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Thinking of buying a hunter 25.5

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Jun 27, 2013
Hunter 25.5 Port Edgewood
Hi everyone,

I was hoping for some friendly advice on this boat I'm looking at. It's a 1985 25.5, in pretty decent condition with new-ish sails. The guy who owns it has been racing it in Narragansett bay for a while now.

Is there anything in particular I should look at or ask about? Known problems, issues etc?

One thing that concerns me is it's docking power is a suzuki 6hp. My parents first boat was a pearson 26 (half ton heavier) and that was somewhat under powered with a 15hp. Don't get me started on the pearson, what a pig with pleather cushions. My parents traded it in after 2 seasons on the catalina 30 I grew up on.

The other thing that concerns me is a strip of metal on the bow, I don't see it in pictures of the other hunters I've seen. Is it a repair or perhaps remains of a bow spert?

This is her, if anyone wants to see what I mean

I haven't sailed since before my children were born, my husband was a power boater but he's dead now (LOL, it was the bike not the boat!). I have 3 children 10 and 8 y/o twins so we'd be sailing it just the 4 of us. Too much boat for single sailing? I read somewhere everything can be done from the cockpit and I"m fairly well coordinated.

Any and all advice appreciated! Thanks!

Dec 29, 2010
Hunter 25.5 Point Venture, TX

I think you will find the Hunter 25.5 ideal for sailing on Narragansett Bay with your three kids. Your kids are more or less the same ages as my older grandkids and they love sailing our 25.5 on Lake Travis here in Austin.

Some of the positives for the 25.5:

1. The 25.5 is sturdy and well built. And the standard equipment is functional and appropriately sized for the boat. I think Cortland Steck did an excellent job with the design of the boat ... and Hunter did and equally good job with the production and finish out of the boat.
- halyards are internal to the mast ... and led to the cockpit.
- reefing lines are internal to boom, as is the 4:1 outhaul.
- geared, self-tailing sheet winches.
- sturdy, pin-lock mainsheet traveler is in the cockpit (and out of the way)
- aluminum toe rail.
2. The cockpit of the 25.5 has plenty of room for four. And the cabin has enough room that you and your three children will be able to get out of the weather. There is a full galley (albeit small) ... and three berths, making short cruises possible.
4. The 25.5 sails/handles like a dinghy. Your kids will learn how to sail ... not just how to drive.

Some of less than positives for the 25.5:

1. The 25.5 seems a bit over sailed. I find it best to reef early and often. Once reefed she stays on her feet ... and is very well behaved. And even when overpowered she never picks up enormous weather helm, it's just that she seems more tender than I would expect of a boat with a displacement of 4,500 lbs. (But then most of my experience has been racing centerboard boats and course racing keelboats ... not in cruising class boats.)
2. The 25.5 is well suited for lake/bay sailing. I would not use it for coastal cruising ... or offshore.
3. As with all boats this vintage, the electrical system (while simple) is antiquated. Be prepared to do some work to make it servicable.
3. The space inside the cabin results in the 25.5 having more freeboard than other boats of similar length ... which results in considerable windage from the hull. Thus you are probably right in being concerned about a 6-hp outboard. (My 25.5 is powered by an old 15-hp, 2-cycle, Mercury, which is normally more than adequate. But even so there are times when the windage makes maneuvering under power a bit problematic.)
4. The Maxwell winches are more than adequate and easy to service, but Allen Hutton in Australia is the only guy on the planet who has parts.
5. Apparently the 25.5 did NOT come with an electric bilge pump as standard equipment. The 25.5 does have a sump in the bilge, so installing a bilge pump and keeping the bilge dry is not a big deal. But installation of the bilge pump discharge can be a bit problematic. If the discharge line does not have a high loop with a vacuum breaker, when the boat heels over, burying the bilge pump discharge, water will tend to siphon back into the bilge.
6. The chainplates on the 25.5 seem to be very susceptible to leaking. It is not particularly difficult to keep them watertight, but if left unattended they will leak and over time the water intrusion can rot the bulkheads. Inspect the forward side of the port bulkhead ... below the chain plate ... where the shelf over the hanging locker connects to the bulkhead. When the port chainplate leaks, water will accumulate on the top of the shelf, and over time this water can rot the bulkhead. Significant rot in a bulkhead this close to the chainplate is cause for concern. There is potential for a similar problem on the starboard side ... here water can accumulate on the top of the sink vanity. I know of at least three SBO forum members who have replaced the bulkheads on their 25.5s because of leaking chainplates.
7. The icebox drains into the bilge. This is less than optimum but it is easily fixed by plugging (with a cork) the drain hole inside the icebox.

I looked at the photos of the 25.5 in the link you included, but I do not see the "strip of metal on the bow" that you asked about. The stem fitting on a 25.5 is very sturdy. And it includes a large stainless steel tang that extends down, below the bow. (See the attached photo. FYI, this photo is NOT of my boat.)

So there you have it. As you can tell I'm a fan of the Hunter 25.5. If you like to sail on inland lakes and bays, the 25.5 may be a great boat for you ... for other applications, perhaps not so much.

Meanwhile, if you have more questions about the Hunter 25.5, ask away ... there are several active, helpful 25.5 owners on the SBO forum.


E. Godsey


Last edited:
Oct 6, 2009
Newport Newport 28 MKII Jacksonville, FL
I crewed on one during a few racing seasons and really liked the boat, with a nice interior layout. It was fast, easy to sail and had a real aluminum toerail, not the molded fiberglass style that spider cracks. Cockpit is a bit small, with seats being a little short to stretch out on. The one I was on had 5hp Honda and it was fine for getting in and out of the marina, but seems like 4 knots was about max speed. I looked at several 25.5's before buying my Newport and every one of them had blistering issues, not uncommon for mid-80's production boats, especially in warm Florida waters. I think it would be a good model boat to start with and for not a lot of money. Shouldn't have any trouble getting rid of it when the time comes.
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