Hunter Sailboats: Are They Built for Bluewater Cruising?

Hunter Sailboats: Are They Built for Bluewater Cruising? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 29, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Hunter sailboats can be bluewater capable depending on the model you are looking at
  • Experience in years sailing make a difference versus a newbie in bluewater conditions
  • The amount of room on board can make life miserable if there is not enough living space
  • Being careful out at sea is crucial on boats that are not quite bluewater worthy
  • Some modifications might be needed to make Hunters bluewater worthy

There are many sailboats capable of sailing in bluewater conditions. But are Hunter sailboats bluewater worthy?

Hunter sailboats are bluewater worthy and can handle heavy seas. The H460 for example is a proven bluewater sailing cruising boat and is one of the more popular sailboats from the Hunter brand. New Hunter boats are also capable, but keep in mind that most Hunters are built for simple cruising.

Based on my expertise, it is best to sail in tougher conditions if you have quality experience and are comfortable with the boat you have. The seaworthiness of a boat will also play a role in your previous experience.


Table of contents

Are Hunter Sailboats Bluewater?

Hunter sailboats can be characterized as bluewater depending on the type of boat you are sailing with from that brand. As a whole, no, Hunter does not make every boat with bluewater sailing in mind. Instead, Hunter will likely offer a good cruiser over a good blue water boat any day of the week.

The most popular bluewater sailboat from Hunter is the H460 since it has a lot of capabilities that are great for deep bluewater or tougher conditions. There are other Marlow-Hunter boats, such as the Marlow-Hunter 40, that offer a balance of luxury and blue water sailing capabilities.  Below are some other factors to consider about Hunter sailboats and their bluewater worthiness.

Slight Modifications

Older Hunter sailboats might need some slight adjustments made before you take it in the deep blue water areas. For example, many sailors have opted to replace the panel doors with better washboards.

Another slight change that you could make on a Hunter boat would be converting your toilet to use sea water. These are only a few of the changes you need to make some Hunter boats bluewater.

Amount of Room

Living space and storage are going to be key for a Hunter boat to be considered bluewater capable. The time period at sea will also make a difference, as you will be living on the boat for lengthy amounts of time depending on your sailing goals.

Storing groceries and other goods on board will be crucial too. This is where a second refrigerator could come in handy or a larger galley for dry goods. It is important to see how much room you are going to need.

How does it Handle?

While you probably do not need five years experience sailing, it would not hurt to have some quality time out at sea than just a simple test sail. If you have had the opportunity to sail other bluewater boats, you should compare how other sailboat brands match with a Hunter boat, especially in light air.

When handling a Hunter sailboat, consider how well it does while in the right conditions and some of that are unfavorable. These will likely be a good cruiser, especially if they are easier to operate.


Some sailors have the guts to take various boats that are not rated for bluewater out into those elements. While that is not recommended, you ultimately have the decision to do that if you wish.

Some sailors do not have any interest in offshore sailing, as they would rather cruise or join races. If you are comfortable with your sailing skills and have preparations in place for emergencies then you are in good shape.

Differences in Models

As mentioned, Hunters are built with cruising in mind for beginners and experienced boaters. Sailing these in offshore sailing will likely not be as appealing, but a handful of their options could pass the test.

One particular Hunter boat will potentially be much different than another, just like any other brand. It is important to weigh your options if you are considering purchasing a Hunter boat and see if the possibilities are there.

Quality of Materials

There is no doubt that the Hunter sailboats are good boats, especially with the amount of success stories of sailors they have told for a while. The materials stand out since there are plenty of customizable features.

Fiberglass hulls are excellent and this boat brand also uses that same type for their hulls. These are great for making your boat stand up to tougher blue water conditions.

What Makes a Boat Capable for Bluewater Sailing?

Many factors contribute to why a boat is ready for bluewater conditions. These will vary on certain brands, but most are synonymous throughout. Hunter boats fall into that category depending on the type of boat in question.

It is important to study which aspect makes a blue water boat best for your situation. Below are simple things to consider when considering a voyage in offshore sailing in a Hunter boat.

Bigger Not Always Better

A bigger boat may not be the best route to go when looking for a Hunter boat ready for offshore sailing. Instead, think about the smallest size you are willing to sail on and liveaboard. This will help keep your perspective in focus so that you do not spend more money on a larger boat that you do not need.

These boats must also have a smaller cockpit, as you do not need it taking up valuable storage space. Keep in mind that more room could lead to more clutter on the deck or galley as well.

Various Options

A skeg hung rudder is usually best since it is separate from the keel to offer better performance. But you should also consider other features such as extra handrails or all weather bunks.

Some Hunter boats in the past have been customizable so some are more bluewater ready than others. These are just minor additions you could look for to improve the boat for those conditions.

Weight of the Boat

A heavier boat will be your best bet when sailing across the ocean. More weight will help with stability and keeping down the motion when heeling. This is definitely a huge bonus, as you want to be as stable as possible while there are likely not a lot of boats around.

Do not mistake the weight of the boat meaning you need a bigger boat. Most sailors that opt for larger boats will likely take up too much room in many areas of the boat. You should consider how much displacement a boat offers and how long it will take to travel two distances.

Lighting at Night

Sailors that want to go offshore must be able to sail a little at night. This means you must understand how to read navigation and your skills to carry out those navigation directions. You also must be able to sail at night with limited lights to see.

Hunter Sailboats: Are They Built for Bluewater Cruising?
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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