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Hippchekk 02-18-2012 03:26 PM

Considering a Hunter 27 as a first boat on Lake Michigan
We are considering an early 70s Hunter 27 as a first boat to be used out on Lake Michigan near Chicago/Indiana. Because I am unfamiliar with Sail boats and worse yet older ones, I am hoping there might be a few good people to offer some suggestions on what to inspect when viewing a prospective boat other than the obvious soft spots, thru hulls, and standing water. I have done a decent amuont of reading as far as checking the mast step plate area, and perhaps cracking where the stanchions are but not much besides that. I know that its customary for owners to slam all other boats besides the manufacturer of their own but hopefully I can find even a few willing to offer their honest opinion.
This would be for Day Sailing and ocasional weekend overnight on Lake Michigan. Something solid and or stable, easy to learn and handle. Thanks all for reading and honest un-biased (if thats possible) opinion.

Sailormon6 02-20-2012 10:51 AM

I can't help much, but hate to see questions go unanswered, so will give you what I have, and maybe it will provoke other replies. I raced against an older Hunter 27 for a few years, and, in the hands of a skilled sailor, it sailed very well. The owner never mentioned any behavioral quirks about the boat, so I think it would be as good a learning platform, and as easy to sail, as any 27' cruising boat of similar design.

An excellent resource for self-evaluating an older boat is Don Casey's book, "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat". There are also marine surveyors who will inspect used boats for a fee and provide a report, listing defects that they found.

There are so many things that should be examined on a sailboat that I'm hesitant to try listing them all, but the Casey book is comprehensive. I will mention, however, that you should examine the standing rigging and the chainplates, because they hold up the mast, and can be expensive to replace. You should inspect the through-hulls, because, on some older, smaller boats, gate valves were used instead of proper through hull valves. Also, if they aren't adequately caulked, they can leak and cause severe damage to the hull if it's balsa cored, and old gate valves have occasionally been known to suffer sudden failure, resulting in a sinking. Look for excess play in the rudder, and look for signs of old damage, such as cracks around the keel stub, indicating a hard grounding. Inside, look for water stains that provide evidence of long term leaks, that might have caused damage as a result of being ignored.

The age of a boat is no determiner of its seaworthiness. There are great old boats still sailing if they have been well maintained and repaired. Good luck!

night0wl 02-20-2012 11:19 AM

If she's mechanically sound, had the required upgrades done over time, and clean to boot...seems like a perfect boat for the Lake. Hunters of that vintage were well designed, but not too well constructed, so make sure all the critical stuff (rigging, chainplates, rudder/rudder stock, keel and hull joint, keel bolts, water intrusion to deck) is checked out with a thorough survey and have fun!

brokesailor 02-20-2012 12:32 PM

I am a previous 27 owner hull no 1 of the new style that came out about 8 yrs ago. If you think you will be outgrowing the boat after a year or two I would stay away from the Hunters. There are a ton of them out there and are hard to sell. I got lucky because I traded it in for a hunter 36.

CalebD 02-20-2012 02:10 PM

Also note that there are several flavors of the Hunter 27'. Look on this website for all the varieties: HUNTER 27 sailboat on
The generic H27 fin keel model or the tall mast (TM) version may be the best sailors. I'd avoid the shoal draft (SD) and winged keel (WK) versions are probably not necessary on your great lake. They even make a tall mast with shoal draft version (TM SD) for some reason.
That's my biased opinion, fwiw.

Letrappes 02-20-2012 02:33 PM

If you are interested in a similar size and style boat, I have a friend who would like to sell his catalina 25 which is located in south haven, mi. I've sailed on it a lot and he always kept it in God shape. He's had twins recently so the boat has to go.

Hippchekk 02-20-2012 07:17 PM

OK, So we went to inspect the Hunter 27 which turned out to be a Hunter 25, (first dissapointment) with indentations in the sides of the hull where the stands were placed, cracks where the keel meets the hull, and the list goes on. I assumed that when he says it had fresh bottom paint there wouldnt be issues with cracks in the keel an such. Anyway, I would like to thank everyone for giving their input and suggestions. I am sure we will find our first soon and will reading up and trying to learn as much as we can in the meantime.

Hippchekk 02-20-2012 08:52 PM

Cat 25
Do you hapepen to know his asking price and if he has a trailer?

night0wl 02-20-2012 09:36 PM

Welcome to used boat never ceases to amaze me what owners and brokers will try and get away with. I've seen boats advertised at "absolutely the cleanest boat you'll ever see" and walked away gagging from the filth left in the head.

This is why a survey is so important - even a free boat can soak you financially, even if it is just to get rid of it after learning your tough lesson.

redfishnc 02-22-2012 08:51 AM

flower pots
How about me driving from Toronto to South Haven, Michigan to look at a Catalina 30 that was 'Perfect'. The winches had been removed and flower pots installed in their place and no sails. The perfect floating condo had not been out of the slip since they bought it as their vacation home. I read a piece of advice on here recently, determine your price range and look at all boats that fall within. I thought that was sound advice.

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