Hunter Owner Reviews

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Review of the Hunter 28.5 by Jefferson Johnson

Year built 1987  
Location of boat Westport Point, Mass.  
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 2004  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes, it was a great step up from our little ODay 192 Weekender, and provides very well for 1-2 overnight sails. Quick and easy to sail.  
Gear that's been added Had to replace the binnacle compass and the cabin sole, but the biggest improvement was adding solar powered ventilation.  
Structural or complex improvements None.  
The boat's best features The great handling in heavier weather, the stability, and the ease of single-handing. It's pretty roomy for a boat it's size and comfortable in layovers. The Yanmar engine has been reliable and steady and the overall quality of construction and workmanship is pretty incredible for a production boat. This boat moves along with the best in its size class and has expanded my coastal cruising range dramatically.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. The biggest bugs have been: the icebox drains below the flooring, but never makes it to the bilge, causing a terrible mildew problem; the spreaders are angled back far too much making running the main a problem unless you don't mind wearing a hole in it; the toe rail is so tight to the cleat, a normal, heavy dock line is out of the question, and mooring lines jam tightly between them; access to the engine for repairs is very restricted.  
Sailing characterisitcs I've sailed in 20-25 kt winds and heavy seas, and in light, variable breezes, and the 28.5 responds really well to both, and most everything in between. It moves well on almost any point except a reach to a run.  
Motoring characterisitcs The Yanmar seems perfectly matched to the boat, and incredibly reliable. I can get in or out of our harbor, which has unusually strong tidal currents, on any tide. About 5 knots at 2500 rpm, and I've run her for hours and hours in dead conditions without problems. There's some prop walk which makes backing a problem until you adjust.  
Liveability Very comfortable for 2 people for 3-4 days in variable weather. We've sailed with other couples for three days at a stretch, which was a really have to love your guests or you'll never want them aboard again.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Never dealt with them directly.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Never used a dealer or broker.  
Other comments This is a great little boat! Installing a windlass, good ventilation, and a dripless stuffing box makes it nearly perfect.