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Hunter 31 Newbie Introduction

Discussion in 'Mid-Size Boats' started by Manly, Mar 5, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Manly

    Manly

    Joined Jan 3, 2018
    38 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 31
    Odyssey US St. Petersburg
    Hello everyone,

    I would like to introduce myself as a new Hunter owner! My wife and I purchased a H31 last August (2017) and moved aboard after a week of ownership. The boat was in rough-ish condition, though mostly intact, just needing lots of things fixed. I have some sailing experience from smaller boats on inland lakes but my wife is new to this. We are living at a marina now, fixing her up but also working.

    We didn't get the boat surveyed because, among other reasons, I could see well enough pretty much everything needed TLC. However, the previous owner did take us out on it sailing and the engine fired up too, so I knew it was in at least good enough condition to get out of the harbor. Our purchase price was $7,900, which may have been high, I don't know, it seemed reasonable at the time in comparison to other boats we had looked at for not much less but in significantly worse condition. Our entire boat search consisted of 1 week of looking because our landlord needed his house back on short notice and instead of moving to an apartment or another house we decided it would be fun to go live on a boat, but only made that decision 2 weeks before we had to be out of the house. That gave us 1 week to quick find a boat, and 1 week to quick get it up to snuff good enough to live on. Of course we were both working too, so didn't have much time indeed. We also didn't have tons of cash, but wanted to buy the boat outright instead of financing it. This Hunter fit the bill.

    After the purchase I went around and made a list of about 100 projects it needed. We've worked our way through about a 3rd of the list so far.

    The floors were rotted out in the salon area and the boat stank so bad I could hardly go below without gettning knocked over when we first bought it. Therefore, our first project was to pull the floor out. The hatches had leaked water which got underneath the floor and caused the rotting.

    We pulled out the settee's on both sides, lifted out the rotted remnants of the cabin sole, and drilled a number of 3" holes in our liner to gain access underneath, as well as putting holes in the bottom of the bilge to access the trapped water underneath in the "false" bilge. There was lots of nasty mold under the liner which I cleaned out by hosing with soapy water. To wit, I blasted water through the door under the vee-berth, through access ports in the aft area of the boat, and through the various holes I had drilled in the liner in the salon area. Also I "flooded" the boat (filled the bilge and left about 6" standing water inside) and let soak with bleach solution, then pumped it all out, repeatedly. At first the water was black, yucky water, but after many iterations of flooding, scrubbing under the liner with a brush as far as my arms would reach through the various access holes, letting the bleach solution soak, and then pumping again, the water eventually ran clear. We then dried everything out for a couple days and put in new plywood with vinyl planking glued down (for the salon area) and screwing the wooden settee's back in (this wood was ok, except the vertical board on the port settee was also rotted and I replaced it too). We didn't have time to replace the sole fore and aft (by the bathroom and the kitchen) so our cabin sole doesn't match now, but is very functional!

    All in all, that was the first week of work (late nights at the boat after work!) and then we moved aboard. All that cleaning got rid of the nasty smell, except our head was still pretty grody and smelled. When we purchased the boat, for some reason there was no sink or faucet in the bathroom. The water lines were there though, hanging loose. There was also no "cabinet wall" underneath the sink, just a curtain they had rigged.

    First item of business for the bathroom was to throw away the old toilet and install a new Jabsco as well as install a new sink and faucet. That made things functional, except the hoses were old and leaking, no matter how hard I tightened the hose clamps. Over the next few months I overhauled the bathroom, including installing sink/faucet, replacing all the sanitation hoses, installing a Y-valve, cleaning out the holding tank, replacing the macerator, running new wiring, painting, caulking, replacing the pump-out stainless fill port on the deck, installing a level gauge for the holding tank, replacing the fresh water hoses with red/blue PEX, installing a new cabinet face under the sink and adding a cabinet hatch behind the toilet where the oval opening used to be, etc. One reason it took longer was we were concurrently fixing other things that were broke as well as preparing things for our first child which was born last month. I can talk about those mods another day.

    Regarding the bathroom remodel, I periodically took some video clips of that as we went along. If anyone is interested, you can view it here:



    I'm looking forward to meeting and sharing experiences with other Hunter owners.
     


    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  2. Daddio417

    Daddio417

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    27 posts, 6 likes
    Pearson 31-2
    Ca Bras D'or
    I just want to say how much I admire your tenacity. That being said please consider having someone with experience look at your vessel before you head out on any adventures, you really need to know you are not putting yourself at risk.
     


    Franklin likes this.
  3. Dave Groshong

    Dave Groshong SBO Staff Staff Member

    Joined Jan 25, 2007
    1,255 posts, 72 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Seattle


  4. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    1,941 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL

    Congratulations on the H31. I too have a 31, and redid our head. Below is a link to the thread on the remodeling, with lots of pictures.

    Hunter 31 Owners, How have you upgraded your head
     


  5. kloudie1

    kloudie1

    Joined Nov 6, 2006
    7,764 posts, 489 likes
    Hunter 34
    US Mandeville Louisiana
    Welcome ! Looks like ya have your hands full but you'll enjoy sailing that boat ! Lots of good info on the site.
     


  6. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,409 posts, 981 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    Living the dream! :clap:
    Welcome Manly,
    I'm not a Hunter owner but I am interested in following your exploits. It is exciting, what you are doing. You will learn tons, both here on SBO and working on your boat.
    I won't bore you with an extensive cautionary script, it sounds like you've already made your commitments. That's great. Just keep in mind that ocean sailing has distinct differences from lake sailing, so listen and pay attention to those with experience. Most of all, use your own critical judgment.
    While reading through your post, I was going to suggest you be liberal with the pictures, but then I came across your video, excellent. :) I haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but I will.

    So, a few questions. Are you in the water, at a slip or on the hard, while you are doing your work?
    Which coast are you on? There are some great places for day sails all over Florida, while you get to know your boat. I'm not the only one who can give you advice on that.

    Great post. I hope to hear more from you.

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  7. Pizzazz

    Pizzazz

    Joined Sep 11, 2015
    53 posts, 17 likes
    Hunter 31
    US Marina del Rey
    Congratulations on the H31. I have the 1984 model and I love it. Here is a list of things I have fixed on the boat:

    Essential

    - Compression post. You need to inspect the compression post as this is a weak link on these boats. You take a 4x4 and an automotive jack, put it next to the compression post, undo the screws to the bulkhead, loosen the rigging and lift the mast up slowly. You can then pull the compression post back. Inspect the area around the mast base for rot and water ingression. If anything needs fixing, search the archives and fix it.
    - The waste tank and the water tank. Instead of drilling these openings, it would have been better to reseal the tanks. You can use either silicone or butyl tape for the waste tank and food grade silicon for the water tank. The best way to check the water tank is to fill it with water nearly to the top then open the round port and listen for releasing air pressure. If there is no pressure or the water is leaking, just reseal the lid.
    - The portholes and windows. If any are leaking, the sooner you fix them, the better. In my case, they were not leaking but I replaced the fixed windows as the the old ones were crazed.
    - Engine alignment and maintenance. Make sure your engine is aligned, it is easy to do but takes time. If not, bigger issues will follow.
    - Inspect and fix all through hulls, I would replace ones that look iffy.

    Nice modifications
    - Fresh water flush. Connect the head sink drain to the toilet water intake and the throughull through a T and an adapter. This helps significantly with reducing odors. Probably one of the best modifications I have done. Sea water contains lots of organic creatures and if you do not use the toilet often, they rot and start to smell. I switched to grey water flush and the smell is gone. It is a little inconvenient at times since you have to pump when shaving or whatever but the benefits are huge.
    - Carpet in the v-berth and the quarter berth. If old and soiled cut out as much as you can, the rest you can steam wash. Once you have everything cleaned up, I would run an ozone generator for a couple of days. Don't over do the ozone as it destroys rubber but it really helps with all sorts of organic smells.
    - Close the fridge drain. Some water will accumulate in the fridge that you need to pump out periodically with a childrens' water gun or something. However, it will always smell if you leave it draining to the bilge.
    - Shower sump. Inspect the hoses that go from the shower sump to the bilge. A permanent way to fix this is to install a sump pump that takes the water and drains it out from the now free sink through hull. A temporary way is to let it drain to the bilge. Make sure you restore the bilge to its original setup, you want the water from the shower to drain to the false bilge which is then pumped out by the bilge pump. You do not want that water seeping below the false bilge.
    - If you decide to install an air conditioner, heater or any forced ventilation, consider using the channels next to the hull deck joint. There is plenty of space there to pass a 3" hose and it works nice and neat.

    This is all I could think of. Make sure your rigging is in good shape, that you have two deep reefs in the main and that your jib is in good shape. The boat sails better with a 110% jib than a genoa. I have a 110% and a 155% and I rarely use the genoa, only if racing or the winds are forecast to be weak for a few days. Practise how to change the head sails in medium winds. The boat is fast but you need to reduce sail over 15 knots or you will be healing too much which is not good.

    By far one of the best Hunters made.

    Regards,
    SV Pizzazz
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  8. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,244 posts, 1,678 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Welcome to the forum @Manly . Nice first of likely many projects.
    We all make our boats what we want them to be. I see you had to make cuts to do the work you wanted to accomplish. The only challenge with a boat is that the engineering that goes into each boat is based on it being a sail boat. Hunter is no different. They placed bulk heads and fiberglass stringers to give the boat a certain engineered stiffness. They then use some of the open spaces inside the stringers to run wires. Your video showed your cutting into bulkhead beneath the sink. Then you cut into the conduit where you found the wires. Just check that your cutting to expose voids does not degrade the needed torsion strength built into the boat. This could lead to a failure that would impair the ship while under sail or in a seaway.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  9. HMT2

    HMT2

    Joined Mar 20, 2014
    543 posts, 108 likes
    Hunter 31
    US Shoreacres, TX
    Welcome sir,
    You have some STONES taking all of that on with a baby on the way! I have an ‘83 Hunter 31, if I can help let me know. I have painted my deck and coach roof, replaced the sole, put in a NMEA 2000 network, restored the original oiled interior wood and done a variety of engine and fuel maintenance and repairs. I also replaced the instrument panel in the cockpit. If I can help with anything PM me. What year is your boat?
     


  10. Manly

    Manly

    Joined Jan 3, 2018
    38 posts, 12 likes
    Hunter 31
    Odyssey US St. Petersburg
    Daddio417: Thank you for your comment. Regarding having someone look over things before adventuring is a good idea. While I'm not planning to hire a surveyer per se, there are certain experts looking at various areas of our boat. For instance, I took both my mainsail and jib to the local sail loft and got them fixed up. We are going to have the boat pulled from the water and pay to have the bottom re-painted and also any blisters fixed. I've had a more experienced sailor on our dock take a look at my engine and give me his advice. So we are getting input along the way.

    Dave Groshong: I appreciate you reaching out. I'm sure we'll be purchasing things from the hunterowners site before long.

    pateco: I looked through the thread you linked to about head improvements. Lots of great info. I should have found this forum earlier! I did go ahead and post in your thread detailing our bathroom re-model with pictures/text which may be better on a forum than video.

    kloudie1: Yes, we have our hands full! The first few months were tough trying to fix multiple safety issues at once and not knowing which safety issue was most important (*they were all important). Things are much more smooth now.

    Will Gilmore: To answer your question, yes we are in the water, at a marina. We are on the West coast of Florida in the Tampa bay area. I see you're in New Hampshire. I work with a guy who just moved here from New Hampshire. Also, one of the couples on our dock just spent a year cruising down the East coast from New Hampshire to Florida. Who knows, maybe you'll be next??

    Pizzazz: Wow, thanks for all the ideas. There's a lot I can learn. Your idea of removing the the compression post to check it out is a really good one. I don't have any visible sagging that I can see from the inside and no visible rot. I don't see any cracking in the fiberglass over the post either, but that doesn't mean there isn't damage, and the only way to know for sure is to remove it. I also like your idea of flushing the toilet with grey water. Regarding re-sealing the fresh-water tank, I was planning to do this and even removed all the screws from the tank, but when I tried prying up the lid the fiberglass just started breaking apart, so I changed my mind! Neither the holding tank or freshwater tank are currently leaking, so I decided (in this case) if it's not broke, don't fix it.

    jssailem: Good points about not compromising structure. The cut into the stringer for gaining access to the hose clamp to put on the waste fill port was probably the most compromising cut I've made so far, but I think it will be ok as there was a big hole there already for the hose, I just enlarged it a bit. I would have liked to pull the hose through the deck and tightened the hose clamp on the new fill port outside, then pushed it all back down. Unfortunately, the new hose was much thicker than the old hose and wouldn't fit through the deck thru-hull. One option was make that deck thru-hill larger so the hose would have gone through, but I really didn't want to do that. In retrospect, maybe I should have done this or used different hose. But anyways, all this to say, each cut is done with thought as to pros and cons. But also, I'm not planning to cross any oceans so the boat will have to be what it is!

    HMT2: Our boat is a 1984. Your re-model projects sound really interesting. Those are mainly ones I haven't done yet (ie painting the deck, engine work - other than replacing exhaust hoses, restoring interior, etc) Do you have links to other threads on this forum where you have details about these projects?

    Thanks everyone for reaching out!
     


  11. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,244 posts, 1,678 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    As you say, sometimes there are no easy ways to solve issue. While Ocean crossing is not in yor future with you boat, sometimes coastal cruising finds you in weather that is disagreeable.
    A boat with the age and maintenance conditions you have described may have rigging that is in need of repair or replacement.
    Options to DIY are available, Here is some links...
    https://www.sailmagazine.com/diy/a-diy-solution-to-tired-standing-rigging
    https://www.riggingandhardware.com/
    We all wish rigging is made of steel and a lifetime product. Unfortunately that is not the situation. Rigging ages more quickly in the southern latitudes. Read about the issues or seek the guidance of a local rigger to examine the fittings and wires holding up that 500 plus pound pole in the middle of your boat.
     


  12. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,409 posts, 981 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    Manly,
    I am from Clearwater, originally. Tampa Bay is a very large protected and well traveled sailing ground for great day sails. I would recommend visiting Fort De Soto, at some point, if you are in the bay itself, the Treasure Island/St Pete area or in Manatee county. You should have plenty of excellent, interesting and safe day cruising to many new places within that area until you know your boat well enough to feel comfortable venturing out into the open Gulf.
    I couldn't name a better area to get to know a new boat in.

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  13. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    1,941 posts, 490 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    Manly,

    On the Facebook page linked in my signature below, I have tried to document all of the projects we have done since we got our H31. Hopefully they will provide some inspiration. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    Enjoy the Adventure :biggrin:
     


    jssailem likes this.