1982 Hunter '54
Hi everyone, I have stumbled across a Hunter 54 and think they are one of the prettiest boats I have seen. All the research I have done, and it has been hard to find, seems to point to the fact that these boats were very advanced for their time and are a very capable boat. Most of my sailing has been on skiffs and cats but have in recent years had a season sailing etchells and am keen to progress to an easy to manage cruiser. Most of my sailing will be harbour and coastal with some longer passages as experience and confidence grows. Some friends have suggested looking at a 30-35 foot boat but the Hunter 54 seems to tick so many boxes and for its length actually has a smallish sail plan. They are about 100k and I consider that good value for money. It is a Cherubini designed boat and others have been raced singlehanded from San Fran to Hawaii. Can anyone give an honest appraisall of this boat and its ease of sailing without turning it into a production boat sledging thread.
Start here, it gives some owner reviews.
Sailboat Knowledge Base
Any 54' sailboat that goes for only $100,000 is going to be in need of some serious work or is a real piece of crap to begin with.
Do you have any idea what the costs associated with OWNING a 54' sailboat are going to be like? If not, might want to do a reality check on that first. Consider that the ownership costs pretty much double for every 10' of boat, so a 54' boat is likely to cost at least four or five times what a 30-35' boat would cost you, at a minimum. And that is if you do most, if not all, of the maintenance work yourself.
Also, Hunter doesn't have the best track record as a manufacturer, but the Cherubini models seem to have a better record than many other Hunters of that era.
From your OP, you seem to indicate that this would be your first cruising size boat... I would highly recommend that you start with something a bit more manageable. Making mistakes on a 54' boat will often involve forces that are large enough to kill you easily.
Finally, a 54' boat won't be an easy to manage cruiser. It will have far more complex systems than most boats 30-35' long, and there is far more maintenance to do on that size a boat.
Our own JeffH wrote a brief review over at another forum a few years ago. I would take his advice about only considering a VERY well maintained one quite seriously.
Hunter 54 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
the price seems to be in line with all of the other 54 Hunters on yachtworld (not an opinion, just an observation)
Breakingwind2, I have read that website extensively, mostly positive experiences from the other owners.
Sailingfool, I posted this thread to collect both positive and negative opinions from those that know this boat model, but in many other threads I have read they often result in sustained sniping between those that are supporters of production boats and those that are not, that is all I was trying to avoid, and my humble apologies if I worded the OP incorrectly.
Sailingdog, I had not considered that the maintenance of a boat would double for every 10 feet. I was going to budget about 10k per year for upkeep and upgrades, perhaps that is naive, however it was what friends of mine have allowed for some years on their Bavaria 42, but then that doesn't take into account your advice of doubling the costs for every extra 10 feet.
The reason I found the Hunter 54 attractive was that from everything I have read they are very managable, behaving more like a 40 footer than a 50 footer, especially with a sail plan of only 850sq ft. Most the Hunter 54's on yachtworld "appear" to be in very good condition for the price.
Camaraderie, thanks for pointing me in that direction, I had searched for posts on Hunter 54's but had not seen that one. Jeff H seems to be an encyclopedia of information about all boats.
Perhaps I should start all over again and begin searching for a smaller boat that ticks the boxes, the options appear never ending. Maybe something like a Cavalier 37?
Thanks everone for their thoughts, the dream is alive, the bank account is flush and the choices are ??????????
I would take SD's math on the doubling fairly seriously. Unless your post is saying that money is NO object, then what the hell, go for it! If in fact you want to stay within a budget (OK, this is a boat, Close to a budget!) you should look at some fixed costs by size FIRST. Then decide what you want. For your stated purposes, a 54 seems a little bit of over kill, unless you want to impress the folks with your size.
Insurance. Would be interesting on a +20 50 footer
Slip Fees. This is an eye opener if you live in a population center! Goes up very fast in lenght....if you can find one. If you have your own empty pier, no problem. However, if you have that pier you are looking at too old of a boat for your front yard.
How handy are you? Professionals are going to cost you $75-100 an hour in most yards. West Marine however, will love you.
Hauling out. For a boat that size...not that many places that can handle her.
The list can go on.
While it may act and feel like a 40', boat yards and marinas don't charge by the feel of boat, but by the length. Haulouts, dock space, mooring, washing, painting, storage are all sold per foot, with larger boats often being hit with premium rates. The boat yards figure if you've got a boat that big, you can afford it.
If you have to have the sails replaced, they will cost considerably more than sails for a 30-35' cruising boat. The sails for a Catalina 30, which is a much better choice for you IMHO, are:
Mainsail w/ two reefing points: $1450
135% Roller Furling Genoa: $1529
The sail costs on a Tayana 37' boat are:
Mainsail w/ two reefing points: $2500
135% Roller Furling Genoa: $3600
How much do you think they'll be for a 54' boat??
The docklines used for a 30' boat are usually 1/2" x 30-40'. The docklines for a 54' boat are usually 3/4" x 55-80' or so... A genoa sheet for a 30' boat is probably 1/2" x 45', the genoa sheet for a 54' boat is probably 9/16" x 80'.... Have you priced rope lately???
How much do you think they'll be for a 54' boat??
Cruising main for my 52 footer was over $5k in 2004 dollars.
The cost of owning/maintaining a 52'boat was about double what maintaining my prior 44 was as SD suggests. It s a good rule of thumb.
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