Hunter 33.5 1994 - purchase decision

Fred

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Sep 27, 2008
472
Hunter 33.5 Little Current, Ontario, CA
I am considering the purchase of a 1994 Hunter 33.5. Does this model still use wood core construction? Should I be concerned about core rot in the decks? What other items should I pay special attention to? The survey report indicates the boat to be in excellent condition. Thanks in advance for your input.
 

Jeff

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Sep 29, 2008
195
Hunter 33.5 Carlyle Lake in Central Illinois
I’ve had my 1993 H33.5 for 15+ years. No issues with the deck.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,911
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I am considering the purchase of a 1994 Hunter 33.5. Does this model still use wood core construction? Should I be concerned about core rot in the decks? What other items should I pay special attention to? The survey report indicates the boat to be in excellent condition. Thanks in advance for your input.
Don’t know about the Hunter 33.5 in particular, but any boat with a cored deck can suffer from deck leaks and rotten core.

Really depends on how the boat was maintained.

Greg
 

Rick D

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Jun 14, 2008
7,004
Hunter Legend 40.5 Shoreline Marina Long Beach CA
I have a 40.5 of the same vintage and it has cored deck. What production boat as an alternative are you considering that does not have a cored deck?
 

Fred

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Sep 27, 2008
472
Hunter 33.5 Little Current, Ontario, CA
My understanding is that cored construction can be using balsa or foam. Older balsa cores could easily rot and cause a world of grief. I could envision that foam cored construction could also develop leaks and develop problems especially due to winter freezing but the core wouldn’t completely rot. I suppose my question is does Hunter still use balsa core (I doubt it) and if not when did construction shift to foam core.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,883
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
I am considering the purchase of a 1994 Hunter 33.5. Does this model still use wood core construction?
My 1988 Hunter 33.5 definitely had plywood core in the deck. Confirmed when I drilled to install a solar vent.
 

Joe

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Jun 1, 2004
7,447
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
I am considering the purchase of a 1994 Hunter 33.5. Does this model still use wood core construction? Should I be concerned about core rot in the decks? What other items should I pay special attention to? The survey report indicates the boat to be in excellent condition. Thanks in advance for your input.
Hi Fred, I venture to day that the majority of boats owned by the forum members here have wood cored decks. Also, your surveyor's report will include an opinion on the integrity of the decks. As long as you monitor the vessel's potential areas of water ingress you'll enjoy many years of ownership. Limiting your search to boats without wood core decks will mean you're going to miss most of the good ones. Go over your choice with a fine tooth comb if you must if it's been well maintained..... go for it.
 

dmax

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Jul 29, 2018
490
O'Day 35 Buzzards Bay
Yes you should be concerned about core moisture/rot - everyone with a wood cored deck should be. However, your surveyor should have performed a moisture test and a sounding test on the deck to determine if there are any problems. You should ask him/her specifically about the deck's condition if you are unsure.
 
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calvin

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Jul 30, 2019
11
Hunter 335 Port Orchard
We've had a 1992 33.5 for about 2 years now and we love her. She sails well, is roomy, and not too hard work on. Access leaves a bit to be desired given the hull insert but its not too bad. Few things I would look out for if I was to go looking for another:

-Leaks in the salon windows on the starboard side result in water running to the wood bulkheads and flooring in the aft berth. Look closely for rot.
-Check drainage on the mast - your boat should have a aluminum mast support. Water tends to follow the wiring down from the top of the mast and make its way into the shower drain. This was a problem on older boats with the wood supports.
-If you have any leaks in the companionway door, the water will drain directly on top of the engine. Look for excessive corrosion on the top surfaces. My engine has really good compression but the injector directly under the companion way was shot and a PITA to get out because water had made its way between the injector and the head (rusting it in place).
-The pressure relief valve on the water heater will result in excessive moisture on the wood footing of the sink area. Look for rot or mold.
-Water tank is aluminum with poor access and no cleanout. Look for corrosion.
-Fuel tank is aluminum and mounted under the batteries with poor access.
-Fuel filter is undersized. I replaced it with a larger Racor unit.
-There is no cut off valve at the tank side of the filter. Suggest added one.
-Batteries on my boat were a mess as was the switch and shore power correction. Lots of corrosion. I ended up having to completely rewire the distribution panel. Good news is that you can mount common bus bars on the back bulkhead and there is plenty of space for a newer panel/shore power connector. Was a fun/educational weekend project.
-The drum for the headsail furler is mounted at deck level. It tends to rub against the opening it sits in. Adjusting tension on the rigging will help a bit but its tough to get it to move freely - terrible design.
-My boat is bone dry now, but spent a lot of time looking for leaks in the first few months. End up rebedding 3 of the four salon windows and building a custom cover for the instruments mounted in the helm area to get her dry. Only time you should see water in the boat is when a bit comes though the mast stepping - haven't figured out how to stop that yet... :)
-Biggest issue was the keel which was badly corroded. Ended up having a yard sand it down and encapsulate it. Also tightened the keel bolts. Had a small amount of seepage for a week after and now the bolts are dry with no visible corrosion on the keel. Pay close attention to both the keel bolts (corrosion) and the keel. Its cast iron so you're likely going to have to encapsulate if at some point if it hasn't been already.

To the question about your deck. My surveyor spend quite a bit of time with his hammer checking it out. I followed along the whole way - its a fairly reliable way to know if the deck is in good shape.

Anyway, I'm certainly not the most experienced person here, but I've enjoyed working on and sailing the boat immensely. Hope some of this helps.

Thx,
Calvin
 
Jul 1, 1998
3,054
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
With regard to the keel, our '88 H35 has a lead keel, which was one of the buying points. At the time, virtually all the "popular" brands in this size range had iron keels and I just thought that the lead option would need less maintenance. Having never had an iron keel I don't know what it is like. Another plus is that all the tanks are "plastic" and they have never been a problem. A couple years ago I installed an access plate in the diesel tank so it could be easily cleaned out, and as it turned out, there was practically nothing there - just a light skin of black on the bottom, perhaps a mm thick at most, and some plastic shavings from when the access plate hole was cut out.

The thru-hulls are all Marlon® but newer Hunters (don't know what year) went to bronze. Bronze must be grounded and maintained. How to do that? My friends C&C 36 had bronze and his boat almost sunk because it failed due to corrosion. He was a Mechanical Engineer and took good care of his boat ... he thought. He did have a wooden plug that, fortunately, fit the hole (depends where it fails). Needless to say, I like our Marlons. Never a problem.

There are always tradeoffs and there is probably no perfect boat. And if there was, one probably couldn't afford it.

These, now vintage, boats are not new and they all will require some kind of maintenance. Even a brand new boat will require work installing accessories as well as the normal routine maintenance. But, they cost soooo much more! So instead of fixing things on an older boat, the trade-off is working one's life away to pay for the new one. "The devil is in the details", so if one dwells too long on all the details the season will be missed. Good luck (with the tradeoff decision). ; -)
 
Dec 3, 2019
1
Hunter 33.5 2 Key biscayne
I am considering the purchase of a 1994 Hunter 33.5. Does this model still use wood core construction? Should I be concerned about core rot in the decks? What other items should I pay special attention to? The survey report indicates the boat to be in excellent condition. Thanks in advance for your input.
I bought one in 1994. Have not had any deck issues in 26 years.
 

Fred

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Sep 27, 2008
472
Hunter 33.5 Little Current, Ontario, CA
Thanks for all the input. We have decided to proceed with the sale. The boat was in good condition and clearly showed pride of ownership. Many upgrades.
 
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DSqr

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Feb 27, 2010
36
Hunter 376 Racine, WI
I owned a 33.5 and loved it. The only problem that I had was one that Calvin mentioned; the wooden compression post. The post is wrapped in teak, so it's hard to see, but water running down the mast can rot it out. It is an expensive repair, so make sure that you check it out.
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,883
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
Had an ‘88 Hunter 33.5 for approximately 7 years. Overall, enjoyed having the boat. Problems included blistering/boat pox, rotten wooden compression post that required replacement, rusted iron keel that was sand blasted & recoated. Watch for leaks at chainplates that will rot the wooden cabin bulkhead that the chainplates are attached to. My boat had an aluminum fresh water tank, plastic fuel and holding tanks. Good luck with the new boat.
 

Fred

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Sep 27, 2008
472
Hunter 33.5 Little Current, Ontario, CA
My 33.5 is 1994. I'm not exactly sure how the compression point works. There are two stainless posts under the thwarts but nothing apparent direct under the mast although I have yet to take possession of the boat and haven't been able to inspect to that detail.

Another quandary that I have, as far as these forums are concerned is a 33.5 considered a mid-size (i.e. 27-33 ft) or a large boat (i.e. 34 and larger).
 
Jun 21, 2004
1,883
Beneteau 343 Slidell, LA
The compression post should be directly under the mast or at least in very close proximity. My 1988, 33.5 had basically two 2"x4" wood studs that served as the compression post. The studs were wrapped in teak for esthetics and blended into the cabin and head bulkhead. In later years Hunter transitioned to a chrome or aluminum compression post and eliminated the stud configuration. The compression post repair involves removing the deteriorated/rotten studs and other compromised components and replacement. Most individuals replace the post with a thick walled aluminum fabricated rectangular post. The reclaimed teak (or new) is attached around the metal post to conceal the repair. Unfortunately, this is a common problem and there are ample descriptions about the repair on this site and others.

It is not possible to inspect the existing compression post and no owner is going to allow you or a surveyor to remove the teak covering because of ensuing damage that will occur. Look for discoloration of the teak covering and possibly soft wood at the base and upper aspects of the teak. Also look for cracks and deflection of the fiberglass deck immediately surrounding the mast. Water will also accumulate in the bilge after rain; therefore, you may be able to simulate by running water inside and around the base of the mast.

There are differing opinions regarding sailboat size categorization. In my opinion, the 33.5 is a mid-sized boat. I would consider a large boat to be greater than 40ft.....it's all relative to the opinion of the boat owner!
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,087
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
the 33.5 is a mid-sized boat. I would consider a large boat to be greater than 40ft
Fred... Welcome to the Tweener sized boats. Too big for the bath tub, not quite big enough to be considered "BIG"...

But remember what is said by all... "Size does not matter. It is how you use what you got that is important."
 
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Jan 18, 2021
45
Hunter 40.5 Burnt Store Marina
Thanks for all the input. We have decided to proceed with the sale. The boat was in good condition and clearly showed pride of ownership. Many upgrades.
Famous last words about previous owner.

But remember what is said by all... "Size does not matter. It is how you use what you got that is important."
Not what my wife says! Hence the 40.5.
 
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