Boat Of The Week

2009 Hunter 49′

Dealer Evaluation Report

When the H49 was first unloaded from the truck at Port Sanilac Marina, the enormous girth was very apparent.  The nearly 15 foot beam coupHunter 2led with a very deep full bilge was quite impressive. The gages on the travel lift indicated an empty weight of 36000 pounds. This boat was nearly twice the weight of the H41. The standard three blade fixed prop was immediately replaced with a geared folding Gori prop with overdrive.  This gave immediate performance improvements in both sail and power modes over the standard prop. The standard fixed prop is pitched for worse case scenarios, which is under pitched for most situations. This in turn has the engine turning at higher RPM then necessary. With the Gori prop in overdrive mode, the Hunter 49 can motor at 8 knots at 2200 rpm. This is a very fuel efficient RPM and quiet with no vibration. In addition the geared folding blades provide minimum drag when under sail. VC 17 is the bottom paint of choice on the Great Lakes. There is no sanding afteVC17mExtra_1qt_US_5r the first application and no bottom build up ever. The Teflon base is super thin and provides a slippery surface for both performance and hull cleaning. **Like our Facebook page this week June 18- 24th to be entered in to win a free can of Interlux VC 17m bottom paint!** The standard sail plan was increased with the option of the tall rig.  There was concern about the boat being too tender in a blow. This never materialized.  The roller furling main was ordered with vertical battens. This was a noticeable improvement over mains without battens.hunter In order to improve off wind and downwind sailing performance, a halyard and sheave box were added approximately 3 feet above the standard spinnaker exit. The location was approved by Selden Spars as being structurally sufficient. With the increased “I” dimension, both an asymmetrical spinnaker and code zero were ordered which gave good all round sailing performance. The asymmetrical spinnaker was ordered with an ATN snuffer.  This worked very well for both setting and dousing the chute. With the forward deck locker just aft of the anchor well, this made stowing the huge chute a snap.  Just lower the halyard with snuffer attached. The long sausage like snuffer stows neatly in the locker and is ready to hoist for the next downwind run. A code zero was ordered primarily for racing in those conditions where beam reaching in higher wind velocities is necessary.  The code comes into its own when the wind is above 10 knots and forward of the beam. This really powers up the rig, but in full control. The four sail inventory is all that is needed for both racing and cruising. The furling main gives infinite reefing points to fine tune the balance of the sail plan. Raymarine instruments were ordered with the boat from Hunter.  Dual station GPS/electronic Chart Plotterchart with radar, below deck auto pilot, speed and depth were specked out.  A below deck Icom VHF radio with cockpit microphone was also ordered. To give further data viewable from anywhere in the cockpit, two Raymarine graphic displays were installed on the sea hood.Pedestal Nav  An inclinometer was installed just below the sea hood. With the rack and pinion twin wheel steering, rudder feedback was minimal. In order to better gage excessive rudder angle and weather helm, the trailing edge of the rudder was measured for rudder angle and marked on the wheel at center, two degrees, four degrees, and six degrees. Keeping the helm under six degrees made noticeable improvements in boat speed. Considerable effort was put into tuning the B&R rig. This can only be done after the boat is sailed several times in velocities that produce at least 15 degrees of heel.  This enables the shrouds and stays to stretch and seat to their working positions. Once the rig was tuned it gave an even tensioning on all shrouds and stays when the forestay was tightened.  This tuning position should last an extended period even with the mast being stepped. The forestay was shortened the maximum amount with the intention of moving the mast and center of effort forward to minimize any weather helm in high wind conditions due to the tall rig. This set up gave the boat a good feel and no excessive helm in wind ranges all the way up into the high teens. With a 150 gallon fuel tank one would think that the cruising range on the boat would be of no concern. This is only true if the fuel tank reading is accurate and you pay attention to cruising RPM. Like all electric fuel gages on boats they can only be a reference. The Teleflex fuel gage is no exception. The translucent fuel tank under the aft berth can be easily inspected. Several hash marks were drawn on the tank indicating the level and approximate gallons left. This coupled with careful engine RPM selection can give motoring ranges in the 400 nautical mile vicinity. One other fuel consumption concern is the generator. We estimate that the generator takes ½ gallon per hour when running. This should be factored in when cruising. Once down under a quarter tank of fuel it is very important not to motor sail on starboard tack since the danger exists of sucking air into the fuel line and having the engine stop.  Fortunately with easy engine access, the fuel system can be easily bled and the engine restarted once the boat is upright or tank filled. Battery capacity on the H49 is quite large and well suited for all the systems onboard.  Three 8D house batteries and one group of 27 engine start batteries come standard. Additional capacity and durability can be had by specking out Absorbed Glass Mat batteries.  These batteries are twice the price of standard wet cell batteries but offer a no maintenance sealed construction and are much more durable in the long run. Something to consider if you stay plugged into shore power continuously and don’t monitor or maintain your batteries. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe refrigeration/freezer system onboard the H49 is quite versatile and offers plenty capacity. The optional top loading freezer/refrigerator was ordered on our stock the H49. This two compartment top loading unit is adjacent to the companionway stairsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and allows quick access from the cockpit for cold beverages and or ice. All four units have the ability to be put into freezer mode by just turning down the thermostat.     The office option in the starboard aft cabin was ordered on our stock boat.  The boat, most likely, will be used by a cruising couple with need/desire to have a working Island Master Bed 2office area for internet, e-mail and record keeping without cluttering the nav station area. This dedicated area does NOT lessen the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnumber of berths. However, it does displace a large closet. A great feature in the fore cabin is the large island style double berth. Unlike most fore cabins the mattress is at normal height and offers step ups onto both sides, making it easier to get into the berth. With the cold damp climates of early and late season sailing on the Great Lakes, cabin heating has become more of a concern then air conditioning. The reverse cycle heat/air units in the H49 work well in this environment. Three separate units control the temperatures in each cabin. One of the drawbacks of the reverse cycle heat/air systems is its dependence 120 volt AC power. While this is not an issue while plugged into shore power, it does present a dilemma while underway or at anchor. There are two choices available to solve the dilemma and get heat onboard while away from shore power.   One choice is to go to a diesel fired heater that is not reliant on 120 volt AC power. This system provides heat only and may require battery charging from time to time. The other option is to install an AC generator to power the reverse cycle heat/air units, charge the battery bank, and run any host of AC appliances including microwave, hair dryer etc. Cruising sailors in general disdain the use of generators in quiet secluded anchorages myself included.  So I make a point of anchoring a fair distance away from any boat that may be running a generator all night. Fortunately the H49 has addressed these concerns with their well engineered generator installation. Noise and smoke are a non issue.  The generator is mounted on centerline forward of the engine below the waterline, and encapsulated in a sound dampened fiberglass housing. The split exhaust exits the hull below the waterline just aft of the keel. What little gas exits on the bottom of the stern overhang is imperceptible. After racing twenty plus Port Huron to Mackinac races while using the main engine for battery charging, this was the first time we charged the batteries with no annoying engine noise or vibration.  On deck you could not tell whether the generator was running or not. Down below at times a slight hum or vibration could be felt if listening carefully. An additional feature not always appreciated by cruisers and racers is the vacu flush head.  I have been a skeptic of this myself because of the power requirements. The pros are starting to offset the cons in this area. First are the holding tank requirements on the Great Lakes and many other coastal areas. The vacu flush system is more efficient with the use of water and in turn makes your holding tank capacity last much longer. Second and an equally important is the added benefit of virtually no odors. This is a result of the hoses being under vacuum rather than pressure. On deck one of the major aspects of the wide beam is the spacious cockpit with a thoughtful cockpit table. An added benefit to the wide cockpit and twin wheels is the Hunter 5ability to stand up and walk completely around the cockpit table. This walking area really takes away that feeling that one has to get off the boat to stretch and move your legs and significantly adds to long term cruising comfort. I was very concerned about the performance potential of such a heavy beamy deep bilge boat, especially with a roller furling mainsail and a 105% roller furling jib.  All these concerns were easily put aside however, after a season of successful club racing around the buoys and a 3rd place finish in the prestigious 250 mile Port Huron Mackinaw race. Written by: Chester S. Kolascz Port Sanilac Marina