Just Launched – Hunter Passage 42

First published in SAIL Magazine, 1989

Just Launched – Hunter Passage 42

by Tom Dove

The term “center cockpit” often creates an image of the typical charter boat of a decade ago: roomy, heavy and forgiving of error, but slow in any single-digit breeze. The Hunter Passage 42 should go a long way toward changing that image. The wraparound windows give the appearance of a streamlined pilothouse, but this is not a traditional slow, heavy displacement ocean cruiser.

We sailed the prototype at Baltimore in five- to eight-knot winds and found her to be a quick performer. With a sharp entry, low wetted surface and a long waterline, the 42 accelerated quickly and slid easily through the water on all points of sail, heeling readily to about 15 degrees and then holding steady. The production model will have more ballast to increase stiffness and ultimate stability.

The rig uses an Isomat spar with double swept-back spreaders and single line reefing. The big foretriangle is normally occupied by a 130% genoa on a Hood furler, but a staysail stay permits rigging the boat as a cutter, too. Production boats should have a quick-release fitting on the staysail stay so it does not interfere with tacking the genoa.

The Hunter 42 is clearly designed to be a fast coastal cruiser and the 4’10” draft will be welcome in places like the Chesapeake and the Bahamas. The wing keel showed no excessive leeway in light air.

Hunter says that Yanmar engineers have clocked the vessel by radar at 10 knots under power. Access to the 44 HP diesel is good and a Heart inverter is standard. There is space for a generator in the engine room.

The deck layout is marked by several innovative features. The roller furling drum is recessed into the foredeck to eliminate toe-stubbing and improve anchor access. Lines from the mast lead under cover to the cockpit. A padded sunbathing deck is conveniently placed and the transom incorporates a boarding platform and shower. The distinctive arch at the aft end of the cockpit provides a convenient grab rail as well as support for the traveler and bimini. I would like to see a boom gallows incorporated into this structure.

Below, the cabins are bright, a result of the big wraparound plastic windows and many opening ports. The layout is designed for two couples; the large aft cabin is for the owner and a smaller guest cabin is forward. Each has its own head. The saloon is large and has a strategically placed seat in the center that is useful while under way. The well-executed U-shaped galley has a refrigerator/freezer, CNG range, microwave and hot and cold pressure water fed by 150 gallons of freshwater tankage. There is space in the walkthrough passage abaft the nav table for an optional washer/dryer.

The standard boat includes digital knot/log, depth sounder, VHF radio, TV/VCR and stereo. It also comes with all USCG required safety equipment and could be sailed away as delivered.

Some will like the distinctive exterior appearance and some will not, but the Hunter 42 looks like a good value at $157,900.

Hunter Marine Corporation, P.O. Box 1030, Alachua, FL 32615. (904) 462-3077.