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Old 11-01-2009
wundrbar wundrbar is offline
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Hunter Sailboat Hull Cracking

I am happy to see all of the interest and feedback on this issue. There have been a number of questions and suggestions so I thought I would just lay out all of the facts and open this for more comments.

My Hunter 170 operating fine for many years. I always took good care of it and properly prepared it for each winter - and BTW, I've actually owned 30 different boats in my lifetime so I am not a novice at this.

One morning last winter, I got on my snowmobile (which is parked right next the the Hunter) and noticed the HUGE cracks that you see in my photos. I was shocked! There was only a light powder covering of snow on the boat and the hull was drained (with the plug still removed) and inclined on a bunk trailer that curves and cradles most of the hull (and much better than roller bunks for storage).

I started looking around the web to try to discover what might have gone wrong. Then I stumbled across a number of threads at HunterOwners.com. Dozens and dozens of Hunter owners had experienced the same problem over the years. If you want to see for yourself, just go over there and do a search on the words "crack" and "hull cracking".

Then I did some investigation of the material Hunter uses for these hulls - BASF Luran S. While Hunter claims this material is super strong and flexible in all of their marketing material, the one major deficiency it has is its high coefficient of thermal expansion. This means that the material is more likely to experience stress with every degree change in temperature. I guess that is why my Hunter 170 owners manual says that you shouldn't cover the boat with a "dark colored" tarp. A dark tarp would attract heat from the sun and cause the same, but opposite stress my boat experienced when the temperature at my house dropped about 25 degrees Celsius overnight.

I called Hunter's service department and they told me they wouldn't do anything for me because the 5 year warranty had expired. So I took them to Small Claims court in Canada because here (and in the US too I assume), a manufacturer cannot use the limits in an "expressed warranty" to avoid liability for defects in manufacturing and marketing. In the course of the pre-trial hearing, the rep from Hunter (and their law firm) would not accept any responsibility. The rep also told the judge that my boat was worth no more than $1,000 anyways (that's over 90% depreciation in 9 years BTW). The judge said I had enough evidence to proceed to trial but cautioned me that it might be costly for me to do so. I couldn't justify investing any more money into this piece of junk.

Days later, the Hunter rep said they would fix my boat (with no guarantee or warranty) if I paid to ship it to and from facility in Florida. I asked him why he thought i would want to spend $3,000 in shipping so that they could fix my boat that (he said in court) was worth only $1,000 - especially since I believed it would just crack again the next cold winter. He didn't reply. I've sent photos and letters to Hunter's VP of Marketing and Sales and also to their CEO. They just have yet to accept any responsibility and they continue to blame their customers for any problems they experience outside of the warranty period.

I've been warning other Hunter owners and prospective purchasers ever since.