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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I toured the factory last week, the tour was given by Greg Emerson, who was very enthusiastic about the boats, knowledgeable about how they are built and developed, and answered all my questions. The tour started off at a freshly laid H36 hull still wet, and still giving off heat from the curing process. This hull is a bilge keel model going to Europe, there was an H27 also that was a bilge keel model. The first thing I noticed about the fresh hull was the way it's laid up, it's about 5/16" thick up at the flange and down to the waterline, cored from the waterline to about 6" from the flange with balsa, what looks like one layer over top the balsa. But the area where the chainplates are is REALLY thick, a lot thicker than I thought it would be, at least 1" thick at the chainplates, then tapers a bit, like one layer of thick glass less at about 8" around the chaimplates, then another layer less another 4" down, then carryint a thick band all the way around the hull (the pictures show this clearly). Also the rudder area and all the way down the centerline is thick glass. The rest of the hull is not that thick, but the grid that bonds into the hull is also at least 1/4" thick, and there is a lot of surface area on that grid that is bonded to the hull.

Here is an H36 hull that was just laid up that morning, the smell coming from it was eye watering but strangely pleasent...


Same hull, here you can see the balsa core, the kevlar layers in the bow, and the extra reinforcement around the chainplates and waterline


Twin keels, obviously destined for Europe


Aft again, same hull


A finished H36 hull


Hull thickness aft, H31


A finished H31 hull, awaiting grid liner


The grid liner


Next we looked at decks, there were a lot of H31's under construction, so that seems to be their most popular model right now. There were three H31 decks in various stages of construction. The decks and hulls are built on these rotating jigs that can raise up and down as well. They also have a chart next to the door that lists the weight of every deck on a graph, he didn't even point that out to me until he saw me staring at it, they seem to be serious about monitoring the weight of each deck. The solid parts of the decks seemed to be 1/4" thick glass except around the big windows, that had another 1/4" thick band of glass bonded to the opening, so it was 1/2" thick there, also they have aluminum backing plates under all the hardware, and some wodden blocks bonded to the underside in odd places, I didn't ask but those must be spots where interior stuff mounts.

H31 deck








Double thick around the big windows


and the hatch


H36 deck being laid up


H33 I think


Main floor BIG boat side


Completed H31 deck




Underside, aluminum plates, and not sure what those wood blocks are for, they don't look permanent






Next we went to the area where decks are mated to hulls (I know we didn't get into interior modules, that was at the end) Pretty straightforward, 5200, screws every 8", then drilled and through-bolted every 8", then the rubrail put on. I forgot to ask if they remove the screws after that, they are stainless so maybe not, does anyone know? Anyway this was in the main assembly line area, they are built on sliding cradles that can be moved down the line. I didn't count but I saw 3 25's, 1 27, at least 4 31's, 3 or 5 33's, 2 or 3 45's 3 49's, some 38's and 36's. I dunno, 25, 30 boats under construction?

H31's in various stages...












Small boat side




Bilge keeler 27, destined for Europe








This is a good shot of quality control in action, this is an H25, the large black hose on the right attached to the red box is an air hose, they soap down the boat and pressurize it with that hose and check for leaks, then fix any that show up.


Then we looked at rudders and keels, he said they are all iron now because of lead prices, they are cast in Canada, then tapped, then have stainless rods threaded in, then you know the rest. I don't think I like the way that's done, I would rather have a hooked rod cast into lead, but they were big rods, and deep holes. The rudders are rudders :) fiberglass and foam, and very thick solid stainless posts.







Then we went to interior modules, this is where Hunter (and the other big builders) let me down. They take perfectly good plywood and cover it with crappy laminate, I know why they do this, but I don't like it. I think if I buy a new boat or a very recent one say a 31 or 33, I would over time modify as much of the interior as I could. It's not very well built in my opinion, but the WAY Hunter builds them is very impressive. They build them in these hull shaped jigs with holes in them, they build them on top of the grid panel in this jig so they will fit perfectly into the hull when finished, then the bulkheads are tabbed to the hull and deck. It would be nice if everything was tabbed, but some manufactures don't even tab the bulkheads. The pictures will show how the interior is built, I think they could do a better job in there, but the important stuff like the hull, deck, and rudder seem very well built. I'd buy one (and I might).





The factory itself was busy, all the employees looked happy and were friendly. And they don't have a lot of unsold stock laying around, Greg said they still build mostly to demand and dealer orders. I only saw 4 or 5 finished boats at the factory.
 

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eMKay,

That was really cool. Great photo essay.

Good to know they are humming along okay down there.

Very interesting about the keel bolts. I share your reservations. Also, funny there is no market for those bilge keel 27s over here? Did you ask them about that at all?

Thanks for inviting us along with you for the tour!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
eMKay,

That was really cool. Great photo essay.

Good to know they are humming along okay down there.

Very interesting about the keel bolts. I share your reservations. Also, funny there is no market for those bilge keel 27s over here? Did you ask them about that at all?

Thanks for inviting us along with you for the tour!:)
Yeah, I asked him, he said they all go overseas. I knew they existed from a British magazine article I found about it.
 

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I'm not a Hunter Basher but I have heard some negatives about some of them.

Was there a time period where one would steer clear of Hunters? or a particular size?.....

just huntin' for info here.....I have seen some that I would put on my short list but don't know enough about them.

plans......3 to 4 months a year in the Caribe....that's all...Prefer 30 to 36'

thanks
 

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Cool post EMkay



We have one like the one on the left (45CC), it's a fun bay or close to home sailor, but I won't go far with it ( no faith in it ) we're still dealing with elec issues that are one by one are getting under control 2.5 yrs and counting :(
 

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eMKay, Thanks for the photo essay. Hunter owners from overseas can only dream of visiting the Hunter MArine factory. I would really love to go on the factory if I get a chance to be at Alachua. :):):)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not a Hunter Basher but I have heard some negatives about some of them.

Was there a time period where one would steer clear of Hunters? or a particular size?.....

just huntin' for info here.....I have seen some that I would put on my short list but don't know enough about them.

plans......3 to 4 months a year in the Caribe....that's all...Prefer 30 to 36'

thanks
From what I can gather boats built in the mid 80's to late 90's are the ones to avoid.
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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JRP - My understanding was that bilge keelers are sold in europe in areas where shallow water and large tidal ranges are a problem. When the tide goes out, they'll stand upright in the mud. Like everything else, there's a tradeoff. I've heard that bilge keelers tend to be slower than most americans would put up with.
 

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Very, very cool post. Thanks for sharing!

I too didn't realize Hunter used balsa coring in the hull. Looks like it's strictly above the waterline, but still not something I'm crazy about. I suppose in a new boat that you maybe only plan to keep for 10 years before trading up, it might be ok. Or if you're fanatical about checking and/or rebedding deck hardware and thru-hulls.

eMKay - Did you get to see any of the electrical and plumbing installations? If so, what's your take on the process?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very, very cool post. Thanks for sharing!

I too didn't realize Hunter used balsa coring in the hull. Looks like it's strictly above the waterline, but still not something I'm crazy about. I suppose in a new boat that you maybe only plan to keep for 10 years before trading up, it might be ok. Or if you're fanatical about checking and/or rebedding deck hardware and thru-hulls.

eMKay - Did you get to see any of the electrical and plumbing installations? If so, what's your take on the process?
Well, on the hull there is no hardware or through-hulls in the balsa, it's above the waterline. As for the plumbing and electrical it's like every other boat I guess. The wiring is run through conduits and looks pretty organized.
 

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Thanks eMKAY.....

That works for me since I can't afford anything that new anyway.....
 

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From what I can gather boats built in the mid 80's to late 90's are the ones to avoid.
The Legend series built in the 90's are among the best built productions boats ever made. It was in the mid 80's that H had some production and quality issues and which should be avoided.
 

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I didn't know the new Hunters have a balsa cored hull....
They don't!
As the writer said,
"it's about 5/16" thick up at the flange and down to the waterline, cored from the waterline to about 6" from the flange ..." which means only a portion of the topsides are cored.

This is similar to numerous high end boats and done primarily for purposes of insulation and is done for virtually all production boats.

The hull is solid glass
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Legend series built in the 90's are among the best built productions boats ever made. It was in the mid 80's that H had some production and quality issues and which should be avoided.
I thought the Legend name was only the name they used in Europe, for essentially the same boats they sold here?
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Thank you for sharing with us the tour. Since I own a 2006 Hunter 36 it was interesting to see some photos of one being built. One thing you forgot to mention is the Hunter puts Kevlar in the hull during layup. Did you see this in the new models being built?
When I toured the new Hunters 2009 models at the boat shows I can see a big difference between them. Hunter is now using cheaper materials through out the boat; deck hardware (lesser grade of Harken), concrete/iron keels, no more teak veneer interiors.
I can comment on my electrical and plumbing and how it is built. Electrical systems is a simple system. Hitachi 60 amp alternator, 2X4d's batteries, nice Blue Sea electrical panel, Guest 1,2 both battery switch, Promarine 30 amp battery charger. alarms for low battery voltage and high water alarm. My boat is pre-wired for high water bilge pump, electric fuel pump by fuel filter. Not a bad system for just day cruising or one day on the hook. Any more than that and one has to upgrade everything for which I am in the process of doing. One good thing is everything is easy to get to and running wire is a snap with the conduits.
The plumbing system is all plastic snap compression fittings. All the piping is colored red or blue for hot and cold water. The manifold lives under the sink. Not my favorite place for this. I have some minor leaks in the snap compression fittings throughout the boat. I have got all them to stop except one at the manifold for which is giving me fits. The holding tank in the starboard stern lazzerate is there for the life of the boat. The hold tank indicator on most Hunters fail to work properly. One can see in the photo that the intake shoots waste right at the indicator tube. Bad design in my opinion.
I am not a happy camper with Hunter cheapening the new boats coming off the line today. I hope they don't return to the pre-Henderson days of building crappy boats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you for sharing with us the tour. Since I own a 2006 Hunter 36 it was interesting to see some photos of one being built. One thing you forgot to mention is the Hunter puts Kevlar in the hull during layup. Did you see this in the new models being built?
When I toured the new Hunters 2009 models at the boat shows I can see a big difference between them. Hunter is now using cheaper materials through out the boat; deck hardware (lesser grade of Harken), concrete/iron keels, no more teak veneer interiors.
I can comment on my electrical and plumbing and how it is built. Electrical systems is a simple system. Hitachi 60 amp alternator, 2X4d's batteries, nice Blue Sea electrical panel, Guest 1,2 both battery switch, Promarine 30 amp battery charger. alarms for low battery voltage and high water alarm. My boat is pre-wired for high water bilge pump, electric fuel pump by fuel filter. Not a bad system for just day cruising or one day on the hook. Any more than that and one has to upgrade everything for which I am in the process of doing. One good thing is everything is easy to get to and running wire is a snap with the conduits.
The plumbing system is all plastic snap compression fittings. All the piping is colored red or blue for hot and cold water. The manifold lives under the sink. Not my favorite place for this. I have some minor leaks in the snap compression fittings throughout the boat. I have got all them to stop except one at the manifold for which is giving me fits. The holding tank in the starboard stern lazzerate is there for the life of the boat. The hold tank indicator on most Hunters fail to work properly. One can see in the photo that the intake shoots waste right at the indicator tube. Bad design in my opinion.
I am not a happy camper with Hunter cheapening the new boats coming off the line today. I hope they don't return to the pre-Henderson days of building crappy boats.
No problem, but I didn't forget to mention the kevlar.
 

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I thought the Legend name was only the name they used in Europe, for essentially the same boats they sold here?
The hunter web site will show the distinction better than I can explain but essentially Legend in Europe refers to the brand and here in the U.S., it referred to specific designs of the Hunter brand. One way to tell a U.S. Legend series Hunter is the existence of a backstay with swept-back spreaders.

I also did the Hunter factory tour a few months ago as well as the IP tour the following day - interesting comparison and differences between how each is constructed. They are entirely different boats and intended for different purposes so won't make any subjective comparisons here other than to say the hull layup schedule seemed to me to be very similar. When I was there, they were using lead for the keels at both factories but the IP keel was a lead/cement composite blend.
 

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The twin keel design is slower, but it creates a very stable and versatile vessel.

My father-in-law sailed a British-made 24 ft. Westerly around Cape Cod for many years. It had twin keels. Because of its shallow draft we could leave Sesuit Harbor at any tide level without fear of running aground.

Another nice thing about the twin keel design is how easy it fits on a trailer. He used to tow "Neirid" back and forth to the Florida Keys every winter behind his pick-up and it rode nicely.

Another thing that I recall about his Westerly, which may have absolutely nothing to do with the keel design, is how much space this boat had: 6 ft headroom, adult-size head, a galley, enough room to fit an Atomic 4, and enough berths so that 4 of us could comfortably spend weekends aboard.

I think the twin-keel design has many practical applications for the U.S. and the Bahamas, especially where water depth is an issue and you're willing to trade speed for stability.
 
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