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Old 21-03-2016, 20:47   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 33
First Sailboat - Hunter 260?

I have decided to buy a sailboat. I am a rank novice to sailing. I have crewed for a grand total of under 12 hours. My father always had powerboats, I have paid for space on a motor sailor diving live aboard a few times. And I used to own a Sunfish, which is not today's Sunfish, more like an Igloo cooler with a mast, but I learned to tack and such.

My goals are to be able to essentially do boat camping, take the wife and grandchildren, get away from it all. Two large and two small people. I would fish but that is not my main goal. I imagine letting the wind blow me about, hitting some small waves and so forth. I live in SW Florida, near Fort Myers. There are places to explore, near here and up the coast.

Once I feel more confident about my skills and get more familiar with the boat, I would like to, weather permitting, make the crossing to the Bahamas, Key West (from Fort Myers), perhaps the Dry Tortuga's, or even Cuba once it becomes legal.

I don't want to pay for marina space. This means that I want a boat that can be trailered. This also allows for me to tow it to Lake Okeechobee, Florida's East Coast or the Keys rather than just keeping it in the nearby river and taking it through the locks and under the bridges to the ocean, or to the east coast.

I have looked at several local boats. Most have been Hunters in the 21-24 foot range. I looked at an 83, an 85, an 86. The 86 is owned by someone who used to race it weekly. A couple of the boats had been robbed while in storage. These boats have all been in the $4500-$6000 range, with trailers, some would need new radios, electrical work and the like. I was considering the 86, at $5500, needs a VHF, some electrical work. Rigging and sails and such were in good shape.

Today I went to look at another boat, it was a cute little 19 footer that was just too small for me. The guy says, well, I have another boat I was going to sell that might fit you to a T.

This was a 95 Hunter 260. The boat was absolutely beautiful, far as I can tell. 9.9 outboard, Tohatsu 4 stroke. All the stuff was there, stereo, VHF, depth/fish finder. It had a ton of space compared to the other boats I looked at because the cabin was full width. It was clean in and out. Two burner alcohol stove worked, sink worked. No water leaks from windows. There were two solar vent fans that kept the air clean smelling. It had a lot of things that I had hoped for, like a porta potty so that the grandkids don't have issues, and a little galley area so that if I do catch a fish, I could cook it. And a swim step. Anchoring, swimming seem to go together.

I could imagine taking this to the Bahamas, not in a North wind where the waves pile up in the Gulfstream, but in more favorable weather. I can imagine spending a few days on it, relaxing, snorkeling, picking my next spot and going.

Then I read an online review. It said that the boat was meant for sheltered coastal waters. I really don't know much. If I make a mistake and end up in ten foot waves for a couple hours before I can get back into shelter, is it going to break the boat? Is what I want to do reasonable on this boat if I am reasonably careful?

The guy wants 15k for the 260. This includes a trailer. This is at the limit of what I can afford. My wife said, "This is a boat we could keep for a while. I can imagine a week in the Keys on this boat. If you get a smaller boat we will just end up replacing it.

The setup seemed fine for solo sailing. Stock roller jib, reef points on the main that seemed to all be in reach of the cockpit, all sheets handy, autopilot.

So, does anyone know anything about Hunter 260s? I note that they made them between 1995 and 2004. Why did they stop?

Are these great boats except that they break in two if sailed on leap day? Some other quirkiness that just made people quit wanting them? Inquiring minds want to know.

I know that they are not fast. People talk about 5 knots on a broad reach and needing to reef at 15 knots, possibly even needing to run with just a reefed main. Does that mean that they can't be sailed at all in a 25 or 30 mph wind?

I looked through the online PDF of the owners manual and they didn't mention amax wind speed.

I use a CPAP to sleep and have since the 1980s. The first CPAP I used consumed about 100 watts, without a humidifier. I used it following a hurricane by hooking an inverter to a golf cart battery. It would drain the big battery in 9 hours. Newer CPAPs use a third of the electricity or less. But I am considering getting a theory is generator to charge batteries and then an inverter to run the CPAP. This would be needed no matter which boat I bought. Of course it is possible that wind or solar could recharge the batteries. But a small quiet inverter type generator is likely more affordable and reliable. And there are some new CPAPs that run on dedicated battery packs.

Anyway, any guidance or reasonable discussion would be appreciated.
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Old 22-03-2016, 20:56   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Alberta, Canada
Boat: Hunter 23.5
Posts: 16
Re: First Sailboat - Hunter 260?

Not sure if you know but these hunters are waterbalast , so no lead keel , these are are very light trailerable.

I think the reason they stopped building these boats, is because they got bought out , and now they have a complete different line of trailerable made by Marlow-Hunter.

Have a look on the and go to the hunter owner section, tons of info.

My self I have its little sister the Hunter 23.5
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:29   #3
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Gainesville, FL
Boat: Hunter 26
Posts: 1
Re: First Sailboat - Hunter 260?

I own a 1995 Hunter 26. I sold a 1984 Hunter 27 so that I could trailer sail all of Florida and not just from a point where the boat was permanently docked. I've owned my 26 since August and love the portability. Remember, there are always pro's and con's. The 26 has most all the live aboard features that my 27 had, except everything is a bit smaller.
I know that Hunter went out of business and Marlow bought the plant to begin selling a much different version of the Hunters.
Things that will make the 26 easier to sail are:
Motor tiller extension so that you don't have to squat down in the cockpit to motor the boat - they are under $100.
A WARN drill winch which will make getting the mast up so much easier. Link:
FREE SHIPPING Warn Drill Winch 500-Lb. Capacity, Model# 910500 | Drill Winches| Northern Tool + Equipment it uses a portable drill to run the winch, which can be attached to the mast haul up line. Raising the mast is not as easy as some say it is. This winch makes it a piece of cake.
Trailer guides so that the boat comes onto the trailer straight with the keel dead center on the keel guide.
A good solid boat hook to help you get the rudder up. You have to be superman without it.
A good 12volt cooler/refrigerator for the galley.
Lazy Jacks for sure.
2 anchors - not just one.
12 volt jump pack just in case you run the batteries down and need your own jump (without calling AAA - LOL).
Check the water bladder for any leaks. Mine had a small one at the outlet screw on part, but just needed tightening.
Check your wheel bearing on the trailer. I hope this helps. If you'd like to email me any questions, please feel free to do so.
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