Hunter 50 Center Cockpit

I needed little excuse to escape the New England cold to test-sail the new Hunter 50 Center Cockpit in balmy Palmetto, Florida, last December. I’d inspected hull #1 at the Annapolis Boat Show last fall so I knew the interior was spacious, but how would this newest and biggest Hunter perform under sail? The Gulf of Mexico didn’t serve up much wind, but Hunter’s chief tester,
Author:
Updated:
Original:



I needed little excuse to escape the New England cold to test-sail the new Hunter 50 Center Cockpit in balmy Palmetto, Florida, last December. I’d inspected hull #1 at the Annapolis Boat Show last fall so I knew the interior was spacious, but how would this newest and biggest Hunter perform under sail? The Gulf of Mexico didn’t serve up much wind, but Hunter’s chief tester, Steve Pettengill, brought a spinnaker along, and we made the most of it.

Construction

The hull is made of solid hand-laid fiberglass and vinylester resin; the area from the stem to the keel is reinforced with impact-resistant Kevlar. The interior is built in modules that are dropped onto the structural grid in the hull before the deck goes on. These are then glued and tabbed to both the hull and the deck to form a rigid one-piece structure. The hull-to-deck joint flange turns outward; it’s both screwed and glued with 3M 5200, and is then covered with a heavy-duty rubrail.

On Deck

The design team at Hunter is always coming up with fresh ideas, and the 50’s deck layout has several simple-but-noteworthy, comfort features. Instead of stern seats, for example, the 50 has an “admiral’s seat” built into the stainless work surrounding the stern. It seats two and even has a tabletop.

Comfort is one thing, but you also need plenty of deck stowage on a boat like this, and the 50 has it. Multiple deck lockers are big enough to store fenders and docklines, and provision has been made for the liferaft—something other builders should emulate. The cockpit seats are deep and long enough to stretch out on, and while I’d have liked the seatbacks to be higher, they are tall enough for comfort.

Accommodations

As I stepped below, I was delighted to see that the curved companionway stairs I saw on hull #1 in Annapolis had been replaced by wide, straight steps with handholds and wide treads with plenty of antiskid.

Hunters have always been known for spacious accommodations, and this boat won our Best Boats award for excellence in accommodation. The slightly raised saloon is bright and airy, thanks to large fixed windows and multiple opening ports and hatches and you get a good view. There are steps up or down between the various parts of the boat; this may annoy some potential buyers, but many other boats share this feature. Offshore cooks will appreciate the high fiddles and solid handholds in the galley, as well as the copious stowage. Offshore sailors will appreciate the easy-access wet locker under the companionway steps and the full-size forward-facing nav station.

Another step down from the companionway aft leads to the aft stateroom—calling it a cabin just doesn’t do this space justice. It has a fully walk-around bed (more than a bunk). It has a walk-in closet (hardly just a hanging locker). It has a contoured recliner and a built-in chest of drawers (instead of a locker). But what everybody was talking about was the hot tub. The bed flips up to reveal a full-size tub complete with water jets. And, of course, both cabins have entertainment centers.

This boat pulls out all the comfort stops, but not at the expense of an elegant interior. The doors have solid frames, and the woodwork has a good-looking varnish finish.


Features

  • The sails are built by Doyle
  • The winches are supplied by Lewmar
  • The B&R rig is built by Seldn and eliminates the need for a backstay
  • The electronics package is supplied by Raymarine
  • The aft deck’s “admiral’s seat” and “lounger” are all about on-deck comfort
  • Trademark mainsheet arch keeps the traveler out of the cockpit

Vital statistics

Headroom 6'8", Bunks forward cabin 5'9" x 6'4", aft cabin 5'9" x 6'8", settee 6'4" x 4', cockpit seats 6'8" x 1'8"

Specifications

PRICE: $379,989 (base, FOB Alachua, FL) including sails, basic electronics

BUILDER: Hunter Marine, Alachua, FL, www.huntermarine.com

DESIGNER: Hunter Design Team

LOA: 49'11"

LWL: 43'10"

Beam: 14'9"

Draft: shoal/deep 5'6"/7'

Displacement: 36,945/35,661 lbs

Ballast: shoal/deep 12,500/11,216 lbs

electrical (3) 8D batteries, 80 Amp alternator

Sail area: (main and jib) 1,131 sq ft

Fuel/water/waste: 162/194/52 gals

Power: 75 HP Yanmar

Displ.-length ratio: 195

Sail area-displ. ratio: 16

Ballast ratio: 33%

Our take

Pros:

• Comfortable accommodations

• Aft deck comfort

• Deck stowage

Cons:

• Companionway steps a bit steep

• Cockpit seatbacks a bit low

Conclusion

It’s easy to get distracted by the hot tub and the TV in every cabin and the “admiral’s seat,” but in truth there’s more than that to this boat. It’s a big sister to the 49, an example of which has just circumnavigated. The sails are easy to handle, and the hull is big and heavy enough to stand up to a breeze. And having a boat that’s well equipped and offers the comforts of home is not a bad thing at all.

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more