Thoughts on a Hunter 37-Cutter? - SailNet Community

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Old 09-19-2006
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Thoughts on a Hunter 37-Cutter?

First off, this forum is an incredible resource. Thank you all!

Now, on to my questions... I am considering purchasing a 1983 Hunter 37-Cutter that is for sale on my lake. My use will be solely for lake sailing, a few overnights (for my family of 3), and entertaining. There will be a fair amount of single handing by me.

I have done a fair amount of research on these and it seems like this version of the Hunter was pretty well built. I have heard some concerns about the ports leaking, but overall it seems like there are minor complaints.

Does anyone have an opinion on this boat for my intended use? What are the known issues that I should be on the lookout for? How, specifically, does the build quality compare with a Catalina 36, Irwin, or a Pearson?

Thank you in advance for your insights!
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Old 09-19-2006
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I was seriously looking at one a few years ago so some recollections may be a bit rusty. The two major problems that seemed to crop up were the leaking ports/hatches and the holding tank. The holding tank is aluminum and will corrode through if it hasn't by now. Many were being replaced by bladder tanks which may just make a bad problem worse if not properly installed. You definitely want to check that issue. The port and hatch problem could just be local leaks but could also be a major problem if they haven't been dealt with and water gets into the core. Leaks into the core could be a major problem if things haven't been re-bedded at some point. The "Hunter Owners Website" was a great resource for me while I was researching the boat. I really liked the design and the build quality was good I just couldn't swing the finances at the time. Good luck!
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Old 09-20-2006
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The 37 cutter was one of Hunter's best designed and executed boats as far as I can tell. Note the inward-turning hull/deck flange, for example. Much stronger and less likely to be damaged by passing pilings or other vessels than the outward-turning flange that they (and other lesser quality builders) typically use. It's bolted AND gooped up. If you look from the inside you can see it. The fiberglass in the hull sections, especially towards the bow, does have some large, flattish, relatively unsupported areas. Look for stress or fatigue cracks around the perimeter of these areas. They could mean trouble down the road. Have your surveyor provide more detail about this for you. The plastic ports and hatches are leakers. When you tighten them down, the plastic bends, and they leak. Baking in the UV from the sun, they become brittle and crack. Replace them all and be dry and happy. Down below the layout is roomy and sensible, providing a lot of private spaces as well as areas for groups to enjoy. The seats are comfortable, too. The head/shower setup provides lots of room for showering when you need it by using the passage to the forward cabin for the shower. This cuts off the passageway forward while someone's showering, but it actually makes a lot of sense to use the space that way. When you're showering, you either don't need to get into the forward cabin too much, or it's your cabin, and you can open the door to it if you like, once you've turned off the water. There's no reason to allocate that much space for a permanent shower stall that only serves as a shower stall. I recall a small quarter-cabin as well, which enables the boat to host two couples or a couple with children very easily. On deck the cockpit is comfortably deep without being too big - a danger in rough seas. The sheer line is pretty, and echoed in the curve of the cabintop. The boat seems to sail well, and has a reasonably quick PHRF rating for a cruiser. I can't remember if there's a skeg on the rudder or not. If there is one, that can help ease steering by making the boat track better. The draft is moderate, so you can explore lots of places despite having a decently large and comfortable boat. One example I knew had a dodger/bimini setup with side curtains that was almost like having a pilothouse. I guess they used to go out on Christmas or something. If I was looking for a good cruising boat and was concerned about budget issues, the Hunter 37 cutter would be near the top of my list.
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Old 09-20-2006
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Paul and Steve - Thank you very much. I knew I'd get great information here. How would the quality of this Hunter build compare to that of a Irwin or Pearson from the same era? Do you feel this boat has enough resale potential down the road to warrant spending a bunch of money ($10k-$15k) adding goodies (AC, refer, etc.)? I don't want to have an overimproved boat that will be a huge money loser (more than any other boat...).

Thanks again.
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Old 09-20-2006
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I don't have any experience with Pearsons or Irwins to be able to answer that question. As far as resale goes, most time you won't get your money out of upgrades to the boat unless it is something like replacing an A-4 with a diesel and even then you won't get all your money back. A boat is not an investment ( or at least not a good one )
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Old 09-20-2006
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I would say that the Hunter 37 construction is roughly equivilent to the Irwin and less than the Pearson. This should not be any concern for a lake boat and if the Hunter is in good shape and you like it...go for it.
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Old 09-21-2006
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Just about the only American boats with sufficient resale value to justify "adding goodies" to them are Hinckleys, and them, only some of the time. Add what you want, but simply acknowledge that you're spending on luxuries for your enjoyment. Don't expect to get your money back out of it, and simply enjoy what you can with your disposable income.
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