A lot of production boat bashing is just based on regurgitating old design ideas and "conventional" wisdom. Somewhere along the line, a list started to get put together about what made a "solid, blue water" boat and tons of people just keep repeating that stuff.
Boat design is a complicated animal. Add in that it is primarily accomplished by computer generated models now and you loose even more people. As others have said, marketing
also plays a big part in the design. Usually more so on the interiors but marketing can influence other factors too. I was privy to a conversation recently with some of the builders of Freedoms about how much the sales guys influence certain aspects of the designs. Selling the boats definitely had a much bigger influence then most people thought.
People also tend to discount the advantages that production building brings. People used to think you needed inches of glass and resin to get a strong boat. Then production building came up with, or made available at a lower price
point, vacuum bagging techniques, multi-direction fiberglass
cloth and better resins. Another thing that is often overlooked is the ability to get new parts
without having to get them custom made.
I think most of the digs on production boats come from two areas. First, those who can afford custom boats. Hey, they have to justify all of the money
they just spent. Second, from armchair sailors who want to tell you what the "perfect" boat is and it's not one you can afford. That way they can stay armchair sailors don't have to worry about getting out there. If you actually get out "there" you will see a lot of production boats of all shapes, sizes and conditions.
Hunters do seem to get a little more beat up than others. But you can hear plenty of people doing the same to Catalinas and Bendy-toys
. IMO, Hunters get bashed for taking risks. Hunter has done some things that were just not done on boats prior to them trying it.
For instance the overhead arch for the mainsail
controls. They first did it with fiberglass. Well, that might not have been the best idea. Some of those boats had issues. They changed to the metal arch and I don't know of any complaints since then. It's a great concept
and they seem to have it down. Hell, even Beneteau
is copying it now.
They also have masts without backstays
. I have heard people continuously bash this. But when you ask them what is their favorite sailing catamaran
, they almost always name a boat that uses the same concept
. When you point that out they don't really know what to say.
One of their other risks is the hull
joint. They roll theirs out while everyone else is rolling in or overlapping. Personally, I don't like it. Seems to be to exposed to me. But I know plenty of people sailing them that are happy with it.
I would sail in any of the production boats. And I would venture offshore
based on my opinion of that particular boat, not a general class of them.