Originally Posted by MrPelicano
I don't entirely agree with "the market is always right" - even though, from a business perspective, it certainly is. From a design and aesthetic perspective, you have to deal with the reality of boats from firms like Hunter - they sell a lot of boats which, in my perspective, are not particularly pleasing to look at and certainly don't perform well with respect to sailing. What they do well is:
1. Maximize livable interior space
2. Optimize performance while motoring - i.e., their hull designs can resemble powerboats more than sailboats.
There is a sizable segment of the market that appreciates these qualities. But I'd side with Bob here and say I would never want to design a boat where those two objectives were primary.
Yes, the market is always right and it is not by accident that even being Hunter an american brand and therefore with a special appeal to Americans, it was at the edge of bankruptcy and even if it is very difficult to preview market tendencies, specially american ones, I would say the new boats, relatively narrow and with odd chines would not contribute to the recovery of the company.
Hunter withstanding the advantage of being an American brand sells less in America than Benetau or Jeanneau and I am not sure if they will survive with boats designed like that. Contrary of what you think I don't think it is what main market wants. Time will tell if the new Hunter will satisfy the main market to whom they are pointed. I don't think so.
Those sailors and cruisers want all what you said but want also a boat that sails as well or better than a similarly priced boat with the same interior characteristics.
Market is always right even if you don't like the same type of boats the main market wants (that means most of the cruisers) and that is to be expected being you a racer that never seriously cruised. Even when you start cruising, you, like me, will want a rewarding and fast boat with sailing performance as one of the main if not the more important design criteria in the boat. There are boats designed for cruisers and sailors like us but they are not main market because that is not what most sailors want regarding priorities.
Boats with great sailing characteristics are much more expensive to produce (and price is very important), even having a simpler and cheaper interior.
The boats that are produced for the main market have to have all characteristics you mentioned and also sail well, and they have to sail remarkably well giving the cheaper deck hardware and the simplified rigging, so well that some of those boats can have a similar performance (or better) than many 20 year's old performance cruisers and that is truly remarkable.
I would say that main market can be defined as the best cruiser for the buck and that includes not only how it sails but interior and quality of space, how it motors, all this in a balanced way.
When you go to the Miami boat show I strongly recommend you not to show to your wife the Sun Odyssey 349. Even if the Elan 320 has a great cruising interior for a performance boat, she will never be able to understand why you will want the Elan 320. She will ask to you if the Jeanneau 349 will not sail well and you would have been obliged to tell her that yes and would say also that the Elan 320 is faster. She would ask much faster? and you would have to answer truthfully: No, just a little bit.
And then you will have a problem because she would say that a boat that is just a little bit faster does not make sense cruising or living wise face to one with a better interior (separated shower cabin and all) and also one that is a lot less expensive
See, that is what is all about main market cruisers and why most sailors will prefer them over performance cruisers
That's why they are main market.