Hunter Vision 36 "Pros"
I have owned a Vision 36 for 9 years. The only real plus to an unstayed rig that I see are: No chain plates to leak, stub your toes on, etc. No rigging tuning necessary. This like the Freedoms it has the mast stepped forward enough so it is not in the middle of the salon with the chainplates bolted through your cabin on inboard mounted chainplates. It has no compression post since it's keel stepped. It's easier to go forward when not having to navigate standing rigging. It is correct about the windage of a larger mast vs. all that wiring/cable, it is pretty much the same. The Hunter B&R rigging will not let you swing the boom out as far as you can with the Vision. (Careful you don't break off your boom gooseneck.) If you think about it there are actually many types of sail boats with free standing masts. Nonsuch, Freedom, cat boats, and many earlier boats that used wooden masts. The benifit of a tapered mast is the flexibility when a sudden gust hits. The top of the mast bends and spills the air out allowing for less "knockdown" effect. As for pointing, my Vision will point to about 55 degrees on either side of the eye of the wind. Unless you're sailing something like a "J" Boat, C & C, Cascade or other "Fast" boat you're probably not pointing any more that 45 or 50 degrees to the eye of the wind. It is true that it doesn't point very well, but it runs very well on most any point of reach, it just doesn't close haul very fast. Now, if you're beyond a beam reach to a run, it goes very fast. I've had mine at 8.5 knots in a 20 knot wind beam reaching. It motors very well too. 7 knots at 2500 RPM with the Yanmar 35 HP, 3 cylinder and it sips .56 liters/knot at that speed. That's 3.92 liters/hour. I think what people mean when they say it sails like a dream, they are actually talking about the fractional system with the large boom. Since the mast is stepped so far forward, the mainsail carries most of the sail area and the small 110% fractional lapper jib is very easy to tack. I single hand a lot and it is quite easy to tack using only the wheel brake. I simply bring the boat about, let it pass through the eye of the wind then (with the brake tight) I loose the now, windward sheet and haul in the leeward sheet. I can usually do this without using a winch handle unless I'm close reaching or close hauling in winds above 15 knots. This boat is a dream to sail. Most other boats are using a 130 or 150 Jenny and they are a bitch to get from one side of the boat to the other, especially if you have a deck sweeper and your sheet track is so far aft you can't see anything on the sail side. (The usual protocal is to pass the eye of the wind on a tack before bringing the headsail about as this helps the boat change course, as in heaving too.) Sometimes doing this with a large Jenny is problematic because the sail/sheets get caught on the rigging and the spreaders, so most people start to bring the headsail about before they pass the eye of the wind. This usually takes at least one crew besides the helmsman. So, I think that it is mistated that it "Sails Like A Dream" because of the un stayed mast, it is the overall design that makes it easy to sail. I plan to keep my Hunter Vision 36 for many years to come as I enjoy single handed sailing the the ease of sailing the Vision 36. I also own a WWP 15 and it has a stayed fractional rig with a 110 lapper and no back stay. Maybe I'm just attracted to the little excentric things in life. By the way, I sail in the Pacific Northwest and I'm out usually more than 80 days a year on the Hunter. I've sailed it in 8 foot seas with 35 knot winds with double reefs, in Johnstone Straight and Georgia Straigit and the Straight of Juan de Fuca. She handles supurbly in those conditions. Perhaps you'll see her if you're ever out this way, S/V Soluna Star, lying Elliott Bay, Seattle, WA.