Hunter Owner Reviews

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Review of the Hunter 28.5 by Warren Milberg

Year built 1986  
Location of boat Herrington Harbour, Deale, Md  
The boat is sailed on Bays, sounds, or protected salt water  
How the boat is used Day sailing  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew solo  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2003  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes, I would buy this boat again. It really meets my sailing needs. I think this boat has a lot of strengths, some weaknesses, but overall represents a great value.  
Gear that's been added Added GPS and a bimini  
Structural or complex improvements None.  
The boat's best features Value. As a used boat, this boat is a "lot" of boat for the money. I really like the design (which is NOT traditional, either inside or out), I love the way the boat sails, and the Yanmar diesel seems to be teh prefect engine for this boat (relatively easy to maintain, has plenty of power, and uses very little fuel).  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. So far, not much has gone wrong -- and I hope it stays that way. The only problem I've had to date is an intermittent starting problem with the engine: hit the starter and nothing happens (batteries are new, oil pressure horn is sounding, etc.). I've learned that is a common issue with a number of aging Yanmar 2GM20F engines. I seem to have solved this problem by adding a 12v relay to the starter solenoid to boost the initial amperage to the starter. Also, my boat came with what I assume was the standard Hood 810 Continuous Line furler. This furler is adequate as a furler, but not as a reefing system. Iam considering upgrading it to the Hood Single line furler/reefer.  
Sailing characterisitcs I sail on the Chesapeake Bay in just about any kind of conditions, up to 35 kts of wind and 3-4 ft waves. My boat is the shoal draft model and so it doesn't go upwind as well as the deeper draft model. I assume it goes downwind and/or off the wind better than the deep draft model as it has less drag from the keel when sailing downwind. The tradeoff is that the shoal draft model is a better choice if you don't race as you get the boat into much shallower water without worrying about going aground. I also think the shoal draft boat is tender. With only a 125 per cent genoa and full main, the boat heels excessively when the wind exceeds 15 kts. At that point you have to reduce sail area, either in the main or the headsail.  
Motoring characterisitcs The Yanmar 2GM20F engine seems to be the perfect engine for this boat. Plenty of power, even with a standard 2-blade prop. But as with most sailboats, backing this boat takes some practice and you MUST consider prop walk, windage, and current to back this boat anyplace you want to go... I've heard that a 3-blade feathering prop improves backing, and I'm considering this upgrade  
Liveability Adequate space for a couple to weekend or perhaps cruise for a week.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Only dealings with Hunter have been good. Needed to find a source for rubber bumpers which support the cockpit lockers and, much to my surprise, Hunter still carries them.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any I bought the boat used from the Hunter dealer at Tidewater Marina, Havre de Grace, Md. It was, without doubt, a very pleasant experience. The broker was very helpful and Tidewater Marina is one of the nicest I've ever used. Highly recommend this place and broker.  
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