Quick Look: Hunter 49

This sturdy performer was named Best Full-Size Cruiser by CW's Boat of the Year judges.

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When the BOTY judges sat down to trade notes on this year's crop of Full-Size Cruisers, the Hunter 49 outpaced its rivals with its sail plan and rig options, safety features, solid feel under sail, accommodations, and price.
In their discussion, the judges pointed to a number of details that made this a boat that could be enjoyed in port and, with some minor tweaks, take an owner and family a ways offshore.

Starting at the bow, BOTY judge and former sailmaker Tom Linskey was struck by the ability to have a self-tending jib, an overlapping genoa, or a combination of both with the addition of a solent stay. At the aft end, all of the judges were impressed by the split mainsheet that could be controlled either by a winch on the cabin top or with a tail that runs down the trademark Hunter overhead arch to a winch by the port helm station.

The 49's cockpit is comfortable, with twin wheels and a solid table. Ahead of that, judge Steve Callahan noted that the companionway stairs were some of the best in the show. On deck, handrails run forward, past the mast, and 28-inch-high lifelines give a sense of security when you're moving about while under way. Below, an ingenious hanging area for wet foulies under the companionway caught the eye of judge Stacey Collins, as did ample storage under the saloon sole and the well-marked and easy-to-access through-hulls.

Below the waterline, designer Glenn Henderson and his team relied on a relatively small keel and large rudder to produce a boat that tracks well and has power when moving through the water. Moreover, the judges concluded that the boat's systems and construction are well thought out and thorough, making the boat, at just under $400,000, a value for the buyer.