I owned a Hunter 35.5 for five years. It is still one of my most favorite boats that I have had (I bought 10 new boats over the years--five Hunters). It had the wing/bulb keel and I enjoyed that configuration quite well. I raced a lot in those days and we didn't point as well as similar boats with deeper keels. But once we figured this out, we'd go charging
off in a slightly different direction--our goal was to keep the boat moving well, don't pinch. And when we got to the windward mark, we'd be one of the five first boats there.
Downwind we were amazing. We'd pass boats left and right with our spinnaker
up and it drove the rest of the fleet crazy with one other skipper
saying our engine
was on. I'm sure our big smiles didn't help the situation.
Just for the record
we won "Boat of the Year" in racing
in Bellingham bay against about 35 good sailed sailboats. I'm proud of that accomplishment. We had the best percentage winning of any sailboat in the fleet. With a winged/bulb keel. I think the 35.5 was one of Hunter's best designed sailboats, part of the golden age.
I also put a Hunter 35.5 (with the wing/bulb keel) on the mud in the Swinomish Slough almost in front of LaConner so that everyone could see. I was a charter skipper
helping take the boat to Seattle
. I first did the usual by hanging out on the boom. Nothing happened. Then after some thinking, I put all the crew and the owner on the stern, raised the bow and powered off without a problem. A deep keeled boat would have stayed there until the tide rose.
I really liked the 35.5 and look at the trophy from time to time with good memories. The head
was small which made the shower
hard to use. The aft bunk was large enough, not much space above. The worst thing about the 35.5 was the battery
placement in the stern. It was very hard to get to them to service
them. PITB. I shoulda moved them into the main cabin
somehow. But overall, I rank the 35.5 right behind my H380 and my H27. All good boats.