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Best Boats 2016: Marlow-Hunter 31

Cruising monohull 31-40ft

Marlow-Hunter 31

Marlow-Hunter has long been known as an innovator in the marine industry, and the new Marlow-Hunter 31 is keeping that tradition alive with a mix of interesting features, large and small.

Topsides, the most noticeable of these is a cockpit coaming that has been taken as far outboard as possible, creating a sailing and lounging space that wouldn’t look out of place aboard a 40-footer. To make sure the space works, Marlow-Hunter has also included a pair of hinged footrests in the sole and an (optional) adjustable Lewmar pedestal that swings well outboard to port and starboard, ensuring you have a clear view from the helm.

Belowdecks, Marlow-Hunter has cleverly specified an in-line galley to maximize the interior space and also pre-wires each boat so that a multifunction display can be easily installed alongside the breaker box over the settee, effectively allowing the dining table to double as a nav station. Aft, there’s a nifty dedicated power cable compartment to starboard of the drop-down swim platform and another nifty compartment large enough to house an inflatable kayak to port. Retractable cleats, Marlow-Hunter’s trademark backstay-free B&R rig, expansive side decks: the list goes on and on.

The basic construction of the boat has also been fine tuned through the implementation of a number of different techniques and materials, including Kevlar in the layup forward for collision protection; Kevlar encircling the hull and deck in the area of the chainplates to promote strength; craze-resistant gelcoat in the deck layup; a stainless steel L-bracket to reinforce the through-bolted hull-to-deck joint; and a moisture-resistant Nida Core honeycomb in the layup.

Last but not least, the Marlow-Hunter 31 is a heck of a fun little sailer, thanks to a variety of different performance features, including a fairly narrow entry forward and a powerful high-aspect rudder. During our test sail we hit 7.8 knots on a close reach with true wind speeds in the low teens. You can’t ask for a whole lot more from a cruiser than that! marlow-hunter.com

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