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Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
Modern styling and smart design team up in this affordable cruiser Hunter Marine does not boast about building boats the old-fashioned way and the company’s brochures don’t include pictures of grizzled old salts taking sextant sights. Indeed, few production builders have pursued design innovations as devotedly and as successfully as Hunter. Its boats are unabashedly modern. Purists may scoff but the sailing industry has certainly benefited from Hunter’s ongoing development of affordable boats that blend comfort, ease of handling and good performance. Hunter seems determined to make sailing less complicated and more fun. Imagine that. Not surprisingly, the new Glenn Henderson-designed Hunter 33 combines a host of fresh ideas, both above and below the waterline. The shoal-draft hull shape and fractional rig are efficient through a wide range of wind and sea conditions and the optional all-furling sailplan can be controlled from the cockpit. It’s nimble in tight quarters and whether you’re ghosting up a channel under main alone or backing into a slip under power, this is often an under-appreciated design feature. From the trademark arch and the B&R rig, to the integrated swimming platform and rakish dark portlights, the Hunter 33 includes the innovations and sleek styling that we’ve come to expect from one of America’s largest builders. What is surprising about the Hunter 33 is the level of fit and finish. The overall quality is impressive, especially for a boat that can be purchased for less than $100,000. From small but important standard features like all bronze through-hull fittings below the waterline, to construction techniques and materials that include lead keels and sophisticated hull layups, to elegant interior joinerwork, the 33 adds up to a solid value. I recently joined Hunter Marine’s Director of Sales Chip Shea at the Miami Beach Marina. He welcomed me aboard a 33 that just the day before had been on display at the boat show; in fact, the banners were still flapping. I took a moment to view the boat from the dock. I like the look of Henderson’s design. The cabintrunk merges gracefully into the foredeck creating a lower, cleaner profile than previous Hunter cruisers. Although the 33 carries its beam well aft, visually the boat is well proportioned. We dropped the banners, cast off the mooring lines and got under way. The boat cut through the water smartly under power, answering my doubts that the 18-horsepower Yanmar was a little on the small side for a boat that displaces 11,000 pounds. Throttling back, we came onto the wind and set sail. An in-mast furling main is an option, as is a furling boom. The standard main includes single line slab reefing. The furling 110-percent headsail is standard. We used the inboard genoa tracks mounted on the cabintop for tight sheeting angles, hardened the sheets and beat out of Government Cut. The details The boat felt solid in the water, and as we pushed through a choppy inlet Shea noted some interesting construction details. The hull is solid laminate below the waterline and balsa-cored above. Hunter uses a modified form of vinylester resin to prevent blistering. The forward sections of the hull, the area most prone to impact, are strengthened with Kevlar. An antimonious lead keel is externally fastened with stainless steel bolts. An extensive bilge grid system breaks up the panel size into small areas, stiffening the hull and supporting the keel loads. The interior components are built in modular fashion and then glassed to the hull. Unlike most builders, Hunter employs an external flange for the hull-and-deck joint. Bonded both with 3M 5200 sealant and through-bolted, this arrangement is strong. However, the joint is vulnerable to impact from docks and pilings. A full vinyl rubrail with stainless insert helps protect the joint. On deck Clear of the channel we tacked north and fell off onto a close reach. We swapped the headsail leads to the tracks on the deck, opening up the slot and the boat powered up. The true wind hovered around 12 knots and our speed inched toward 7 knots as we clipped along just less than 90 degrees off the apparent wind. The mainsheet controls mounted along the side supports of the arch are surprisingly convenient to use from the helm. The steering console—you can’t really call it a pedestal—supports a grabrail and fold-out table. A clever hinged helmsman’s seat opens to the transom. The direct drive steering system from Lewmar is designed for low maintenance and offers a nice touch as well. The cockpit is tidy and has a feeling of spaciousness. This is created by the arch, which also houses the mainsheet traveler and controls and the B&R rig that eliminates the backstay. Handy seats tucked into the stern pulpit offer a nice perch while under way. The port side locker is huge, a folded inflatable and an asymmetrical chute will both fit if carefully folded. Halyard stowage wells keep stray lines out of sight. Giving up the wheel, I made my way forward. The molded nonskid provides good traction and there are stainless grab rails on the aft end of the cabintrunk. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to extend these rails a bit farther forward. Deck hardware is top quality with Lewmar winches, Spinlock rope clutches and Harken blocks. The ground tackle arrangement is well thought out with a stout single roller and deep external locker. A windlass is optional. The stanchions are ably supported and the double lifelines have gates where they attach to the arch. The robust stainless steel arch provides a very secure anchor point not only for the lifelines but other gear as well, including a bimini top, antennas, speakers, lights and solar panels. Skylights just aft of the mast flood the interior with light but make working on the deck a bit tricky. Of course all sail controls are led aft so at least in theory you won’t be spending much time around the base of the mast anyway. The shrouds are outboard and the chainplates are bolted through the topsides. This placement doesn’t really impact sheeting angles because the fractional 110-percent genoa barely overlaps. Also, with two tracks, sheets can be rigged both inside and outside the shrouds. The Seldon mast is deck stepped and includes a solid vang standard. The double spreaders are swept back in classic B&R fashion, and in practical terms I have found this to be a mixed blessing. Eliminating the backstay allows for a large, powerful full roach mainsail. However, when sailing off the wind the main quickly lays up against the spreaders. A long stretch of broad reaching can cause wear and tear on the sail. Under sail We brought the boat through the wind, easily tacking through 100 degrees apparent and appreciating the easy loads created by the fractional rig and small headsail. Hauling the jib in was a simple affair; the winches were almost unnecessary. I was also impressed with the 33’s acceleration, the boat doesn’t take long to get up and go. We had a reasonable sea running but there wasn’t much tendency for pounding. Henderson’s design objective was to produce a boat that is both responsive and forgiving under sail, a tall order that he seems to have achieved. The shoal-draft bulb keel maintains a very low center of gravity and pitching, or what we used to call hobby-horsing, is kept to a minimum by fine bow sections and a long waterline. After a couple of hours on the water we reached back down the channel and headed for the marina. A swift current runs through the basin and a crosswind made it a bit challenging to back the boat into the slip. After a few tries I managed, which was more a testament to the boat’s handling than to my skills. Down below At this point I dropped below and closely examined the interior. The interior plan includes two private staterooms, a large galley and a comfortable saloon. The aft cabin, accessed from starboard, is considered the master, and with good reason. From the perspective of this cabin it’s hard to believe you’re on a 33-foot aft cockpit boat. The cabin includes a large double berth, a hanging locker and most importantly, plenty of elbowroom. The fully enclosed head is just forward of the aft cabin. Fiberglass lined for easy cleanup, the small basin is set in a Corian countertop. The galley is opposite the head, immediately to port of the companionway steps. Again, the amount of space is impressive, emphasized by clever features. Plenty of counter space surrounds a large single stainless steel sink, which incidentally is more practical than two small sinks. Instead of taking up space with a full cooker, Hunter has opted for a two-burner range top with storage underneath. The standard issue microwave serves as the oven. A 12-volt front-loading refrigerator and small freezer frees up the large icebox for dry storage. Hot and cold pressure water is standard and the 50-gallon fresh water capacity is adequate. The saloon includes a U-shaped settee draped around a large teak table to port and straight settee to starboard. As noted earlier, skylights let in natural light but when you want privacy, they’re quickly closed off with accordion shades. Ventilation is provided by three overhead hatches and two opening portlights. A few 12-volt fans will be a necessity for hot summer nights. The dinette converts to a double berth while the foot of the starboard settee serves as the seat for the small, aft facing chart table. The AC/DC electrical panel is located here, as well as open panels for radios and repeaters. AC plugs are located in each cabin and a 30-amp battery charger is standard. The forward stateroom also features a large double berth and full hanging locker. The Hunter 33, with its impressive design features, upgraded quality construction, brand name hardware and comprehensive standard gear package, is sure to become another bestseller for one of America’s most consistent builders.
Saturday, 07 August 2004 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
This Henderson-designed cruiser hearlds Hunter’s new quest for quality and performance There is a buzz at Hunter Marine these days. You can feel it in the air at the boat shows and you can feel it on the water when you sail the company’s new models. Hunter has long been one of America’s most prolific builders, now it is serving notice that it can produce boats that stand up to any competitor. The fresh-out-of-the-mold 38 is an example of Hunter’s new approach to design and manufacturing. The handsome aft cockpit sloop includes Hunter’s trademark concepts of comfort, convenience, innovation and a great sailaway price. However, the 38 also demonstrates an evolved construction ethos, upgraded materials and inventory, and a focused design philosophy blending form and function. Hunter Marine has been building sailboats for more than 30 years and is one of the industry’s enduring success stories. Brothers Warren and John Luhrs, descended from a long line of boatbuilders, knew what they were doing when they launched a rakish Cherubini-designed 25-foot sloop in 1973. The boat was an immediate hit and in just a few short years Hunter was on its way to becoming a force in the industry. Warren Luhrs is a relentless innovator and his bluewater exploits aboard Thursday’s Child and Hunter’s Child have been, in effect, floating test tracks for ideas that have now become Hunter hallmarks, including B&R rigs and cockpit arches. I recently tested the Hunter 38. In fact, it was hull No. 1 of what promises to be a long production run. We sailed out of Chicago Harbor on a perfect fall day. The 10- to 15-knot northeast breeze had a bit of chill to it, but was otherwise ideal to get the feel of the latest Glenn Henderson design. The boat was fitted with the optional Seldon in-mast furling mainsail and it didn’t take long to set sail, shut down the 40-horsepower Yanmar diesel and head for the blue water beckoning beyond the breakwalls. The details The 38 felt solid in the water and under foot as I made my way around the deck. The hull is balsa-cored above the waterline and solid laminate from the waterline south. This is the best way to make use of the weight savings, insulating qualities and panel stiffness of sandwich construction while maintaining the impact resistance of solid fiberglass. In addition, Kevlar is added to the hull from the stem to the keel sump, the area most likely to be impacted in the event of a collision. The 5-foot draft wing keel is antimonious lead and fastened to the structural grid network with stainless bolts. A 6-foot, 6-inch deep keel is also available. The hull and deck are joined on an external or outer-lip flange, bonded with 3M 5200 and through-bolted. Although this joint is strong and also makes access and inspection easier, it is prone to damage from docking misadventures. However, the standard heavy-duty, high-density vinyl rubrail minimizes this risk and also helps protect shiny topsides. Speaking of shiny, Hunter has developed a new deck gelcoat, MaxGuard, and claims that it reduces fading and crazing. The 38 continues Hunter’s use of modular construction. For the most part the interior is built outside the boat using computer controlled jigging that reduces labor costs and also improves quality due to precision cutting and easy access. The molded units are then bonded to the hull. Incidentally, longtime readers will note that I have stopped whining about modular construction. The techniques and materials are greatly improved, especially when it comes to hull bonding, and the process of molding interior components simply makes sense for the sailboat industry. Fitting custom-made bulkheads and furniture into boats is time consuming and just contributes to the already outrageous prices of many new boats. Back on the lake we were easing along on a close reach, cutting nicely through the chop. Henderson’s hull shape is a result of state-of-the-art 3D simulation software used for testing hulls without actually building a working model. “In the past, designers relied primarily on keels for lift and resisting leeway. We discovered that using a large rudder and smaller keel was better, the result is a more responsive boat,” Henderson said. Henderson was also intent on increasing stability by lowering the center of gravity. Not only is the overall profile lower than previous models, but small touches like switching from a heavy fiberglass to a vinyl headliner help. “The 38 shouldn’t have a lot of pitch and shouldn’t pound,” he said. Out on the lake the boat was proving him right. On deck The 38 has a user-friendly cockpit, and that’s putting it mildly. The B&R rig eliminates the backstay and this coupled with the stainless steel arch that supports the traveler and mainsheet creates an open, uncluttered cockpit. Trimming the main and traveler from the side supports of the arch is a bit awkward at first but the tradeoff for more space is one most cruisers will make without hesitating. The arch also provides a perfect perch for mounting cockpit lights or stereo speakers and offers a solid support for the bimini. Whitlock Direct Drive steering not only offers nice touch, it’s also robust and reliable. Our test boat was fitted with a Lewmar folding wheel, and while this is certainly a clever feature, the wheel could have been a bit larger in diameter for my taste. Three good-sized lockers gobble up gear and stowage wells keep halyard tails out of view. The helmsman’s seat lifts, allowing easy access to the large stern step, which has a well-placed hot and cold shower. Hunter, along with Catalina, has truly refined the stern rail seat concept. This is one of those simple but wonderful ideas that make you wonder why manufacturers didn’t think of it 30 years ago. The Hunter 38 also features Flexiteak, a composite PVC material that looks and feels like teak but requires no maintenance. It is used on the cockpit sole, seats, rail seats and stern step. Henderson is a true believer in fractional rigs. “I won’t design another masthead rig,” he said. The 38 sailplan features a large roach, full-batten main and a small, barely overlapping 110-percent roller furling jib. The main provides most of the power and the headsail is easy to control, even in a blow. The key is the B&R rig with double sweptback spreaders and no need for a backstay. And while this rig is for the most part practical and efficient, it has one limitation when sailing deep downwind because the main cannot be paid out very far without laying on the spreaders. The solution is to tack downwind, which is the way most of us sail anyway and it’s invariably faster and less stressful. A conventional main with single line slab reefing is standard, but I suspect most boats will be ordered with the in-mast furling main. All controls lines are led aft. At first glance the headsail tracks, which are set well inboard, seem short. However, the range of adjustment for the small headsail is limited anyway, so why clutter the deck with tracks you don’t need. Deck gear includes all the big names, Harken, Lewmar, Spinlock and others. There is an external chain locked and double stainless steel anchor rollers forward. Down below The interior plan is available with either two or three private cabins. We sailed the two-cabin model and with a single amidships head. Like most Hunters, the interior focuses around a large, bright, airy saloon. The 6-foot, 6-inch headroom lends to the spaciousness. A U-shaped dinette to starboard features a beautifully finished teak table and comfortable cushions with your choice of designer fabrics. Hunter has never believed in austerity, maybe it’s the company’s roots in powerboats but for some reason it never believed that sailors should suffer. The cabin sole is Everware, a simulated teak that looks great and is very durable. Bulkheads and facing are finished with matt teak veneers. The quality of joinerwork and finish work is exceptional, this is not your father’s Hunter. The forward cabin berth does not have the V cutout, thank goodness, making for better sleeping. There are two cedar- lined hanging lockers and shelves above. The aft cabin is the master and includes an athwartships queen and dressing seats. It also has two hanging lockers, although it would be useful to have more drawer space. Ventilation is superb—you can tell this a Florida-built boat—there are plenty of opening ports and hatches with built-in screens and shades. The galley includes Corian countertops, double sinks, a three-burner stove/oven, microwave and top-loading fridge. There are storage lockers above the stove and drawers below. The nav station is opposite the galley, just forward of the head. There is a useful small bulkhead to house repeaters with a stout stainless steel handhold above. The chart table is small but I applaud Henderson for dedicating the space just the same. In this age of cockpit mounted instruments, it must be tempting to dispense with the nav station all together. Under sail Unfortunately the wind went light as the afternoon wore on. We put the boat through its paces on all points of sail. Tacking was easy, hauling the small jib over doesn’t require much oomph, and the 38 comes through the wind cleanly. Reaching, we fiddled with the main, adjusting the leach line, tweaking the halyard and tightening the outhaul. It was obvious we didn’t have the rig tuned properly. However, the crew at Hunter had just launched the boat and hastily assembled it for us. Still, once we found the groove the 38 showed its stuff. In 10 knots true, we eased over 6 knots on a close reach and the ride was silky smooth. Naturally we slowed as we fell off the wind, but we still maintained 5 knots. The boat balanced well, which is not always the case with a big, roachy main, and I suspect the 38 will be easy on the autopilot. The Hunter 38, when well-equipped with the Mariner Package adds up to less than $160,000. Yes, it is a terrific value but the Hunter 38 delivers a lot more than just a good price. I was impressed with the design and the quality, it’s a thoughtfully conceived, properly executed cruiser with a nice turn of speed that deserves close inspection by anyone looking for a boat in this class.
Monday, 07 February 2005 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
Here’s a handsome new 40-footer in the European style from Marlow-Hunter. The styling is a bit unusual but I find the proportions work  well and give this 40-footer an aggressive look. The hull design is by Glenn Henderson, who has been working with Hunter for some time producing all the company’s hull shapes. The underwater profile is pretty standard. There’s not much variation in that feature in today’s production cruising boats. The 40 comes in a shoal-draft, wing-keel version drawing 5 feet 2 inches and a deep-draft version drawing 6 feet 8 inches. There is an additional 602 pounds of ballast in the shoal-draft version. Displacement for the shoal-draft 40 is 19,700 pounds and that gives the 40 a D/L of 188.5. By today’s standards this indicates a moderate D/L. Beam is 12 feet 2 inches for an L/B of 3.03, and I consider that quite beamy. Modest bow overhang ensures a lot of volume forward for accommodations. I also like the look of the near plumb stem. There is a chine aft, quite low on the hull. This chine provides better form stability, a longer sailing length and more volume aft down where it can benefit the accommodations. The accommodation plan is impressive for a 40-footer. The outboard profile of the boat has the look of an aft-cockpit boat, and the cockpit is aft. The layout looks more like what you would find on a center-cockpit boat. There is a large centerline double berth tucked under the cockpit sole. The aft head is accessible from the aft stateroom or the saloon. There are two large hanging lockers in the aft stateroom. The L-shaped galley features plenty of counter space. Forward of the saloon is another head to starboard and a V-berth double. Two couples could be very comfortable on this boat. Big windows in the wedgelike cabintrunk let in a lot of light. There are also fixed “windows” in the hull for more light. Unfortunately none of these are portlights, so you will have to rely upon the deck hatches for ventilation. Once again Hunter has gone with the Bergstrom-Ridder rig featuring spreaders swept 30 degrees. An interesting feature of this rig is the use of “reverse diagonal” shrouds at both spreaders. On the lower spreader you can see these as short diagonal shrouds dead ending on the mast approximately 5 feet above and below the spreaders. At the upper spreader the cap shroud takes the place of the upper reverse diagonal. The use of these diamond stays increases the stiffness of the mast section sufficiently to allow Hunter to remove that lower, solid strut you see on many of the company’s models. I don’t have basic rig dimensions but if I use the brochure spec for a sail area of 910 square feet, I get a SA/D of 19.96, and that should power the 40 quite well in light air. I’m not too keen on having a boom that high but having it sheet to the hardtop over the stern arch requires that height. The good news is that the mainsheet and traveler system is entirely out of the cockpit. The high-clewed, low-LP jib makes for very good visibility forward. When Henderson began designing the hulls for Hunter the boat performance improved dramatically. There’s a guy with a pretty new Hunter who regularly likes to short tack my beach right past my shack. I think he likes to show off. He sails his Hunter quite a bit, so that tells me he likes his boat. When he goes by here he always appears to be clipping right along. I’m impressed. I think this new 40-footer will surprise some people with its performance.
Friday, 01 February 2013 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
Bluewater cruiser Strong styling marks this comfortable cruiser. Here is a new cruising boat from the design group at Hunter. The design is very much in keeping with the current Hunter range. I went aboard a new Hunter at the Seattle boat show and I was very impressed with the level of fit and finish to the interior. This is a beamy hull with an L/B of 2.9. Any time this ratio gets under 3 you are dealing with a very beamy boat. Beam buys you accommodations, stability and room on deck. But if you look at almost any handicap rule, beam per se is always on the slow side of the equation along with displacement. Cruisers have to decide just how much they want to pay in accommodations for performance. It’s a personal sailing style consideration and there is no formula to determine the right balance of features for everyone. A company like Hunter works very hard at identifying a client profile and tailoring its design specifically to that profile. The D/L is 178 and I would consider this on the light side for a cruiser but there’s nothing wrong with that. Lighter displacement has nothing to do with a boats ability to sail well when loaded with gear. This boat probably has a pounds-per-inch immersion of about 1,500 pounds. This would be probably the same if the boat weighed an extra 8,000 pounds. Although the displacement may change, the actual footprint or water-plane area would remain similar. You can get a shoal-draft keel drawing 5 feet or the deeper keel drawing 6 feet, 6 inches. The interior is designed for two couples to cruise in comfort. While the profile and deck plan of the boat show an aft cockpit design, the interior layout shows more of a center cockpit type configuration. To my eye this means that there are going to be some headroom compromises in the aft cabin. The galley is wonderful with lots of uncluttered counter space. The reefer and freezer are both front loading. The forward head has the basin outside the head area and many clients of mine prefer this. The starboard settee looks too short to be another berth. Hunter continues its adherence to the Bergstrom rig. The mast is deck stepped, but the lower panel, without benefit of belowdecks “bury,” is reinforced and stiffened by two stainless struts. Deck-stepped masts have advantages, I have one on my own boat. A keel-stepped mast can be a big funnel to deliver rainwater down to the bilge, and in Seattle this is a serious issue. The triangulated geometry of this rig provides for a rigid spar that needs no forward lowers. The disadvantage is that off the wind you can quickly impale the mainsail on the spreaders. The SA/D is 16, but this does not include the generous mainsail roach shown on the drawings. In this case area added by the roach would be significant. Note the mainsheet is led to a traveler on a stainless arch that bridges the cockpit. The styling of this Hunter is strong. The variety of windows and port shapes has a big effect on the overall look of the boat, as does the prominent hull-to-deck joint feature. It’s a unique look that obviously continues to find favors with Hunter’s clientele.
Monday, 05 May 2003 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
Bluewater cruiserr The Hunter design team is once again doing its own thing. The new 450 has a look of its own, though I'm not sure what you would call this look, maybe Euro-American. Hunter calls this boat a "true bluewater cruiser" so let's look at the numbers and see if it fits the general type. The D/L is 200 and that's on the low side, but acceptable. The question is: If the D/L is low, where does the volume for stowage needed for extended cruising come from? The aft stateroom head even includes a bathtub. I also like the small computer station in the aft cabin. That's easy to answer. Look at the amount of topsides the 450 has. The freeboard is generous, while the cabintrunk combines to push the aesthetic limits of a 44-foot boat. Using my handy "trick strip," I estimate that the cabin sole of the 450 is very near the DWL. This would result in a high vertical center of gravity, though keeping the VCG as low as possible enhances stability. The hull shape shows short overhangs and plenty of beam at 14 feet. This looks like a wonderful interior layout for a live-aboard. Both roomy staterooms have a head. The aft stateroom head even includes a bathtub. I also like the small computer station in the aft cabin. Note the offset location of the double berth. This is one of the benefits of the high cabin sole and increased freeboard. The Hunter 450 uses volume and space that many boats don't have by design. The galley looks great with lots of counter space. There is an option of a washer and dryer, though I wonder where it would fit. This is a very clever layout. The 450 has an unusual deck design. The center cockpit is on the small side, but that’s to be expected when you focus the design around the interior layout. Side decks are minimal forward and disappear entirely aft. Going aft, you walk a sort of raised quarter deck, which provides volume for the aft cabin, though, again, does little to keep the VCG down. The designers have gone back to Hunter's proven Bergstrom-Ridder-type rig that features dramatically swept-back spreaders. This staying gives you a well-stayed and stiff rig, though it is not my favorite type. Whether it's fast or not, cruisers like to sail downwind with the apparent wind lower than 150 degrees. The sweep of spreaders means that they could impale the mainsail if they eased too much. Note the diagonal struts stiffening the lower mast panel. The SA/D is 16.55. That seems on the low side. I think you might want the additional horsepower of about a 140 percent genoa to power up the 450 in light air. With he 450's outboard chainplates, trimming the 140 genoa to close-hauled will likely be difficult. I estimate the sheeting angle past the chainplates is close to 17 degrees. I would prefer an angle closer to 13 degrees. Many cruising boats are designed from the inside out. The builder picks a target layout from a competitor's boat, then sets about trying to outdo it, usually in a slightly smaller boat. This is fine, though it often results in boats with little true cruising stowage. Lazarettes are nice for cruising, so are fo'c'sles. My feeling is that you never have enough deck-access stowage on a cruising boat. "Where can I put my bike?" "Just lash it to the stem pulpit, dear." I think the 450 was a challenging was a challenging design concept for Hunter’s in-house designers. Their work became an interior layout that will find a lot of appreciative buyers. An offshore cruiser with a wonderful layout.
Sunday, 05 January 1997 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:Brian Fagan
Cornish Crabbers are the product of British cruising tradition-of mucking about in boats. Gaff-rigged and of unashamedly moderate to heavy displacement, these boats recall quiet summer evenings in deserted creeks and long cockpit meals under a full moon. Crabbers enjoy enormous popularity in European waters and are making inroads among sailors in North American waters. Over the past two decades, Cornish Crabbers Ltd. has established an international reputation for the quality of its boats, which are built in Rock, in North Cornwall, England. The 22 follows in the tradition with a strongly built, hand-laid-up hull designed to take the wear and tear of repeated groundings at low tide or lying at a mooring all season. Even the deck fittings and rubrail reflect an expectation of hard, if affectionate, use. From the beginning, Crabber designer Roger Dongray has progressively refined his conservative designs with constant feedback from satisfied owners, who value the Crabber blend of tradition and surprisingly good performance. This conservatism pays off handsomely in the new Cornish Crabber 22, introduced to the North American market last fall by Britannia Boats of Annapolis, Maryland. The 22 is all business, a beautiful little ship with high topsides, wooden spars and a bowsprit, and like her smaller and larger sisters, she is redolent of Cornish working boats of yesteryear. You step down into a deep self-bailing cockpit with seats so embracing that you are tempted to grace it with the old-fashioned Victorian term "well." The traveler lies astern but within easy reach of the helm. Sitting at the mahogany tiller, you have a clear view forward whether under sail or power, despite a cabinhouse that allows more headroom below. This is an important consideration in our often crowded waters. Secure in a breeze Wide side decks with nonskid provide easy access to a small but practical foredeck. Here the 22 excels, with a well-thought-out anchor locker, a hawsepipe with the opening set facing aft, and a massive chrome sampson post and cleat-part of a beautifully fabricated custom fitting that also holds the inboard pivot pin for the retractable bowsprit. This is a foredeck made for the kind of anchor work that serious gunkholers relish. In harbor you can secure lines to four sensible cleats at the corners of the boat and your springs to two large cleats amidships. The bowsprit can be retracted in a few seconds by undoing a pin and sliding it back. It can also be pivoted vertically, in Dutch style. The designer has ingeniously set the mast in a tabernacle for lowering the rig using the jib halyard with the pivoting bowsprit used as sheer legs. Small wonder, since many Crabbers end up in Dutch canals and other inland waterways. The ease of rigging is important in a trailer yacht such as the 22, a boat that positively begs to be towed behind a midsize truck or sport utility vehicle. The 22 is a weekend boat designed for a couple with a small family. The interior is functional with a full-length bunk on either side of the permanent cabin table, which is set on the centerboard case. The lowering mechanism for the centerboard is accessible through a side port in the case, and is controlled from the forward end of the cockpit. A V-berth forward with an optional center filler piece provides more sleeping room. A door allows for an enclosed head situated between the bunks. The head is either a Porta-Potti or a marine toilet with holding tank. The Porta-Potti may be a more versatile solution for a family when the children sleep forward. A large forward hatch provides ventilation. Just inside the companionway, the galley space has a two-burner alcohol or gas stove. With a countertop and hand-operated water pump with a bucket that serves as a galley sink to starboard, you can certainly handle simple meals, with the water supply coming from jerrycans set in the cockpit locker. The 22 is designed as a basic but well-equipped boat that can be customized later at minimal cost. Under way with ease I sailed the 22 on a lovely fall day with a southerly wind ranging between 5 and 10 knots. There was a light popple on Chesapeake Bay, much of it from passing powerboats. We raised the main. The staysail and jib were set from simple roller furlers, which worked like a dream. The gaff-rigged main may seem daunting at first but the secret is to set the peak first, then trim the throat to suit the air. The halyards lead conveniently to the starboard side of the companionway. Jib and staysail sheets run back to the aft edge of the cabinhouse through cam cleats and require no winches. Everything on the 22 is low-tech. At first we slatted in the choppy waves with only sporadic breaths of a southerly. But when the sails filled, the 22's fine bow showed a remarkable ability to ease her way over the chop, even in the lightest breeze. We saw some wind about half a mile ahead. A turn of the key and a touch of the starter button on the control panel behind the helm brought the Yanmar 10-horsepower inboard, located under the companionway, to life. Three-quarters throttle had us moving at 5 knots in the choppy water with surprisingly little noise until the southerly finally filled in and we could take off on a close reach, Yanmar-less. The 22 settled to work at once, heeling slightly, then steadying and accelerating smoothly. We had no speedometer or GPS on this brand-new boat but I estimated we were soon making 5 knots. The high topsides make this a dry, comfortable boat, which will look after her crew when the wind pipes up. The first reef is tucked at about 12 to 15 knots-pretty typical for a boat of this kind. First reef the staysail, then the main. Everything is reefed in seconds, with pull-lines identified with colored plastic bobbles within easy reach of the cockpit. There are few reasons to go forward when under way. Even reefs can be taken in from the main hatch. Thus, the 22 is ideal for a couple or a singlehander. A kindly motion As the breeze strengthened slightly, we came onto the wind. The boat pointed well, was sensitive to minor puffs and was light on the helm. An occasional slap of a wave against the bottom came from the short bilge runners that ensure the boat stays upright when grounded, an important attribute for a shallow-draft yacht used to grounding at low tide. She tacked slowly in the light air, as is natural for a boat of this configuration, but there was never any danger of going into stays. We eased off the wind and headed back to port, the boat slipping easily through the water with a kindly motion. If anything, the 22 is a trifle undercanvassed for light summer conditions, but an optional light genniker will help you make the most of calmer weather. The Crabber 22 is not the fastest pocket cruiser on the market, nor does she claim to be. However, she is certainly one of the strongest and best built, with a practical layout and rig that will appeal to weekend sailors. And when the weather pipes up suddenly, you can bless the easily handled gaff rig and deep cockpit, which will keep your crew safe and comfortable. The 22 is an easy-to-maintain small yacht that has a mild turn of speed, good manners at sea, with the ability to tuck into a shallow anchorage when small craft warnings are flying or a magical sunset offers a peaceful epilogue to a long day afloat.
Friday, 07 November 2008 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
Comfort, sailability and style mark a new direction Be prepared for long lines snaking along the docks near the new Hunter 45CC at this year’s round of boat shows. Trust me, be patient, this is one boat you are going to want to take a close look at. The crew at Hunter is excited about their latest center cockpit cruiser. And for good reason, this striking design continues Hunter’s relentless effort to raise the bar on quality and innovation while maintaining a commitment to building boats people can actually afford. I suspect Hunter’s competitors are not quite as excited. The 45CC replaces the popular 456 and early sales clearly indicate that this model is going to pick up where the 456 left off. Like all Hunters, the 45CC contains design inspiration by company founder Warren Luhrs. However, the boat has Glenn Henderson’s fingerprints all over it. Henderson is Hunter’s director of engineering and chief designer. “To design a center cockpit is something of a challenge because of the location of the cockpit,” he said. “We took a long time playing with floorboard height, the flow of the boat fore and aft and the center of gravity. If you look at the 45CC from the side it is hard to tell it’s a center cockpit because it’s so sleek and streamlined.” Naturally Henderson is a tad biased but I must admit his comments are right on the mark. In keeping with all his designs, Henderson worked hard to keep the overall profile low. The wraparound windshield and soft deck contours give the boat a contemporary look and yet there is something purposeful and practical about the design that I like. Like all big Hunters the boat is comfortable, yet the 45CC is designed and engineered for serious cruising and you can feel it the moment you climb aboard. We recently tested the boat in the Atlantic waters off St. Augustine, Florida. The conditions were on the light side, still the 45CC offered a surprising turn of speed and when it was time to return to the city marina the boat nimbly slipped down the inlet channel under main and cruising spinnaker. The details The hull is sensibly constructed with solid fiberglass laminate from the waterline south and balsa coring in the topsides. Forward sections also contain Kevlar reinforcements for strength and fracture resistance in the advent of a collision. The hull shape features a keel stub with external lead ballast externally fastened. This method of construction serves to lower the center of gravity and actually combines the best of both worlds when it comes to the internal vs. external ballast debate. The keel stub provides a sump area in the bilge, while the external ballast offers advantages in a hard grounding. Speaking of grounding, Hunter’s director of offshore testing, round-the-world sailor Steve Pettingill, does just that with every new model. “I give the people on the beach a scare, when I repeatedly run the boat aground. But we really do test these boats, we want to see how everything holds together in a real world situation,” Pettingill said. A structural grid that provides hull stiffness and internal support is bonded to the hull with Plexus, a powerful bonding agent developed for the aerospace industry that has been nicknamed “fiberglass fusion.” This grid forms the basis for Hunter’s completely modular construction and the process eliminates the need for secondary bonds. Once the grid is lowered into place, there is no moving it. Yes, the alignment is critical. Hunter’s efficient construction techniques have been honed over the years and translate into savings for the consumer. The early days of modular construction were not always pretty, but Hunter’s current boats are extremely well engineered. In addition, Hunter continues to upgrade the components used in construction and the 45CC includes fittings and materials from Lewmar, Corian, Edson, Harken, Selden, Yanmar and a host of other top manufacturers. Another standard feature sailors will appreciate is a 360-degree rubrail with a stainless guard for those times when the fenders are in the wrong spot when coming alongside. On deck A well-designed cockpit is critical in a center cockpit boat simply because space is at a premium. Our test boat was fitted with a folding wheel that opened up space without the need for removing the wheel from the pedestal. The comfortable seats are covered with Flex-teek, Hunter’s synthetic teak that looks great, provides decent traction and requires no maintenance. One advantage of a center cockpit is that it typically affords good visibility from the helm and this is definitely the case with the 45CC with its low-slung coachroof. There is a clever integral handrail on the huge pedestal, a large fold-out table and two coaming lockers. All sail controls are led aft and our test boat included an electric halyard winch to starboard. A stainless arch, a Hunter trademark, supports the Harken mainsheet traveler with leads and stoppers led down each side. This frees up additional cockpit space and is an important safety feature as the mainsheet and boom are out of harm’s way. Hunter has worked hard to make its boats easy to handle and the 45CC is no exception. The robust arch also forms a natural, all weather support for the bimini top. The double-spreader spar by Seldon features Hunter’s B&R rig. Henderson is a firm believer in fractional rigs, declaring, “I’ll never design another masthead rig.” A large main powers the 45CC and the standard jib is a barely overlapping 110-percent genoa. Vertical battens allow the optional furling main to maintain a bit of roach and nice overall shape. Henderson also believes that a boat should be easily driven and not require mountains of canvas to attain hull speed. He describes a matrix that combines the sailplan, the keel and the balanced spade rudder working in harmony to create lift while keeping the CG as low as possible. The headsail includes Furlex roller furling gear standard. The jib tracks are well inboard setting up tight sheeting angles. A rigid vang is standard. Hunter has done a superb job of fiberglass sculpting and the nonskid on deck provided firm footing as I made my way forward. A beefy stainless steel stemhead fitting with double offset anchor rollers, an external chain locker and an electric windlass are all standard. The stanchion bases are supported by threaded aluminum backing plates. The double lifelines include three opening gates. The stern rail seats are a great place to tarry while underway or at anchor. Two large transom lockers gobble up gear and our test boat was fitted with optional fender holders. The swim platform is a bit a narrow but a clever telescoping stainless ladder makes it easy to climb back aboard after a swim. And of course there’s a hot shower for a quick rinse. Down below The spacious interior is bathed in natural light. Hunter’s level of interior finish has steadily improved and the teak joinerwork in the 45CC is first class. The plan is fairly typical of most large center cockpit cruisers but the overall sense of spaciousness is unique. From the foot of the elegant, slightly curved companionway steps, the galley is to starboard. U-shaped with a handsome molding that doubles as a practical fiddle and handhold, the galley is located in the center of the boat—perfect for cooking underway. There is plenty of counter space, two sinks, and a side-by-side front-loading fridge and freezer. This arrangement may not be as efficient as a top loading system with six inches of foam and hatches you can barely lift, but it sure is convenient. The two-burner gimbaled stove faces outboard. I particularly like the glass cabinets behind the stove and the built-in coffeemaker next to the microwave. The nav station is opposite the galley, and the pivoting, sumptuous easy chair is the nav seat I have been dreaming of for 25 years. Designed for the new Raytheon E series multifunction displays, the nav station is set up for paper-free wayfaring. No thanks, I still like charts and I am happy to report that the nav desk is large enough to plot on and to store once folded charts inside. The saloon includes a large, furniture-quality table to port that accommodates six comfortably and a settee to starboard. Our test boat was fitted with all the bells and whistles including a flat screen television on the port main bulkhead. A great design feature is the single level floor. Many center cockpit designs have small steps between cabins that are annoying in port and dangerous at sea. The forward stateroom features a V-berth without the need for a filler cushion, it’s a real double berth complete with a seven-inch mattress and easy access storage below. There’s a cedar-lined hanging locker and a dressing seat to starboard. There is also plenty of headroom and excellent ventilation. The en suite head includes a stall shower and Corian vanity. The interior is chocked full of small innovations and features that help define a new quality ethos for Hunter. From windshield shades, to overhead fluorescent lighting, to standard smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every cabin, Hunter has not skimped in the fitting out of the 45CC. The master stateroom aft justifies any compromises of a center cockpit design. It is elegant, comfortable and refreshingly practical. Yes, the centerline queen berth with a real mattress will be difficult to sleep in underway, but it sure will be nice when the boat is tied up or swinging on the hook. And when you analyze how much time you spend underway versus at rest, even hard-core liveaboard cruisers generally are in port 10 nights for each night spent at sea. There are convenient bench seats on each side of the berth, two cedar-lined hanging lockers, and Corian covered nightstands with stainless fiddles. There is ample storage in drawers and lockers and terrific ventilation with seven opening ports and a large overhead hatch. The private aft head includes a clever bi-fold door for the shower. The 45CC comes standard with a 75-horsepower Yanmar diesel and a three-blade prop. Access to the engine is excellent, especially from a side panel in the aft walk through. The vanity tilts out of the way in the aft cabin to allow unobstructed access to the stuffing box. Seventy-five gallons of fuel translates into more than 500 miles of range for this fuel-efficient engine and easily driven hull shape. All tanks have gauges and overall the mechanical systems are first rate. Through-hull fittings below the waterline are bronze and most pumps, compressors and other components are easily accessible. Indeed, this was a major design factor. Under sail Out on the Atlantic, we put the 45CC through a rigorous test under power, spinning the boat in its own length several times. There is a bit of wash from the large prop but that’s a fair trade for 7 knots of speed. Satisfied with the boat’s performance under power, we canned the engine and unfurled the sails. The wind fluttered around 10 knots. We sailed south, on a close reach, touching 6 knots. The ride was smooth despite a light chop and the helm was balanced. Indeed, I let the wheel go for minutes at a stretch. Pinching up, we sailed inside 40 degrees apparent with ease and only started pinching when we neared 30 degrees apparent. Tacking was easy with the small headsail and trimming the main is done primarily with the traveler. The 45CC accelerated pretty well for a serious cruiser and I confess, I was surprised by the soft ride. Cracking off onto a reach we set the asymmetrical chute. One disadvantage of the sweptback B&R rig is that you can’t pay the main out very far, which makes deep reaching tough. However, the sails set nicely at about 120 degrees off and we skipped along at nearly 6 knots. Hauling in the sheet, we easily carried the chute while reaching up at 70 degrees. Heading back toward the inlet we tacked downwind, which is something of a misnomer as you actually jibe. We made a series of jibes with the spinnaker. This is also when you appreciate having the traveler overhead, jibes are not as dangerous, and we made short work of the distance back to the marina. Waiting for the old bascule bridge to open we tested the ground tackle. The anchor was a snap to deploy and I was impressed as the Simpson Lawrence windlass easily transitioned between the rope chain splice. The new Hunter 45CC is a welcome addition to the cruising boat market. It won’t be long before you begin to see this handsome sloop anchored in the watery crossroads of the world.
Thursday, 10 November 2005 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
January 2008 Bluewater cruiser Here’s a new design from the group at Hunter with the emphasis on accommodations and comfort. This model is intended to replace the successful Hunter 44. Using the 44 as a base, dealers and owners gave Hunter ideas on how to improve the model. To begin with, this design is not 45 feet long. The “hull length” is only 42 feet, 1 inch. I think the extra length comes from the extended anchor roller fitting on the stem. I use the length of the molded hull for LOA, except when I have a bowsprit. Then I use LOA with the sprit and an LOD, length on deck, to define the hull length. Hunter was kind enough to provide me with a set of lines for this design and I appreciate that. The boat has a D/L of 170 and an L/B of 2.9. Any time you get that L/B below 3.00 you have a very beamy boat. The sections show a moderate shape with a reasonably wide BWL and no deadrise that I can see. The bow is on the full side. If we use the deck edge to define the fineness of the bow we can measure the angle of the deck edge as an indicator of fineness and fullness. This angle on the Hunter is 24 degrees. It’s 22 degrees for the Grand Soleil, 20 for the Dehler and 22 degrees for the big Tayana. The stern on the Hunter is about as broad as they come. You can have either 5-foot or 6-foot, 6-inch draft keels. There is a lot going on with this design on deck that does not translate well to a two-dimensional sailplan drawing, but a photo of the boat shows it to be good looking in a Euro kind of way. Even the hull that appears so full in the drawings looks much finer forward in the photo. Hunter has been using swept spreaders for years, long before they caught on with the mainstream. But Hunter goes one step farther and sweeps the spreaders 35 degrees. I had to do some sketching and calculating to get that number as the mast location shown on Hunter’s drawings is clearly in the wrong place. This extreme sweep is part of the Bergstrom-Ridder rig. This is a rig that was develop in the 1970s and initially used on several racing yachts. Hunter has had very good results with this rig. The downside of this rig is that you will impale the mainsail on the spreaders pretty quickly once you start bearing off. On the positive side, with the spreaders swept so far aft you can eliminate the backstay altogether and still have a very stable mast section. This of course has the additional benefit of saving money as there is no backstay chainplate or wire. Note the high boom and the mainsheet led to a stainless steel tubular arch over the cockpit. The SA/D for this design is 17.09. This is an amazing layout for a boat that is 42 feet, 1 inch LOA. There is a huge stateroom aft with its own head and generous shower stall. The galley is big and very well laid out. There is a front-loading fridge just inboard of the sinks and an optional front-loading freezer aft of the range. There is a large pantry inboard of the freezer with a microwave and coffee maker over the bank of drawers. The counters are Corian. There is a nav station to starboard with a teak slat seat. Forward of the saloon there is a stateroom with a Pullman-style double berth. A second head is all the way forward. My only complaint with this layout is the way the lockers outboard stop short of the deck. This is done by a lot of boatbuilders today and it’s just easier to build this way. The problem is that you lose valuable locker space. You get a lot of shelf from this detail but I think more locker volume would be better. But I’m picking a nit here. I don’t think you could find a 42-footer with a more spacious layout. Headroom in the saloon is 6 feet, 10 inches. The deck design for this boat is an aft cockpit type with the cockpit expanded to the extremes of the hull limits aft. This looks weird in the drawings but visually works well when you see the boat in person or in a photo. The result of the cockpit treatment is a huge cockpit. There are twin wheels and a walk-through to the swim platform. With the mainsheet traveler on the arch there is nothing interfering with the cockpit area and forward of the twin wheels there is a centerline fixed instrument binnacle and a drop-leaf table for al fresco dining. I think the designers at Hunter did a very good job of styling this deck. This new Hunter offers a lot and I would guess it is going to be very successful. LOA 44’10”; LOD 42’1”; LWL 39’2”; Beam 14’6”; Draft 5’ (shoal), 6’6” (deep); Displacement 22,936 lbs.; Ballast 7,389 lbs.; Sail area 834 sq. ft.; SA/D 17.09; D/L 170; L/B 2.9; Auxiliary Yanmar 54-hp; Fuel 51 gals.; Water 140 gals. Hunter Marine, P.O. Box 1030, Alachua, FL 32616, (386) 462-3077, www.huntermarine.com. OBE: $275,000 Our Best Estimate of the sailaway price
Saturday, 05 January 2008 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
December 2007 With traditional good looks and ease of use this new cruiser fulfills the promise of sailing I tried to act like I was working but it was a struggle. Perched in the cockpit of the elegant Morris M42, I had my notebook in my lap and was scribbling away as Tom Morris dutifully answered my questions. We were motoring out of Back Creek in Annapolis, Maryland. It was impossible not to notice the envious glares from sailors aboard other boats as we motored toward the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay. I did my best to look nonchalant. Clear of the channel, Tom put the boat on autopilot, loaded the main halyard into the electric winch and kept chatting as he effortlessly raised the LeisureFurl mainsail. When he offered me the helm, the game was up. This wasn’t work, indeed, sailing the new Morris M42 was pure pleasure and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the wheel. The Sparkman & Stephens-designed M42 was directly inspired by the surprising success of its smaller sister, the lovely M36. If the M36 is a daysailer, then call the M42 a weekender. Of course it is more than that, but what? It’s a traditional cruiser by design, infused with the technological know how of one of America’s most respected builders, and it’s drop-dead beautiful. Not a bad combination. I’m not sure what to call it but I confess, I’d love to own one and would be quite happy to spend a lot longer than a weekend aboard. We quickly fell off onto a close reach and sprinted toward deeper water. The M42 sliced through the Chesapeake chop like a finely honed blade. The hull shape, at least above the waterline, harks back to pre-fiberglass days and reminds me of some of Sparkman & Stephens classic designs from the 1930s and 1940s. I spent a lot of time sailing Magic Venture, a sistership to Stormy Weather, and the new Morris felt similar in the water. The details The M42 is narrow, low to the water, has a beguiling sheer and rakish overhangs. The short coachroof is classy, with four portlights per side and flows naturally into the cockpit coaming. Below the waterline the moderate forefoot trails into a high-performance bulbed fin keel with a standard draft of 5 feet, 8 inches. A deep keel at 6 feet, 11 inches and a shoal version at 5 feet are also available options. The high-aspect spade rudder is a carbon-epoxy composite. The hull and deck are a composite construction with vinylester resin and vacuum bagged Core-cell foam. Like all Morris boats, careful consideration is given to blending weight, or lack there of, and strength. The stringers and transverse floors are also a composite construction. A high-density core is used to reinforce high-load deck fittings. On deck The long cockpit is subtly divided into a helming/trimming station and a sitting area. With full cushions in place, the helmsman’s seat is sumptuous and allows for easy steering from both the high and low side, and for sitting directly behind the wheel. Efficient steering angles and unobstructed visibility is rarely the case with most wide-bodied modern boats. The primary winches and jammers are led to small pods just forward of the helm. The rest of the cockpit is built around a handsome teak table with plenty of room for lounging on 6-foot-plus benches. As you make your way forward, the lack of lifelines becomes apparent. It’s true lifelines would spoil the simple, elegant look but they are frightfully practical. Morris explained that the lack of lifelines can be a practical matter too, making the boat much easier to singlehand. When coming along side a dock, or picking up a mooring, there are no lifelines to interfere with lines or to scramble over and he pointed out the lock teak handrails on the coachroof. In classic Morris fashion there’s a logical solution: Order the optional, easy-to-remove stanchions with a single lifeline and deploy as necessary. While the M42 is not specifically designed for singlehanded sailing, that’s certainly part of its appeal. The M42 may be 42 feet, 3 inches LOA but it is nimble and handles like a much smaller boat. You don’t need to round up crew to go sailing. There is no reason not to pop aboard after work and enjoy an hour’s sail before dark. It’s incredibly relaxing and rewarding and an aspect of sailing that disappears with most big boats. They are too much trouble for a short, spur of the moment sail. The fractional rig features a Hall Spars carbon fiber mast and a Quick Vang, a LeisureFurl boom (optional) and Navtec hydraulic backstay adjuster. The jib is self-tacking and all control lines are led to the cockpit and are easily accessed from the helm. The mainsheet is led to fixed point, a barney post arrangement, just forward of the wheel. This frees up cockpit space and eliminates the clutter of a traveler but it also reduces mainsail control, especially leach tension. However, it does make tacking easy, just turn the wheel, slip through the wind, and trim up. A contrasting color nonskid molded deck is standard but it would be a pity not to choose the teak deck option. If you really want to dress the boat up, Morris offers a teak cladding for the coachroof sides. Down below The interior arrangement, in keeping with the M series ethos, is simple, refreshingly open and beautifully appointed. The M42 is set up for a cruising couple. The forepeak includes a large double berth with full-length shelves on each side and drawers below and alongside. The saloon includes a handsome mahogany table on the centerline with straight settees opposite. There are lockers with table tops at the end of each settee and cabinets above as well. A large butterfly hatch overhead and the eight fixed portlights allow for plenty of natural lighting. Some arrangement for cross ventilation will be necessary if the boat is sailed south of the Mason Dixon line. The galley, immediately to starboard when you drop below, is small but functional. It includes Corian countertops, a two-burner gimbaled cooker, 12-volt refrigeration and a single stainless sink. The head is opposite. The toilet is a Vacuflush model and the shower has a convenient temperature control on the wall. The finish is classic Herreshoff style with white composite bulkheads nicely accented with solid mahogany joinerwork. No matter where you may moor the boat, the interior makes you feel like you’re swinging to a mooring in Northeast Harbor, Maine. But we were on the Chesapeake Bay, and having a splendid time sailing the M42. The wind was light but steady. On a close reach we eased over 6 knots without trying. The ride was smooth, the helm balanced. The leads for the self-tacking jib allow for tight sheeting angles. Trimming up the sheets the boat was able to foot very close to the wind. The M42 is also set up for easy deployment of an asymmetrical chute with all controls led aft. We set the chute with a minimum of fuss and kept the boat moving smartly even on a deep reach. Dropping the chute, we tacked our way back toward the harbor. Sometimes when a sailplan is simplified for self-tacking, its loses its punch. That’s not the case with M42. It accelerated smartly each time we gained way on and I was impressed with its soft motion when we encountered nasty wakes spawned by impatient powerboats. Eventually we fired up the 39-horsepower Yanmar diesel fitted with a saildrive transmission. Fuel capacity is just 40 gallons but I suspect that will last most M42 owners a full season. This is a boat meant for sailing, not powering. Yet the two-bladed folding Flex-O-Fold propeller pushed the boat along at 6 knots without working up a sweat. The M42 comes loaded with standard equipment, including a VHF radio, color GPS, and complete sailing instruments. Sails and a carbon rig are also part of the package. But the decision to purchase an M42 is not going to be made over which items are standard and which are optional. Buying an M42 is about choosing an uncompromising design that is focused squarely on what’s important, sailing. With a price somewhere around $650,000 the M42 is not for everybody. The M42 is, however, an exceptionally high-quality yacht, one that reminds us that when properly executed there is nothing more beautiful, more filled with promise, than a sailboat.
Friday, 07 November 2008 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:Bob Pingel
November 2007 Clever design engineering makes for a comfortable cruiser and party platform that’s not lacking in power Hunter is a truly prolific sailboat manufacturer. It is celebrating 35 years in business, and over those 35 years it has produced 68 different models, introducing 10 in just the last five years. I recently experienced Hunter’s latest offering firsthand, the 45DS, in Saint Augustine, Florida, and also had the opportunity to visit the factory in nearby Alachua, Florida. The 45DS is an evolution of the 44DS, but also uses lots of new ideas. The goal was to take the best aspects of the successful 44DS, update the exterior cosmetics, and improve the cockpit and interior. The intended customer for the 45DS ranges from the bluewater cruiser to the person looking for a nice dockside cocktail platform. Hunter’s goal was to provide a boat with home-like comforts, but not compromise bluewater performance. To Hunter’s credit, the boat will also likely be a learning platform for new sailors—the boat needs to be easy to use, nimble and forgiving. Details The visit to Florida allowed me to really dig into the construction of the boat. While visiting the factory and the boats under construction I spoke with Hunter’s director of engineering and chief designer Glenn Henderson and several members of his staff. I was impressed to see the efficiencies at the factory and quality that goes into the boats. Many top-notch components are aboard from Harken, Lewmar, Spinlock, Selden and many others. Standard system upgrades included isolation transformers on the shore power inlets, an X-Change-R oil change system, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in every cabin. The 45DS uses the same hull as the 44DS. While there were economic efficiencies in play, the fact is the 44DS has a great hull. The hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline and balsa-cored above. Hunter adds Kevlar laminates to the collision areas for extra impact resistance. The hull is attached to the deck via an outward facing flange, the flange is chemically bonded with 3M 5200, and both screwed and through bolted. The outward flange also serves as the base for the trademark Hunter rubrail. An easily driven hull is a big part of the Hunter equation. The forward sections feature a “bow hollow.” While most sailboat profiles are completely convex, this hull has a slightly convex section just aft of the bow. The hollow eases the water around hull, and it provides a transition from the fine bow entry to the generous beam just aft. The hull has a low prismatic coefficient to maximize light air performance, and the aft underbody shape flattens the stern wave to further enhance performance. To keep the boat nimble around the dock and underway, Hunter uses a relatively large rudder and smaller keel. The keel strut is iron with a lead bulb. This design has a couple benefits. It allows for a lower center of gravity, due to the higher density lead being used in the bulb, and it also minimizes costs. You don’t typically associate lead with high cost, but the fact is that lead has tripled in price. Rather than just pass the cost on to the customer, Hunter redesigned the keel to keep the cost down and improve performance. The 45DS, as all of Hunter’s boats, has a true keel stub in the boat. This allows for a deep bilge sump and is stronger than just bolting the keel to the flat bottom of the hull. The deck is plywood cored and has solid glass in high-load areas. A plywood-cored deck, while heavier, is both stiffer and stronger than a deck cored with balsa or foam. To compensate for the heavier deck, Hunter has chosen to use a soft headliner. Aside from the weight benefits, I think the headliner gives a more luxurious look and provides good access to the underside of the deck. Hunter uses a modular “liner” technique for its interiors. The interior is housed in a separate hand-laid liner that is later bonded to the hull. During construction Hunter actually places the liner in a hull-matched carrier and installs most of the interior outside the boat. Using this method, the hull and interior work can continue in parallel to maximize efficiency. When it is time to marry the hull and interior, the interior liner is placed in a bed of Plexus adhesive, an adhesive that is stronger than the fiberglass itself. Going even further, the liner is tabbed to the hull around the bilge sump, and the bulkheads are tabbed to the hull and deck. Using this method, Hunter gains the efficiencies of modular construction while giving up few of the benefits of traditional techniques. On deck One of the major changes in the 45DS is a larger cockpit. The cockpit has a centerline table with storage and accommodations for large electronics, spacious dual helms and the classic Hunter stainless steel traveler arch. All sail controls are led aft, and our test boat had a full complement of electric winches. The double-ended mainsheet system is interesting. One end of the sheet is brought to a clutch on the starboard cabintop, while the other is belayed to a clutch at the port helm station. This setup allows the boat to be easily singlehanded but still allows a crew to work in the cockpit without crowding each other. The dual helms feature Whitlock direct-drive steering. This system provides very precise steering, and is far better than any other dual-helm system I have tested. The double-spreader spar crafted by Selden uses Hunter’s well-proven B&R design. The large main provides most of the horsepower but is still easily handled with the optional Selden in-mast furling system, vertical battens provide some roach and a good overall shape to the furling main. The jib is fractional, and at 110-percent, just barely overlaps the main. It is easily handled with Selden’s excellent Furlex furling gear. The boat is not over-canvassed; Hunter’s design theory states that a boat should not require tons of canvas to attain hull speed. The in-cockpit storage is more than ample. There are large aft lockers for larger gear, and a few smaller areas in the cockpit seats. Large sheet bins control the spaghetti at the cabintop winches. The transom and swim step is an all new design. Previously, all Hunters had a very rounded, scoop-like transom and step, while the 45DS now has squarer corners and a more vertical design. This small change provides a new cleaner look, and more interior volume. The boat has a well-designed foredeck, with a large sunning pad directly forward of the mast. The windlass and ground tackle are robust and all housed in a large anchor locker to keep things tidy. Down below The interior of the boat is truly a highlight, as all new Hunters now feature cherry-finished interiors. This new finish, coupled with the light allowed in by the deck saloon design, is truly stunning. The cabin sole is a laminate material called EverWear, promising long life and zero maintenance. The sole looks good and, thanks to Hunter’s full subfloor, is very solid and quiet underfoot. The bulkheads and flat cabinet surfaces are covered in wood-grained laminate, again delivering great looks and low maintenance. From the foot of the companionway the galley is to port and a large head to starboard. The galley features acres of Corian countertops, separate refrigeration and freezer compartments, a built-in microwave and coffeemaker, dual sinks, and a three-burner gimbaled stove. There is an innovative dish storage compartment that doubles as a drying rack, complete with a drain and exhaust fan. Storage abounds with many cabinets, drawers, and even storage beneath the sole. The aft head is spacious, with Corian countertops and a separate shower stall with a frosted glass door. There is private access from the aft cabin, and access from the saloon. The saloon is beautifully lit with lots of overhead fixed and opening glass. There is a large U-shaped dining area on port and comfy settee opposite. The boat was setup with an optional entertainment system consisting of a large flat panel monitor mounted on the port main bulkhead and a DVD player and audio system on starboard. The large nav station is to starboard just forward of the head. There is room to spread out paper charts and lots of panel space for a full complement of electronics. An optional Fischer Panda generator is housed in the nav station seat. The well-insulated noise enclosure keeps things quiet—far quieter than most water pumps. The aft cabin features an island queen-sized berth, with nightstand-style cabinets. There is a good amount of storage in the hanging lockers and drop-in bin storage along the hull. Our test boat had a washer/dryer in place of the portside hanging locker. Hunter placed the forward head in the forepeak allowing a large Pullman cabin forward with a large hanging locker and a full vanity with sink. The bunk is huge and there is storage on shelves and in drawers under the bunk. Under sail The conditions were light and sweltering as we made our way out to the Atlantic for a test sail. As we motored out, I took the opportunity to assess the boat under power. The boat was nimble, able to almost turn in its own length. It was easily driven by the standard 54-horsepower Yanmar engine, and a 75-horsepower is an available option. Interestingly, we motored right past the beach where Steve Pettengill, Hunter’s director of offshore testing, renowned round-the-world sailor and self-proclaimed crash-test dummy, repeatedly grounds each new Hunter model. We opted out of that test, but were comforted to know that every new model is required to pass it. Once clear of the ICW traffic we unfurled and were underway. Of course this was all done with ease, thanks to the Selden furling gear and electric winches. The hot west wind provided us with about 10 knots of breeze. Not much relief from the 100-degree heat, but enough to get the boat moving. We set off on a close reach and touched 6 knots. The boat was very well balanced with a silky smooth motion. The Whitlock direct drive steering gave fingertip control. Tacking was effortless with the small headsail, a brief shot of the electric winch was all that was required. We set the asymmetrical spinnaker a cracked off on a broad reach. One of the “costs” of the swept spreaders on the B&R rig is the inability to run deep downwind, but the truth is that you are typically better off to heat up a bit and jibe downwind. We saw a solid 6 knots and the boat handled well. We easily jibed several times, comforted by the fact that the traveler and boom were both safely above the robust cockpit arch. Coming back into the marina we were able to truly assess the boat under power, as we needed to back the boat into a berth between two gleaming sportfishing boats. The boat backed true and a few blasts of the bow thruster brought us smartly alongside. Keep an eye out for the 45DS at the fall and winter boat shows, but be prepared for a long wait in line, as this is a truly compelling, high-value package.
Saturday, 10 November 2007 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
Performance cruiserr This 50-footer from Hunter Marine surprised a lot of people at the last Annapolis Boat Show. Essentially, I think people were not expecting Hunter to come out with such a specialized cruising boat. This project actually started several years ago and was connected to one of my stereo-gear heroes, Julian Vereker of NAIM Audio fame, who died recently. Working with Hunter, Julian developed a very similar boat based upon a B&R design, which he called the Windex 49. Although Julian didn't live to see his version of the boat completed, Hunter has gone on to produce the 50, which it is offering as a stock boat to cruisers looking for something a little different. Unfortunately, I am working from very scant drawings and I have nothing that shows the underbody of the hull and nothing at all that describes the current keel-shoal and deep-configurations. It's kind of like trying to appreciate a centerfold model from just a head shot. Warren Luhrs has the first boat of this series and his boat has a custom keel with a canting wing on the back end of a long bulb. The production boat will have a no-bulbed 8-foot, 6-inch draft keel or a bulbed 6-foot draft keel. Neither will have the movable wings. The Vereker version featured the mysterious B&R venturi-effect hull slots. Based upon the light-ship displacement, the D/L is 78.38. Stability will be enhanced by 2,700 pounds of water ballast on each side. This is an interesting rig. It uses the B&R-style spar with the tripod support struts at the deck level going up to the gooseneck. The boom height is fixed by a solid vang. The mainsail is loose footed and has lots of roach made possible by the absence of any backstays, standing or running. The boom is scalloped in profile to help the deep foot of the mainsail flip over in tacks. The mainsail sheets to a traveler on top of the aft radar arch. I don't understand why the clews of the jibs are so high. I like jibs to be deck sweepers. Maybe the clews are high so the clew rings don't beat up the forward rig strut during each tack. The extreme sweep of the spreaders may make chafe a problem on long offshore passage, but Hunter assures me that this has been addressed by using rounded spreaders and well-placed chafe patches. The SA/D is 25.5. The interior seems to work well. I'm not so sure you need what the brochure calls a "day head." Is the other head a "night head?" Is there a photo-sensitive lock to prevent you from using the day head at night? The galley is very well-laid-out and adjacent to a comfortable dinette that actually has some corners. Considering that the water ballast takes up a lot of room and this boat weighs only 16,000 pounds, there is quite a bit of useable interior volume. The nav station is gimbaled, allowing the navigator to stay level up to 20 degrees of boat heel. The chain locker is aft at the base of the mast where the weight of the ground tackle will do the least amount of performance damage. There is a small cuddy or covered area aft of the house to provide shelter for the on-deck crew. This is a specialized vessel from its reversed sheer to its unusual rig. It's so different that I think a two-dimensional design analysis probably does not do it justice. This is a boat you would have to live with a while to fully appreciate. Julian Vereker's NAIM stereo gear looked strange too. I own a bunch of it and you certainly would not buy it on style points alone. But it sounds fabulous. Julian was a bit of a rebel, a free-thinker, and I think this new Hunter conveys that spirit quite well.
Wednesday, 05 July 2000 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
This is the first Hunter I have seen in recent years that comes with a racing, or “performance” package, option. It shows how far Hunter has come and overall I’d say this is an attractive design. While the styling might be not exactly Euro it sure is beyond traditional and shows a close connection with previous recent Hunter models while being new. I thank the design and marketing crews at Hunter for providing me with such a complete package of drawings. It makes my job easier when I don’t have to guess at small details like, for instance, hull shape. This is a beamy hull with full bow and stern and an L/B of 2.87. As is expected these days the stern is very broad and overhangs are minimal. It’s all about internal volume. The half angle of entry is 24 degrees, indicating quite a full bow. This is in contrast to many modern boats we see that actually have a hollow or concave DWL forward. But, despite the wide angle of entry, photos of the e36 sailing show a nice clean bow wave with no evidence of a rooster tail climbing up the stem. I would think given the overall proportions of this design that it is quite a stiff boat. The rig comes in two geometries with the standard rig having a lot of mainsail roach but a traditional headboard. The performance option rig comes with the same basic rig dimensions but they add a fat-head main that adds 12% to the mainsail area. Using Hunter’s figures I get SA/Ds ranging from 19.9 down to 16.38. Note the B&R style rig with highly swept spreaders and diamond shrouds. The layout features an enclosed athwartships double berth aft with a large hanging locker. The galley has a two-burner stove, double sinks and a front-loading reefer. The nav station faces aft and uses the port settee for a seat. Forward there is a V-berth double. It’s kind of tight on toe space but there are two nice hanging lockers aft of the berth. This would be a very comfortable layout for two couples. I imagine that with all those windows the feel below will be very light and airy. The cockpit is big and with the mainsheet on the arch there is no interference with the wide-open space of the cockpit or the ability to sail the boat with a full bimini and dodger. The downside is that the side decks are narrow. This new Hunter has a lot of appeal and should be a very successful model. LOA 34’11”; LOD 34’6”; LWL 31’1”; Beam 12’4”; Draft 5’ (shoal), 6’5” (deep); Displacement 15,353 lbs.; Ballast 4,536 lbs.; Sail area 768 sq. ft.; SA/D 19.9; D/L 228; L/B 2.87; Auxiliary Yanmar 29-hp; Fuel 38 gals.; Water 75 gals. Hunter Marine Route 441, Alachua, FL 32615 (800) 771-5556 www.huntermarine.com Our Best Estimate of the sail-away price o.b.e. 156,990
Friday, 25 March 2011 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
Atrailersailer with get up and go under sail or power Warren Luhrs and his design team at Hunter have mastered the concept of “user-friendly.” In their relentless pursuit of making sailing more accessible to nonsailors, they have consistently introduced innovative features that make sailing easier. From stainless steel arches that remove the clutter of the traveler and mainsheet from the cockpit, to maintenance-free Flexi teak, to the company’s trademark B&R rigs that open up cockpit space and access by eliminating the backstay. With apologies to Bill Lee, Hunter’s philosophy might just be summed up as “Fun is fine.” Sailing doesn’t need to be intimidating and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be downright enjoyable.  Now Hunter has introduced the Edge, a 27-foot mini-motorsailer that sails surprisingly well and also speeds along like a runabout under power. Why would Hunter launch a boat that gobbles up fuel into this energy wary market? Because Hunter refuses to accept the idea that sailing is withering and that sailboats must be defined by traditional parameters. It’s true that sailboats represent a small fraction of the overall boating industry and new sailboat sales are lagging. So what to do about it? Recruit new sailors, draw them over from the dark side. That’s right, help powerboaters see the light. These new sailors will learn to appreciate the magic of sailing, but in the mean time they will still appreciate zipping across flat water at 18 knots. Hunter is betting that wake boarders and sailors are not mutually exclusive, that they may just represent the combined future of the sport.  And I’d never bet against Warren Luhrs. “Time is more precious than ever,” said Steve Pettengill, a vastly experience sailor with one of the best jobs, and definitely the best job description, in the industry. He’s Hunter’s director of offshore testing. We were drifting on Biscayne Bay off Miami, about to shift from motoring mode to sailing. “We still have the need to be on the water but the time we can devote to it is shrinking.  That’s the beauty of the Edge, you can motor out to where the wind is and then set sail. If the wind dies, you can turn back into a very efficient motorboat in no time at all. The kids want to waterski, you want to sail. Now you can do both in an afternoon.” The details The Edge is an integrated design that blends the beauty of sailing with the flexibility of a powerboat.Some have called it a sailing hybrid. Pettengill explained that designing the Edge proved to be one of Hunter’s most challenging projects.   “We wanted to get it right and really took our time. It incorporates a lot of features: water ballast, a lifting rudder, a kick-up centerboard, the need to be trailerable, the need to perform well.”  But it’s just the kind of project Hunter thrives on and the finished product shows that they did, indeed, get it right. We had just finished putting the Edge through its paces under power. Spinning in an ever-tightening circle I was impressed as the boat maintained speed and excellent steering control. I was reminded of our old ski boat on Higgins Lake in Northern Michigan. Straightening out, I pushed the throttle forward and we easily kicked up onto a plane. The GPS touched 17 knots before I felt guilty and throttled back. The 75-horsepower, 4-stroke Evinrude outboard offered up plenty of power and was remarkably smooth running. The standard engine is 50 horsepower.  One very nice aspect of a trailerable boat with a big outboard engine is that for maintenance and repairs you simply haul the boat and the engine to the shop on the trailer. Now it was time to sail. The transition from power to sailboat took just a few minutes. The process included raising and tilting the engine forward, lowering the rudder and centerboard and allowing the water ballast to fill.  Then we hoisted the roachy, square-head main, unfurled the jib and fell away onto a sweet reach. The quiet was nice.  So was the 6 knots of boat speed.  I confess, 6 knots under sail felt a lot better than 17 knots under power. The Edge is built with a solid hull and a cored deck joined on outward flange and through bolted.  Structural hull support is provided by a molded grid system that runs throughout the hull. With towing a central aspect of the design premise, Luhrs and his team gave careful consideration to keeping the overall weight down. This is where water ballast makes sense, it’s not permanent weight that needs to be hauled down the Interstate. The towing weight is less than 5,000 pounds and the Edge can be pulled behind a decent sized pickup or SUV. Once you get to the ramp, the flat powerboat hull shape is easy to launch.  The 33-foot air draft translates into a manageable mast section of around 28 feet.  The mast doesn’t require a crane or gin pole to be stepped, but it sure helps.   The hull shape is in many ways the key to the Edge’s versatility.  The wide, shallow V-shape forward and flat beamy aft sections promote easy planing and power and a considerable amount of initial stability under sail. It also allows for the boat to be beached. The centerboard control line leads to a jammer on deck. Board up draft is just 18 inches, ideal for shallow water exploring. Board down draft is nearly 6 feet, giving the Edge some footing when sailing upwind. A lever near the engine throttle controls the water ballast. Up to 1,600 pounds of water weight contributes to stability when under sail. A ballast tank inspection port is located at the base of the companionway steps. When you want to get back into powering mode, the ballast tank is open and the water is sucked out through a Venturi effect. On deck The cockpit is surprisingly spacious and, not surprisingly, quite comfortable. Optional transom seats are a must-have item. The walk-through transom provides unfettered access to the water. The wheel is a bit small and the helm seat takes a bit of getting used to. It houses the apparatus for lifting and securing the rudder. The cockpit is uncluttered, as the halyards are on the mast and the small jib is self-tending and controlled by a single sheet on the coachroof. The mainsheet is tacked to a light fitting on the pedestal guard; not the best arrangement.  I suspect Hunter will improve on this soon. I am sure the company’s engineers are considering something clever. Maybe a lightweight carbon fiber arch with a traveler? Either way, it’s a small complaint.    The raised deck is not terribly easy to navigate, but other than raising and lowering the main, you don’t need to spend much time there, unless you’re just lounging. The small stanchions and lifelines stop at the end of the coachroof. The rigging hardware is ingenious, and easy to set up and take down. A roller furling headsail is standard. There’s a decent-sized chain locker forward. Down below The interior of the Edge is remarkable—it’s hard to believe that you’re in a 27-foot trailerable boat. A legitimate double berth is located aft of the companionway ladder, tucked under the cockpit. The small but functional galley is to starboard and includes a stainless steel sink and icebox. A one-burner stove and pressurized water are desirable options. The head is opposite with a practical and green porta potty standard. A through-hull marine head is an option. The saloon features a centerline table that conceals the centerboard trunk housing and twin facing settees. There’s another double berth forward. There is not much built-in storage, but the boat needs to be light both for performance and trailerability.  The interior is bright, thanks to the large portlights and light-colored finish and fabrics. Under sail Back on Biscayne Bay, the wind was piping up.  My stepson Nick took the helm and Steve hauled in the sheets. We were able to sail relatively close to the wind. There was a bit of weather helm, but the tradeoff was that we were sailing relatively flat. The boat tacked easily, coming through the wind without the bow falling off, something I wondered about. Cracking off onto a beam reach we sped along at 6 knots. Running downwind, the small headsail was hard to fill, but the large main kept us moving well.  Jibing over, we headed back north and, as if on cue, the wind eased. I was in a rush to get back to the marina for another boat test appointment. No problem. We quickly furled in the jib, lifted the rudder using the control line below the helm seat and secured it with a stainless steel pin. We then lowered the engine and fired it up.  We dropped the main, easily evacuated the water ballast tank and sped back toward the marina. Steve Pettengill couldn’t conceal a grin. Yes, I conceded, there just might be a market for Hunter’s new hybrid. Sailing is believing, and so is motoring.  
   
Friday, 01 May 2009 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Used Boat Notebook
Author:David Liscio
A midsize racer-cruiser that is the best of both worlds Hunter Marine was launched in 1972 by Warren Luhrs, with many early cruising models designed by John Cherubini. By the 1990s, an inhouse team was responsible for most of the design work, which included the Bergstrom & Ridder rig with swept spreaders. The Hunter Legend 37 was launched just prior to the company’s move to its trademark arch for the mainsheet traveler, with a production run from 1986 to 1988. First impressions The 37 doesn’t look like a cruising boat despite its many amenities belowdecks. The sleek, uncluttered foredeck, reverse transom and a nearly 60-foot-tall mast combine to give this sloop a sleek profile. The cockpit with pedestal steering and large destroyer wheel is roomy enough for six. Naval Architect and SAILING Magazine’s Technical Editor Robert Perry noted in his review in 1986 that the 37 has the appearance of a high-performance boat, with a nod to Swan for introducing yachts with lowered coachroofs that seamlessly blend into the foredeck. Aboard the Hunter Legend 37, this attention to detail helps reduce the visual impact of its substantial freeboard.   Construction Despite comments from traditionalists that boats of the mid-1980s resemble Clorox bottles in style and strength, the Hunter Legend 37 has proved an exception. It features a solid fiberglass hull, balsa-cored deck, Bergstrom & Ridder fractional rig with swept spreaders, balanced spade rudder and two keel options: a deep fin or a shoal-draft bulb with wings. Longitudinal stringers installed in the hull midsection to each side of the keel provide additional structural support. And although there isn’t much teak or mahogany on deck, the interior is graced with a mix of exotic woods.   What to look for With a balsa-cored deck, delamination from water infiltration is always a possibility. Check for stress cracks near stanchions, chainplates and other deck fittings. Make certain cabintop handrails are through-bolted because some owners have claimed the attachment was made with screws that pulled out. Problems with the Edson steering system have been reported, so inspect the chain-to-wire setup, the pulleys and quadrant. The aluminum fuel tank has been known to corrode.   On deck Sailboats with style often sacrifice functionality, but here again the Hunter Legend 37 succeeds with a sculpted cockpit that provides room for six, albeit the space behind the helm is tight. Many owners have removed the arched bench behind the wheel. With a 59-foot, fractional rig and swept spreaders, it’s easy to see this boat could be a speedster in capable hands. The rig can carry a big main, its power kept under control in 25 knots of wind using only the backstay, cunningham and boom vang. The wide sidedecks are welcomed by sailors sent to work the foredeck.   Down below Roomy and comfortable are the key words belowdecks. The U-shaped galley to port features a two-basin stainless steel sink, top-loading refrigerator, a two- or three-burner stove with oven, adequate storage, counter space and lots of small drawers. The saloon has a drop-leaf table and a circular seating pattern that encourages socializing, with settees to each side that can be used as single berths. Headroom is 6 feet 3 inches in the saloon and the boat carries 72 gallons of freshwater. A navigator’s station to starboard has a hinged desk drawer and various storage compartments. The aft berth, located beneath the cockpit, has a pedestal queen bed that can be reached from either side through the cabin door or the head. The arrangement eliminates having to disturb the other person, but the ceiling is low. “It’s like a real bed instead of having to climb over somebody,” said David Alves, owner of the shoal-draft model Progeny in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The forward V-berth cabin sleeps two, has a hanging locker and a vanity sink with mirror. Some owners have removed the sink to increase storage. “The separate cabins are perfect for two couples,” said Alves. “There’s one shared head that also becomes a shower. The head can be accessed from the aft cabin and from the saloon. The plumbing is simple. You stick a hose on a fitting on the back of the door, then stand and shower.” The teak-and-holly sole gives the interior a warm glow while flush-mounted deck skylights allow natural light to enter the cabin.   Engine The Hunter Legend 37 is equipped with a 34-horsepower Yanmar 3HM35F diesel fitted with a two-bladed propeller. The engine is fed by a 33-gallon aluminum fuel tank installed under the aft berth where access is easy. The sides of the engine can be accessed from twin side doors or the larger front opening, but servicing the top is a bit more difficult due to tight clearance. Owners report the freshwater-cooled engine is capable of pushing the boat along at 7 knots while cranking 2,800 rpm on the tachometer. Although some pre-owned Legend 37s are advertised with 27-horsepower or 35-horsepower engines, most are factory-fitted with the 34-horsepower Yanmar.   Underway Fast is the most frequently heard word from the mouths of owners when describing the boat’s sailing characteristics. It seems generally agreed that the boat performs remarkably in light air, perhaps due to the high sail area-to-displacement ratio. “The boat has a huge main and that’s where the power is,” Alves said. “I use a 110% jib on an above-deck Harken furler that was installed by the previous owner. The original furler was flush with the deck. Changing over freed up the anchor locker.” Alves said the boat sails well up wind even though it’s a wing keel with bulb, which seemingly would lack the upwind performance of a deep fin keel and be subject to more vibration as it moves through the water. Steve Royall, who sails his Legend 37 Gone Tomorrow out of Marina del Rey, California, said the boat is fast in light air and when reefed correctly performs admirably in heavy wind. “When we have Wednesday night races, I chase people down just to show them I can,” he said. “It’s a fast boat. And it really points.” Royall recommends a 155% genoa in light air and a 135% when bigger breezes are forecast. “It sails like a dream. I can get 8.5 knots out of it, which is faster than hull speed,” he said. Conclusion   The Hunter Legend 37 is both racer and cruiser in the truest sense of that sailing hybrid, capable of winning in club competition or providing luxury and comfort on a weeklong cruise. Its racer profile will turn heads while its belowdecks accommodations are likely to encourage friends less interested in competition to stay aboard a bit longer. This boat is equally at home in both worlds.
Thursday, 03 October 2013 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
Rugged and unsinkable, this cartopper makes a great entry-level boat for new sailors. For a few days in mid-October, late summer and deep fall bounced hard against each other, and the friction produced something other than the crisp golden days of sailor’s dreams. Last fall in Annapolis, Maryland, the confluence of seasons brought hurricane remnants, sharp cold fronts, tropical downpours and a textbook coastal nor’easter. All of this occurred during one of sailing’s greatest calendar slots following the United States Sailboat Show. The details Mixed in with the sexy big boats like the Swan 45 and Hinckley 70 were the smaller, simpler boats that feed the sport’s entry level. I took in a solo session aboard the new Hunter Xcite. The Xcite, which checks in at 115 pounds and about $2,000, is an attractive entry-level boat for kids and novice sailors. It also has the simple and durable characteristics that make it appropriate for any sailor to keep as an auxiliary boat at a beach or lake house. I felt a bit on the large side for the 9-foot, 11-inch Xcite, but the cockpit was wide and uncluttered. Also making things easier was the fact that the factory rep had rigged the Xcite’s optional 54-square-foot Mylar Turbo sail. The boat comes standard with a 46-square-foot training sail. The Turbo adds a full batten at the top and the extra eight square feet of sail area concentrated in the head. On deck It must have been a sight as I folded into this little boat and carefully jibed through the Annapolis mooring field all the while ducking under the low boom to avoid the armada of shiny new powerboats as they circled and waited out their entry into their show. Despite its small size and price tag, the Xcite is not a toy. It is a real boat with standard equipment including aluminum spars, a boom vang and an adjustable outhaul. Despite carrying a full 180 pounds of sailor and another 20 pounds of personal gear, the Turbo sail loaded up nicely in the puffs and provided instant increase in boat speed as well as a nice tug on the mainsheet and on the tiller. I had been concerned about tacking the small boat with visions of wallowing in irons after attempting to come about in a light spot and not having enough juice to swing the bow and the boat’s heavy payload through the eye of the breeze. This is sometimes a problem aboard small sailboats and is often augmented by insufficient appendage forms. But I smoothly and easily tacked with only a flash of an uncomfortable moment as the boom grazed my hatted head. Later, as I gained more confidence in my ability to stay in the cockpit and avoid a plunge in the chilly Chesapeake, I began adding a bit of roll to each tack in an effort to feel for the edges of the boat’s performance potential. After a few of these hesitant maneuvers it became obvious that the Xcite’s sail and centerboard were adequate and that dramatic rolls were not necessary or in keeping with the spirit of the boat. Under sail The Xcite is the kind of tough and forgiving boat in which kids can learn, explore and, to be realistic, abuse. The hull is constructed using a patented Hunter technique called Advanced Composite Process that results in a strong and resilient hull made of thermoformed UV-protected plastic backed by a urethane foam core and lined with a mat of fiberglass. The outer finish runs deep, so scratches are easily eliminated with sanding and buffing, without the need for professional help. The flexible and tough outer plastic skin works with the foam backing to provide a package that Hunter says provides five times the impact resistance of traditional fiberglass. The plastic is designed to absorb an impact’s energy by flexing upon contact. The foam layer supports the skin and diffuses the impact. And on the innermost layer the fiberglass backing holds the structure intact. The foam layer also provides enough positive flotation to support a water-filled hull—or 200 pounds of sailor. The Xcite is “unsinkable.” This can be a mobile little boat. With its two-part mast and light weight the Xcite is easily cartopped. A kick-up centerboard and kick-up rudder are always forgiving when things go “bump” and are most appropriate for sailing off the beach. At 115 pounds, a pair of adults or a quartet of kids could easily launch and transport the boat. The Xcite does not deliver the white-knuckled performance of a Laser, which will always be the gold standard of the wet butt, marconi-rigged genre, but its DNA is a lot closer to that of a Laser than it is to that of a tubby sailing dinghy. New sailors will be challenged. Children will be encouraged to live the heady adventures of sailing kids without the fear of breaking something expensive and fragile. And more experienced sailors will re-reconnect with the uncomplicated and alluring senses of loaded mainsheet, weighted tiller, wind in the face and the sound of sailboat through water. The Xcite succeeds in making them more accessible to the masses.
Saturday, 01 November 2008 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
Dinghies A car-topper that's fun for the whole family and a dinghy with extra stability. Now we will look at Hunter's latest small boat, the Xcite. Hunter recently acquired controlling interest in JY Sailboats of East Lyme, Connecticut, and this is their first new project. This 10-footer is a car topper designed to keep the kids happy, or, with the choice of the "Turbo" rig, maybe even exciting enough to keep Dad happy. The Xcite weighs a mere 95 pounds. The key to this is the construction method used, which employs special plastic-injected foam and fiberglass mat, thermoformed into a very durable finished product. The ergonomics of the deck look good. You sit on the side deck and the cockpit is open at the transom. The daggerboard trunk does not protrude into the cockpit at all. Flip-up rudder and daggerboard make this an ideal boat for off the beach sailing. Both rudder and daggerboard are high aspect ratio and look very effective to my eye. There are few things worse than a dinghy with inadequate appendages. It's hard to teach someone to sail efficiently to weather if the boat is not up to the task. The Xcite looks to be well suited for performance oriented training. There are two rigs: training and turbo. The training rig has 34 square feet of sail while the turbo rig has 55 square feet. The difference in the areas of the two rigs appears to be in the amount of roach to the sail. The turbo rig has a full roach with almost a "fat head" plan form while the trainer rig has a straight leach. This simple, durable boat would be an ideal boat to teach your kids or friends the joys of dinghy sailing. Jason Rhodes dropped the newest Walker Bay model off at my beach place a couple of weeks ago so I could test it. I own two of the standard 9-footers and I was anxious to see how this new model performed. I do love the little original 9-footer. It rows, sails and tows very well. However, its performance comes at a price, and that is initial stability. You need to be aware that you are in a small boat at all times and keep your weight centered on the thwart. Apparently someone brought this to the attention of the Walker Bay family and they have responded with a new 9-foot model called the 9 RID. This model includes inflatable tubes set just beneath the gunwale. These tubes increase the overall beam by 16 inches; each tube being about 9 inches in diameter and tucking under the gunwale detail. Overall length is 9 inches longer than the original 9-footer. The tubes add weight and the RID model weighs 20 pounds more than the original, so if you are carrying your dink up and down the beach this may be a factor. Also, the original still has the advantage of being totally maintenance free. Under sail the tubes act like outriggers and will alter the entire stability profile of the boat. But they will drag as you heel the boat and this will slow the boat down. Climbing in and out of my Boston Whaler or pulling a crab pot laden with plump, juicy, sweet Dungeness crabs is effortless with the tubes. I like the looks of the tubed model. The tubes are actually tapered and accent the lovely sheer of the 9-footer nicely. They also lend a more high-tech or current look to the boat while acting as full length fenders. These are very versatile little boats and make ideal tenders, especially if you prefer to tow your dink.
Sunday, 05 January 2003 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Perry on Design
Author:Robert H. Perry
June 2008 Expedition boat Here is a great design from Rodger Martin. This 30-foot, sharpie-rigged open boat was designed for the Outward Bound program, and, like the NorseBoat, is intended as a sailing and rowing vessel. Outward Bound has used 30-foot double-enders designed by Cyrus Hamlin for years for the program that teaches seamanship and self-reliance. Rodger’s design is not quite as salty as the Hamlin design but it should perform much better. The hull form is almost Whitehall rowing skiff-like in its lines. Call it a modified gig. That sounds good. The entry is fine and there is minimal overhang aft with an almost vertical transom. The sectional shape at the transom shows a hint of hollow near the centerline with very slack bilges to preserve a good shape for rowing. I notice in the photos of the boat sailing that there is quite a bit of turbulence aft but that is probably a function of the lack of overhang aft. The sectional shape of the boat shows low wetted surface and a pretty flare to the topsides forward. It’s an attractive and shapely hull form. There is internal ballast and the boat is designed to be self-bailing in the event of a knockdown, with the cockpit sole above the DWL and scuppers cut into the topsides. I do not think this boat is self-righting, although there is some ballast in the bilge in the way of the centerboard trunk. The centerboard is large and the rudder is the kick-up style for easy beaching. Eight rowers on 13-foot oars will provide the power when the wind dies. I wouldn’t say this boat has “accommodations,” but there is sleeping space in the forward and aft cockpit areas. You will have to rig a boom tent from the wishbones in the event it rains. There is a cuddy cabin forward for the head. There is a “galley” aft sunken into the port side seat so that when you lift a lid the two-burner stove is sheltered from the wind. There is a bin in the galley thwart to stow cooking utensils. Each crewmember has a watertight compartment built into the thwart to stow their gear. There are more watertight bins built into the cockpit sole for food and supplies. One of the aft thwarts holds two propane bottles and the other thwart doubles as a removable ice chest. Rodger has thought of everything. The rig features free-standing carbon fiber masts that can be stowed on the port side of the cockpit where there is a slot between the thwarts and the centerboard trunk. This slot also makes it easier for the crew to move around in the boat. The entire rig can be stepped and unstepped while underway. The rig is the ultimate in simplicity. Both masts and sails are identical. You can fly a small staysail off the aft mast and you can also use an oar as a sprit to fly a jib in light air. I think the old Hamlin boats were sufficient to get their Outward Bound crews to their destinations, eventually. I think the new Martin boats, with their enhanced performance, will make the adventure a lot more fun. Rodger’s drawings are beautiful and I have really enjoyed studying this design.
Thursday, 05 June 2008 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Launchings
Author:Staff
Two sailors, both titans in the sport, were selected from a group of the best sailors in the United States over the past year to be named US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Terry Hutchinson, the world champion of one of the world’s most competitive fleets, and Laser Radial Olympic gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe received the honor. Hutchinson served as tactician aboard Emirates Team New Zealand in the 32nd America’s Cup before stepping behind the helm in the Transpac 52 class. There he continued to rack up victories aboard Quantum Racing, crowning his season with a win at the TP52 World Championship. “This award is obviously an acknowledgement of a great year on the water,” said Hutchinson.  “But I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that it is a privilege to represent the bigger picture—the people I sail with and the teams on which I compete.  I feel so strongly about the support they gave me; this wasn’t just my achievement, it was the Barking Mad, Samba Pa Ti and Quantum Racing teams’ too.  Every morning I get up and go to work doing something that I love.  Being recognized is just icing on the cake.” Hutchinson was chosen from a short list of nine male sailors for the Yachtsman of the Year award. Also on the list was Nick Scandone, who died January 2 of ALS, months after winning a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. “How could you not be moved by Nick’s story?” said Hutchinson.  “When you compare what any of the nominees did this year to the struggle that Nick had in order to achieve the same kind of accomplishments.  To win a gold medal while going through the battle he had . . . there are no words that describe Nick’s effort and determination.” Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Hutchinson, a 40-year-old father of three, learned to sail at age 3 in a Dyer Dhow that was attached by a line to his parent’s Concordia yawl.  Going back and forth on the end of that line set him on a course to be a college star at Old Dominion University where he earned Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) All-American honors four times and was twice recognized as the College Sailor of the Year. Tunnicliffe was the unanimous choice of the selection panel made up of sailing journalists. The lone American to win sailing gold at the Olympic Games in China, Tunnicliffe went into the Games ranked No. 1 in the Laser Radial.  “Winning the Olympic medal was a dream, and branching out to other boats and expanding myself as a sailor is one of my goals,” she said. “I want to win another gold medal for the U.S.A., but I think it will take more than just Laser sailing.” Since the Olympics, Tunnicliffe, 26, has competed in a triathlon, won two match-racing events, and won the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Australia.
Sunday, 01 March 2009 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Used Boat Notebook
Author:John Kretschmer
This center-cockpit classic is set up for world cruising An Australian friend asked for my opinion on the Hylas 44. He and his wife are looking for a capable bluewater cruiser and the center-cockpit 44 is high on their list. Although he hadn’t actually seen one, he had done a lot of research. He was concerned about a couple of items, including inferior stainless steel, a tendency to be squirrelly sailing downwind and when pounding sailing upwind. I was taken aback and asked him where he found this information. Online, he told me, mostly in forums because there were not many owner reviews available.  His concerns made me stop and think about boat reviews in general. I have written hundreds of them, and while I usually have at least some personal experience with the boats I write about, occasionally I rely on published information and conversations with owners. And sometimes, I glean insights from online forums. The Internet is a fabulous resource for information about boats. I love the sailing forums and the interaction that takes place. However, my friend’s worries made me realize again that you must be diligent in your research: One opinion does not a fact make. You see, the 44 is a boat I know very well. As the former head delivery skipper for Hylas, I have logged thousands of miles aboard the 44 in a variety of conditions, including sailing through the eye of Hurricane Bob. Believe me, I’ve learned much about how the 44 handles downwind sailing, and it isn’t squirrelly. The truth is that none of his worries were justified. Like all boats, the 44 has quirks, just not the ones he was fretting about. The Hylas 44 is designed by German Frers. According to the timeline on the Hylas Yachts Owner’s Association Web site, the 44 was first available in the U.S. market in 1985 and was in production until 1993 when the addition of a swim step transom turned the same 44 hull into the Hylas 45.5. In 1996 the Hylas 46, a fresh design, officially replaced the 44 and 45.5.  Built by Queen Long Marine Ltd., in Taiwan, the Hylas 44 and its bigger sister, the 47, were the core boats of the Caribbean Yacht Charter fleet in the late 1980s and 1990s. The charter connection was a mixed blessing for the Hylas brand. It was a clever way to sell boats, but charter boats have always carried a stigma. Today Hylas builds top-quality world cruisers from 46 to 70 feet and is no longer associated with any particular charter company. First impressions The Hylas 44 is not a clumsy, high-freeboard cruising boat. It represented a departure from many of the bulky center-cockpit designs of the day, with a comparably low-slung deck line and subtle sheer. The cabintrunk is a bit boxy. The hull shape features a clean entry with a deep forefoot without the flattened sections that make the newer Hylas 46 much more spacious up forward. The fin keel is on the long side and the rudder is skeg hung. It is definitely not a hull shape that will pound in a seaway. Many sailors are surprised when they see the 44’s specs. Although the published numbers are all over the place, most sources list the displacement at just over 22,000 pounds, much lighter than comparable boats and more in line with the Bavaria 44 and Beneteau First 44.7. The ballast is more than 11,000 pounds, translating into a nearly 50-percent ballast-to-displacement ratio. The simple sloop rig has an air draft of 60 feet and a total working sail area of 866 square feet. Construction The 44 is a solidly built boat that has proven itself at sea. Several 44s have completed circumnavigations, including one known passage around Cape Horn. That’s not your average charter boat. The hull is heavily laid up fiberglass and is supported with full-length foam longitudinal stringers that also encapsulate the bulkheads. I have encountered severe weather in many different 44s and have never felt the hull flex or heard it groan. The deck is cored with either Airex or balsa; apparently Queen Long went back and forth on this material. The hull-and-deck joint is the standard inward flange with through-bolts and chemical bonding. The bolts, on 6-inch centers, also tie down the aluminum toerail. The bulkheads and furniture facings are securely tabbed to the hull, there’s not a molded liner in sight. The interior woodwork is impressive. Dick Jachney, the United States importer of Hylas, told me that in the old days each hull would be assigned its own team of shipwrights who would then fashion bulkheads, veneers and trim pieces by hand.  “There was incredible pride of workmanship, the crews competed with each other. The ballast is lead and is mounted as a shoe on the keel stub, a great way to include the advantages of both an internal keel with those of external ballast.” What to look for My friend was concerned about the stainless steel and the boat-handling characteristics. He should have been more interested in the steering cables and annoying leaks that are more common problems. The push-pull steering cables that are easier to install in center-cockpit boats are prone to corrosion. If they have not been changed before, or show signs of corrosion, or if the steering is stiff, replace them. Also, looks for signs of leaks. The overhead hatches and portlights are notorious for sprouting leaks; not a serious problem, just an irritation. Many owners have replaced hatches at this point and that’s a good thing. Examine the hull-and-deck joint in the forward cabin and look for signs of leaks. Finally, the early boats had the venerable Perkins 4108 diesel while later models preferred four-cylinder Yanmars. Engine access is not very good so the less time needed in the engine room the better. Keep this in mind when comparing boats. On deck The cockpit is probably the 44’s least desirable feature. I remember writing the same thing about the Hylas 47 in an earlier review. I can say this without guilt because I admire both boats immensely and wouldn’t hesitate to take either across an ocean. The 44’s cockpit is small, you have to climb in and out of it and the seat coamings hit you right in the small of the back.  The bridgedeck is also rather small—just a lip really­—and it requires a good spray dodger and the need to keep the washboards handy in rough weather to keep water out. That’s another compromise of a center-cockpit boat, they are wetter than aft cockpits simply because they are farther forward and closer to the arc of the wave as it crashes over the bow. The cockpit does have some positives. The visibility from the helm is superb—one benefit to a center cockpit is there isn’t much boat in front of you when it comes to maneuvering in close quarters. Of course, you have to remember to glance behind from time to time. The winches are well placed and easy to handle from the helm. The mainsheet traveler is aft of the helm, providing quick access and the efficiency of end-boom sheeting. With most sail controls led aft, the 44 is not a chore to singlehand, and for couples who cruise, singlehanding is part of the daily equation as somebody is often below in a bunk.  Although there is not much stowage in the cockpit, there is a huge lazarette astern. Moving around the wide side decks is a pleasure, although the molded nonskid can be slick when wet. Well-placed teak handrails are mounted on the trunkhouse. The deck hardware is beefy—Hylas didn’t skimp when it fitted out the boat. Naturally, be sure to have the standing rigging inspected. If the original swage fittings are still on the boat, it is definitely time for a re-rig job. Also, check the chainplates. Riggers and surveyors are increasingly concerned about crevice corrosion and the internal chainplates on the 44 are vulnerable. The mast is keel stepped and solid, and most boats are  set up without runners. The partners are a potential leak source; consider securing the area with SparTite. The stainless steel stemhead fitting and double anchor rollers are ready for serious ground tackle. The chain locker is accessible from below, a mixed blessing. Down below The interior plan is original and functional. The joinerwork is excellent and the boat is beautifully appointed. People prefer center cockpits despite their sailing limitations because of the interior with its separate aft cabin with a genuine double berth. Frers was one of the first designers to use a double walkthrough arrangement, meaning that the aft cabin can be entered from either side.  This really opens up the boat. The aft cabin can be reached either through the galley or the aft head. After dropping below, the galley is to starboard and situated in the walkthrough. The double sinks are placed under the cockpit, on a console that also covers the engine. This is a clever use of space and allows for huge refrigeration and freezer compartments opposite and lots of counter space. The navigation station is opposite the galley and features a good-sized chart table, room for repeaters and a comfortable seat. The electrical panel is impressive, and hopefully the wiring hasn’t been tampered with too much by the previous owners. Just behind is the aft head with two doors and access to the aft cabin.  The aft cabin is a wonderful stateroom with an abundance of drawers, lockers and hanging space. Hylas did a nice job of blending teak and mica, the boat has a warm wood feeling but it is not a cave. Ventilation is also excellent with hatches and opening portlights. The saloon features an L-shaped settee to port and a straight settee opposite. The saloon is not huge, and there isn’t much storage because water or fuel tanks are located under the settees. Continuing forward, there’s another head to port. Neither head has a dedicated shower stall. The forward cabin came with either an offset double or a V-berth. The Hylas 44 charter background produced some useful features for cruising. The boat is loaded with redundancy, including double alternators on the engine, extra plumbed pumps for the freshwater system and the ability to access the important electrical fittings from a cockpit panel. The manifolds for the water and fuel tanks are robust, easily reached and bulletproof. Engine The original engine was a Perkins 4108 50-horsepower. A few boats had Westerbeke 62s, but most, fortunately, came with the Yanmar 4JH-TE, 55-horsepower diesel. It is interesting to note that most of the boats for sale have very high engine hours. This is likely for two reasons. The first is that the 4JH-TE is a very good engine that will run a long time. The second reason is that because of the location of the engine it is a big job to repower the 44. Look for a boat with a low-hour engine if possible. Access is below the sinks and although it is not as handy as many center-cockpit engine rooms, you can reach it from every side. The 44 carries 110 gallons of fuel in two stainless steel tanks providing a realistic motoring range of over 500 miles. The 44 handles well under power and the efficient hull shape speeds along at 6 plus knots without the need to push the engine much over 2,000 rpm. Underway I have made at least 10 passages from Fort Lauderdale to the Virgin Islands in Hylas 44s, several passages between Newport, Rhode Island, and the Caribbean, and one passage from Trinidad to New York. That’s about 20,000 bluewater miles. What have I learned about the way the boat sails? It is simple: The boat handles very well at sea. It is close-winded for a cruising boat and tracks well. The passage to the islands was invariably a hard beat. It doesn’t pound upwind, even in sloppy seas, and most importantly, doesn’t make excessive leeway. It can be wet upwind, however. It handles large following seas with ease. I remember running before the distant swells caused by Hurricane Grace and surfing along at double-digit speeds. It is stiff, although it does heel a bit, and in heavy weather it heaves-to efficiently.  Conclusion The Hylas 44 is a terrific value for couples or families looking for a strong, capable, roomy cruising boat that still sails well. The well-respected Hylas brand and the solid Frers pedigree will ensure the boat’s resale value as well. Prices range from around $150,000 to just over $200,000. In these uncertain times, an investment in fiberglass just may be the commodity of choice.
Sunday, 01 March 2009 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail
Boats and Gear/Boat Test
Author:John Kretschmer
A swift and capable passagemaker with luxurious and well-thought-out accommodations The new Hylas 54 RS Sapphire cut an impressive swath through the afternoon chop off Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. Push-button sheeting tweaked the cruising spinnaker. We squeezed up to a tight reach and, despite an apparent wind of less than 10 knots, watched the speedo flirt with 7. The helm was light and the ride was silky smooth; this kind of relaxed sailing was kid's stuff for the powerful German Frers design. The Hylas 54 is a success on the water and in the marketplace. In just over three years of production more than 30 boats have been delivered, with no slowdown in sight. If you order a boat today be prepared to wait 12 to 14 months for delivery. What makes the Hylas 54 so appealing? Value. The 54 delivers the quality of a premier custom-built boat at close to production boat prices. Hylas Yachts of Marblehead, Massachusetts, has come a long way from being an outfit that primarily sold boats into its own charter fleet. (The company is no longer associated with Caribbean Yacht Charters.) Hylas, a fixture at all the major boat shows, targets sailors looking for a capable passagemaker with luxury accommodations. "I originally thought I wanted an Oyster 53 until I discovered the Hylas 54 RS," Sapphire's owner Bill Regan said. "The fact that it was about half the price was icing on the cake." Regan, who has set up his boat for shorthanded sailing, shuttles between Cape Cod and the Caribbean. "We consistently rack up 200-mile days on ocean passages." The details Hylas Yachts, which specializes in center-cockpit cruisers, also builds a Sparkman & Stephens designed 49 and a new Frers-designed 66 is scheduled for delivery next year. The 54, however, traces its pedigree to the Hylas 46, which was introduced in 1995. In many ways the 54 is a scaled-up version of this popular Frers design. Like the 46, the 54 has stretched the waterline by cutting away the overhangs, resulting in an LWL of 45 feet, 9 inches. The sheer is subtle, and the cabintrunk, even on the raised saloon model, blends naturally into the deck line. A seasoned eye will recognize the deft Frers' touch. Speaking of the raised saloon model, it outsells the standard deck layout by three to one according to Hylas Yachts President, Dick Jachney. "People just can't resist all that light below," he said with a laugh. The powerful fin keel has a standard draft of 7 feet, although a hydraulic centerboard is an option, albeit an expensive one, for those who demand shoal draft. The rudder is a partially balance spade with a small skeg. The 54 is no lightweight-the design displacement is 47,184 pounds, and the external lead ballast is a fraction over 20,000 pounds, which makes for a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 43. The displacement-to-length ratio of 220 and sail area-to-displacement ratio of 17.6 clearly demonstrate the performance capabilities of this seagoing design. The air draft is a whopping 77 feet, which means that you won't be wasting sailing time motoring for long stretches along the Intracoastal Waterway, with its bridge clearance of 65 feet. The Hylas 54 is built by Queen Long, a 25-year-old Taiwan boatbuilding company and one of the island nation's best-run yards. Queen Long was the original builder of the Peterson 44 and has turned out the Hylas 44 and 47 among others. The 54's hull is built with Twaron, a carbon aramid fiber incorporated into the solid fiberglass hull. According to Jachney, the hull is literally bulletproof and is in some ways nearly as strong as a metal hull. Vinylester resin is used throughout the molding process. Isophthalic gelcoat and two epoxy barrier coats provide even more protection against osmosis. The deck is cored except in high-load areas, where it is solid fiberglass. A step-down sail locker is part of a watertight collision forward bulkhead. The hull and deck are joined on a wide flange, bonded with 3M 5200 and through-bolted on 4-inch centers. Interior bulkheads are tabbed on all sides. Massive floors create a rigid hull with plenty of athwartship support. The fin keel is solid lead and bolted to the hull with 35mm stainless steel bolts, which in turn are supported by an 8mm stainless steel backing plate. As a delivery skipper I've logged nearly 40,000 miles aboard different Hylas models, enduring bouts with Hurricanes Bob, Grace and Mitch, and I can attest to their solid construction and seaworthiness. On deck The Hylas 54 cockpit is not huge for a boat of this size, but it's comfortable, well-thought-out and secure in a blow. The seats are scooped out to allow access around the Whitlock pedestal and wheel. The primary winches and the mainsheet winch are within easy reach of the helm, which is not usually the case in a big boat. All sail controls are routed aft to the deck areas just behind the coaming on either side of the companionway. Despite the raised saloon, the visibility from the wheel is unobstructed. I would prefer a bit more leg room at the helm, and as is the case with most center-cockpit designs, there are no deep lockers in the cockpit. Of course, the large lazarettes astern and sail locker forward offer more than enough deck storage. The side decks are wide, and although teak decks are a $22,300 option, they sure look nice and offer good footing, especially when wet. The molded nonskid is not aggressive, which is terrific when sailing barefoot but can be a bit slick when wet. The 32-inch stanchions and double lifelines are standard. The Hylas 54 features extraordinary stainless work, from an optional extended stern pushpit (a great safety feature) to massive and shimmering cleats and chocks, to stout stainless handrails on the coachroof. The stainless steel stemhead fitting with double anchor rollers is not only robust and functional, it's a work of art. Overall the deck hardware is of the highest quality. Hylas has always included a lot of standard equipment in the basic price, a legacy from the company's time spent equipping charter boats. For example, the 54 comes standard with a Nillson 2200 vertical windlass, a 60-pound CQR main anchor, a 55-pound Barnacle secondary anchor and 300 feet of 3/8-inch galvanized chain. Standard winches include Lewmar 66 CST primaries, CST 54 secondaries and CST 48s for the mainsheet and halyard winches. Many owners, including Regan, opt for electric winches and the Seldon electric in-mast furling mainsail system. A boat of this size and weight generates huge loads and powered-up winches make shorthanded sailing a reality, especially for a couple on the other side of middle aged. Like furling systems and GPS, electric winches have become common, especially on boats longer than 40 feet, and why not, as long they have manual overrides? The standard spars are by Seldon and the discontinuous stainless steel standing rigging is Hasselford. Furlex System 400 is the standard roller furling headsail system. A quick-release inner forestay, a staysail and running gear are also popular options and provide an excellent alternative to the roller-furling headsail in heavy weather. Down below Despite the 54's nicely sculpted lines, efficient sail controls and excellent overall performance, I suspect most people consider breaking out the checkbook after they have dropped below. The interior is lovely and vast. Jachney is right. The cabin is flooded with light through large ports, including two to port and starboard and three facing forward. The headroom is more than 7 feet, creating a sense of spaciousness, although it also makes overhead handrails inaccessible to short sailors. Queen Long's teak joinerwork is superb and nicely balanced with the use of practical white laminated headliners, which can be removed without major surgery. Teak veneered bulkheads and solid trim pieces and doors are well crafted and beautifully varnished. The cabin sole shimmers (which means it will be slippery when wet) and all pieces can be secured keeping them in place in the unlikely event of knockdown. Most owners put down carpet runners when under way. All cabinets and lockers are finished on the inside and have secure latches. Numerous stainless steel rimmed Mainship deck hatches and opening portlights combine to create excellent ventilation throughout the interior. Hylas offers custom interior plans at very little, if any additional cost-a prime attraction for many buyers. However, the 54's layout for both the standard and RS model, is quite appealing and most owners end up just adding small personal touches instead of opting for wholesale changes. The three-cabin plan includes a double forward with a centerline queen bunk and port and starboard hanging lockers. The port-side cabin can be fitted with a double bunk, upper and lower singles, a workbench or as office area with a desk. The forward head includes a stall shower, mirrored lockers and a civilized amount of elbowroom. The saloon features a solid teak table to port that can be cleverly expanded, with a wraparound settee and free-standing seat with storage inside. The table drops down to form a double bunk, although it is hard to imagine the need for more sleeping space. The starboard settee can be extended to form a decent sea berth. The nav station is my favorite aspect of the interior design. Tucked away to port, the large L-shaped desk has an adjustable swivel chair. There is a dedicated computer desk with a slide-out shelf and plenty of room for electronics and instrument repeaters. The electrical panel, meters and battery switches are located on an aft-facing, hinged panel that can be readily opened. An inspection of the neat and clearly labeled wiring is impressive. The galley is to starboard and consumes the outboard section of the walkthrough to the aft cabin. This arrangement works well at sea as the cook can find a secure position on either tack. More than 7 feet long, the galley has more counter space than most home kitchens, and the Wahlee Stone counter tops are very attractive. Two double stainless sinks are located to port beneath the cockpit well on the centerline for good drainage on either tack. Top-and-side loading 12-volt Grunert refrigerator and freezer are standard, as is a Force 10 stove and oven. There is a slide-out trash compactor, dedicated microwave locker and saltwater and freshwater foot pumps, just in case the pressure water system fails. The aft stateroom is huge, accented with rich teak panels and trim, and is incredibly comfortable. The island queen berth has a split mattress with a centerline lee cloth, making the berth usable at sea, a terrific idea. There are port and starboard hanging lockers, a vanity and fold-up mirror to port, cabinets above the berths and drawers below. There is even a linen locker that is designed to accommodate a washer and dryer. The aft head also features a separate stall shower. The shipboard systems on the Hylas 54 are well engineered, redundant where necessary and contribute to the user-friendly nature of the boat. Tankage, which is located beneath the saloon sole, can be any combination of fuel and water up to 550 gallons. The manifold systems for both fuel and water are excellent. There is plenty of power to keep all the systems up and running with three 700-amp-hour 8 D house batteries standard. Dual alternators on the Yanmar 125-horsepower four-cylinder diesel provide a pre-wired backup should one fail. The engine, mounted below the galley sinks and cockpit well, has adequate access, although it becomes limited if a generator is added. Most owners opt for 200 to 250 gallons of diesel, which provides a powering range of more than 1,000 miles. The standard sails, a main and 135-percent roller furled genoa, are by Doyle. Under Sail Back aboard Sapphire we scooped up the spinnaker, unrolled the genoa and brought the boat hard on the wind. Unfortunately, the breeze was getting lighter, but I was still impressed how close the Hylas 54 could sail without pinching. We maintained 6 knots at 40 degrees apparent in very light going. We executed several tacks, bringing the boat through wind quickly and accelerating faster than you'd expect a 50,000-pound boat to in light air. Cracking off onto a close reach, we adjusted the sheet leads and kept moving smartly. I begged off the helm and planted myself on one of the optional teak stern seats, which offered a perfect, big-picture view of the Hylas 54 under way. We eventually ran out of wind. It wasn't fair. We fired up the Yanmar diesel, and with the optional Max prop doing the work, we charged back toward Port Everglades at 7.5 knots, although it was hard to actually hear the engine running from the cockpit. The Hylas 54 is a complete package. Spacious, comfortable, capable and fast, the boat delivers on its promise as a luxurious world cruiser. A well-equipped Hylas 54 sells for a little less than $700,000, however, when compared to other boats in its class, the value is clear.
Monday, 07 October 2002 | Print | PDF |  Write e-mail

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