Hunter 40

2013 February 1

Here's a handsome new 40-footer in the European style from Marlow-Hunter. The styling is a bit unusual but I find the proportions work well and give this 40-footer an aggressive look. The hull design is by Glenn Henderson, who has been working with Hunter for some time producing all the company's hull shapes.

The underwater profile is pretty standard. There's not much variation in that feature in today's production cruising boats. The 40 comes in a shoal-draft, wing-keel version drawing 5 feet 2 inches and a deep-draft version drawing 6 feet 8 inches. There is an additional 602 pounds of ballast in the shoal-draft version.

Displacement for the shoal-draft 40 is 19,700 pounds and that gives the 40 a D/L of 188.5. By today's standards this indicates a moderate D/L. Beam is 12 feet 2 inches for an L/B of 3.03, and I consider that quite beamy. Modest bow overhang ensures a lot of volume forward for accommodations. I also like the look of the near plumb stem. There is a chine aft, quite low on the hull. This chine provides better form stability, a longer sailing length and more volume aft down where it can benefit the accommodations.

The accommodation plan is impressive for a 40-footer. The outboard profile of the boat has the look of an aft-cockpit boat, and the cockpit is aft. The layout looks more like what you would find on a center-cockpit boat.

There is a large centerline double berth tucked under the cockpit sole. The aft head is accessible from the aft stateroom or the saloon. There are two large hanging lockers in the aft stateroom.

The L-shaped galley features plenty of counter space. Forward of the saloon is another head to starboard and a V-berth double. Two couples could be very comfortable on this boat. Big windows in the wedgelike cabintrunk let in a lot of light. There are also fixed "windows" in the hull for more light. Unfortunately none of these are portlights, so you will have to rely upon the deck hatches for ventilation.

Once again Hunter has gone with the Bergstrom-Ridder rig featuring spreaders swept 30 degrees. An interesting feature of this rig is the use of "reverse diagonal" shrouds at both spreaders. On the lower spreader you can see these as short diagonal shrouds dead ending on the mast approximately 5 feet above and below the spreaders. At the upper spreader the cap shroud takes the place of the upper reverse diagonal. The use of these diamond stays increases the stiffness of the mast section sufficiently to allow Hunter to remove that lower, solid strut you see on many of the company's models.

I don't have basic rig dimensions but if I use the brochure spec for a sail area of 910 square feet, I get a SA/D of 19.96, and that should power the 40 quite well in light air. I'm not too keen on having a boom that high but having it sheet to the hardtop over the stern arch requires that height. The good news is that the mainsheet and traveler system is entirely out of the cockpit. The high-clewed, low-LP jib makes for very good visibility forward.

When Henderson began designing the hulls for Hunter the boat performance improved dramatically. There's a guy with a pretty new Hunter who regularly likes to short tack my beach right past my shack. I think he likes to show off. He sails his Hunter quite a bit, so that tells me he likes his boat. When he goes by here he always appears to be clipping right along. I'm impressed. I think this new 40-footer will surprise some people with its performance.