Hunter Owner Reviews

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Review of the Hunter 28.5 by Cliff Ruckstuhl

Year built 1986  
Location of boat Lake Erie  
The boat is sailed on The Great Lakes  
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 2001  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? This is my 3rd Hunter. We started with a 23 moved up to a 25.5 and now the 28.5. I have founs that they offer the best of both worlds for us and our sailing. We race the boat and do well with it. We can out point most every boat in our class. When we have good crew the boat is tough to beat. Not sure if we will move up yet again the 28.5 is perfect for weekend crusing a week on the boat and racing.  
Gear that's been added Usually when yo buy a boat it needs sail's. We bought a full set of UK Tape Drive and a Crusing Spinnaker. Boat was in typical shape for it's age and none of the gear had been upgraded. We moved the winches to the forward postion. Added two Harken Cabin top winches all the running rigging was replaced we also changed out all the deck blocks to Harken. Added as cascade back stay adjuster. All the Spinaker gear needed. Boat ws pretty much a stock boat when we bought it and had not had anything done to it since new.  
Structural or complex improvements If you count sanding the bottom to 400 grit and adding a folding prop. These features are so over looked by cruisers. Haivng a fast bottom will extend your range on weekends and who doesn't want to sail faster.  
The boat's best features Lots of boat for a 28 footer. I have been on some 30's that have less room. For the money it is a tough boat to beat. We love the horse shoe table set up. All in all a great boat.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. I wished the head was bigger. The Nav staion was a waste of space. Having a bigger head would have made so much more sence than having the Nav Station. Not so sure why they thought it needed a shower Im 6 foot 230 lbs and taking a shower in the head would be almost impossible. We are not big fans of having to climb up into the V Berth the way it is designed. But once up ther it is very comfortable. The Foss Foam Rudder on the boat is a poor design and has absorbed water. In the winter it freezes and we are now looking to replace the rudder but not with a Foss Foam Rudder.  
Sailing characterisitcs With Good Sail's this boat will out sail most all boat's in it's class if not all of them to weather. On reach we bring the Jib sheet to the toe rail and she sail's real well. Going down wind becasue of the B & R Rig the main is in the rig it is unavoidable to do this. Not the best sail shape but what can you do. I knew this going in. Ther are so many good thing about the boat to off set that. With a smooth bottom folding prop and faired keel and rudder the boat sail's very well. With good crew we usually finish in the top 1/4 of the fleet. Key is good crew.  
Motoring characterisitcs We now have a folding prop and boat motors real well even with the folding prop. Motor just goes and goes.  
Liveability We do not live on the boat but do a week on it in the summer. If we had to we could live on it but only if we had to. Boat has plenty of storage and cooking on the b9oat is no problem.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) I have talked to Hunter many many times. They always are willing to help with as much as they can. I am not very fond of the new boats they are making right now. The current boats are not much of a race boat or a boat that you can use as a racer/cruiser. They offer no option for a bigger head sail  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Private sale  
Other comments The 28.5 is a great boat for weekending and 2 weeks vaction. We would buy it again with out a 2nd thought. The deep draft version is the boat to have it is stiffer and sail's faster.