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Old 18-02-2009, 20:37   #1
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Sailing a Hunter 460 downwind

We are about to take delivery of a Hunter 460 (2000 build) - can anybody contribute to pro's and cons of the Hunter backstay-less rig - especially heavy weather downwind?
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Old 18-02-2009, 20:51   #2
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Do not know if it was the exact same model but chartered a 46' Hunter a few years ago and did do some legs dead down wind. From the point of view of a sailor that is used to and likes standard rigs.

- The shrouds lead pretty far aft so even with a vang rigged the main tended to chaff on the shrouds even when the main was eased what I considered just a moderate amount.

- The main was really large so reef the main early running downwind or the boat has a strong tendency to broach due to the sail power so far aft.
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Old 18-02-2009, 22:20   #3
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strong tendency to broach?

I've got several thousand miles at the wheel of a Hunter 46, most of these in windy San Francisco conditions, and have never yet experienced a broach in that boat. Indeed, in comparison to many of the old IOR design "broach coaches" I used to race, it's a remarkable stable design. The wide beam carried aft lends a great deal of additional stability once you exceed 8 knots STW, and it tends not to wallow downwind even when overpowered.

It's a powerful rig, with 1,000 square feet of sail area at 100% of J, but nothing to be frightened of if you know your way around a big boat. And it carries a spinnaker well, at least in my experience of flying an A-kite. Unlike most Hunters, it's a masthead rig rather than a fraction rig, and I find that it balances well on all points of sail. It also does well downwind under autopilot, even in quartering seas with the spinnaker up.

There are a great many boats with strong tendencies to broach. The Hunter 46 is not one of them.
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Old 18-02-2009, 22:38   #4
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Well as I said, don't have a lot of experience in the Hunter but do have a few sea miles in traditional rigs. Sailed a Hunter 46 charter boat back from Bimini to Miami on a calm day, winds averaging 5-10 kts. Sailing through Government Cut into port of Miami, about halfway through the cut I guess the funnel effect from high rises around the channel shifted the wind to dead aft and picked up to about 25 kts in a distance of 100 yds. With the full main and working jib the boat was pretty much uncontrollable, broached and could not be brought back to a downwind course with the helm hard over. Never had that happen to me with a more traditional rig. My guess is the large main and center of effort far aft was the cause.

Obviously I had the boat over canvassed for the conditions but the shift came so quickly I was caught unprepared. But still, similar conditions in boats with more equal sized main & jib never had that problem.

So, I will not argue whether or not the Hunter in general has a tendency to broach but more so that boats that I am used to sailing.
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Old 24-03-2009, 23:54   #5
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I'm thinking of buying a Hunter 37 1988, your thought?
Some offshore crusing, some in bay racing, some beer can races.
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Old 25-03-2009, 05:57   #6
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B&R rigged boats are not unique to Hunter nor are they any more likely to broach than any other boat. Fractional rigged and B&R rigged boats have been race proven for over a decade and many prefer it to the traditional stayed mast.
Going dead downwind is problematic because of the shroud angles but as most only sail DDW as a last resort or in restricted locations being it isn't a very fast point of sail.
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