Why does Hunter have a bad name?

Feb 8, 2017
Hunter 40.5 Browns Point
We purchased our Hunter 40.5 five years ago. When playing at the dock not to long ago, a gentleman was taking photos of the boat next to us. He said he used to own it. He asked me how I liked my Hunter. I told him that we loved it. He then said he never really cared for them. I asked him if he had ever owned one, no he said, but I have a friend who has one that he really likes. Ugg! A conversation that seems to be embedder in some of these posts. It all comes down to what your looking to do with your boat, and what your willing to invest. We are cruisers that do pretty darn good in our Yacht club races. Are we first. no. However I am pretty sure that I wouldn't want to speed a long period of time cruising in the boats beating us. I admit that most of the skippers racing those boats wouldn't want to race my boat. Our Yacht Club has nick named our boat "The Condo". Its what we wanted, and it has been great. There is not another boat built in its time frame, in our budget that could have fit "OUR" needs better. I have been boating for 50 years, and sailing for the last 25. Our last boat, a Islander 36 was well built, and solid as a rock. The same confidence we have with our Hunter.
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Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
Wii respond this coming week as I am flying home I was a dealer for Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter, Precision, MacGregor, Com PAC and others over a life span and knew the major players. I knew everyone
Crazy Dave Condon


Sep 11, 2015
Merit 22- Oregon lakes
I was happy that some other brand was getting some heat, and you put us back under the bus...:D
Fighting for equality ;) I don't mind the heat. in fact it make it just that much sweeter every time the "not a race race" occurs at the lake and the challenger peels off half way across the lake as if to say "oh... I wasn't really trying to race anyway". :laugh:
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Jan 19, 2010
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
You can find something negative to say of just about every boat. That being said, there are also positives. " Gee I wish my boat had that" or " That's a piss poor design"..

As for Hunters, guess I'm neutral as my personal pro and con cancel each other out.
My pro: The cockpit arch system
My Con: The rig without backstays seems to prevent letting the main out for reaching.

I've sailed'em and considered buying one. AND... Hunter is still in production...


Apr 19, 2013
Hunter 22 Marblehead, OH.
Our 2001 Hunter 410 has a CE Rating of A. I am sure Hunter would not put that rating on a boat that couldn't handle those conditions (they would set themselves up for lawsuits).
A Class A yacht ( boat ) is a vessel that is built to navigate the open ocean and surpass a force 8 on the Beaufort scale and surpass waves higher that 4 meters. These yachts are constructed to be self sufficient in hostile seas.
Oct 13, 2016
Hunter 33 Kingston
I was speaking to the Selden sales rep at the recent Annapolis sailboat show as I wondered why the Selden Rodkicker rigid vang on my H33 didn't have an internal gas spring. It explained why it was basically useless for keeping the boom up. The Selden guy told me the gas springs were not installed at Hunter's request. Seems this was a cost-cutting measure and now I am about to spend a couple of hundred bucks to remediate it.

While I have been extremely happy with my Hunter sailboat, it's annoying to find out the factory opted out of an important part of the rigging just to save a few bucks. It's not like they were giving these boats away when they were new, and I'm sure it also impacts resale values.
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Jun 8, 2004
-na -NA Anywhere USA
AS a former dealer for Beneteau, Catalina, ComPac, Hunter, MacGregor, Precision and other lines as well, I will comment as a former dealer, now retired.
First and foremost, nearly all raw materials and gear come from quality and well known manufacturers that sailboats of all sizes are made from or gear added and this includes production and custom built boats. Then design for pleasure, racing, cruising, off shore, entry level and so forth come into play. Every line of boats built also have had warranty issues and most companies tried to resolve that. There were a few that did not do well as to warranty but the major production built boat manufacturers did well to service their boats . Just like anything with age, things break down and I heard complaints with that but many forget age is an issue. Many people about age related issues forget that maintenance is necessary like anything in life to include our health to keep a boat sustained or in good shape. Boy, I have seen a lot of trashed boats due to negligence. Then there is lack of experience and wisdom by sailors. In one case, a sailor with a 40 foot plus boat within a year being new refused to have his head tank pumped out only to have a pipe burst under pressure not to mention running aground with serious damage to keel, hull, rudder, etc. only to claim it should be warranty which was denied by me. Have I seen and heard a lot and the answer is yes.
Every 4-5 years, production model boats changed due to design improvements and marketing. Why? After that time, sales went down, so new styles came out. Call that marketing and be able to stay in business but take care of your former sailboats made and boy the three top production manufacturers, Beneteau, Catalina and Hunter, did just that. What I have seen in recent years, negative comments about a specific boat or brand when people have never sailed or owned that brand. To bash a manufacturer on hearsay is unwarranted without the specific individual actually sailing the boat. Then you will never please everyone on style. I always said if the boat you like in style, you are more apt to keep that boat and take care of her much longer. Take MacGregor for example. Macgregor was an entry low cost level sailboat and for that reason it sold well. Yes the MacGregor shaked, ratalled and rolled, but again it was a low cost entry level boat that served many well at the entry level. I never bashed a boat and that included the competition.

Now to Hunter. Hunter came into existence with Warren Luhrs as the CEO in 1974. He got his hands dirty building and repairing the boats himself. Hunter Marine moved to Florida during the rest of it's existance. Many boats were built; however, Warren continued to improve and change the models. He built boats that he raced solo around the world adapting what was learned in building his production boats which included an excellent team that was with him. During testing of each model as an example, the boat in full throttle went onto the beach to see what would occur which as a result, improvements were made before the first boat went out. What I liked most, Warren listened to suggestions from dealers. I was grateful when he listened to us paticularly me regarding water ballast, mast raising, in mast roller furling, walk thru transoms with fold down ladders, stern rail seats and so on. As an example I was singled out by him in front of the dealer network what to do at a meeting in 1996 which he said he would follow my advice. I kept my friendship with Warren private. Hunter Marine first introduced many designs on his production boats to include B&R rigs, in mast roller furling, wing keels, stern rail seats, walk thru transoms with fold down ladders, metal inlay in the fiberglass for securing hardware to the deck and much more. Alot of money went into research and design more than the other builders.

There were a few things I was concerned about. First the ACP or plastic boats as I called them. Most boats of this style construction were fine but generally issues included the manufactures of the raw material changing the formulation in the ACP without nor approval of Hunter's Knowledge. Secondly, I found that screwing into this material direct with a screw would damage the boat as you have to predrill to allow the screw to go thru just like on lexan. Then on some boats there was no regular maintenace but the list goes on. I do know that warranty replaced many boats but again, the majority never had an issue. Warranty went beyond the warranty period. Finally they did go to fiberglass production of daysailors

As for the B&R rigs without the backstay, there was never a failure that I knew of unless due to lack of maintenace, over tuning, or incorrect equipment involved. Failure included failure to secure the turnbuckles from turning, tuning the mast so far backward that any mast would break and in one case tensil strength of standing rigging exceeded load requirements and so on. Again I never knew of any failure from that design.

As for warranty, they went beyond most other manufactures. Sometimes they would call a dealer to travel and repair a boat. In one case I was called to go to Georgia only to find that the screws to hold the rub rail on at the transom were never predrilled. Hunter immediatly sent a notice to owners and dealers to include my dealership those boats possibly affected to be checked and repaired. That paticular crew of 4 were fired as Hunter did not tolerate incompetency. Once Hunter received a call from an owner of a 49 whose rudder had been broken off in the middle of the Pacific Ocean via sat phone due to underwater debri at night. Warren Luhrs, Eddie Breeden/Warranty and the design team were on the phone and were able to advise the owner make a makeshift rudder and head to the nearest port two days away. Hunter had a new rudder and gear waiting at port before the boat arrived. There is so much more they did to help out. I along with many other dealers and customers appreciated Hunter regarding warranty. Hunter Marine was the leader in innovation and construction which made them one of the most respected in this industry.

Hunter Marine had always been a seperate company from the three power boat lines owned by Warren and his brother. Sadly they combined all together to get a better purchasing price of raw material and gear but the recession affected the power lines immensly with Hunter propping up the other three. After several years, bankruptcy occured with David Marlow buying the Hunter name and assets but changed the name to Marlow-Hunter. Things changed. Under Hunter, dealer financing was available but not under Marlow- Hunter.. Since most dealers could not buy boats out of their pocket as dealer financing was no longer availabe, the dealer network failed. I will not comment any further. The old Hunter as I knew it is gone. I was grateful to be honored when Eddie Breeden asked me to announce his retirement. I sure miss seeing my friends to include Julie, Miss Freda, Mike (2), Eddie, Greg, John and many other fine people but sadly Warren Luhrs who is deceased.

The only suggestion to those who wish to speak badly about Hunter, walk a fine line if you have never experience sailing or owned a Hunter Marine sailboat. As for the negative comment on the ACP boats, I was never a fan of that style construction but most of the boats were never affected. I understand why talking with Marlow-Hunter on this style, the production of those boats ceased long before Marlow_Hunter came into existence.

There is much more but I respected all the manufactures but mostly Hunter due to my relationship with them.

Crazy Dave Condon
Jan 1, 2006
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
Thanks for that. I had a H356 and considered it a well designed and built production boat. I agree about some of the innovations like the B&R rig, and others you mentioned. The systems seemed to be to be well designed and installed. I particularly appreciated the concentration of thru hulls in the bilge under the companionway step, which were all labeled. It was easy to check them. The head was a realistic size for a human being. I loved the walk thru transom and rear "Porch." But the wife always wanted the "Pirate Gate" up. It was a good boat. Too bad the great recession ended our relationship. Such is life.
Apr 21, 2019
Hunter 37.6 Vancouver
Bought a Hunter 37.6 this year. First trip six weeks, absolutely nothing went wrong.The comfort on these Hunters are beyond....... Who ever told you the tale does not have a clue about boats
Mar 3, 2003
Hunter 356 Grand Rivers
My first boat was a 1998 Hunter 260 then I traded up for a new 2003 Hunter 356 both from Lighthouse Landing on Kentucky Lake. I’ve sailed several boats including Cabo Rico and Island Packets and. Ted Hood. My Hunter is as good fir what I do as any I have sailed and in sailing my 356 in the Gulf of Mexico and Southwest Florida, it sails as good as any of those other boats. It’s not as heavy as an Island Packet or Cabo Rico but it was more comfortable to me than the Cabo Rico and my 356 has internal volume that is the near equivalent of the IP 40. I think my internal layout is superior. I’ve maintained it well, but nothing major has broken and I am just now replacing sails this week - got 16 seasons out of the original sails and running rigging. New North 3DI sails are being shipped today; finished replacing the running rigging last weekend. Personally, I am very pleased with how well it has held up. I have just under 10,000 miles on it and have spent 1182 days onboard, including a round trip from Kentucky Lake down Tenn-Tom to SW Florida with one 50 hour Gulf passage. I took the same trip on a Cabo Rico 38 in 2007, one way, and I can tell you I was much more comfortable in my 356 than I was on the Cabo Rico and a Cabo Rico is a fine boat.
May 8, 2017
Hunter Legend 35.5 Lake Balaton
We love our 1993 Hunter Legend 35.5. We have sailed it for years on Lake Superior in some pretty tough weather. It has taken well to upgrades, refits and installing of new electronics allowing us to have a much newer boat with 25 year old fiberglass. We have now sailed her from Lake Superior to New York and south along the ICW to Florida and The Bahamas. We believe there is a ton to love about Hunters and haven't had any issues. Like has been said before if you're looking at a 1970's or 1980's vintage Hunter, you may want to look closely at areas where all manufacturers cut corners and do some serious due diligence on things like thru-hulls, valves, compression post inspection, keel-to-hull joint integrity, etc. Things that had plagued a lot of boat manufacturers in that era. Hunter, Catalina and the others that survived the great extinction of boat builders of the late 80's all did so because they fixed those issues and delivered better boats that informed customers demanded. A lot of Hunter owners just laugh when people tell them how bad Hunters are and keep laughing all the way to the anchorage with an extra $30k in their wallet over a similar boat.View attachment 168786
I am reading comments about the bad name issue and can fully agree with you. Mine is a 92 Legend 35.5, bought her from a dutch fellow. She is very nice, very easy to handle for 1 person, very nimble at 3-5 kts and at TWS 25-26 kts she made 8.1 kts, which is not bad for a 6 tons lady. She has 6 winches in the cockpit (one electrical for the main), hydraulic autopilot, etc. Admittingly I disliked the dutch system of main furling and changed it, I also disliked the below deck furling system and changed it (very easy) and installed a near mast top spi attacment point to fly a 100 sqmeter asymmetric spi and a 70 sqmeter reacher/code zero up to maximum TWS 15 kts. The inside is beautiful teak, the body is robust, the standing rigging is strong. How she is performing, depends on you. Hunter made the best boats between 90-94.


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Dec 14, 2003
Hunter 34 Lake of Two Mountains, QC, Can
I do hear that bad name comment now and then, mostly in form of a question rather than an affirmation. My 34 is my second Hunter. Is she perfect ? Hell no ! Have I had to fix issues in the 20 years that I've owned her ? Indeed ! Most if not all of the known issues in fact ! Are there better built boats ? Obviously ! But let me just tell you that I have sailed her singlehanded for 33 000 + nautical miles in the last 20 years (including 2000 again this summer down the St.Lawrence, around Gaspé Peninsula into and across Chaleurs Bay to New Brunswick and back). I've had her in some of the most treacherous waters of North America: Twice to Labrador, across the Gulf of St.Lawrence to Magdalen Islands, around Cape Breton and into the Brador Lakes, several times down the St.Lawrence River, into the Gulf and around the Gaspé Peninsula. Then again, down the East Coast, into the Chesapeake, down to Florida, several months into the Bahamas, and of course several times up the St.Lawrence and around Lake Ontario (see pics taken in middle of Lake Ontario). Believe me this is not to brag but rather to portray the fact that my Hunter 34 has never failed me in the toughest of circumstances. My boat is 35 years old now, and shows her age with spider web cracks, but that is esthetics not structural ! I've yet to see any signs of osmosis or delamination. And if that doesn't convince any one that a Hunter well maintained and well taken care of can take a lot of ocean abuse without any major failures then nothing will !!! Your boat, your call...your money !


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Sep 11, 2019
Hunter 386 Lake St. Clair
We just purchased our first sailboat, a 2002 Hunter 386. We love the design and the idea of having furled sails was a plus. She's clean and well maintained. Unfortunately, she was on the hard when purchased, so Spring can't come quick enough. There's a few things I'll need to tinker with, but all in all, we're really happy with our purchase.
Happy Sailing!
Dec 1, 1999
Hunter 28.5 Chesapeake Bay
Every informed boat buyer knows that Hunters aren’t Hinckleys. That said, Ive owned a Hunter for many years and have loved the boat. It is the Ford or Chevy equivalent, not a Bentley or Mercedes. Hunter packs a lot value into its boats and, for the most part, have brought boats into the lives of people at a good price.
Oct 29, 2016
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
@Gary Ryan congrats on the purchase, hope the water recedes for you in the spring more of the dockage on St Clair looked to be underwater this past summer at least along Jefferson anyway.
May 8, 2017
Hunter Legend 35.5 Lake Balaton
My hunter is made from plastic that warps in sunshine, and splits like a pitted windshield in cold latitudes. Quality Points...1 out of 10.

I have never had any emails or phone calls returned from Hunter when I asked for help. Customer Service Points...zero

Their entry level boats are designed to appeal to nonsailers. Youll hear key words like headroom, amenities, easy, few simple controls, uncluttered cockpit. When people that enjoy the details of sailing and boating get in these, they are dissapointed at the multiverse opposites like, rounds up too quickly when heeled, slow, difficult to trim.

Sailing Control Points...5
You project urself as an expert sailor but u may over estimate urself. Othervise u would know that your controll problems are not HUnter's problem but generated by u not understanding what is "mast rake" and your boat is obviously out of tune. You also either bought her from someone did not care about her or urself let her down. Mine is a 1992 legend 35.5 and does not show what you complain about. I can reef the main in 30 seconds and she is capable to reach 8 kts. See the picture attached: at AWS 8 knots she is making 6 kts.Talk to experts in your marina, get your boat tuned by a real expert and read books.