Hunter has certainly made themselves a force in the American production boat industry. Part of their success can be based upon the fact that Hunter provides a very complete boat for relatively little money. They have also pursued a continual updating of their model line resulting in a group of very contemporarily styled yachts.

If you look at a Hunter you can easily see the areas where they save money. Their tooling tends to be a little ragged in places and is in need of some cosmetic TLC. However, I am impressed with the attention that Hunter gives to the general engineering of this boat. The printed ads that come with the Hunter drawings stress commitment to engineering excellence and, while almost all brochures claim the same thing, I tend to think that someone at Hunter is trying to build strong and inexpensive boats.

The interior of the Hunter Legend 37 is laid out for a family of four. There is a stateroom aft with a Swan-Baltic styled double tucked under the cockpit. The galley is big and is adjacent to the head. Note how the companionway is pushed forward in this layout. This is a function of the aft cabin requirements.

In studying the layout, you can see a broad white stripe running athwartships right at the drop leaf table. I may be mistaken, but I think this is a traverse stiffener or floor that actually pierces the cabinsole. Now, I can think of some builders who would say, "We can't have a floor interrupting the cabin sole; it might destroy the ambience." However, this is a highly-stressed area, especially in the event that you kiss a rock with the keel. I respect Hunter for compromising the ambience in order to produce a stronger boat. The midsection also shows tall, longitudinal stringers each side of the keel. There is plenty of structure in this boat.

Bulb keels are getting some attention these days. Every few years you see some, but then they seem to disappear. With the new IOR approach to increased stability, perhaps we will see new development in bulbs. There is no doubt that a bulb can dramatically lower the VCG of the keel.

Hunter has chosen a belt and suspenders approach to the keel on the 37 by using a bulb with winglets. The keel is long at the tip chord and, with the bulb, I would guess that there will be lots of turbulent flow. The actual geometry of this bulb may be such that it actually extends the apparent span of the keel fin. The small winglets could clean up the turbulence and further lower the VCG. They start at about the 60 percent chord position and do not extend to the training edge.

The 37 has an interesting rig. It shows a fractional configuration combined with the Bergstrom-Ridder swept-back spreader rig. Usually I would assume that one of the benefits of using a fractional rig is the ability to bend the mast and vary sail shape to a much greater degree than is possible with a masthead rig. It is nice when you have a big main to be able to carry it up to 25 knots apparent with only backstay, cunningham and vang adjustments. Still, the fractional rig does give a rig with small jibs and that's fine.

It can't be cheaper to use the Bergstrom-Ridder rig. Hunter has used this rig exclusively for years, so I am going to assume that they believe there are actual advantages to it. I know that it eliminates the need to pay attention to mast bend characteristics, but that's always been an area where I like to have some control. It all depends on your style of sailing.

Looking at the sail plan, we can see that this is a good-looking boat. The deck is designed to give the general look of a high-performance boat. I guess we all owe Swan something when it comes to deck design. The sail area to displacement ratio is high at 19.76 and that should be more than sufficient to give this design good speed in light air. You could very easily get by with a small jib, say a 110 percent and a 150 percent genoa, for your whole inventory.

The Hunter 37 is available with a deep fin keel in addition to the bulb-wing. The straight fin model draw 6 feet 8 inches. Have you noticed that, with the overall improvement in performance of shoal draft boats, the designers have been going deeper with the standard straight keel? This sure is a healthy trend in either direction. The modern shoal draft yacht is so efficient that, if there is even hint of draft restriction, the owner can opt for the shoal draft version. If draft is not a problem, you might as well have the option of going with a big, deep fin.

Boat Specifications

Draft6'8" or 4'9"
Displacement13700 lbs. or 13900 lbs.
Ballast 5700 lbs. or 5900 lbs.


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