Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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High Tech vs traditional-Comments?
While I am not sure that I disagree with your conclusions, I do disagree with your reasoning why the newer Hunters might be better seaboats. If you look at 40 to 41 foot Hunters for example from the mid 1980''s (Legend 40), mid 1990''s (Passage 405) and today (410), you will see that the 410 is indeed about 1600 lbs heavier than the mid-1980''s Legend 40 but is virtually the same weight as the mid 1990''s Passage 405. The mid-1980''s Legend 40 also had 500 lbs more ballast and so was more like 2100 lbs lighter when the keel is subtracted. But when you look at the details, the 410 and 405 have substanially larger tankage (fuel, water and holding) they carry an extra battery bank and an larger engine. Newer boats tend to be designed to have a lot more small built in items ,as well as, alot more heavy stuff on board. Cumulatively items such as, inverters, bigger and an increased number of battery banks, heavier and duplicate ground tackle, multiple bow rollers, electric windlasses, arches, rigid vangs, corian counter tops,innerspring matresses, standard (vs optional) refrigeration, bigger engines and larger capacity alternators, larger capacity hot water heaters and such popular options as watermakers and built in auxilary gensets, really can add a lot of weight to a boat that has nothing to do with the boat''s actual strength.
When you add to that the fact that displacement on boats was generally cited as completely stripped out in the 1980''s and cruising boat weights today typically are typically cited as with a reasonable compliment of gear, I don''t think that we can assume that the hulls are heavier or have more bulkheads.
Roller fuling mainsails are fine for coastal cruising but are a really bad idea for offshore work. (They have a lousy record of jambing at the worst times and also over time when reefed, they tend to power up as the sail cloth creeps down toward the gooseneck. One thing that I applaud about Hunter (unlike Beneteau and Catalina) is that they have tried to direct potential buyers away from in-mast furling.
Then there is the heavier rigging. From my experience, I am not sure that is really true, but even if it is, newer Hunters are designed without backstays. This enormously increases the loadings on the upper shrouds as they now bear the brunt of maintaining headstay tension and aft loadings. They could easily have two or three times the loadings that they previously had to withstand and so would need to get significantly larger.
Which only leaves the open stern and given that the lip of the companionway is below the height of the cockpit seats, you really need to have an open transom to prevent downflooding.