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racing a 1983 hunter 34

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Ben Townsend

I recently bought a Hunter 34 after a few years of sailing a 22ft boat. I recently entered a race and was disappointed at how we finished. I am interested in tips that can help to improve the boat performance.

Cliff Ruckstuhl


Ben How old are your sails? Remember they are the engine of the boat. Do you have a back stay adjuster? what is your experance level? We need more info from you to give you advice, also more info on the boat like is it roller furling? Cliff

Rod Leonard

Ben Townsend Racing 34 Hunter

Boat Speed Boat Speed Boat Speed, Remember on your 34 your head sail gives you your boat spaeed and the main gives you your pointing, I Have learned over the years that you really need to pay attention to the rig & It's prebend. Don't over trim the sails let them breath.

Michael Cohn

Tactics & Crew

Tactics play a big part in any race - you might talk to some of the other racers and see what they are doing..a slow boat with good tactics will beat a fast boat with poor tactics any day of the week. Crew work and sail trim is essential to winning any race. The boat and the condition of the sails (unless they are *totally* wrecked) is of minor importance compared to the first two things. MC

Michael O'Hara

Clean Air, Clean Air, Clean Air

Similar to the real estate axiom, it's "clean air, clean air, clean air." After that, the boat that makes the least mistakes wins. Period. Now..... You might start with some good racing books, like Advanced Racing Tactics, or The New Book of Sail Trim for starters. Read this winter. Practice next Spring. Kick butt next Summer. Michael O'

Frank Pitts

Amen, and more....

Amen to all the previous suggestions; all very good tips. If I may add: Have a clean bottom (very important..as much as a half knot or more) and lighten the boat. Get that cruising stuff off. Empty all those tanks. That's water, holding, and the hot-water heater (that's another 48 lbs), and no sense lugging a full tank of fuel around the course. Take the anchor and rode out of the locker and stow them below in the center of the boat. You do have a folding prop, don't you (another half knot). If you are serious, get one. If you are very serious, spring for some new sails. Putting all this together you will be in front of the fleet. I race a '84 H34 out of Annapolis and do quite well. The boat is probably the best racer/cruiser Hunter has built, esp. in light air (heavy air another story). It will go if you know what you are doing.

Michael Cohn

Clean air is right

Michael is correct - always start in clean air, sail in clean air, win in clean air. Stay out of tacking and gybing duels as much as possible, and always cover the boat behind you. MC



Since most of us don't have deep pockets, start with the bottom this spring, ie keel, smooth hull, folding or feathering prop. you will see a difference in 2000 and your crew & you will learn the boat. Then the following year go for the sails. Like Cliff said the sails are your engine. If you were drag racing you would want a 455 stuffed into a VW. Then start tweeking with backstay, ball bearing jib cars, more powerfull hard vang, etc. Our 1st year we raced the boat as we bought it, was disappointed but realized the winners had already done their homework and work. Its taken us a few years but we usually pull bullets in the offshore races, and are holding our own in the can races. Good luck PJ



Most people dont listen to me when I say this because Im only 13 but when your pointing really let your foresail halyard off about 2-3 in.
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