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Old 12-01-2012
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Hunter 28.5 versus Allmand 31

We looked at a few boats today, and saw two that were interesting. One was a 1985 Hunter 28.5 (NOT the 28, but the 28.5) that's in very nice shape for the price. The other is a 1982 Allmand 31 that's a bit of a project. The Allmand is leaking from a few windows, under the grab rails, around the mast, and at the chainplates, and bad enough that the owners a) took out the headliner throughout the boat, and b) have buckets/bowls under the leak points to catch the drips.

From talking to a few people at the marina, the Hunter seems like she's been well maintained. The Allmand may have been owned by folks who were in a bit over their heads. Not that I'm much better off!

So, a little about me - I have a family of 4, including 2 small kids, ages 7 and almost 5. The boys enjoyed sailing some last season, but what they really liked was a) hiding in the cabin to play video games, and b) swimming in the bay. Part of the reason that I think sailing wasn't that much fun was that our old C25's cockpit wasn't really conducive for them helping with the sailing. The cabin/coach roof stood too high, and they couldn't see in front of us at all, and standing on the seats would have made it very easy for them to fall overboard, so that wasn't allowed. I liked the H28.5 and Allmand's cockpits MUCH better than our C25 or the H27 that we saw today. I especially liked the lower profile to the H28.5's coach roof; I thought that would make it easier for the boys to see and be part of the experience. The Allmand's coach roof was higher, but the wider cockpit and space along the outside of the cockpit really made both my wife and me more comfortable with the idea of the boys being up on the seats. Another thing to keep in mind is that with kids of this age, one parent is typically "minding" the kids - so we're (I'm) frequently single-handing although I have company.

We're not a "blue water" family; we're likely to be bay sailers, and MAYBE coastal cruisers, but I doubt we'll take either of these boats farther north than NY City, and farther south than the circumnavigation of the Delaware/Chessepeake. We're mostly day sailers, with the occasional overnight, maybe a bit longer. We don't need blazingly fast - we need comfortable and stable.

So, with all of that in mind, if they were in about the same condition, which one is the better boat? Is the Allmand better built than the Hunter 28.5? Is the Hunter easier/better to sail? I've read mixed reviews about the 16HP Universal diesel in the Allmand; the 15HP Yanmar in the Hunter seems to get better reviews, but is one REALLY that much better than the other?

The Allmand needs work, and before we do anything we'll need to get a survey (probably get one for the Hunter, too), but she looks like she's a) sailable in her current form, and b) improvable in increments so that we're not shelling out massive amounts of money up front to get us sailing. On the other hand, the Hunter is 2-3x the price, but is essentially turn-key. In the end, though, I want a boat that we'll enjoy for several years, and that will be safe for us all. Any feedback to that end will be greatly appreciated!


- Jim
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- Jim
Home: Western Philly 'burbs
1980 Allmand 31
1975 Albacore 15


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