OK, here is some real experience rather than the "I looked at a Hunter
once and I thought it was a piece of junk" posts we seem to get here.
We are now 6 months into cruising on our 2006 Hunter 45CC which we have owned for 2 1/2 years.
We have thoughts to do some real long distance cruising in this boat at some time, so I have gone over it in very fine detail and know just about every aspect of its construction.
When considering which boat to buy, we looked at all the major European manufacturers including the more recent entrants into the production boat market from Poland
and former east Germany
and kept coming back to the Hunter. Reasons ?
1: Sheer value for money
2: The finish was as good and in most cases better than the competition
3: The layout for a cruising couple couldn't be matched by any of the competion who then to design boats for the lease
market so they can get at least 6 people on each boat.
Here is some of the truth about this boat :
a) It points to wind
as well as any other boat except for an out and out racer
b) The B&R rig, although it freaks people out, is perfectly OK from a stability point of view. However it does limit your downwind ability a bit.
We are comfortable running with the main against the spreaders in light airs as the main is carefully matched to the rig with heavy duty patches where it touches and I haven't detected any wear issues yet.
For longer passages downwind we have a spinaker (parasailor) which solves this issue.
The B&R rig is fron Selden of Sweden
, one of the world's most respected spar manufacturers. Going by the contact I have had with Selden, they are the most picky people imaginable and if there was the slightest chance that this rig design would damage their reputation, they would not sell it.
c) The in mast furling
can be a bear as it does jam occasionally (not recently as we've now figured out why) but I cannot imagine a two handed crew reefing such a large conventional main.
d) The hardware
is all from Harken
, Selden & Lewmar
all highly respected names at the top of their game
e) The hull
contruction is slightly unconventional (separate floor pan, structurally bonded to the hull), but is no less bad for that. The boat is stiff and handles well in heavy weather
(our worst conditions so far have been 10 - 12 ft seas and 30Kn winds). Contrary to other posts, the necessary parts
of the gid pan ARE tabbed into the hull as well as being chemically bonded with large amounts of plexus.
is a solid antimous lead casting fixed with an adequate number of large stainless bolts. I have the shoal draft
version and it sails
adequately well plus it allows me to transit the ICW
The hull layup
is solid and thick below the waterline with Kevlar from bow to keel
, I have no concerns in this area.
f) I have no idea why some people seem to think the trademark Hunter 'arch' is a problem to them. To me, it is one of the best features of the boat. Not only does it provide an excellent place to attach hardware
(traveller etc), it is an excellent safety
feature ("Stay within the arch, you won't (can't) get hit").
layout is great, there is no lack of handholds as others have reported. The Admiral loves it and IMHO, Hunter marketing have done a great job of designing the interior
to appeal to both halves of a cruising couple.
Some people will never allow that because the carpentry was done in seconds on a CAD /CAM machine and 5 time-served carpenters haven't sweated blood over every fixture that it can't be a 'real boat'. The simple fact is that Hunter can provide value for money
by reducing the labor costs in this area and the result is perfectly acceptable if you can see past this.
We'd all like an IP, a Sweden
Yacht or an Oyster
, but I'd rather be sailing in my Hunter than saving forever for something I can't afford.
f) Surprisingly, perhaps, my biggest bugbear with the boat is the cabin sole
. Hunter chose to use an "Everwear" teak
/ holly laminate which is too thin (1/2") There are way too many inspection
cut outs which are great for maintenance
, but IMO should have been more intelligently combined into bigger floor sections and made from a thicker material.
There is no provision to lock down the panels
, I'm having to add PYI floor locks to each panel, which is an expensive pain.
Plus each panel has a finger lift
hole which just encourages dust and rubbish to make it's way into the bilges.
At the Annapolis boat show
, I see that the larger 2010 boats now have a very solid 1" wood flooring
, I assume they've now learned from experience here.
g) For a true offshore
boat, my major concern was with the rudder
system. The massive balanced spade rudder
from Foss Foam is very effective and the Lewmar
is very responsive, but to me represents an issue if I were to hit something solid whilst offshore
For this reason, I have acquired a complete emergency
rudder system from Hunter. Considering the fabrication work
involved, this was very reasonably priced and can be stored in pieces on the boat in the lazarette. It can be assembled in about 5 minutes and provides a complete back up able to steer the boat in most conditions. Problem solved
I would also point out that most of Hunter's recent line of boats undergo stringent testing so they can comply with the European Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) or "CE" mark, whilst not a perfect standard, it gives a buyer some measure of the conditions the boat is designed to withstand (Class A- Ocean / Class B - Coastal etc.).
Like most things in boating
, it's all personal choice. Some would never be happy with a Hunter just because it's a 'production' boat. Others, like me, get past that and go sailing in a reasonably well built boat that they can afford.