Glenn Henderson is a good ol’ Southern boy, a Florida native who loves surfin’, sailin’, and Gators football, not necessarily in that order. When Henderson joined the Hunter Design Team in 2001, his first commission was the Hunter 356, which was an unqualified success with more than 500 units built. This year, Henderson has revisited the concept with the Hunter 36, and it’s interesting to see the choices that he’s made on this second-generation approach.
Rather than a wholesale makeover, it’s safe to say that the 36 is an evolution and extension of the midsize theme. There are lots of features that are consistent with the brand that have been carried through with this latest Hunter, including the backstay-less B&R rig with the distinctive, swept-back double spreaders; the folding wheel and walk-through transom, which maximize the comfort and utility of the cockpit; and the Traveler Arch with built-in bimini, with the mainsail traveler within handy reach of the helmsman.
The hull of the 36 has been slightly tweaked, Henderson said, to lower the prismatic coefficient and promote even greater stability and better balance. In practice, what this means is a slightly longer waterline with a somewhat straighter plumb bow. Henderson started his design career drawing quick, sporty, highly successful raceboats, and he hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to hulls that move sweetly through the water. We tested the 36 on a day of mostly light winds hovering around 8 knots. Upwind with full sail on, the boat registered an effortless 5.6 to 5.8 knots. Cracked off to a close reach, the speedometer topped 6 knots. The helm was light, and given the spotty breeze, the performance was excellent. On our wish list, we’d add a foot chock for the helmsman and a repositioned overhead bimini window for better sight lines to the mainsail, but both can be easily addressed.
On deck, there are lots of little features that suggest a notable attention to detail, starting with the good nonskid underfoot. The anchoring system is very well done, with a large cleat adjacent to the windlass to ease the strain on the rode; a dedicated bar over the bow roller ensures that the anchor won’t jump its mount and nick the headsail furler or pulpit. The cockpit lockers are enormous and well organized, with fiddled shelves and brackets for the emergency tiller, companionway slats, and other items. We were less enamored of the small hatches in the transom scoop, which seemed out of reach and somewhat superfluous, prone to immersion, and, in the event that they became flooded, potentially hazardous.
As with the deck, the interior layout and styling have been modified and updated. This is a very big 36-footer. The straight-line galley of the 356 has been transformed on the 36 into an L-shaped arrangement that lies to starboard, adjacent to the companionway steps. To port, the aft-facing nav station is enormous; it wouldn’t be out of place on a boat 10 feet larger. Likewise, the head is big and accessible, with a sink/vanity in one section and the head/shower in a separate enclosure. There’s a V-berth in a forward stateroom (with a nifty louvered door in the bulkhead to open up the space when desired) and a large athwartships double aft (with its own headboard!). All in all, it’s a worthy successor to the original.
Herb McCormick is a Cruising World editor at large.
LOA 35′ 6” (10.82 m.)
LWL 31′ 3” (9.53 m.)
Beam 12′ 0” (3.66 m.)
Draft (shoal) 4′ 11” (1.50 m.)
Draft (deep/standard) 6′ 5” (1.96 m.)
Sail area (100%) 780 sq. ft. (72.46 sq. m)
Ballast (shoal) 5,064 lb. (2,302 kg.)
Ballast (deep) 5,023 lb. (2,283 kg.)
Displacement (shoal) 13,900 lb. (6,318 kg.)
Water 75 gal. (284 l.)
Fuel 38 gal. (144 l.)
Engine 29-hp. Yanmar diesel
Designer Glenn Henderson/ Hunter Design Team
Base Price (sailaway) $147,000
Phone (386) 462-3077