I agree, your choice of boat ultimately depends upon which boat best fits your intended use. Clearly there are members of the cruising community who are living-aboard and cruising Hunters. So, empirically, the answer is "yes".
Also, the term "bluewater" is frequently over used. Realistically, the majority of cruisers are coastal cruisers. They do relatively short runs from one coastal port to another. The USCG definition of "coastal" is 250 miles or less from land. I think it infrequent that most cruisers exceed this limit (actually physically not easy to do in the Caribbean). Most cruisers don't really need a true "bluewater" boat. If you plan to spend a lot of time doing long trans-atlantic or trans-pacific crossings then a very heavy built "bluewater" boat might be advisable, but for typical cruising it is overkill.
My first cruising boat was a Hunter 37 Cutter
. I'm not a big fan of many of the newer Hunters, but the owners of the Hunter 37 Cutter
(H37C) almost universally love this boat (me included) -- just read the owners forums
for this boat. John Chrubini drew these up for Hunter.
Great boat. Cutter rig. Sails
beautifully. Very well behaved in heavy weather
. I used to use her for teaching a hands-on heavy weather class. We got caught in especially entertaining un-forecast weather once: 65 knots gusting to 85 for 24 hours. She handled it quite well. First we ran with it under reefed stay-sail (storm jib
size) only and then hove-to to ride out the rest of the storm (the H37C heaves-to quite nicely). With 65 knots of breeze behind you, you can get almost 11 knots out of a very deeply reefed moderate displacement
37 foot boat! Yeehaa!
Note there are two under body versions of this boat, a shoal draft
and a full draft
. Mine was a full draft (just under 6') and I could not have been more pleased with the sailing performance. I've often heard less than favorable reports about the sailing characteristics of the shoal draft version (shoal draft monohulls are abominations in my book anyway).
Below decks layout is pretty traditional so you don't have the voluminous interior
like many of the newer Hunters (and Catalinas). However, it does have a nice v-berth/vanity/head area forward that is separated from the rest of the cabin
space by a sliding door. Makes for a nice owner's cabin
I have run across quite a few H37C's out cruising. There were a several here on the Rio Dulce (Guatemala) this past hurricane