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An Overview of the Hunter Sailboat

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/31/2006 | Fishing and Boating

Hunter Sailboats have only been around for a few decades, but the history behind their design can be traced all the way back to the 19th century. 

Warren and John Luhrs, the original designers of the Hunter Sailboat, had shipbuilding in their blood. Their Great-Grandfather, Henry Luhrs, migrated from Germany to the United States during the latter part of the 1800's and became employed with a company that outfitted trading ships. In time, he open his own business and gained a reputation as a solid businessman whose company produced high quality boats.

The family remained in the shipbuilding business. Warren and John's father made a name for himself building fishing boats and family cruisers. When they were old enough, the two young men joined the family business and learned all the ins and outs of creating and manufacturing boats of various sizes. 

When the family business was sold in the mid 1960's, the two brothers decided to remain in the industry and looked around for a small company where they could take everything they had learned and come up with their own unique designs. After acquiring a New Jersey based company in 1969, they set to work perfecting their designs. The result of their efforts was the first Hunter Sailboat in 1973.

The original design was a twenty-five foot long sloop design. Throughout the remainder of the decade, Warren Luhrs became more involved in boat racing, and began to make refinements to the design, adding such elements as water-ballast systems, arches, and B&R rigs. By the time the decade ended, the Hunter Sailboat had gained quite a reputation as an excellent choice for both professional and amateur boat racers.

Today, the Hunter Sailboat is still in production and as popular as ever. Diversified into a number of models these days, Hunter Sailboats range from the original twenty-five foot design to over forty feet. Most designs allow for at least a four-person capacity, with a few models accommodating up to eight persons. Luxury models allow for private cabins rather than communal sleeping quarters and will often offer all the comforts of home.   Hunter Sailboats these days often come with       full-sized showers and toilets. The galley kitchens are outfitted with anything needed to prepare a meal, even down to a microwave oven. The refrigeration system is equal to any home kitchen and there is plenty of room for storage in all sections of the boat.

Many other features that were manually operated thirty years ago are now fully automated. As an example, the head sail can now be unfurled with the push of a button.  Hauling up the anchor is no problem either; today's models feature an electronic winch that easily raises and lowers the anchor. Manual over-rides are usually included, in the unlikely event of some sort of system failure, which is a very rare occurrence with the Hunter Sailboat. Two-way radios are still available with most models and also include a hand crank that can be used in the event of a power failure.

A number of clubs for Hunter Sailboat owners are in operation, with many of the clubs maintaining websites and message boards. If you are interested in learning more about Hunter Sailboats, simply do a search online there are plenty of resources available.