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Hunter’s Evolution Continues

The Hunter 40 is the first product of newly-formed Marlow-Hunter Marine.

The evolution of Hunter Marine as a business and on the design front continued with the launch of the new Hunter 40 at last fall’s US Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Clearly, the rallying cry “Life Begins at 40” to celebrate Hunter’s 40th anniversary in 2013 has traction throughout the Hunter organization under new owner David Marlow.

It’s been a tough ride for Hunter of late, but its strength and resilience under very tough market conditions are testament to the quality of the team there and the reputation of the boats they build. Marlow saw the same strengths, and its move to acquire Hunter has given the firm a stronger foundation on which to build.

The Hunter 40 is the first boat from the new alliance, crafted from scratch in only eight weeks. But its attributes demonstrate Hunter’s resolve to push the envelope and continue its design evolution while delivering solid, quality boats.

At first look, one notices the long coachroof and radical window, balanced by a mast stepped well forward. From aft, the large pull-down transom appears well executed and integrates easily with the massive cockpit and its twin steering stations. The hard-chined hull will yield solid reaching performance.

Hunter has evolved its distinctive mainsail arch to incorporate what is called a “targa” hardtop that protects the cockpit and allows the mainsheet to be controlled easily from either steering station for easier single-handing. If you prefer a soft top, that choice is still available.

A point here about the mainsail: with the forward location of the mast and Hunter’s now-familiar B&R rig, with its swept-back spreaders and no backstay,  this boat will rely heavily on the drive from the mainsail, so the optional full-battened main is the way I would go.

The expansive deck and openness of the cockpit, coupled with the new main batt-cars and lazy jack system, simplify the furling of the mainsail and make it possible to take advantage of a battened sail without much extra effort.

Below decks, the boat is a treat. One can select a two or three-cabin layout. The handcrafted joinery is well done and consistent with the drive of the Hunter team to advance here under the watchful eye of Marlow, who has a reputation for building high-quality boats for more than 46 years. The 40 has a very a comfortable saloon with a convertible dinette and a functional forward-facing nav station. The galley is large with generous Corian® countertops, excellent storage, dish rack and microwave. The aft cabin on the boat we saw was well executed, with its berth aligned perfectly under the cockpit. And the twin heads with segregated showers both forward and aft are an unexpected feature.  

Reports on the boat’s sailing characteristics have been positive. I would ensure I ordered the deeper keel (6’ 8”) configuration; the shoal keel (5’ 2”) is adequate but I suspect performance upwind would be better with the deeper fin.

The 40 is a solid effort by Hunter to consolidate its position as a builder of value-driven modern production cruising boats in North America.


Marlow Yachts Snapshot

Marlow Marine Sales of Sarasota, Florida; Merrill-Stevens Boat Works of Miami; and Norsemen Shipyard in China.

Marlow Yachts manufactures such boats as the Sprite and Gypsy yacht tenders, Marlow Explorer from 53 to 97’, and the Marlow Prowler, a 37’ cruiser/fishing yacht.

Specifications
Length Overall        41’ 3″    12.57 m
Hull Length        40’    12.19 m
Waterline length        36’    10.97 m
Beam        13’ 2″    4.01 m
Draft (shoal)        5’ 2″    1.57 m
Draft (deep)        6’ 8″    2.03 m
Displacement        19,700 lb    8,936 kg
Ballast (shoal)        6,027 lb    2,734 kg
Ballast (deep)        5,425 lb    2,461 kg
Sail Area – Actual (standard)    1,006 sq ft    93.46 sq m
Sail Area – Actual (furling)    910 sq ft    84.54 sq m
Fuel Capacity        50 gal    189 L
Water Capacity         90 gal    341 L
Waste Capacity        40 gal    151 L
Auxiliary Power        40 hp Yanmar diesel

Canadian Dealers

Specialty Yachts, Vancouver BC
www.specialtyyachts.com

True North Yachts, Port Credit ON
www.truenorthyachts.ca

Marina Lennox, Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix QC
www.marinalennox.com

By John Kerr