Hunter Owner Reviews

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Review of the Hunter 28.5 by Chris Mitchell

Year built 1985  
Location of boat Josephine  
The boat is sailed on Bays, sounds, or protected salt water  
How the boat is used Weekends and longer  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2000  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes. You get a lot of boat for the price. I have 3 small children and the boat accomodates them well.  
Gear that's been added I added the raymarine ST4000 wheel pilot. It was the best money I've ever spent on a boat with regards to cruising. New port and starboard windows and frames (The long window). I had Mark Plastics in California remake the window frames. Mark did a nice job. He also saved the molds for future needs. I use a 10,000 BTU airconditioner (window unit) at the dock in the companion way. Purchased a portable alcohol stove from West Marine for anchoring at night in cold weather. The heater is ideal for this size boat. In 30 degree weather in Florida I stayed warm. New small port and starboard windows. The old ones cracked. Hand held Garmin GPS map 76. Interfaced this unit with the autopilot. Works great for navigating narrow channels at night. Replaced fuel filter with Racor Fuel Filter/water separator. I have never had a problem with water in the fuel since.  
Structural or complex improvements No. Boat did have a few blisters which I had a boat yard repair  
The boat's best features Roominess. I took my wife 3 kids and the dog on 10 days of cruising. We packed appropriately (brought as little as possible). The room on the deck and the cabin below gave us plenty of space. Navigating narrow passes in the intercoastal canals with a head wind requires a lot of motoring. Fuel efficiency is outstanding. I motored once for 16 straight hours and burned a mere 5.4 gallons of fuel. I was motoring with the wind on the nose pulling a 10 foot Zodiac dinghy with a 10 hp motor. Vessel is very easy to sail with a roller furler. It's easier with help but I can sail this one solo if I need to. Sail speed is fast. The boat heels over a little too easy. It is not uncommon to maintain hull speed and faster if being pushed down wind.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. The control panel cracked at the location of the motor turn off pull knob. The cheap plastic window moldings will not survive someone stepping on them. Mark Plastics made a very nice replacement. The absence of the water separator for the diesel and the plastic fuel cap gave me a lot of headaches in the beginning. I replaced the fuel cap with a stainless one and added a water separator. The diesel has never failed me since. I have notice some tendency for hairline gel coat cracks This boat tends to have a slight heel to starboard while at dock. I will probably redo the paint at the water line. Scrubbing the marine scum is a headache.  
Sailing characterisitcs In a 20 knot wind sailing down wind (not gybing). I exceeded the hull speed. My GPS was recording 8.5 knots at times. The boat does not seem to point into the wind well. I don't know if its the sails (I'm using the original sails with a roller furler) or if the rig needs retuning. However, the boat flies when sailing up wind.  
Motoring characterisitcs Uses very little fuel. Diesel is a bit noisy.  
Liveability For two people this boat is all the space you'll need. For a family of 5 with the dog its camping. However we make use of both decks. Usually the kids will play below deck while mom and dad sail. I have survived 2 10 day sailing trips with the family. We had a wonderful time. Mom had cabin fever near the end. We were caught once in a gale in Choctohatchee bay in Destin,Florida. Boat was difficult to anchor in 40 knot winds at night. We finally got her ancored and the anchor line wrapped around the keel. This kept the stern of the boat in the waves all night long. It sounded like she would come apart but she held together well (6 foot seas). Learned the next morning that the winches will provide all the pulling power you need to unwrap the anchor line in a heavy wind.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) I have dealt with Hunter but they have not usually been able to help me with parts since its an old boat. They have been willing to give me leads to where I can get aftermarket parts.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any I bought my boat on Lake Lanier from Snug Harbor boats. The broker was Ann. She did a very nice job. I later had the boat hauled to Josephine alabama or Pirates Cove (on Perdido Bay). For me it was love at first sight when she showed me this boat.  
Other comments Very nice boat. Would definately buy it again.