Thoughts on 1976 Hunter '30 - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-06-2008
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Thoughts on 1976 Hunter '30

Well it's that time of year again.

I've found two boats in my neck of the woods that can probably be had for the amount of money I can probably lay my hands upon.

The boat would be used for day sails and the occasional weekend (2 nights max) by myself and my wife; with the likelihood of one other adult and possibly a small child.

We would be sailing either Cayuga or Seneca Lake in the NY Fingerlakes.

My first choice is a 1976 Hunter boat that has a sign on it saying it's a '29 My research tells me there was no '29 in 1976; but the listing photos of Hunter '30's from that period match exactly; so that is what I believe it is. (I've not been aboard this vessel yet.)

From the ground it looks sound. Rudder, keel, shaft, cutlass bearing, all look pretty good. Roller furling rig on the head-sail looks pretty new. Pedestal Steering. Probably the original Yamaha 12 hp diesel, from what I've been reading.

Any comments on the comfort level with the Hunter '30?

My second choice is a similar era (1974?) Catalina '27.

The Catalina looks rode hard and put up wet; but can probably be had for a song. The hull looks good, apart from a gouge about 8" long above the water line that has gone through the gel-coat and into at least one layer of mat. It appears fresh and dry, so I expect that is a repair I can do myself.

The standing rigging looks new, the running rigging, ok.

The tiller arm is rotted and needs to be replaced.

I love the V berth , perfect for Smurfs



Having read all the reviews I can on both boats I am leaning towards the Hunter.

I know recent vintage Hunters are poorly regarded on this forum; but I seem to recall some comments speaking more favorably of the older ones. Am I correct?

I know all of the standard look-outs of a boat of this age; but can anyone speak to some out of the ordinary things that are know for either of these boats?

I'm trying very hard to be as objective as possible about every boat I look at; but I really want to get on the water this season.

Anything you guys could add would be of help.

Thanks, Fred
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Old 04-06-2008
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All other things being equal...go for the Hunter...they were built fine in the 70's!
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Old 04-06-2008
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The Hunter is a better boat in that era.
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Hey stuffit "Get a life"
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Old 04-06-2008
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I have a '77 Hunter 33... I have no complaints with either her construction or her performance and I imagine the 30s were built and would perform similarly.

Things to look out for on the Hunter would be the holding tank (they used bladder tanks as original equipment in many of them; if it hasn't been replaced already you'd probably want to do so), the mast step, and the binnacle/steering quadrant mounting. For the latter two items, the original installation was done with plywood reinforcement; a lot of them have since been re-done with solid fiberglass but if the one you're looking at hasn't, again, it's probably something you would end up doing (or regretting not having done ).

I don't mean to sound negative, those are just particular things to look for. My boat had most of those refits completed by a previous owner, and I'm extremely happy with her. Points well, reasonably comfortable at anchor and under way, and easy to handle in most conditions.

Not to plug a competing site or anything, but Sailboatowners.com has a LOT of owner reviews for both Hunter and Catalina models of all vintages... it's worth a read through them for the models you're looking at to get a feel for what common complaints might be.
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Old 04-06-2008
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From my one experience wihth a late '70 Hunter 30, ( back when it was new at that) make sure there aren't any little set screws in the bilge..say for a float switch. If a half inch screw like such backs out, the boat will fill with water and sink...just my one personal experience.

Go for the Catalina by a mile.
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Old 04-07-2008
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Having had two Hunter 30's in my family and having spent a lot of time on Catalina 27's, I would say that the Hunter 30 of that era is way better constructed, and has a much nicer interior layout. The Hunter is also a better sailing boat pretty much on all points (except that the Catalina with its big masthead spinackers and comparatively light wieght is very competitive downwind). Either boat would be good on either Cayuga or Seneca Lake.

Jeff
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Old 04-07-2008
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Thanks Everyone!

That all pretty much bears out my first impressions. I've really got to get onto the Hunter for anything more.

I'll be talking to the current owners of both boats this week to try and get more information; but at this point I think I'll be pursuing the Hunter more vigorously.

I have some concerns about the Catalina.

>It was reported to me by a fellow owner in the Marina that the boat was sailed daily up through last summer. (a plus)
>>It is now in an estate sale, so you can read into that as is fit. So; the boat was put up at the end of last season and not covered; probably minimal winterization. (a big potential negative)
>>>It is FILTHY!!!!! Not that I mind applying a little elbow grease; but I wonder what that indicates the state of care by the PO in his twilight years. (a big potential negative)
>>>>The tiller arm is rotten through. Not that this is a big or overly expensive fix; but it seems to me that the rot is way more than would have developed over one winter. I fail to see how it could have been sailed in that condition.
>>>>>The very poor access Atomic-4 looks extremely dirty. If my engine looked like that it would indicate that I'd not touched it in at least several seasons. (again, reported that it ran fine at decommissioning)
>>>>>>Cutlass bearing is shot. There is easily an eighth inch of play.
>>>>>>>First impression of sails, rigging, and winches is that they are in A+ condition.

My question is this. How much might you be willing to pay for this vessel based on the information I've provided? Or would you walk away. Better condition models on YachtWorld appear to be selling from $5k to around $9k

For the record, the wife (inexplicably) seems to like the boat; and actually sees the need for work as a plus, as in learning experience. I have a more experienced eye in being able to truly understand what is likely to be in front of us.

The real advantage of this boat would be that it is likely to be inexpensive to purchase (not counting later boat $), and that it is located where we need it to be. The same two issues apply to the Hunter as well, maybe a little less so in the purchase price; remains to be seen.

Thanks again for your help,
Fred
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Old 04-07-2008
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One factor to consider in my mind would be freshwater vs. salt. It's entirely possible that the rigging on the Hunter, if its entire life has been on a lake, is original, which may be a consideration. On the other hand, it will, if it has been reasonably maintained, have less wear on the engine and winches than a salt-water boat of the same age.

As for Hunters, I think they fall into three categories: not bad/average, badly built, and badly designed. My sense is that the mid-70s Hunters were OK in the same way as a mid-70s Pearson was OK, and for daysailing on an inland lake, it would actually be a nice and spacious boat. For more than fair-weather coastal sailing on the ocean, maybe not so much at this point.

A Catalina 27 is a considerably smaller, and likely crappier, boat, particularly if it looks it at this stage.

I will admit my opinion of Hunters is greatly influenced by having seen one dropped and smashed, seen a couple out of control in 25 knots, and having looked in the bilges of a few at dock. The only recent Hunter I liked conceptually (because I wouldn't take "build quality" as a given) was the Hunter HC50, which struck me as a very nice boat, but I would imagine found few takers.
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Old 04-07-2008
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If you need a tie-breaker - the Hunter has a diesel and the Catalina has a gas A4, that makes the Hunter the better choice.
Just an FYI, most of the Hunters in those years came with Yanmar 2QM series diesels, not Yamahas.
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Old 04-07-2008
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Given the age and condition...the Hunter would probably be the way to go, barring any surprises.
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