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Hunter 170...Anything to beware of?

Discussion in 'Day Sailers' started by JimInPB, Sep 27, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    I may purchase a used Hunter 170 in the next couple of days. Do these boats have any known issues that I should watch out for?

    Thanks,
    Jim
     


  2. Larry -- DH

    Larry -- DH

    Joined Jun 14, 2010
    123 posts, 35 likes
    Quorning Dragonfly 1200
    US home
    I had one and it would blow over (capsize) on its mooring in strong thunder storms. It's top heavy. It happened to mine twice in one summer (in a harbor in Long Island Sound) burying it's mast in the bottom mud. In Florida where you have daily thunderstorms, I'd suggest you keep it mast-down on a trailer or in a slip where you can attach guy lines.
    It's tender under sail relying on crew weight for ballast, and the motor bracket is not sturdy enough. It's also pretty fast and a lot of fun to sail. This is a racing/sport boat for people who know how to swim. Hunter didn't market it as a sport boat but IMHO it is definitely NOT a staid family daysailer.
    If you get this boat I recommend you buy one of those football-shaped floats they sell to keep Hobie Cats from turning turtle, and attach it to the top of the mast. That way if you go over the masthead will float and it won't be too difficult to right it again, which should be possible with (adult) crew weight. If the masthead sinks you would have difficulty righting it without assistance from a powerboat.
     


  3. Larry -- DH

    Larry -- DH

    Joined Jun 14, 2010
    123 posts, 35 likes
    Quorning Dragonfly 1200
    US home
    PS - it's the big brother to the JY 15 racing boat. Originally designed and made by JY, and sold by Hunter under the Hunter name as an OEM deal. I don't know what happened later, whether Hunter took JY over or adopted production.
     


  4. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    5,648 posts, 317 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    Jim;
    Like every boat, the Hunter 170 had it's pros and cons. However I will disagree to much what has been said in this thread. First I am a retired Hunter dealer who introduced and probably sold the largest amount of these boats telling Hunter in many cases how to fix them.
    Hunter entered into agreement with JY Boats owned by Dave Eck to get into the small boat market for a variety of reasons. 17 suggestions from me were incorporated into that design. However, I was not a fan of the ACP or plastic outer skin style boat but rather fiberglass. This is one suggestion not heeded. I learned a lot from Dave Eck.
    The biggest issue is when the manufacturers changed forumualtion of the ACP materials without any notice to JY and later Hunter (Hunter bought out JY and later moved the company to Florida to a controlled environment) which caused cracking. When that happened, cracks could be seen, many of the boats being repairable. There were some that had to be replaced which Hunter did even after the warranty ran out. That was the biggest issue. THEREFORE, if the boat you are looking at has no cracks, then that is what I called one of the good boats to be considered. Just like any boat that has been hit hard, damage will occur.
    With any daysailor of that size and weight, I never suggested it be on a mooring just due to the circumstances described above. This happened to others to include those manufactured by ComPac, Catalina, Precision and the list goes on as I used to sell them too. Therefore to say it was only Hunter is far from the truth. The suggestion about the mast ball being placed on top of the daysailors, as one of the largest if not the largest small boat dealer, I use to suggest them as standard equipment for all daysailors because even the experienced and novices when the boats would go over would prevent turtling or the mast going under just like with Hobie.
    Most daysailors are more flat on the bottom of the hulls vs. V shaped. I am now speaking in layman's terms. The less wetted surface the better for sailing. Thus if heeling too much you had more wetted surface in the water thus slowing down a boat not to mention the safety issue and scaring the heck out of anyone going sailing with you. To end this, you sailed slower so the phrase from me, sail faster with less heel was suggested. In addition, I never suggested sailing any daysailor no more than 12-14 degree heel controlled by sail control and the amount of sail being used for the wind conditions. Thus my suggestion for roller furling jib being standard and I think one reef on the mainsail (cannot remember if that was standard) were incorporated suggested by me. This was true for the 170. In addition the experience level will always vary from sailor to sailor.
    As for the motor mount, there is some truth to that. I never put anything over 2 hp on that boat and found the Honda 2hp standard shaft 15 or 20 inch shaft was sufficient as it had I think a forward/neutral /reverse handle vs. Tohatsu (makers of Nissan, Mariner and small Mercury engines as well) since those little engines had to be turned around vs. shifting which in some situations were dicy for those using the 170. However, larger engines and yes I have seen even a 9.9 being use were over rated for the boat or simply too much power for that motor mount would invariably cause failure of that mount. Then of course I have seen backing up too fast hitting the motor extremely hard for example on a dock. The motor mount for an overrated engine either too much power and/or weight caused much of the damage to them. So caution is urged on the motor should you buy the 170 and suggested is the Honda 2 hp with the lever control of F/N/R.
    As for repairs, much has been said but I can help you on that. As for being designed as a racer, the intent was on a family oriented daysailor with a bigger cockpit so four could sit very comfortably. Yes you will get varying opinions but I go by knowledge and experience only when I respond to this forum. Feel free to contact me anytime by forum email.
     


  5. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    7,111 posts, 1,105 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Backwards. Sailing with heel REDUCES wetted surface, does not increase it.
     


  6. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    Thank you gentlemen for the excellent replies.

    I intend to keep the boat on a trailer, so capsize at mooring is not likely to be an issue for me. Out of curiosity though, did that happen with the board down or only with the board up?

    In my exuberant youth, I was a pretty avid sunfish sailor, even taking that little boat out when the breeze was so strong that I would come back in with bent spars. I managed to not capsize that little potato chip of a boat in those conditions, so I had not considered the need for adding a mast head float to the day sailor, but the float does seem like a good idea & I probably will heed that advice. A friend turtled a Mercury in Cape Cod Bay once, during last minute trials for the PBIR. I remember how much effort was required to get that boat righted again. It was not an experience that I wish to duplicate.

    As for a motor, the boat comes with a 2.3hp Honda short shaft that looks to be the spin-around type. I was planning to change over to a 30 pound thrust electric trolling motor with 3-speeds forward & reverse. It's only a 500# boat. I was figuring that would probably be enough to get it in & out of the docks. I plan to sail, not motor a lot. The 2.3 can go on a little RHIB that I use for a tender.

    My primary purpose in buying this boat is to have a boat that is small enough for me to step the mast by myself, so that when I feel like sailing, I can just throw it in the water & go. I currently have a 212. That mast is cumbersome to step without assistance from a second person. This leads me to another question that I should have asked in the first place. How difficult is that mast to put up solo? It looks like about a 20' stick, so I assumed that it would not be that bad. Am I wrong in that assumption?

    Last line of questions - about the plastic cracks: Are there certain years of production to look for that are known to be better than others? Are there certain areas where I should be looking for them? Is the problem mostly cosmetic? Or are we looking at a potential genuine structural failure here?

    Thanks,
    Jim
     


  7. BobbyFunn

    BobbyFunn

    Joined Apr 16, 2017
    36 posts, 3 likes
    Hunter 170
    US FL Tampa
    This boat is for family fun on quiet waters. For people who want to take family out without whacking their heads on the boom. Guests can sit on thr nice bench and maybe help tack the jib. If that is you then this boat is fine. This boat is for people that want to sail with family but dont know why they want to sail.

    Set is easy with one person.

    Here's what i would check.
    If the metal rudder gudgeon wiggles at all. I fixed mine but it was a gamble.

    Is leading edge of centerboad trashed. Water will leak in and blister the gelcoat and delaminate from foam.

    Boat is infamous for cracks. Look for cracks around rudder mount and motor mount. Water intrusion here makes repairs a gamble with wood backer plates.

    The bow is going to stick up high in water with you and a battery at the stern. Windage is brutal. I use a 55 minkota and dont think it will be posdible to steer up wind in wind over 20. In high wind pick docks you can acces under sail. You wont make it through a long unprotected channel without centerboard down alittle and good forward flow.

    Once you get confident with a bigger boat and figure out why you sail youll start eyeballing boats for camping or racing, singlehandeding. In anycase youll wish the centerboard was 150-200 lbs.:)
     


  8. Solarfy

    Solarfy

    Joined Jul 26, 2016
    56 posts, 5 likes
    American Sail 18
    US Granada Hills, California MDR
    The <MacGregor mast raising system (http://shop.bwyachts.com/category-s/403.htm) will make it a heck of a lot easier to raise the mast by one person on the 17', or any boat, if you have furling gear and need to go under bridges or power lines. If no furling gear, a simple pole and mainsheet arrangement will make it easier to lift the mast carefully. Check youtube.com

    In my world the CDI furler adds almost 50# to mast weight. I did not know that when I got it. But the furler makes life easier when guests are aboard and when wind increases.

    If you are worried about stability there are options for increasing weight of centerboard or adding internal ballast.

    Sailboats and gusty winds are not a good combination for a family with young children. A sudden gust can knock you over before you can react. Initially try to sail in winds under 10 mph with family aboard. Never cleat the mainsheet,keep it on your hand ready to let go. The point of sail has a lot influence on sailing. Knowledgeable sailors can keep the boat upright and on plane in steady 20 mph (windmeter indicated) winds. Above that it is useless to go sailing in an unballasted boat. No matter what salesmen and Xpurts say.

    BTW. I sail in the open ocean only., After many capsizes without the hobie foam ball on mast and having jetskiers and motorboaters rescue my upside down boat I went with a Catalina 16.5K. The K stands for keel. 250# of it. Don't trust the weather forecasts too much. They are 30% accurate.

    A Hobie 16 has righting straps available that make it a lot easier to right the catamaran. I have used them. I do not know of such for monohulls. Because Hobie sailors flip boat all the time trying to fly a hull they came up with righting straps. Monohull sailors do not like to admit their unballasted boats trip and are a bear to set back upright.

    Suzuki has a 2.5hp with clutch that weights around 29 to 32#. Tohatsu/Nissan/Mercury and now Evinrude have a 2.5 and 3.5 at 38 to 42# with Neutral and Forward. To get a reverse you have to go to the 4 to 6hp models which weight in at a heavy 60# (all three of them). All are four strokes and with proper maintenance will run on one pull but must be store without gasoline anywhere near them. The only way you can get two horsepower engines now if from Chinese off brand mfgrs. We all know what their mfg without foreign interference is like.

    I prefer the T/N/M/E models because of the neutral to reverse you have to rotate engine around 180 degrees and put it in fwd. I opted for the 3.5 hp with long leg as I have to run an inlet with tides. Tides run 4 to 5 mph under bridges and the bridge tenders has no patience and will lower the bridge on your mast if you take too long. A Minn Kota 55# and two furiously paddling fools will not get the boat out of the bridge tenders mast blasting ways. It will however move the boat at it's max rated prop speed of 3.5 to 4 MPH wind free. With wind you can end up going backwards if not sailing and electropowering through.

    I would keep the motor you have if it weights less than 35#. An electric motor and a battery will run close to 70# and it's a pItA to haul the battery around to charge it. You get one hour of power out of a 1000 cca 130 min @ 20 Amps battery with a 55# MK>
     


    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  9. Solarfy

    Solarfy

    Joined Jul 26, 2016
    56 posts, 5 likes
    American Sail 18
    US Granada Hills, California MDR
    If you leave boat on a mooring or dock, raise the centerboard to avoid tripping. A 35 to 40# battery in the bilge will add stability to avoid flipping or going over.
     


  10. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    Thank you all for the excellent first hand information.
    I am going to look at the boat tomorrow morning with cash in hand.
    I will keep an eye out for cracks. I will also ask for a quick sea trial.

    Regards,
    Jim
     


  11. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    5,648 posts, 317 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    Jackdaw; The biggest thing with that boat is not to heel over 12-14 degrees and that was experience talking to me on sailing the boat. As for this boat we can agree to disagree on wetted surface but that was the general conclusion of others and I am specifying this boat. Probably not true with others.
    Solarfly; The boat came standard with roller furling
    As for motors it has been a while since retiring so the newer model of engines I do not know but a simple gas motor using ethanol free gas is the way to go. If you want to use an electric motor then you have to mount a battery somewhere and there is word of caution on doing that with this boat. They do sell an electric motor I think which contains the battery but again weight for the motor mount may be an issue. As for Honda, Tohatsu, they are Japanese motors and the one thing about Japanese, they make good product, not junk

    Jim; you can raise the mast but one trick to help you is to have a line either a longer topping lift or jib halyard that you can use to tie the mast off when in the up position to allow you to get off the boat and go around to attach the forestay to the chain plate. Keep us posted.
     


  12. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    I’m leaving to look at the boat in a few minutes. Thank you for the last minute info.

    Solarfy’s information about motors agrees with what I found when I went to look for a motor for my 21. I gave up the forward/reverse shifting & 1/2hp to save 20 pounds on a motor that I plan to remove from the stern & store down below for longer trips. For me, the easy on & easy off ability was an important feature.

    The little Honda on this 170 is an air cooled motor which is nice because there is no water pump to go bad & you don’t need to flush it after use in salt water. It has a centrifugal clutch, which I am concerned may be a wear item. When you rev the motor up, the clutch grabs & the prop spins in one direction only. There is no such thing as shifting to neutral or reverse on this motor. It works like an old school go-kart.

    The electric motor with a built in battery is called a Torqueedo (sp?). The battery pack is Lithium Ion & does not weigh very much. Those motors come in a few different sizes, but generally pack a pretty good punch for a small electric motor. I have seen one push a J-24. They are kind of pricey.

    The use of a trolling motor on this boat is an idea that I have now. I may change my mind after trying the boat & after seeing how well the existing motor works. I was going to use a 30# thrust only because I have one kicking around already. I may rethink that based on Solarfy & BobbyFunn's published experiences.
     


    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  13. Larry -- DH

    Larry -- DH

    Joined Jun 14, 2010
    123 posts, 35 likes
    Quorning Dragonfly 1200
    US home
    IMHO Keep using the Honda. If it ain't broke....
     


  14. BobbyFunn

    BobbyFunn

    Joined Apr 16, 2017
    36 posts, 3 likes
    Hunter 170
    US FL Tampa
    The min kota trolling motors have stems that are too long for small sailboats. It was constantly trying to figure out how to swing it up so that the rudder handle wasnt blocked and the motor housing wasnt 4 feet behind the motor mount. All the weight ofa trolling motor is in the motor housing. Thats a lot of leverage.

    I took mine apart and cut about a foot and a half off the stem. Now i can pull the whole thing up, then fold forward, with the handle up. Full rudder. May i am an idiot and wasnt smart enough to do a better way. Now i drop the motor all the way down and i know its a good depth.

    The speed control is nothing more than a kitchen stove knob with a long stick. It would be cool to simply place the knob by seat, but it is handy to control by motor and or rudder.

    I envy motors since they dont appear to have issues with the rudder handle.
     


  15. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    7,111 posts, 1,105 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    OK, so this is for everyone but Dave. ;^)

    When about boat (in particular a flat bottomed boat like the 170) is sitting flat on the water is has max wetted surface area, and max parasitic drag. A large bottom area drawing 1-2 inches of water. But when a boat starts to heel, now the reserve buoyancy in the now-submerged bilge/hull provides the required displacement with more draft (4-6) inches, but in a much smaller area as the same number of square feet are providing buoyancy. See this pic of a 170, the entire port side of the bottom is out of the water, the buoyancy for displacement being provided by a much wetted smaller area on starboard. Other factors might effect the particular boats optimal ability, but this point is a universal truth.

    135809_0_070320092033_2.jpg

    Looks like this.

    heel.png
     


    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  16. Crazy Dave Condon

    Crazy Dave Condon

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    5,648 posts, 317 likes
    -na -NA
    US Anywhere USA
    After locking accounts thanks to the Equifax hack which I am one of those with mush brains I am responding. As I said to Jackdaw in a private message, I generally agree but it depends on the individual boat and the number of folks on board. This is true with the H 170 and we can agree to disagree. This was a consensus at Hunter which I relied on but again it depends on those; anyway I still stand behind what I said and the max heel suggested is 12-14 degrees.
     


  17. BobbyFunn

    BobbyFunn

    Joined Apr 16, 2017
    36 posts, 3 likes
    Hunter 170
    US FL Tampa
    This is going to end up sounding like hunter didnt appy much science to the 170 and this would be a cool new thread.

    If the hull was perfectly ellipsoidal at all angles of sail then the wetted area would be equal at all angles of heel. There is actually a patent for a hull of this design. The 170 is not perfectly ellipsoidal so it cannot have the same wetted area at all angles of heel. The bottom is in fact very flat and square past the centerboard and very triangular in the front. In any situation where the beam stretches the ellipsoid out the wetted surface must decrease as the hull on the opposite side is forced out of the water. Displacement must also not change, so the hull will go deeper, adding some new wetted surfaces. Extra credit, does the lwl get longer also affecting hull speed?

    Hobie cats heel lifting the opposite hull out of water, reducing the wetted surface of one completely while sinking the other slightly.

    Heres the rub. The more wedge like the hull shape, the more a center rudder comes out of the water and vectors the water flow along a suboptimal direction with increasing heel. Lots of pizza slices have a duel rudder so that as the hull leaves the water, another purpose built rudder can take its place. With a single centerboard heeling raises the draft and also causes the foil to fail its applied purpose. Think of dehedral wings on a plane. On planes the wings make a slight v shape upwards. More heel is like trying to take off from a runway while your wings are folding upwards. You have speed, you have great foil shape, but the lift is not not in the right direction.(its inwards versus up) Lots of pizza slices also have foils that are raised and lowered for each tack so that there is a purpose built lifting daggerboard.

    So there it is. The 170 is pizza slice that has less wetted surface when heeled, but does not have the foiling appendages or centerboard weight needed for excessive heel. It sails faster with extreme heel but at the expense of control. Loss of control includes rounding up as well as no rudder control and slipping. Downwind with centerboard up, heeled some, you're gonna fly.

    The beam was made wide to fit your wife and kids. Hunter stopped the science there.
     


  18. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    Well, I did it. I bought the little day sailor. Now I have a project on my hands.

    The hull has a fair amount of top side cracking, but not enough to really scare me. Of somewhat greater concern is a few square feet of delamination around the chincy little motor mount. That is going to take some time & effort to fix. The rudder looks good. The centerboard looks good. The bottom looks good. The mast has a slight bend to one side that I should be able to fix. The rest of the standing rigging looks good. My sail maker tells me that the sails are good.

    The motor had a dirty carb. It was also overfull with clean oil. It also had nasty black oil in the lower unit, which contradicts the sellers claim that the motor only had 10 hours on it. I got the carb cleaned out & got the motor running last night. It actually runs well. Unfortunately, it seems to have a spent lower clutch bearing or upper drive shaft bearing. I'm going to need to pull the lower portions of the motor apart to get to that & see what parts are needed. The motor is nice & shiny. It looks new. I don't see corrosion. I haven't found stuck fasteners nor "bubba'd" fastener heads yet. It should be well worth fixing.

    The trailer has some badly rusted parts, but they are bolt on items that can be easily replaced. The basic frame is solid. The bearings are good. The tires seemed OK after I put air in them. The lights are partially functional, but need work. I will need to add bearing buddies.

    I got it all for about half of average retail book value, so I think that I sort of got what I paid for. Once I get the issues taken care of, I should have a fun little day sail boat.
     


  19. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    91 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us Florida West Palm Beach
    Jack, thank you for the picture. I was wondering how much freeboard was normal on that boat. Now I have a reference. In addition to that, I too though that Dave's statement about the way wetted surface changes with heel was a typo when I first read it. Thank you for checking on that.

    Dave, thank you for the heel angle recommendation. I had no previous benchmark for that boat. I am starting from zero experience here. Any additional knowledge & information you care to share is welcomed & appreciated.

    Bobby, thank you for the tech details. I'm not sure that I understand the pizza slice reference, but the rest of it was a very good read. As for the extra credit question - it looks to me like LWL is not going to change by more than a few inches, so I would not expect a significant change in hull speed, but at this point, that is just conjecture on my part.
     


  20. BobbyFunn

    BobbyFunn

    Joined Apr 16, 2017
    36 posts, 3 likes
    Hunter 170
    US FL Tampa
    Congrats on purchase! Sounds like you are confident in repairs and will enjoy the process.

    If the mast is bent check out the jib swivals on top and the drum below and mske sure they operate smoithly theattacment points all look good.

    Look for a manufacturing date on tires. They may be original. They are so cheep that it makes no sense to risk keeping them if they are older than 5-10 years. I needed a reciprocating saw to get most items off the trailor including the lights.

    Pizza slice refers to the modern shape of racing monohulls. The top down view is that of a pizza wedge. It think designers use it for planning hulls. Planing also rrduces wetted surfaces.

    Let us know when you get it out. Film it and put it on youtube. Theres hardly any good videos out there on 170s
     



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