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Old 11-11-2010, 16:09   #1
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What Makes the Hunter a Coastal Cruiser ?

I have been looking at used boats and have seen a large # of used Hunters on the market at relatively cheap prices. I have been told not to buy one if I plan on cruising off shore alot. Are they unsafe or do they handle poorly? What's the real story behind this good looking boat?
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Old 11-11-2010, 16:15   #2
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it's mostly BS depending on your plans, lots of Hunter threads here, try the search feature
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Old 11-11-2010, 16:32   #3
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It also seems to depend on exactly which Hunters you are talking about. From what I understand there was a period in the 80s/90s where there were issues like the hull to deck joints where allegedly not being sealed properly and so forth.

As far as I can tell these comments do not apply to the modern Hunters which is just as well as I rather like them myself and they are on my list of possible buys.
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Old 11-11-2010, 18:53   #4
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I'm sure it's personal bias (really) but a nice, thick, dependable backstay just feels good in a really solid gale. I just like seeing it up there. It lets me know that the rig will still be there in the morning. But hey, that's just me. The true engineers among us may well disagree.
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Old 11-11-2010, 18:57   #5
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If a certain model boat is cheaper than others of the same class one would think there is a reason. Hunters are a price point boat and the price is low. I have never been impressed with them myself.
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Old 11-11-2010, 20:26   #6
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Only some Hunters have B&R rigs which means only some lack a backstay. Since there is no need to rake the mast on a B&R rig, the backstay is useless and serves no purpose for stability, structure or safety and only serves one purpose - to get in the way of a walk-thru transom. Nevertheless, some folks simply think it's a problem and perceptions can be some people's reality.

If you look at any of a number of web sites listing used boats and compare all the used Hunters with used Catalinas, Beneteaus, and other competitively priced production boats, you will find no difference in used prices for comparable boats. Each of these mfgs make comparably built boats with comparable designs, construction techniques, equipment and quality.
The only real difference is in one's personal preference and perception, both of which are usually based on the effectiveness of marketing rather than reality.
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Old 11-11-2010, 20:46   #7
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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
The only real difference is in one's personal preference and perception, both of which are usually based on the effectiveness of marketing rather than reality.
The observation that perceptions are more based upon marketing than reality is a salient one. When we were comparing boats in the 45-47' range, we were surprised to discover that the base price of comparable Hunters, Catalinas and Beneteaus were all within a couple thousand dollars of each other.

Calling any of the boats in that size range a "coastal cruiser" would either be pure ignorance or an attempt to provoke controversy. I've mentioned to our moderators, more than once, that it's interesting to note that the people who usually want to initiate such discussions have belonged to Cruiser's Forum less than a month. This thread is a case in point. Is it possible that the same person keeps registering as a new user to instigate such discussions? I realize how difficult it is to enforce the "no trolling" rule, but honestly, there's a bit of deja vu going on in the original post.
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Old 11-11-2010, 20:54   #8
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Well I have sailed on a couple of Hunters with the B&R rig and besides perception I did find what to me seemed a actual problem.

Without a backstay the upper shrouds are lead aft to compensate. So when running downwind if you ease the boom much at all the main sail chafes on the shroud. A vang helps some but does not completely solve the problem.
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Old 12-11-2010, 04:37   #9
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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Without a backstay the upper shrouds are lead aft to compensate. So when running downwind if you ease the boom much at all the main sail chafes on the shroud. A vang helps some but does not completely solve the problem.
A good point. But not more so than a boat with outer chainplates that wouldn't allow you to point as high. Just something to plan around.
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Old 12-11-2010, 05:33   #10
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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Without a backstay the upper shrouds are lead aft to compensate. So when running downwind if you ease the boom much at all the main sail chafes on the shroud. A vang helps some but does not completely solve the problem.
Yes, that thats a problem with many modern cruising boats. Even the new Oyster has swept back spreaders..
But certainly its a point for a long passage. Either use a lot of chafe protection or, as I do, let the main only out as far as it touches the middle of the spreader and not the outter edge.
It means sailing by the lee is not a good idea!
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:19   #11
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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 / charter 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.

The keel 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 without problems.

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").

g) Interior 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 shaft steering 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.

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Old 12-11-2010, 06:31   #12
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Nice post.. thank you...

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Old 12-11-2010, 07:51   #13
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Hunter has made many models over the years, I believe ranging from 18.5 feet to 54 feet and appropriate to different uses.

I'll speak to why I picked my Hunter 30 for a coastal/island cruising boat. The main factors were:

1. More space and more ergonomically designed than older, less expensive boats like the Morgan OI 30. Standing headroom.

2. More affordable than many more robustly built, polished boats or catamarans.

3. The 4'-3" draft is much less restrictive for Bahamas sailing than one will find in most monohull boats. (though I'd have bought a twin keeler in a second if I could have found one.)

4. It gets me where I want to go, which for me is the main objective in cruising.

Other observations:

Walk out transom is very nice for swimming, snorkeling and bathing. Is a bit tender which is great for light air, not as nice in rougher conditions, but overall, sails very well. Can be sailed with main alone. Turns on a dime under power, I can solo sail it fairly easily. I like that the traveler does not interfere with movement in the cockpit or walkout transom and allows for a very large bimini. (Sun protection in the cockpit is very important to me.)

The craftsmanship is not as nice as with some other boats. I don't like that most of the through hulls are under the aft berth and backed with plywood. The V-birth is high and a bit awkward to get in and out of and a bit short for most male adults. There's some wiring in the bilge. It's a little bit cramped, but then it's only 30 feet. It came with an ice box instead of a real fridge. Having windows on top of a cabin top is asking for leaks.

If I had 180K laying around waiting to be spent on a boat, I'd probably be sailing an Athena instead, but for 26K, I have a fairly shallow draft boat that allows me to enjoy a few months of cruising Florida and the Bahamas and I have a hard time finding fault with that.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:36   #14
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Wow, Hunter Love...didn't think it existed. Since I've been researching Hunter's (the 45CC) and really like the layout, this is nice to see. Perhaps one of these days, I'll be joining you guys as a liveaboard cruiser in a Hunter..

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Old 12-11-2010, 08:49   #15
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I love it when a captain stands up for his boat!

Thanks, Duncan. It's great to read opinions solidly based on facts and firsthand experience, rather than the "I heard", or "I read" comments that repeat the same old saws.
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