If sailors in America make an annual pilgrimage, it should be to the Annapolis Boat Show held each fall in Maryland. Annapolis is the perfect setting for an event like this since the whole town appears focused on yachting. The show atmosphere is both circus-like and, at the same time, businesslike. It is one time when all the industry heads get together and present their best faces and newest products.

The Hunter 27 under sail.

The Hunter 27 under sail.

This year, my stay at the show was highlighted by an invitation to visit Warren Luhrs' new rocket ship, Hunter's Child. I was flattered and excited as I stepped aboard to meet Luhrs and the lead of the Hunter design team, Ola Wettergren. At a time like this, it is very easy to forget your own pretensions and just stand there in awe of the pinpoint focus of a design exercise like Hunter's Child. I have tremendous respect for Luhrs and his design team for taking such a totally uncompromising approach to a refined, singlehanded offshore racing yacht. After chatting with Luhrs briefly, Wettergren lead me and Walter Mitty on a detailed inspection of the vessel. "We'd like to take you sailing sometime, Bob." I reel at the possibility.

One of the new Hunters is this Hunter 27 from Wettergren and the design team. While the Hunter line is aimed at the low and price wise, I can assure you that these designers are extremely serious when it comes to providing the best possible design solutions. They have a clear cut understanding of performance — and by performance I don't mean dividing the speed made good by the area of galley counter and then multiplying that by the number of berths. I mean knots, pure and simple. Hunter's Child had to have its speed modified because it wouldn't read accurately over 22.5 knots. At 22.5 knots, they were still experiencing bursts of acceleration! Where's my seabag?

The 27 has short ends to maximize sailing length and generous freeboard to maximize interior volume. This freeboard is artfully disguised with feature stripes. The sheerline is almost flat. If you have a design with a lot of freeboard and you give it a strong spring to the sheer, you may just end up looking like a wooden shoe.

The D/L ratio is 198. Beam has not been exaggerated, but it is still ample and drawn out to the stern. The midsection shows flared topsides with an arc-like, low wetted surface shape tangent at centerline. The keel is a combination of gin, bulb and wing. The bulb gets the center of gravity down while the wings allow draft to be reduced through more effective planform. The rudder is a partially-balanced spade. Draft is only 3 feet 6 inches.

Hunter sticks with the sweptback spreader rig. This is also consistent with Hunter's Child. The simple fractional rig of the 27 makes sail handling easy. The SA/D ratio is 16.79, perfect for family cruising. While studying the sailplan, take the time to study the balance of the deck structure with the hull lines. This is a handsome boat given the tough requirements that go with designing a pocket, family cruising yacht. Take away the headroom requirement and it's much easier.

This interior is designed for either two adult couples or a family of four. With the dinette the designers have managed to create a main cabin feel while not trying to even pretend at great privacy forward, making me think that it really is a family boat. The head comes standard with shower seat that folds down over the WC. The athwartships double aft is accessible through the galley area. By turning this berth athwartships, there's room for a big lazarette.

Well, here I sit. I have my seabag packed. I have my Chapstick. I have my baseball cap turned backwards. When do we leave, Warren?

Boat Specifications
Displacement5,000 lbs.
Ballast2,000 lbs.
Sail Area307 sq. ft.
AuxiliaryInboard Yanmar1GM-10 9 hp outboard Tohatsu 8 hp
FuelInboard 12 gal. outboard 3 gal.
Water24 gal.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.