Thank you both Paul and Jeff for updating your opinions about hunters and other modern production boats. I apologize for the vigorousness of my assault upon your opinions, I do dislike when people use concepts combined with speulation, to me that is more a recipe for hypothesis and not a valid convincing arguement, yet many novices can influenced all the same with this technique all the same.
I recieved the letters from Hunter from other Hunter owners from various sources. And several accounts of ocean crossings and one complete circumnavigation in a Hunter 43.
Some common threads I noticed, all were very pleased with Hunters light air performance, no surprise here. It appears none were stock boats, meaning nearly all were modified somehow, be it additionl fuel reserves, to mfg installed smaller stays enabling it to be rigged with two head sails, but primarily to use a storm jib on the aft smaller stay to move the CE (Center of Effort) aft to bring balance to a fully reefed main close hauled in 20 foot seas and 25+ 35+ knots of wind and one account of greater than 20 foot seas with gusts exceeding 65 knots ! wow, I''m even a bit skeptical about this account, but I take it with a grain of salt. One had a pair of adjustable backstays added "For insurance" they wrote. Most had some minor gripe usually to do with something like the halyard line holder drained onto the cockpit seats, or the anchor had to be replaced because they thought it too small. No major damages reported, yet they all acknowledged that the light air performance comes at a cost, I use my own words to summarize the observation, tall mast, large area maximum sail plan, requires proper sail plan set for any given conditions.
I also realize this is Hunter filtering what Hunter wants me to read. And still remain a bit of a skeptic. However, I am attracted to Hunter boats for several reasons, not all sounds ones either: Strong light air performance, by far and large my own sailing experience has consisted of more light air sailing than gale force winds, so I assume, maybe incorrectly that more sailing is done in light wind than strong, even though inshore this is largely determined by the choice of when to slip the dock lines, during an ocean crossing, one only choose their first few days, maybe. Also I like the roomy interiors of the hunter boats, if lee cloths are used, then their are readily available sea berths on every hunter(another common modification). I like the looks, hunters are just plain sexy to me. I''m a skeptic, I like things to be proven, and I think more often than not, as Jeff acknowledges, there have been many ocean crossings. This tends to be proof for me. There are many other very capable passage makers out there, some better in some ways, worse in others, but it is my opinion to date(not written in stone) that some hunters make great Bluewater boats. Thus I give Jeff credit again in stating hunters being a "Mixed Bag" I think the real challenge with Hunter is determining which boat you wish to bet your life on.
That said I think I will look into their new HC50 as this boat appears to make the most of hunters lessons learned. Many ppl thumb down a Mac 26x as a small weekend inshore cruiser, myself included until I used one. Now for what I use it for, I think it is perfect. I was even taught that sailboats do not plane under motor power, I guess I am simply saying things change. There will always be trade offs, and the more versatile a boat is, the more her configuration will need to change with the continuously changing current conditions and the desired effect from her master....hmmm, I wonder what a 2001-2003 model HC50 would sell for in 2006-2009 timeframe? (I think this will require speculation and patience!
Good Luck All!