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Endurance2010 01-20-2010 02:52 AM

Any thoughts on a 1983 Hunter 34?
I am thinking of purchasing a 1983 Hunter 34. Yes, I know its not as great as the Catalinas and Ericssons, but if I get a survey and want it to sail SF Bay, provided I can get it at the right price and there are no red flags, how could I go wrong? I am hearing a lot of frowns on Hunters from the early 1980s, is this legit or just sailing puffery?

Jeff_H 01-20-2010 07:25 AM

I personally like the Hunter 34. I have been aboard quite a few of them and have always thought they offered a lot of boat for the money and size. They sail well, and were well thought through interior layout and offering a lot of nice details especially for that era. They have a nice galley and head. I can't recall whether it is the 34 or 31 that have slightly undersized berths but I would check them for size.

In terms of comparason to an early 1980's Catalina or Ericson, in 1983, at the time that the Hunter 34 was constructed, Hunters were much better built than similar sized Catalinas and while not quite as structurally robust as the Ericsons of that period, the Hunter 34 sailed better than the Ericson 34T and 35 mkII of that era and surveyors tell me that Hunter did a better job on their systems installations than most boats of that period as well.

I base my some of my comments on looking at a number of 1980's era Hunter 34's and Catalina 36's one after the other with someone who started out wanting the Catalina 36 but ultimately chose the Hunter 34 since they were universally in better condition and seemed better built, equipped, and/or maintained than same year Catalina 36's which universally looked and felt trashed.

Good Luck,

Sanduskysailor 01-20-2010 08:57 AM

The Hunter 34 has had several problems. The compression post tends to rot out out as the water leaks in where mast wire penetrate the deck. A lot of owners have replaced with a stainless post.Look for deck compression which is common. The ladder grid in the bilge creates areas where water can not escape. A couple of 34s I know of have had to have ladder stingers cut out and replaced because of rot. The forward sections of the hull are large and flex quite a bit in a seaway.

The H34 has an iron keel and is a little under ballasted. First reef about 15 knots apparent wind.

Bottom line, a lot of boat for the money. OK if the boat has underlying construction deficiencies fixed and that you don't mind maintenance problems of an iron keel.

AlanBrown 01-20-2010 09:17 AM

I've owed a 1981 Hunter 30 for the past 10 years. It was inexpensive to buy, easy to operate, and well constructed. Early Hunters enjoy a pretty good reputation and are very affordable coastal cruisers.

Had I been able to, I would have rather purchased a 34 so as to pick up an aft berth. My 30 is fine for 2 persons, but doesn't have enough room for overnight guests. The salon layout on the 34 is quite spacious for a boat this size.

By all means, have it professionally surveyed. I have encountered 4 issues with my Hunter which you may ask your surveyor to take a look at.

The first involved the chainplates decaying from the inside out. On the surface they looked fine. I replaced them all.

The second involved their point of attachment to a metal frame in the midship bilge area. The frame corroded and one of the attachment points broke off during Hurricane Jean.

The third involved the decay of the metal compression block where the mast support meets the keel. I had to reinforce mine using epoxy.

Fourth, have him closely examine the prop strut for electrolysis damage. Mine broke shortly after I bought the boat so I removed it, had it brazed, and got another 5 years out of it. When it broke the second time, I had to have a foundry cast a new one for me.

Finally, the Bomar opening ports are made of plastic. Over time they become brittle and break. Fortunately, they are still available for purchase from the manufacturer.

Good luck and good survey! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

COOL 01-20-2010 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by Endurance2010 (Post 561834)
I am hearing a lot of frowns on Hunters from the early 1980s, is this legit or just sailing puffery?

I believe that the Hunters of that era were well built.
Their systems were well thought out and put together.
The hull design of the Hunter 34 is better than the
Catalinas and Ericsons of that period, with a long
waterline and powerful stern sections. All the other
production builders followed with beamy powerful hulls
a decade later.
The 34 does have a fairly lofty rig for sailing on
'The Bay' so you will need to ensure that the reefing
system works effectively and that you have a sturdy
110% or smaller headsail for Summer sailing.

GeorgeB 01-20-2010 01:07 PM

When did Hunter have the deck-hull joint problem? I thought it was during the era when they were using the screws on the perforated toe rail to capture the hull. As I recall, there was a QA issue resulting from trimming away too much hull material prior to deck mating. The older, Chernubli (sp) Hunters are fairly rare on SF Bay. And fewer race so I cannot give you any specifics in relation to my C34. The Ericson 35 has a relatively higher aspect rig making it a little “noodlely” for sailing on the Bay. Catalina 34 and 36s have a pretty stout and stiff rig and buyers here are willing to pay a premium for the boat. The Catalina 34 and 36’s are probably out of your price range as they start around $50k and the ones in good condition are considerably higher and do not stay on the market long.

scottyt 01-20-2010 06:04 PM

the hunter 34 is not a cherubini boat the 33 footer is. i believe they stopped the 33 in 82.

Endurance2010 01-20-2010 06:50 PM

Thank you all so much. I now feel much better and confident. I will pass along the comments to the surveyor.


michkahn 02-14-2010 10:21 PM

I have owned a hunter 34 built in 1984 since 1991 and have cruised coast wise Mid atlantic to new england. Great boat, great interior, tender and needs to be sailed upright otherwise you'll lose speed w/a weather helm. I have a Yanmar 3gm, and I upgraded to a racor fuel filter. I have heard of no interior problems and boat is quite fst under sail and great accomodations, good luck

Endurance2010 02-15-2010 01:20 AM

Thanks Mich! BTW, what do you mean by tender?

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