2005 Hunter 38 Sloop
“How fast is your hull?”… That is not a question most boaters even think of and probably a majority of boaters even care about. But for Glenn Henderson, the Chief of Engineering at Hunter Marine, it has been a life long goal and perhaps even an obsession. The Hunter 30 is the culmination of that work in providing a hull design that encompasses a huge volume of people comforts while delivering outstanding performance and easy handling.
The 2005 Hunter 38 sloop was sterned into the slip at the Port Credit Harbour in Ontario. From this position we were able to get a really good view of the boat’s lines. The hull design immediately impressed us as being dramatically different from previous models of this approximate size. More careful analysis of data indicated that this completely new model was a full 2 feet 8 inches longer in the waterline, even though the length of the boat was about the same… 38 feet.
The hull was showing plenty of freeboard, for which Hunter has become well known and the integrated swim platform with a fold down transom/helm seat was easily visible. A quick look from the dock showed the in mast furling, foresail furling and double lifelines from stem to stern. The now recognizable stainless steel arch and traveler system were moved well aft to provide easy access to and from the cabin below and gave appropriate purchase on the mainsail boom to have ease of control. The rig was the easy to manage B and R fractional designed for the 38.
Hunter was a pioneer in the manufactured boats to provide the drop down transom for ease of entry. The concept, borrowed from racing models, with self bailing open transoms gives people an extremely simple passage into the boat. Many marinas have gone to floating docks because of fluctuations in water levels and the ability to board in this manner when docking or coming to the boat with provisions adds safety and simplicity to the process… especially with higher freeboard models like Hunter.
The first look of the cockpit was exciting. Tthere is the fold-away steering wheel from Lewmar on an Edson Pedestal. The wheel has two couplings that are hand tightened or released to allow the left and right sides of the wheel to collapse into the centre hub to give full and uncluttered access around the wheel to other parts of the cockpit or beyond.
Storage was seen throughout the cockpit. When you first board on the platform (although technically not part of the cockpit) there are two large covered storage areas for fenders and lines or other things that may need to be placed out of the way of movement. There is even a cockpit hot / cold shower to clean swimmers as they return to the boat while out on the water. Inside the cockpit proper are storage areas as well. Immediately to port is a large overboard draining propane storage. This is part of the seating area too. Beside this and still to port is a very large lazerette that can hold all kinds of things because of the size. It also houses a built-in shelf to safely hold the passageway lexon boards while underway.
To port and to starboard are the Hunter signature taffrail seats. These form part of the stern rail system and provide solid seating for guests and crew alike while both at dock or under sail… It has been said that these are the “Best seats in the House”.
The Piece ‘de Resistance however, is the teak effect on the cockpit sole, the cockpit seat, the raised coach area and the taffrail seats. Although made of hassle-free and extremely durable Flexiteek, this touch looks like genuine teak and offers one a feeling of warmth, welcome and luxury. It truly says, ”You have arrived!”
Going below deck was an absolute treat. Too often for reasons of space, sailboats have used slim step treads for their stairs to save space below. The 38 has an actual stair case, which is straight, uniform with sensible risers and large, wide tread steps. This allows easy access to the salon and onto a beautiful laminate teak and holly sole.
As you enter the 38 Hunter the openness of the galley is to starboard and provides a clear and uncluttered view forward to the bulkhead which separates the forward cabin from the main salon. The L-shaped galley is large with a refrigerator, stove and oven, large and deep highly polished stainless steel sinks and a wide expanse of Corian counter space on which to work. There is even a very large in-the-counter trash holder covered by an easy to remove Corian insert.There is plenty of cabinet storage above and below the counter level and of course a built-in microwave oven.
The head/shower is port as you go below. First you enter the head with a separate space for the sink and vanity. The actual toilet and shower are also separate providing the boater with a large private space for shaving or showering. The head is also accessible from the large aft cabin with its queen-size bed (and headboard), lounging seats, shelves and compartment storage, and twin cedar-lined hanging closets. Boatcan reviewed an Owner’s Model so there were two separate staterooms with the main entrance to the aft cabin through the rear of the galley.
Further into the salon proper, one is impressed by the wonderful use of the spacious hull and the bright airy feeling of openess. To the port is a long settee and large functional navigation station with below deck instrumentation, the electrical control panels (AC and DC), and the large charting table sufficient in size to handle most charts. The U-shaped dinette is starboard and it is massive. It has a large teak table that converts into a double berth. All of the seating areas below are covered in a pleather fabric that for many would initially appear to be leather. This rich look and feel again add to the overall upscale feeling that the Hunter 38 provides to the owner and visitor alike.
As you look around you cannot help but be impressed by the high quality in the fabrics, the high gloss of the of the dining table, the rich solid wood accents that form coves around Corian counter tops or trim doors and cabinets throughout this boat. These features are not mere additions of wood but have carefully designed features to give you the feeling that this indeed is not your Dad’s Hunter. The 6 foot 6 inch headroom adds another dimension of size and space that many boats in this class do not provide.
Fully forward you enter the guest V-berth stateroom. Two cedar-lined hanging lockers, drawer and other storage space give you plenty of room to keep your things for weekends or much longer trips away from the home port. A solid wood door provides privacy and strength to the overall interior structure of the boat.
Another look heading back to the cockpit, and you see the standard custom accent cushions, the stereo system and the flat screen TV. Underfoot are panels in the Everwear sole that are easily removed for both storage and access to the keel sump should this ever be necessary to make some repairs.
BACK IN THE COCKPIT
Returning to the cockpit, we turned our attention now to the business of sailing and what Hunter had provided the skipper and crew for doing this job.
All lines are led aft and are through Spinlock stoppers to ensure that the slippage of any control lines is virtually eliminated. There are 4 self-tailing winches, two on the coach top and two rear in the cockpit port and starboard of the steering station. These are placed so that single handling of this boat is made quite simple. The traveller is mounted on the very sturdy stainless steel arch. The placement keeps this equipment up and out of the way of the cockpit floor, allows the control of the boom at the end where purchase and
ease of control are essential and since this fractional rig has no backstay, it keeps the boom above the heads of all onboard thus eliminating the chance of serious injury. Also mounted in the arch are stereo speakers and overhead lights to provide light for night sails and just sitting around relaxing in the evening.
The B and R rig, supports a Seldon anodized mast with in-mast furling system and Seldon boom vang. Our review boat was equipped with the optional Doyle vertical batten main sail. This configuration gives a larger main with greater roach and gives better performance than many concave roach in mast mainsails. The new 38 boasts just under 5% greater sail area then did its predecessor.
A final visual tour of the foredeck and rig, sees the strength of a rig that is solid and made to match the boat. The cleats are large and bolted into the deck plates. The forward anchor locker is large and opens completely to easily attend to ground tackle when necessary, and last but perhaps first, the walk arounds are wide with well articulated anti-skid features for sure-footed safety in all conditions.
TO THE HELM
Previously we talked about the fold-away Lewmar steering wheel. Now
deployed in the operational mode there, is no feeling of compromise from a traditional wheel. The helm station is comfortable and everything is within easy reach. The key and off/on switches can be used without really leaving the wheel. The single handle throttle/clutch is mounted on the Edson Pedestal and all electronics are right there in the pedestal pod for easy viewing and changing data if desired.
The cockpit sole is flat and wide, and with the transom in the closed position a great seat is provided for the helmsman when travelling. Visibility is excellent. The dodger is high and with the hard Lexon windows, the view is clear and without any distortions. You soon forget that you are looking through another substance because the view is so clear.
The Yanmar 3 GM 27/29hp engine is running and we are on our way. Steering is exceptional, well balanced and easy. The response of the boat to wheel movement is immediate and direct. It is clear to see that docking and undocking the Hunter 38 will be easier because of the double bearing rudder installation.
Clear of the marina and out on Lake Ontario it was time to set the sails. How often we have heard that sailing is “a lot of work“ – Not so!.. Hunter has taken all of the guessing and most of the work out of setting sails and sailing their boats. To prove that point, we hand-hauled the jib into position from its self-furling mechanism only using the winch to make the final and precise adjustments. This we did in well under thirty seconds.
The self-furling main with vertical battens, we deployed in about 30 seconds, while making sure that we kept appropriate tension on the main to have proper deployment. Final trim, engine off and we were sailing.
A storm had gone through the area the night before, leaving behind about 3 to 4 feet of seaway. This and light air of about 8.5 to 10.5 knot winds gave us the chance to see what this 30 Hunter could do.
A downward stretch allowed us to reach as high as 6.2 knots of water speed and while sailing into the wind we averaged about 4.5 knots. This boat is powerful. You could feel the energy of a well and carefully designed hull. The Henderson team had really done their work both from a visual and technical perspective. The boat moved quickly through the water and the concave entry of the almost plumb stem allowed this wide beam boat to really go. Now remember, we were sailing a shallow draft keel, in-mast furling, really the cruising model and still in light air there was excitement aboard this boat. The 6 foot 6 inch deep draft with a performance main, and the boat becomes a serious club racer.
Changing course and subsequently changing the sail set, is safely, simply and easily accomplished. The smaller jib of the fractional rig is easy to tack, and the arch keeps the mainsheet up and out of the way.
During our review, we performed a number of intentional jibes to test the response. Remember, we were in reasonably light air so the chance of a true problem was minimal; however, the feeling of strength and solid construction of the rig, the arch and the boat itself, was clearly evident. This is important because it does not make you feel threatened in any way if an emergent situation happened to arise while at sea.
Alas, it was time to head for the slip and tie the 38 up for the day, and this process was also made simple with the two furling systems. As easy as they were to deploy, the foresail and main were stored and away in about the same length of time as previously mentioned… Understandably so, since the diameter getting the sails up for the sail is merely reversed while putting them away with the same motions and the same amount of turns.
We returned to the dock and sterned the boat into the dockage space to again take advantage of the integrated platform area. We felt that the boat reversed extremely well. There was some side wind that could have caused some concern, but more importantly, this boat backs up without the usual propeller walk often associated with single engine inboards. That was impressive.
This review boat included the following equipment:
- 5 ear Limited Hull Warranty (transferable)
- Yanmar Diesel Engine Limited5 Year Warranty
- Whitlock/Edson Direct Drive Steering
- Exclusive Maxguard UV-Inhibited Gelcoat
- Exclusive Stainless Steel Cockpit Arch
- Walk-thru Transom with Hinged Helmseat
- H/C Cockpit Shower and S/S Telescoping Ladder
- Hunter Patented Cockpit Ster-rail Seats
- Antimonious Shoal Draft Bulb Lead Keel
- High Density Vinyl Rubrail with S/S Insert
- HKT - Hunter Technology in Hull
- Balanced Spade Rudder with Composite Shaft
- S/S Cleats including midship sleat
- S/S Coachroof Handrails
- Seldon Anodized Mast with B&R Rig
- Pro Furl or Furlex Headsail Roller Furling
- Mainsail and Genoa by Doyle
- Cockpit Electronics Console with Fold-out Table
- Spray Laquered Teak Furniture and Bulkheads
- Highly Styled Galley with Corian Counter Tops
- LPG Stove and Microwave Oven
- Everwear Teak and Holly Laminate Sole
- Flexiteek Cockpit Treatment
- Anchor, Chain and Rode
- Raymarine Depth, Knot and ICOM VHF
- Port Hatch and Bug Screens
- Hunter Exclusive Cruise Pac
- Freight to Toronto
- Customs Brokerage
- Bottom Preparation
- Epoxy Barrier Coat
- 2 Coats of Micron Bottom Paint
- Docking Package and Coats guard Safety Package
- And the VERY Extensive List of Standard Features from Hunter Marine
The sailboat market has been making monumental gains in recent years.
There are several reason for this. First take a look around your marina or yacht club. The sailboat fleet typically is an aging group. It is not unusual for you to find boats that are at least 20 years old and many 25 to 35 years of age. So it may no longer be practical to refurbish, to repower to resail or otherwise try to update these older boats.
Then there is the new buyer into the sailboat market. Many of these are first time sailors and some have come from the powerboat group. Bigger interiors, many more creature comforts and luxury aboard sailboats have helped in this regard. Then there is the ease of sailing sailboats today and perhaps even the cost of fuel to operate other kinds of boats.
Whatever the reason, Hunter is probably one of the factors to make the sailboat portion of the marine marketplace grow. Whether it is the concave and narrow bow to a quickly achieved full beam which is maintained fully aft, the Hunter boats are combining today’s design and building technology to make their boats, safer, lighter, stronger and packed with performance.
Is it the HKT – Hunter Kevlar Technology where a weave of light yet durable and strong Kevlar is built into the potential impact points of the stem, the leading hull features and the bottom of the hull? Or is it the fold-down transom/helmseat and integrated transom design that allows easy access to the cockpit? Might it be the in-mast furling and furling genoa, the large people comfortable cockpit area, the wide walk-around decks? Perhaps it is the opulent salon, large well-equipped galley and the shower/head compartments? The staterooms.. is this the reason? It is probably a combination of all of these! Regardless, Warren Luhrs and his Glenn Henderson led design team are truly changing the sailboat market in general and the 38 for 2005 is a leader in that change.
The hull change of the 38 provides more people space yet great sailing performance. The continuation of the S/S arch and furling systems, continues to make sailing the boat easy but fun. The well-planned designer touches to the interior of the boat just make the Hunter 38 the boat that must be considered by any and all considering the purchase of a boat in this size in their future.
Not only has Hunter moved away from their traditional colour scheme to a new format, but they have really move on and ahead of their previous 39 foot sailboats with this stylish performance oriented 2005 38 foot Sloop.
For more information about the Hunter 38, contact True North Yacht Sales, Mississauga, ON. Telephone: 905-274-8001, 866-610-1707
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