters are sailed more casually. I know that Mike Harker lost
his rudder during a circumnavigation
. I would look long and hard at the construction of any spade rudder. TPI did a great job building rudders using a composite shaft. If I'm not mistaken they used an inflatable
bladder in the middle to force the resin through. Hunter seems to do a very good job of supporting their products and keeping owners happy. There's a lot to be said for that.
There are many schools of thought. Some people prefer a newer production boat over an older more rugged traditional cruising boat. We were very fortunate when we bought our boat as we scored a legendary wonderful cruising boat - an Amel Maramu that had a six figure re-fit right before the previous owner developed health
issues. Would we have gone for an Amel Maramu that had not been totally re-fit? Probably not as we couldn't have afforded the refit
and we didn't want to go cruising on a boat where most systems and the engine
were 30 years old.
We know a couple of people who have cruised Jeanneau's quite successfully including one of our customers, Calou, which had a great trip to the South Pacific
and back recently.
As for differences between European and American buyers, I have a theory that Europeans are less swayed by ads in sailing magazines and endorsements than their counterparts across the pond.
Some of the best sources of information about any boat are industry professionals. When we were considering the purchase
of the Amel, we spoke to a highly experienced Lloyds certified surveyor
that we were socializing with in Thailand
at the time. He had surveyed dozens of Amels and highly recommended the boat. Various specialists can tell you about the systems and installations. For instance, an electrician might warn you that a certain European boat cruising cat has inadequately sized AC wiring
since the current
load in Europe
is half as much with 220V as it is here in North America. Experienced mechanics can tell you their impressions of a certain Yanmar
versus a certain Volvo
, etc. A rigger will usually have his or her opinion about that end of the boat.