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Old 01-03-2012, 09:41   #1
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Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Hi all,

I'm researching the Hughes 40, an oldish Sparkman & Stephens design that was built in Canada starting in the early 70s. Other than the tumultuous history of the Hughes company and generally well-appreciated construction practices, I can't find much information on the boat itself.

Here's what I'm wondering:

- Is the hull cored? I think not, but can't confirm it.
- Does the ketch rig have both masts keel stepped? Or is the mizzen deck stepped?
- What are the typical problems one should expect to see on this model?

And another question more generic to the ketch rig: when unstepping the masts, which should go down first? I assume the order should be reversed for stepping them.

If there are any Hughes 40 owners around here, I would love to hear about how well she sails, particularly the ketch rig. Any other thoughts or opinions from experienced owners will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:25   #2
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Hi - We own a 1987 Hughes 40 and would be glad to answer some of your questions. We have only had her for 2 years so are still discovering her strengths and weaknesses. We purchased from the original owner, who had much of the original paperwork from Hughes, including original correspondence between Howard Hughes and pictures of the boat during construction at the factory. PM me and I can send you some of the original specs if you like.

- Is the hull cored? I think not, but can't confirm it.

Hull is SOLID Glass and fairly thick below the waterline and cored above waterline. Deck is a mix of cored and solid. On later models, Hughes also sold them with factory applied epoxy sealer.

- Does the ketch rig have both masts keel stepped? Or is the mizzen deck stepped?

Mizzen is deck stepped (Most Ketch Rigs seem to be)

- What are the typical problems one should expect to see on this model?
Here are a few specific to this model (any older boat could have many other potential issues )
  • The rear Keel / Hull joint is likely a continual maint area -- it has a large lead area faced to a large flat fiberglass hull portion that sees a lot of stress on the joint and can trap water in the area. There is also a keel bolt that could be potentially at risk so you do need to keep an eye on this area.
  • Water tanks and assoc plumbing ( i.e. fill, vents, outlets etc) are all inaccessible and below the cabin sole.
  • In both heads and the cockpit floor was built either too level or even pitched incorrectly -- so water does not drain well and you end up with standing water most of the time. (this item was only discovered AFTER we had the boat for awhile). Can be mitigated by adding addition drains in the forward head and cockpit but there is no room in the aft head to add a second floor drain.

And another question more generic to the ketch rig: when unstepping the masts, which should go down first? I assume the order should be reversed for stepping them.

Mizzen comes down first - goes up last

If there are any Hughes 40 owners around here, I would love to hear about how well she sails, particularly the ketch rig. Any other thoughts or opinions from experienced owners will be appreciated.

Overall we love the boat - I love the headroom below ( am 6'1 and can stand up in both heads, and in all cabins, galley) -- love the safe deep cockpit with factory hard dodger -- but hate the very low interior passthru to the aft cabin. Nav station is also cramped for me but OK for my wife.

We actually prefer the ketch rig, and many times only sail her with just the head sail and mizzen. She is heavy and very stable in rough seas - no "pounding" like you get with so many modern flatter hull designs. She does have a very shallow draft and as such does not point particularly well - and with the main up in a stiff wind she tends to get pushed off the desired track. I think some models have a deeper draft but most have the shallow draft -- at least all the ones I had seen for sale. We keep her up in the PNW and do a lot of motorsailing and love that she has ample power (65HP) -- important with the tides and currents there.

There are a few original design choices or features that bug me, others that bug my wife -- btw -- my wife is the real sailor,while I am the mate, mechanic, engineer and galley slave. As with any older boat you will likely find many PO mods and upgrades. She wanted an Amel Sharkie, however for me it lacked the required headroom, and a long enough bunk in the aft cabin ( and a second head) ...

Keep in mind that Hughes was also a large RV producer, and a lot of the original interior fit ( wiring, lighting, plumbing) was RV style and not Marine quality -- if a PO has not upgraded, you will want/need to - a decent Survey will highlight all the wiring but may not on the plumbing.

Interior layout and features changed over the years -- what year are you looking at and what is your intended use?

Cheers , Jim
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Old 08-03-2012, 19:45   #3
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Thanks for the report Jim. I am going to look at a Hughes 40 in Toronto area early next week. I too am tall 6'4", so am curious as to the headroom. I'll know by Tuesday.

Boulter
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Old 08-03-2012, 20:12   #4
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

As the fortunes of Hughes rose and fell, so did specs and quality of workmanship. Quite a number of these boats were sold in various stages of completion with several sold as bare hull and deck mouldings, then finished with varying degrees of expertise. Take a very hard look at the structure supporting the main mast as I have seen everthing from severly corroded (pull apart by hand) steel I-beams to loose blocks of rotten wood holding up the step. Otherwise the structures were quite sound other than the usual soft decks you'll find on most makes of this vintage.
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Old 08-03-2012, 20:53   #5
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Take a very hard look at the structure supporting the main mast as I have seen everthing from severly corroded (pull apart by hand) steel I-beams to loose blocks of rotten wood holding up the step. Otherwise the structures were quite sound other than the usual soft decks you'll find on most makes of this vintage.
Are you speaking specifically about the H40? The main is keel stepped and the mast base rests directly on solid fiberglass hull with the keel directly below -- at least on ours which is 1987 (last year or 2 of production). Maybe earlier year were different .. this hull design was in production for quite a while.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:50   #6
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

As I said, there were many different variations of how the masts were stepped depending on the financial state of the company at the time and whether it was one of the incomplete boats finished by who knows who ?
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Old 10-03-2012, 19:32   #7
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Thanks all for your comments. The search for a boat continues...
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Old 10-03-2012, 20:37   #8
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

ten years ago when we were boat hunting in florida we looked at a 70's vintage hughes 40. we thought the build quality was poor. the cockpit lockers were actually delaminating. i never knew that some were owner built so maybe that explains it...
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Old 14-03-2012, 10:34   #9
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulter View Post
I am going to look at a Hughes 40 in Toronto area early next week. I too am tall 6'4", so am curious as to the headroom. I'll know by Tuesday.
I can report from the angle on my neck with my head on the ceiling that the headroom is about 6'2". Another boat design off my list.

Boulter
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Old 14-03-2012, 11:22   #10
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Boulter,

Other than the headroom issue, what did you think of the boat itself? Did you check out a ketch or a cutter?
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Old 14-03-2012, 11:26   #11
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulter View Post
I can report from the angle on my neck with my head on the ceiling that the headroom is about 6'2". Another boat design off my list.

Boulter
Good Luck - likely a pretty short list of affordable/available boats with 6'4 headroom!

Jim
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Old 16-03-2012, 18:38   #12
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by enovillo View Post
Boulter,

Other than the headroom issue, what did you think of the boat itself? Did you check out a ketch or a cutter?
Hi:

It was a cutter. It was a nice enough boat, with some recent TLC.

Boulter
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Old 05-12-2013, 19:01   #13
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Jim, others; I am late to this forum but noted Jim's comment about the keel joint vertical being continual maintenance. I solved this. Mine was sealed with epoxy and glass but the slight movement or shifting created a crack; each time the boat was hauled out, it drained a slight amount of water. This was disturbed me. Another at my marina in Florida noted cracks in the fairing along the horizontal (top) joint of the keel and the hull. I did not want either.

I stripped the hull, dried it for six months and put a barrier on it. During that time I removed all the fairing and exposed the entire keel-hull joint. When dry, I filled in the air space at the vertical joint, then sealed the entire hull to keel joint with Gluvit and fiberglass tape. Gluvit has some give to it, although you would not think so to touch it. Then I refaired the joints, used more Gluvit on the outside (on top of the fairing where the joints were) of all keel hull joints, then 7 coats of barrier coat. The barrier (Interlux) held up well over the Gluvit. That was six years ago and no cracks or leaks or blistered, for which I am grateful, as the work, cost and work yard prices were hard.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:39   #14
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, larryschnellfl.
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Old 06-12-2013, 14:27   #15
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Re: Hughes 40 - Cored Hull ?

Welcome Larry! We will be hauling ours in the spring for bottom paint and other maint - we'll see how she looks this time. The top joint looked very good when we purchased the boat -- just the rear joint seem at issue with ours. The PO hauled every year (from Montreal) and the boat saw constant freeze/thaw cycles on the hard -- so any water left in a small crack might be more of an issue then.

--Jim
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