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1st Post... 1st Large (to me) Sailboat... Hunter 28.5 or Hunter 33

Discussion in 'Ask A Hunter Owner' started by wsmac, Feb 23, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Maine Sail

    Maine Sail Moderator

    Joined Feb 6, 1998
    10,617 posts, 469 likes
    Canadian Sailcraft 36T
    US Casco Bay, ME
    Read the above quote, then read it again, let it settle for a bit, read it again and then add 25% to the recommendation of double the vessel cost to make it ocean worthy.......

    jssailem, nfg2u and LeslieTroyer like this.
  2. LeslieTroyer


    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,495 posts, 457 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    Hey John - most marina's these days explicitly forbid you from sailing into their marina - Everett is a case in point. I guess too many folks hit and damaged other boats in the attempt. That said I've done it with my dad several times on his Santana 27 in the late 60's early 70's, and again with my C-22 in the 80's. But the marina's were a bit more open then and not as tightly packed in.

    I would be very concerned about things that work but need..... (need new cable, need connecting up, need what ever) if it was easy they would have done it

  3. nfg2u


    Joined Feb 13, 2016
    39 posts, 4 likes
    Hunter Legend 35.5
    US Fort Pierce

    This was totally my experience and I did 75% of the work myself.

    wsmac and jssailem like this.
  4. LeslieTroyer


    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,495 posts, 457 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    I'm at 70/30 and not done yet. But to be fair much of that would also go on a brand new boat (auto pilot, electronics...)

  5. wsmac


    Joined Feb 16, 2017
    134 posts, 23 likes
    Hunter 28.5
    US Humboldt
    I believe I only need one more tool now and I can hang my shingle out (or would it be rudder?) as a Pro SurlyVayor! ;)
    Got something pretty nifty (as the young'uns say nowadays) today!
    A lighted inspection scope!
    Adding this to my inspection mirror/light, and plastic screwdriver handle, inspection tools!
    Luckily I haven't ended my searching... so I may still be able to get $50 worth of work out of this scope.
    If not...
    Then I'm offering up CHEAP Sigmoidoscopies and Esophagoscopies!
    This thing has 40 INCHES of flexible cable! Should work on most folks!
    I watched a couple of YouTube videos on this medical stuff so I'm pretty much a GEE-WHIZ Specialist now!
    0226171719.jpg 0226171717.jpg 0226171717b.jpg

  6. Sailor_Jeff


    Joined Sep 3, 2012
    195 posts, 9 likes
    Hunter 285
    US Grand Rivers Ky
    To answer your question and not pontificate and offer advice you did not ask for, the Hunter 28.5 was the bast boat Hunter ever made. Modified this boat had cruised around the world literally. It has no known design flaws that are intrensic. Using it as a cruiser though you will want to modify the water capacity and head. And at times you probably will wish it was bigger. It's small but good. The hunter 33 is also very good. I think you need to inspect the bottom of the compression post for corrosion. I've heard those things rot out and if so the boat has major problems.

    All boats must have the deck fixtures removed and resealed on a regular basis. Every few years. The leaks in themselves are ok. But frequently with leaks come mold and mildew. A mixture of bleach water will remove that. It just takes work but is of great value because getting the owner to sit with you in a smelly boat will give you the power to talk him down $5000 dollars. A weekend of work later, the boat smells fine. However the foam in the seat pads may need to be changed and all cloth removed and run through laundry.

    This forum has all the articles you need to fix everything you've outlined. Cruising concepts makes a window kit to replace the windows on the 33 and the 28.5 as all windows from that era leak. Their new windows don't. And I've seen a side window on a 28.5 leak and the water drips on the very back of the boat in the sleeping berth or under the stove, it's really weird how water moves around.

    Real sailors don't win races, to be a competent sailor you must actually maintain the boat. Racing people are really just good helmsmen. Captains know the whole boat.

    If you want, buy a newer boat in better shape, but be warned your property taxes and insurance will be a lot higher. If your stinking rich, who cares...

    Also, when you have rebuilt your own boat you car rightly laugh at the "credit card captains" who yell you it's cheeper to just buy a newer boat that does not need work. When face to face look then in the eye and stand proud, because you just know they are not a "real" sailor because they are incompetent at boat maintenance. When you rebuild a boat, you will become an expert and layer when in the ocean you will know how to fix every little thing. They are the ones on their satellite phones calling for a coast guard pickup because their ice maker broke and they can't live without a martini! Or they don't like the 3ft swells making them seasick.

    But, of course, they are being honest and correct, if your time is worth anything, it will be cheeper to buy a new or very well maintained boat. But I absolutely love leaving the world and my job with the Navy behind while I work on my boat. In the navy, the ship belongs to the sailors...

    It's a preference and a lifestyle....

  7. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    619 posts, 126 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    I'll back up what hss been said about costs. We bought out 1976 O'day 25 last year for $2300, she needed electrical fixed and a major rat nest of old wires removed. She looked really good and we had a ball on her all year on the lake. But the sails were very said and the old outboard decided it was done at the end of October. I lucked out and had a almost new main but a jib and new outboard this winter is the exact purchase price from last year. Just some real life feedback.

    I was feeling a larger sailboat before all this also until I took a real look and realized moving up even to a 27 or 28 would be 5 times what I have in my 25 plus starting over to figure out all the problems

  8. Tally Ho

    Tally Ho

    Joined Jan 7, 2011
    971 posts, 122 likes
    Oday 322
    US East Chicago, IN
    My experience was as follows:
    Wanted a 30+ foot boat for sailing on Lake Michigan. Wanted a diesel, and wheel steering.
    Found a 1988 O’Day 322 that I fell in love with. For sale at $29k. Sold before I made an offer for $25k. Nice shape.

    Bought the next boat I looked at, a 1996 Hunter 280. Great shape. Turned out to be a great first boat. Owned her for about 4 years. No major issues, just regular maintenance items (oil changes, bottom paint, etc. ).

    Then the guy who bought the O’Day 322 (out from under me I like to say) emailed me to tell me he moved, the boat was still in Michigan, and “make me an offer”.

    I knew what he paid for it, and he added a chart plotter, so I offered him $22k. He took it, and I owned 2 boats for a little while. Luckily, sold the Hunter before winter storage time!

    Have owned the O’Day for several years now. Now major issues, but I did replace my prop shaft, cutlass bearing, coupling and stuffing box hose (prop was original bronze and had a crack in it).

    The O’Day 322 is a much heavier, seaworthy boat. Much better cabin (full galley, larger head, bigger berths.). But the cockpit is actually smaller.

    My goal was to have a boat I could sail, not one that I had to spend all my time working on. I could afford a bit more boat than you are considering, but be others have said, repairs to an older boat that has problems may cost a lot more than the boat price.

    My “fleet”: Hunter 280 (R) and O’Day 322 (L).

    Good luck on your decision.


  9. RoyS


    Joined Jun 3, 2012
    322 posts, 69 likes
    Hunter 33
    US Bay Pointe, Quincy
    Carefully examine the Hunter compression post bottom. Here is a photo of my 1980 Hunter's compression post bottom after it was removed. IMG_0180.JPG

  10. Sanfelice


    Joined Jan 21, 2009
    182 posts, 4 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Lake Perry, KS
    I won't offer which boat you should buy or the worthiness of using electrical propulsion. I owned a 28.5 for over 15 years and will say that it is a good sailing boat and a pretty large interior for a 28 footer. It is easy enough to put in refrigeration if desired and AC if you want go further in the comfort department. There are no common defects in this model that I am aware of. The leaks often come from the hull deck joints which are glued and bolted through an aluminum toe rail. These need to tightened every year. The interior can be cramped due to the huge horse shoe cushion which I dumped. I did a change that worked real well for me. Removed the cushion, widened the seats/ berths to 24" by a small extension and thicker cushions. Just added a padded rail along trail above the seats. Wider more comfortable seat/berth. One thing to look for is if the fuel tank is removable. Mine was built in while a another 28.5 had a tank that was removable. The front hatch was a cheap one to begin with but is a common size if you need to replace. A friend removed the table which opened up the boat even more. No matter what you do I wish you luck and fair winds.