Boat Review: Hunter 27e
he Hunter 27e just may be the quintessential “new-old boat.” The hull, deck, appendages, rig and interior have been sailing aboard the Hunter 27 since 2006. What’s new is the boat’s “e” designation, reflecting its innovative electric engine and environmentally correct pedigree.
The 27e’s 14hp Elco electric motor operates at 72 volts DC. Energy is stored in six 12-volt zero-maintenance 214 AH AGM batteries wired in series. Depending on the options selected, these can be recharged using three solar panels and a wind generator (Hunter’s “Energy Package”) or via shore power, for those who decide to go with Hunter’s standard-package configuration.
The result is a stunningly quiet and vibration-free engine. I was belowdecks when the engine started during our test, but didn’t hear or feel a thing. The only clue we were underway came when I noticed motion through the companionway—it’s that stealthy. According to Hunter, the 27e can motor for 6-8 hours between charges. Should you get caught short, the helm station includes a “Power Boost” button that delivers an extra 15 minutes of juice.
On deck, the 27e features a 110 percent roller-reefing headsail, as well as a clever “lazy sailbag” for the mainsail that makes handling the sail a snap. The boat’s fractional rig is supported by the forestay and a single set of long swept-back shrouds that extend to the gunwales on either side, obviating the need for a backstay.
The boom is mounted more than six feet above the cockpit sole to reduce head-thwacking incidents; to compensate for sheeting angles, the optional semi-flush traveler features an extended track. A fractional asymmetric spinnaker kit is another option. All running rigging leads back to the cockpit, where it’s controlled by a pair of Lewmar 16 winches and two sets of clutches on the cabintop. The primary winches are Lewmar 30s, both well within reach of the helm.
We hoisted sails in about 4-6 knots of shifty breeze on Seattle’s ever-fickle Lake Union. The boat tacked through roughly 95 degrees with the help of its 5-foot deep-draft keel. There is also a shoal-draft keel that draws 3ft 6in. Although the speedo wasn’t working, we quickly discovered that properly positioning bodyweight was the easiest way to achieve optimum performance.
Belowdecks, the 27e can accommodate friends or a small family, provided everyone is comfortable with close-quarter living. Accommodations include a generous quarter berth, two settee berths and a snug V-berth. The settee table lowers, opening up more sleeping and duffel-stowage space. The galley is a simple two-burner affair, with a microwave, a sink and a slide-out Dometic 12-volt portable refrigerator that resides on tracks under the sink.
A spacious head with a shower and a navigation desk are standard. All lighting, both above and belowdecks, is LED. Tall sailors will appreciate the boat's 6ft 4in headroom near the molded companionway steps. Stowage space is limited, but Hunter provides plenty of hanging mesh bags for crockery and provisions.
HEADROOM 6ft 2in // BERTHS 5ft 7in x 4ft 3in (fwd); 9ft 4in x 5ft 3in (aft)
LOA 27ft 4in // LWL 23ft 7in // BEAM 9ft 11in
DRAFT 3ft 6in (shoal draft); 5ft (deep draft)
BALLAST 2,052lb (shoal draft);
1,901lb (deep draft)
SAIL AREA 386ft2
Fuel/Water/Waste (gal) 15/20/10
ENGINE 14hp Elco AC Electric Engine
Electrical 6 x 210AH
BUILDER Hunter Marine Corp., Alachua, FL, 386-462-3077
Photos courtesy of Hunter Marine