Should I be looking at a 31 or a 33 Hunter? - SailNet Community

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Old 07-31-2006
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Should I be looking at a 31 or a 33 Hunter?

I have sailed a 26 Macgregor for 14 years now and think it is time to move on. I was thinking of purchasing either a Hunter 31 or a 33. I sail the Delaware and the upper Chesapeake. I usually single handle and either day sail or short week cruces. I am looking for some prose and cons on either the 31 or the 33.
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Old 07-31-2006
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If you're talking the new 31 and 33, they're supposed to be bettered designed, performance wise, than previous models. Some pro's, in my mind are, the fractional rig (easier to singlehand), cost, shoal keel option, comfortable and roomy.

Some con's, again, in my mind, small tankage and stowage, too many non sailing related "gadgets". They also seem more geared to time at rest, than in motion.

For what you have in mind though, I'd say it's a fairly good fit. A lot depends on how much money you're looking to spend.

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Old 11-13-2006
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The H33 got a good review from Sailing Mag, and a copy is on the Sailtime part of the Hunter website, the part on fractional ownership.
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Old 11-29-2006
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Before reviewing boat specs, you need to review your own sailing "specs". Going from a 26' MacGregor to a 31' or 33" whatever make is a big step. Since, I too, am a solo sailor, and I found a world of differnece between my 27' Hunter to my 34' Hunter. I don't know your age and physical abilities (BTW, I'm 63) but you need to consider how the boat is set up for single handed sailing. PBreezer has good points about the 33 considerirng solo sailing.

I had a tiller on my old boat and everything was within arm's reach. Going to a wheel and probably a mid-boom rig is more challenging when the weather wants to get nasty real fast. It's a long walk up to the clutches in order to dump wind fast on a big boat. I sail Lake Michigan and we've been known to get an ugly blow without warning. I just hate leaving the wheel to pop the main sheet at the clutches. It was easy when the traveler was behind me. Harken hasn't yet been able to figure out a solution to getting my main sheet at my fingertips.

Now, on the pro side of "boatfootitis" aka bigger is nicer, I was on a guy's 30 foot O'Day and it was claustrophobic in comparison. I could hold a dance in my cabin but I felt like I was bouncing off the walls in his, so to speak. On the off chance you allow people aboard that have no "boat sense", a bigger boat is better for them too. They can get lost aboard and thereby leave you alone which is probably why you enjoy solo sailing like me. Bigger cabin = more comfortable cruising.

Go to a show: kick rudders; ignore the touristas as you sit in the boat and ponder. You're there to make a decision. They're just dreaming. I've overheard more wives talk about how "purrddy the kitchen is". Do you really care about that stuff?

Remember, you're part of a minority breed... a solo sailor. Think about your safety, your ability to handle the boat without help in any condition you might encounter and still enjoy it; not just when it's a nice 10- 12 knot breeze.

I've been doing this on and off for over 20 years. but this is still just my humble opinion. We all keep learning as time goes on. My guess?... You'll go for a 33'. Boatfootitis is an addiction.


Last edited by BigBoatSailor; 11-29-2006 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 11-29-2006
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Hunter has a site where owners review the Hunter Boats they've purchased. As one might expect, the vast majority of owners are happy with their boats. I do suggest you read these reviews carefully as there are a number of issues on the 33 that popped up several times on these 1 or 2 year old boats despite the wonderful reviews by the bought and paid for media! Here's one review (bad) can read them all HERE

Review of the Hunter 33 by John Giraudy on May 23, 2005. Year built: 2004 Location of boat: Ontario The boat is sailed on: The Great Lakes How the boat is used: Day sailing Normal wind strength: 10-15 knots Average size of crew: 2-4 Liveaboard? No John Giraudy bought the boat in: 2004 If the clock could be turned back, would John Giraudy buy again? No Gear that's been added: Yes: Upgraded from ST40 to ST60 Speed/Depth and Wind. Added Horizon GPS, Dodger/Bimini, Lewmar Windlass, Spade Anchor and a three-bladed MaxProp. I also opted for in-mast furling. Structural or complex improvements: The GPS addition was pretty straight-forward but in adding the Lewmar windlass I had to do some research and plan the fixtures and wiring connections carefully. However, it was not too complex. The boat's best features: It is well known that Hunter Marine is innovative with its designs and the Hunter 33 is no exception. The H33 is spacious and very comfortable as a cruising boat. Sleeping accommodations are very good for a boat of its size. However the toilet is a bit tight on space. The galley is well equipped and well laid out. The electrical system is neat with wiring routed through conduits. Automatic sprinklers in the engine compartment and gas detection are thoughtful aids to safety. It is also neat to have all the through-hulls located in one area. The H33 rides rough weather fairly well by cutting through waves instead of slamming. Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc.: 1. Gelcoat is a bit thin and "scuffs" easily. I do not believe the integrity of the hull construction (ie strength and longevity) is as good as some of the boats in its market segment - my opinion. 2. My keel is bent and Hunter will do nothing about it. They say it is within industry standards. (Whatever that is. In my discussions with Hunter I get the impression they assume they pretty much set industry standards since they hold the largest market share). I was told by Hunter that the wing on my shoal keel can be up to 4 inches out of true ie to port or starboard - from keel/hull attachment to the bottom of the keel and this will have no effect on the vessel's performance!! The bottom of my keel is nearly two inches off center. The boat slowly veers to starboard while motoring. While visiting the Hunter facility at Alachua I noticed a number boats awaiting delivery with similarly bent keels. Hunter says the method of keel attachment is "line of sight" and not always done by the same person. (I can only guess that my boat's keel must have been sighted by the guy who needed an eye-test). 3. The location at the transom to work the bilge pump is questionable in my opinion, especially if the going is rough at the time of use. 4. The bilge and the vanity outlets are located on the starboard side about mid-hull, just below the rubrail. Apologies to anyone walking on a dock past a H33, at the time of activation of these systems. 5. Cabin top around the two winches is "busy" with all the lines leading aft. 6. Yanmar 3YM30 is a good, quiet and fuel efficient engine but in my experience prone to overheating. I hope my prolonged (overheating) problem is now solved. Spare parts for that engine is slow to market. Sailing characterisitcs: Generally the boat sails well. It is difficult to discern the "bent keel" effect while under sail. The effect is noticeable when motoring. I especially like the in-mast furling which makes for timely reefing. I do find the H33 a bit tender though. I have to start thinking about reefing in about 12 knots of wind. This was the advice given to me by the salesman who sold me the boat and it is good advice. I am told the deep fin version sails much better - as one would expect. PS: I beg forgiveness from all the H33 rail-in-the-water types who may question what may appear to be cautious reefing. However I prefer comfortable sailing. Motoring characterisitcs: The boat/engine combination is good with enough power to drive the boat in bad conditions. However, my experience of veering off course because I believe it to be as a result of the of my keel problem, is a PITA. Liveability: Good for entertaining and also for weekends and cruises. Manouvering around the helm is tight and awkward. I wish Hunter could invent something innovative with the wheel, like Beneteau did. Six is getting crowded in the cockpit. Getting at the engine is a chore. The owner's experience in dealing with Sailboat (if any): Generally Hunter's customer service staff are knowledgeable and helpful but the department is short-staffed. Hunter could do with beefing up customer support staffing, particularly as they sell more and more boats. The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any: In my experiences I would prefer not to say. However the boating industry is sadly in need of an overhaul of standards and procedures for dealings between seller and buyer. It is like the used car business of years ago, until legislated regulations forced dealers to be more customer conscious. I have no doubt there are some good dealers out there but that is not the over-riding norm for the industry. Other comments: In general - nice boat but definitely mass-production quality and value. Let's face it you get what you pay for.

Last edited by camaraderie; 11-29-2006 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 11-30-2006
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Hunter 31 or 33

I looked extensively at both last year. The 31 while very nice had almost NO storage. The 33 had much better storage. I think either would be easy to singlehand.

PS. I wound up buying a '94 Legend 35.5, lots of storage and the admiral really liked the cabin layout.
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Old 11-30-2006
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Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice Giulietta is just really nice
Talking I like the Hunter guy's comment here:

I loved his humor...too late now...

"Hunter says the method of keel attachment is "line of sight" and not always done by the same person. (I can only guess that my boat's keel must have been sighted by the guy who needed an eye-test)."

Just a curiosity, I've only seen 2 or 3 Hunters around here. But do not remember seeing a Catalina, (I know the boats). Do they export?

Last edited by Giulietta; 11-30-2006 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-30-2006
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Only if you like boats made with countertop material
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Old 11-30-2006
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My 2 cents

I went from a Mac 26X to a hunter 31 1984. WOW what a difference it sails very well and as far as single handed I sail with my wife aka admiral but I do most of the handeling. It is very easy you will need an autopilot I have a ST 4000. It sails very close to the wind but it has upgraded sails. I agree with the person that said do your own assesment of your needs. Our boat has plenty of storage for our needs. In fact we don't use all we have. Tanks are good for a few days out not a crossing for sure. We are not more that two days from a pump out and fill. So we have no issue with capacity. We really like to boat.
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Old 01-19-2007
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I too went from Mac26X to a Hunter 326. It truely is a fantastic change for the better in sailability, comfort, entertainment for family/friends... Recently I hit some underwater object that bent the wing on my shoal draft keel. The wings now look like manta ray wings. Kind of nice looking. Didn't change the sailing character one bit. She still points as high and go as fast.
My friend asked same questions about going for the 31 or 33 recently. He finally settle for the 33. Its more roomy and has has better storage. I believe you'll get more for the price difference paid then the 31.

Last edited by trantor12020; 01-19-2007 at 06:23 PM.
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