Hunter 41 - under sailBy Robert MacLeod

When we see something new, we often try to put into context by comparing it with something we are familiar with. I have sailed a number of boats in the Hunter line – chartering both the 356 and 386 for vacation. The Hunter 41 is new, the third offering from designer Glenn Henderson, designer of the Henderson 30.

I stood on the dock looking at the Hunter 41, docked beside a 386. I could see the stern was higher and more squared off than the 386. The freeboard was greater and the bow a little higher as well. The near vertical entry of the bow extends the water line of the 41and the Bow Hollow – the flare behind the stem – sets the shape of the bow wave for a smoother transition over the hull. The Stern Reflex – an indentation on the hull in front of the transom – reduces the disturbance of the wave as it exits the boat, resulting in less turbulence which takes away from boat speed.”

On deck
The Hunter 41 has a tall hull profile. Stepping through the transom into the cockpit gives the feeling of getting on a substantial boat. The higher freeboard means you should either back into the dock or have a step built for more vertically challenged passengers and crew boarding at the side gate. But what that extra vertical step gives you below worth the stretch at boarding.

The cockpit is spacious. The Whitlock wheel and pedestal sports a rack and pinion steering – more direct and reliable than cable and pulley systems. There is ample room for instruments on the pedestal, which is angled to give the person on the helm a better view of wind, depth and speed information. The optional 42” wheel took away some of the ease of passage moving forward, but there was plenty of room forward of the wheel for guests and crew to sit comfortably. Plus there are the “best seats in the house” – teak and chrome stern rail cockpit seats. In all, the cockpit has enough room for all of the “new” friends you will have when your new Hunter 41 shows up on your dock.

Hunter 41 - Sailing Lake OntarioThe 41 has clear deck space. The low deck profile gives an unobstructed view forward. The Hunter signature stainless steel arch and traveler keeps sheets, blocks, and rigging out of view and out of the way – this is both safe and convenient, especially if you plan to entertain non-sailors.

Forward is a double anchor bow roller leading to a deep anchor locker, capable of handling two sets of ground tackle. The standard electric windlass will make those overnight stops more pleasant for everyone involved in the anchoring maneuver.

All lines are led aft to coach roof winches. The unencumbered deck ensures a smooth feed of lines to a substantive cleating system and right sized winches to handle the load of halyards, vangs and outhauls. The review boat had both a furling genoa and a mast furling main. The ‘set it and forget it’ technology will appeal to the sailor who wants ease of sailing and all the creature comforts of home.

The side windows have brushed aluminum frames and are indicative of the attention to fit and finish of the new line of Hunter. A quick look around the deck and cockpit shows evidence of upgrades to rigging, fittings and all of those small areas no one notices until they bend or break. Glenn Henderson has done an excellent job making sure those annoyances don’t happen.

Below deck
All of the comforts of home barely describe what Henderson has done for the 41. Calling the saloon spacious is an understatement. All of the cabinets, frames and fiddles are solid Burmese Teak with a spray satin finish – so no maintenance. The galley is practical as it sweeps around on the port side. Corian® covered counters, separate front loading fridge and freezer, built in microwave, two burner stove and oven – who said you left home? The attention to detail shows up in places like the dish cupboard. It sports a drain, bacterial resistant finish and it’s own ventilating fan. No need to dry dishes. Yeah!

The dining table has an optional center leaf. The smaller size of the table is more comfortable for casual dining or playing Yahtzee®. Across from the settee is a love seat with a pull out storage drawer. No more lifting all the butts to get to the under seat storage.

This is your basic two-bedroom, two bath unit. The current model has two staterooms – forward and aft each with its own head and shower. The forward head uses the bow space wisely, with the head nestled into the pointy end of the boat, just aft of the anchor locker. In all but a rolling sea, this is a comfortable place to take you – uh – comfort. The Pullman bed was large enough for my 6’2” frame without bumping head or feet. And it comes with a real mattress – springs and all.

Hunter 41 - This boat is fast.The aft head, behind the nav station has a separate shower and would serve as the day head. The aft cabin has a full-sized Queen mattress. Here is where another innovation is greatly appreciated by those of us who have crammed into poorly designed aft cabins. Hunter has removed the starboard side cockpit locker and extended the height of the cabin. In addition, a full hatch has been added over the head of the bed for better ventilation. It is also a safety feature, that in the event of a fire in the galley, someone in the aft cabin could escape out of the hatch into the cockpit.

Speaking of fire safety, the Hunter 41 comes standards with CO2 detectors and an automatic fire suppression system in the engine compartment.

Design and Construction
Hunter uses a unibody construction for the interior. All of interior structure is built separately then bonded into the hull. This significantly improves quality control. The exterior of the hull is built with MaxGuard® gelcoat which eliminates yellowing and reduces crazing and fading. Hunter has strengthened the hull to deck joints by turning the flanges outward giving greater access to the nuts and bolts holding the two together. This flange is then covered with a high-density vinyl rubrail with a stainless steel insert. For anyone docking against a wall, or moving through a lock system, the rubrail will save a lot of dings and scratches on the hull.

Engine and systems
The boat is powered by a 40 hp Yanmar engine. The review boat had the optional 56 hp engine, and it made a big difference on a blustery day, especially with the optional 3-blade feathering Vari-Prop. I was able to back the boat up with confidence, even thought it was my first time on board. The Hunter 41 has the new generation Yanmar engine panel with a cluster of warning lights, as well as easy to read analog dials with all of the important information. The panel is located on the cockpit seat back where the person on the helm can actually access the information without being a contortionist.

Under power
The Yanmar diesel has more than enough power. I took the boat through its paces and was impressed with the power to start and stop the boat. It turns in just over its length in both forward and reverse and transitions smoothly.

Under sail
Undersail the boat handled well. Both furling systems are easily controlled, the main from the coach roof and the genoa from the traditional cockpit coming location. The mainsail furled into the mast. Hunter varies the height of the mast and the size of the sail depending on the system chosen. Without furling, the mast is 60’2”. With mast furling, this is increased to 62’10”, while the actual overall sail area reduces to 843 square feet from 928 square feet for the non-furling mast. We sailed the 41 in windy conditions, with gusts to 20 knots.

The boat is fast. Glenn Henderson calls it the “slipperiest boat Hunter has ever built.” Off the wind the boat tracks very well. On the wind, we were overpowered in the gusts and could have easily reefed with the mast furling system. We didn’t. After all, our job is to push the boat a bit.

We found the boat reached it maximum angle of heel long before the cockpit got wet. The Hunter did a gentle round up and then set back down. The 42” wheel felt comfortable and we were never out of control. The 41 tacks quickly, and with the primary winches aft on the cockpit coming, one person can handle the boat with having to dance around the wheel and pedestal. If you decide to race, there is ample room for crew to tend the genoa while the skipper steers.

Conclusion
The Hunter 41 is fun and easy to sail. It has room for all of your friends and will be comfortable for extended cruising. Hunter listens to its owners. Many of the innovations on the 41 are the direct result of Hunter owners saying what they like and don’t like. If you are looking for a well-built boat that will accelerate quickly, take a good look at the Hunter 41. The choice between the furling main and a standard main will be driven primarily by the level of performance the owner wants. Performance is sacrificed with the mast furling system. On the other hand, the ability to reef the sail by winding it in while underway may be a trade off you are willing to make.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s November 2003 issue.

Specifications
Current Base Price: $249,000 (2003).
As sailed: $299,620 (2003) including Engine Upgrade, Dinette Table with Leaf, Freezer, In-mast furling, 15” TV with Bose Stereo upgrade, Leather Interior Cushions, Eco-Flush Head System, Supreme Shade Package, Cockpit Cushions, Central Air/Heating, Cockpit Stereo with Arch Speakers, 42” Wheel, VHF Remote Mike, Cruising Spinnaker Gear, Commissioning Package, Electronics Package (Raymarine Autopilot, Wind and GSP with colour plotter) Deck Wash Down System, Cradle, Deluxe Dodger, Bimini, Enclosure and Feathering 3-Blade Vari-Prop.
LOA 40' 4" 12.29m
LWL 35' 6" 10.82m
Beam 13' 3" 4.04m
Draft (shoal/deep) 5'0"' / 6'6" 1.52m/1.98m
Displacement (deep draft) 19,400 lbs 8,900 kg
Ballast (shoal/deep) 6,612 lbs/6,500 2,999 kg/2,951 kg
Sail area (Standard) 928 sq. ft./std. Main 86.21m2
Sail area (Furling Main) 843 sq. ft./std. Main 78.32m2
Power Yanmar Diesel 40 HP
Fuel/water/waste 36/100/35 gal 136/379/132 L
Designer Glen Henderson

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