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Old 08-03-2007
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1986 Hunter 23

We are thinking about buying a 1986 Hunter 23. The asking price is $6,900. Is this a fair price? Are there any problems with this model? The boat we had, a 16.5 Catalina Capris, was totaled in a storm.
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Old 08-03-2007
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While I don't have any specific experience with the Hunter 23, you might find the following websites useful:



Catalina 34

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Old 08-03-2007
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sold my H23

Last year about this time. $3,300.00 and it was an 86. I certainly hope it's beyond pristine and with a New outboard!

It's a great boat for learning to sail, but was too small for me to want to spend time on. I think only the only 86 had the "swing keel" which is very nice to have. The rudder tends to break the cleat that holds it in the down position. The anchor locker is very large. The boom is low and you will get bonked! The sink needs a onboard tank or bag and a good sink pump. We put a water bag under the starboard bunk and it balanced the boat out nicely. The transom is very weak and needs lots of stiffening to handle the outboard motor mount that you have to replace with a garlick mount anyway. Mine had a 9.8 merc and it did very well in the Strong currents of the Tidal Delaware River up my way. The boat only needs 6 hp if I remember right. The motor will cavitate badly in any kind of chop or waves. The cabin is nice and cozy until you try to stand ! If you don't have roller furling you won't like the boat as much because when you go on the bow the motor leaves the water! But I think that's true of most smaller boats. if it's on the original trailer it's a real chore to launch, retreive, step and upstep the mast. (it is not a 2 person job in my opinon!) The good thing is the tall mast makes it handle beautifully. Oh.. one last thing, replace the traveler with a newer type that has lines and blocks.

All in all it's a great boat. It handles just like a sailboat and not a toy boat.
good luck!
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: 1986 Hunter 23

I own a 1987 Hunter 23. I paid $2600 for it in Wisconsin. The sailing season here on Lake Michigan is short, so it maybe less than other places where the sailing season is longer and sailing is more popular.

Here are a couple things i would look for. This post is several years old but maybe helpful to someone else looking at this boat.

Check the thru-hull fitting and cockpit drain hose. The originals were constructed of quality materials, however after 20 years they got brittle and cracked. The cockpit hose(accessible under the aft storage locker- forgot nautical name for it) had a small crack and was dripping. Replace with hose designed for this application(dont use flexible thin bilge hose). Also replaced the thru hull fitting which was UV rotted on outside. Replace this with stainless steel fitting. Use 2 hose clamps original manufacture only used one(on this boat assume others) If this fitting or hose goes, boat sinks in minutes. The hose would not crack open on its own, but if something is placed in the locker that is sizeable and slides down and hits it could jar a crack.

Other items that were UV-rotted were the block wheels. These can get quite expensive. Check to see that the sink pumps water. Where the temperature falls below freezing in the winter forgetting to drain these will crack the housing. Not a big item, but something to test and negotiate down the price. Make sure it comes with original water tank as this fits into a special slot in the aft locker under the cockpit.

Another area is the mast light. These are the old incandecent (torpedo) type lighbulbs with 2 hoop stile contacts at each end. The contact isnt very good. Recommend replacing with marine waterproof LED. Once the mast is stepped very hard to get at. Also transome light is same style, replace with LED also. If you get stuck after dark the LED's will draw less power. The wire connectors where mast plugs in are cheap and corrode easily and the terminals fall off. Minor repairs but good negotiation points to knock off a few more bucks.

Ask seller to squirt top with hose and check for rain leaks around door & windows. Mine had some issues and PO fixed with a lot of caulking and new windows but you can tell was an issue.

The 87 had a wing keel. The bottom of the wings are very hard to get at on the trailer as they rest on a carpeted wood slide. These were really rusty on mine since the PO couldn't get at them to scrape or anti-fouling paint.

If you plan to trailer-sail this. Modify the trailer to have 2 vertical upgrights attached to the back of the trailer to guide the boat on. There should be a roller under the bow otherwise its too much balance on teh two boards and keel slide. Mine did not have these(looks like it never did) I see lots of pictures of hunters for sale with this under bow roller. Its hard to launch without since the tow hook falls down and rests on the winch.

For a shallow launch, I made an 8 foot extension off the trailer to back it in further. On a moderately shallow launch the previous owner reported his SUV had the bumper under water to launch. Not something I want to do to a newer SUV.

Stepping the mast is a 3 man job. 2 to lift the mast and 1 to steady and fasten. Don't let the literature fool you that shows a man & average size woman doing it. The professional rigger at the marina and myself struggled to do this with just us 2 guys(i'm not a lightweight).

The boat sails very good in light winds. In heavy winds 15 knots+ beware of heeling, but it wont capsize eaily. The boat is 23 foot @2400 lbs. My dock-mates is 27 foot at 9600lbs. The boat seams to point into the wind nicely. I have had people with more expensive boats say she sails nice.

A 1987 hunter is not worth $6000 in my opinion. People tell me I got a deal at $2600. Probably $4000 range. My paint is a little chalked.

Another area to inspect is the porta-potty tank. Where the top tank(water resivour) clamps on to the bottom, the plastic was cracked. Porta pottys you can buy on the internet for $50-$80 and are not important to sailing but another area of negotiation.

The hunter 23, at least mine, did not come with shore power setup. The previous owner had it docked and had to drill holes and run extension cords and outlet boxes to set up for shore power.

There is not a real good place to put a 2nd battery. Don't put it on the same side as the first battery under the cockpit locker, with the water & outboard on teh same size its too much weight. Next year I will mount batter #2 somehow to other side of boat, haven't figured out where.

As posted on other places. The motor mount needs reinforcment. A 3/4 piece of treated plywood with stainless screws would be a start. I was lucky engouth to have 24" pieces HDPE plastic handy that is rigid but flexes also.

In large waves the motor will cavitate. If it comes with an outboard the longer the shaft the better. Would recommend at least 6 HP motor. If the wind dies this will push you nicely to your destination.

This is not a cruiser for going long distances or tackling high winds/waves. Its perfect for very large inland lakes. Lake Michigan could use a little longer to feel perfectly comfortable. If you are going out with sailing buddies, it will handle 2-4 waves without too much concern. Taking wife & kids(nonsailers out) will be nerve-racking but not dangerous. Anything bigger than 4foot gets nerve racking for normal sailers.

The factor sail comes with 1 reef point. I recommend using in anything over 15 knot winds to start out, you can always shake it out if underpowered.

Another issue is jib anchor coming out of anchor locker doesn't raise jib high enough from bow so it hits safety lines but I'm told other boats do this as well.

All in all its a good boat, just pointing out all the small things to look for.
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: 1986 Hunter 23

Rob I feel bad you did are that writing for a post that was made in 2007!
Welcome to Sailnet just the same
Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club. New Website!
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my current "project"!
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Old 08-01-2014
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Re: 1986 Hunter 23

I think it's worthwhile. Maybe not for the original poster, but some day in the future someone will be searching sailnet.com for info on a Hunter 23, and they'll come across this very useful write-up.
Catalina 22
on a starboard tack
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