Quick Look: Hunter 27

Even if you can't have--or don't want--a big boat, you can have big-boat stuff with the Hunter 27.

The Hunter in the Pack

Even if you can't have--or don't want--a big boat, you can have big-boat stuff. At least that's the message Hunter Marine is sending with the new Hunter 27, especially when it's tricked out with the Deluxe Package.

Right down to the shore-power supply, the half-electric/half-butane two-burner stove, the microwave, and the 12-volt cooler that you load at home and stow in a specially built drawer in the galley, this boat is equally well equipped for life at the dock and for sorties to nearby cruising grounds.

The Hunter design team came up with a boat that fits the niche of a 27-foot sailboat for novices who want stability, ease of operation, and value. With leisure time being a rare commodity for most folks, a Category C venue is about as far as most will get on the spur of a moment before it's time to head back. The Hunter provides a means to enjoy such moments in comfort.

For anyone whose experience in 27-footers is determined by boats like the Bristol 27 of the 1960s--me, for one--the Hunter 27 offers a new yardstick. Thanks to its plumb stem, long waterline, broad beam, and high freeboard, there's elbow room everywhere the older boats lack it: in the V-berth (in this layout, essentially an extension of the saloon), the saloon (with comfortable seating for at least six around a central table), the head (complete with shower), and the galley. In addition, the Hunter provides an aft cabin complete with a hanging locker, a seat, and a huge athwartships berth under the cockpit--all wrapped into a package with crisp and attractive lines.

An inboard engine, a 9-horsepower Yanmar, is standard, and access to it is generous, particularly from the front: The companionway steps hinge up, their weight taken by gas struts, to reveal most of the maintenance points and a water heater for the shower.

The Hunter 27 is also quite nicely equipped for sailing. The mainsheet is double-ended--one end with a 3:1 purchase for quick trimming, and the other with a 6:1 ratio for fine-tuning--and the cockpit is laid out for easy singlehanding. The standard rig is a fractional B&R arrangement with optional in-mast furling.

Another big-boat feature is the wheel steering. At 27 feet, the boat is at the margin between the practicality of a tiller and the comfort of a wheel, but Hunter insists the market has embraced wheel steering, so a wheel it is. The optional Lewmar folding wheel further improves access to the walk-through transom, but it's pushed so far aft to open up the cockpit that the stern lifeline interferes with the helm seat. As on all Hunters, back-seat drivers can second-guess the skipper from perches in the corner pushpits, but they'd better not be too critical, as guest spots on this boat will be easy to fill.

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