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Old 25-05-2009, 19:01   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Cruising the Caribbean
Boat: Solaris Sunstar 36 Cat
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Question Hunter 34 and the Sea!

Was recently asked to deliver a Hunter 34 (1986) from the Chesapeak to St John USVI.
What I am curious about having now finished this truly arduous trip is what is the point of sail that this yacht will actually sail comfortably on without pointing up into the wind?
I tried every conceivable head and main sail size combination that sprang to mind and the least horrible sail set was head sail only.
Is it just me or is there no suitable combination that will make these admittedly light boats sail even moderately to wind ward without extreme weather helm??
!6 very tough days at sea and I couldn't find the balance.
I wait with considerable interest to see if I missed the obvious or is this truly what some would call a LAKE boat and not meant to be near salt water and good winds.
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Old 26-05-2009, 06:51   #2
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The Hunter 34

I thought it was just me, Having delivered a Hunter 34, 1984 model from Cabo San Lucas Mexico to Oceanside, California. This was 7 very long days of fighting this boat to point. I agree with your assesment completely.
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Old 26-05-2009, 10:00   #3
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I never delivered one on a long passage. But, we sailed our ‘83 Hunter 34 throughout the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean for 2+ years. All of our "passages" were less than 24 hours.

Our experience was that in light sub-10kt. winds, it was indeed difficult to maintain a close hauled course. In such winds we would generally have full sails up. However, under those conditions, we would also frequently motor or motorsail and that more or less eliminated the problem.

In moderate winds of 12-15 kts. we would frequently have a reef or two in the mainsail and a full head sail for close hauled sailing. Under those conditions the boat pointed fairly well. I couldn’t tell you exactly how close to the wind, and yes - there was leeway. I would not say that this was appreciably different from many other popular boats such as a Catalina 36 - we delivered one from FL to St. Thomas, but again this was a series of leisurely daysails. Obviously sea state also makes a difference. We generally avoided being at sea when wind and waves would make the trip uncomfortable. With the Hunter 34s it may also make a difference whether you have the shoal (4'3") draft or the deep (5'6") draft. We had the deep draft and of course, the boat was fully loaded with cruising gear. Also, these boats are tender - when cruising you always have a partially or fully reefed main at 18+ kts regardless of point of sail. For the same reason, they are quite fast when reaching in light to moderate winds under full sail.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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