Mysterious cracks in Hunter hulls - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 112 Old 10-30-2009
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Our posts crossed in the ether. I would talk directly to Hunter Factory rather than their agents. The factory would know if this is a frequent problem and whether there was perhaps a bad batch of material out there around the time that your boat was built. But they should also be able to detect whether an inapropriate solvent was used.

Even if the fault was your use of the wrong chemicals or how you store the boat, Hunter tends to have reasonably complete owners manuals and if they did not caution you against using inappropriate solvents or extreme the cold or storing the boat full of snow, then they should have some liability and may help you straighten this out.

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post #12 of 112 Old 10-30-2009
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Let's just make sure that this does not turn into another Hunter Bashing thread, etc. Please keep to the facts and present all the information. Also, if I feel the thread crosses the line into a personal vendetta, it is going to get pulled.

Although I do not mind an honest debate on marine products here, they typically degrade into something that we do not need or allow.

I have seen both sides of Hunter. I have seen some boats that were poorly designed or thought through. I have also seen, especially as of late, a genuine interest in making a better product. My personal prefence is still Catalina (of any of the production boats), but I would for once actually give Hunter a serious look.

This is not meant to take away from your personal issue that you are having with your boat, but I am curious what Hunter Marine has done to correct the problem. Have you contacted them? Are they aware of this? What was their solution?

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post #13 of 112 Old 10-30-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wundrbar View Post
Good call on that one smackdaddy. Check out the photos of the cracks on my Hunter!!

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I haven't heard anything about problems associated with temperature extremes, but...

In the photos to which you linked, I see a trailer entirely unsuited to the boat it is supporting (not to mention the load of snow/ice). Even with the limited rocker/hull curvature, the two straight, flat trailer bunks cannot provide more than a few square inches of contact surface between the bunks and the hull.

A boat this size and weight should have athwartship, rather than fore and aft, trailer bunks which would provide far more contact and load bearing surface area. And, there should be at least four such bunks to adequately distribute the weight of the hull as well as the shock loads incurred while trailering. Ideally, those bunks would be spaced out fore and aft and aligned under structural bulkheads or other reinforced areas of the hull.

I would be amazed if this is the trailer and bunk system that Hunter provided with this sailboat. If it is, then Hunter should step up and help you out with repairs (assuming you are original owner). If it isn't, and Hunter never approved this trailer for use with their boat, then you would be well advised to gratefully accept any assistance they offer.


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post #14 of 112 Old 10-30-2009
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Good point John, if the bow had ice build up it could easily damage the unsupported bow.
The boat should have been flip over on cross supports for winter storage. (outside)

selling the cabin cruiser, then its sailing time.
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post #15 of 112 Old 10-31-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
I haven't heard anything about problems associated with temperature extremes, but...

In the photos to which you linked, I see a trailer entirely unsuited to the boat it is supporting (not to mention the load of snow/ice). Even with the limited rocker/hull curvature, the two straight, flat trailer bunks cannot provide more than a few square inches of contact surface between the bunks and the hull.

A boat this size and weight should have athwartship, rather than fore and aft, trailer bunks which would provide far more contact and load bearing surface area. And, there should be at least four such bunks to adequately distribute the weight of the hull as well as the shock loads incurred while trailering. Ideally, those bunks would be spaced out fore and aft and aligned under structural bulkheads or other reinforced areas of the hull.

I would be amazed if this is the trailer and bunk system that Hunter provided with this sailboat. If it is, then Hunter should step up and help you out with repairs (assuming you are original owner). If it isn't, and Hunter never approved this trailer for use with their boat, then you would be well advised to gratefully accept any assistance they offer.


Hunter has already offered to fix his hull, which is nine years old, four years out of warranty. These boats cannot withstand storage in extreme temeperature swings due to the hull composition on the 170's and is stated in their manual.

Last edited by scottbr; 10-31-2009 at 07:36 AM.
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post #16 of 112 Old 10-31-2009
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Wow - way to go Hunter!


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post #17 of 112 Old 11-01-2009
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I am really surprised Hunter agreed to do anything. If you stored a cast iron bathtub outdoors, let it fill with rain and snow, and then let it freeze, it would crack to bits too. That's what seems to have happened to this uncovered, unsupported boat. If it's had nine years of this treatment and hasn't fallen apart, Hunter should be commended for building really tough hulls!
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post #18 of 112 Old 11-01-2009 Thread Starter
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Hunter Sailboat Hull Cracking

I am happy to see all of the interest and feedback on this issue. There have been a number of questions and suggestions so I thought I would just lay out all of the facts and open this for more comments.

My Hunter 170 operating fine for many years. I always took good care of it and properly prepared it for each winter - and BTW, I've actually owned 30 different boats in my lifetime so I am not a novice at this.

One morning last winter, I got on my snowmobile (which is parked right next the the Hunter) and noticed the HUGE cracks that you see in my photos. I was shocked! There was only a light powder covering of snow on the boat and the hull was drained (with the plug still removed) and inclined on a bunk trailer that curves and cradles most of the hull (and much better than roller bunks for storage).

I started looking around the web to try to discover what might have gone wrong. Then I stumbled across a number of threads at HunterOwners.com. Dozens and dozens of Hunter owners had experienced the same problem over the years. If you want to see for yourself, just go over there and do a search on the words "crack" and "hull cracking".

Then I did some investigation of the material Hunter uses for these hulls - BASF Luran S. While Hunter claims this material is super strong and flexible in all of their marketing material, the one major deficiency it has is its high coefficient of thermal expansion. This means that the material is more likely to experience stress with every degree change in temperature. I guess that is why my Hunter 170 owners manual says that you shouldn't cover the boat with a "dark colored" tarp. A dark tarp would attract heat from the sun and cause the same, but opposite stress my boat experienced when the temperature at my house dropped about 25 degrees Celsius overnight.

I called Hunter's service department and they told me they wouldn't do anything for me because the 5 year warranty had expired. So I took them to Small Claims court in Canada because here (and in the US too I assume), a manufacturer cannot use the limits in an "expressed warranty" to avoid liability for defects in manufacturing and marketing. In the course of the pre-trial hearing, the rep from Hunter (and their law firm) would not accept any responsibility. The rep also told the judge that my boat was worth no more than $1,000 anyways (that's over 90% depreciation in 9 years BTW). The judge said I had enough evidence to proceed to trial but cautioned me that it might be costly for me to do so. I couldn't justify investing any more money into this piece of junk.

Days later, the Hunter rep said they would fix my boat (with no guarantee or warranty) if I paid to ship it to and from facility in Florida. I asked him why he thought i would want to spend $3,000 in shipping so that they could fix my boat that (he said in court) was worth only $1,000 - especially since I believed it would just crack again the next cold winter. He didn't reply. I've sent photos and letters to Hunter's VP of Marketing and Sales and also to their CEO. They just have yet to accept any responsibility and they continue to blame their customers for any problems they experience outside of the warranty period.

I've been warning other Hunter owners and prospective purchasers ever since.
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post #19 of 112 Old 11-01-2009
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I know I will probably come across as a bit (big?) of a jerk on this one but I have to say I find your notion of "properly prepared for winter" to be a bit tenuous to say the least. Mast directly on the ground under the boat, boat not even covered, hull still covered in grime, trailer on the dirt and tires not even on blocks... It is unfortunate that the boat is a goner and there is no certainty that a tarp, cover, cleaning etc would have helped on this issue, but at the same time you didn't help yourself with the winterizing....
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post #20 of 112 Old 11-01-2009
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I owned a smaller version also known as an H 90. It's a 9'+ sailing dinghy made from the same material. When not in use I stored it up side down on wooden blocks. In its stored position it never had more than a foot of snow on it, but one spring I, too, discovered severe cracking. In other words, it doesn't take improper storage for cracking to occur. All it takes is a fast drop in temperature.

The primary crack was nearly straight down the middle of the hull starting at the aft end of the daggerboard trunk and continuing to, and then up, the transom. There were also various smaller cracks that branched off from the primary crack.

I found online a paper, prepared by Hunter, describing how to mend the cracks using Devcon's "Plastic Welder". This is a two-part "plexus" unlike epoxy, obtainable at any Walmart. My first attempt to repair the cracks was not a complete success. The areas where the bond failed required that I grind out the hardened plexus and clean vigorously with acetone and a stiff brush. The second time around I bought several more tubes to repair the smaller area than I had originally obtained for the whole project and, fortunately, such liberal use did the trick.

I bet it will work for you, too. It may not be fun, but you'll have a functional boat again. Once done, I suggest you immediately sell it to someone who lives in the South!
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