Issue: August 2010
Hunter 49

John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht
         management The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.

Length overall  49'11"
Beam  14'9"
Draft  5'6" - 7'
Fuel 150 gal
Water 200 gal
Base Price $352,500

This past May I had the pleasure of traveling to the town of Deltaville, Virginia, to check out the Hunter 49 at Norton Yacht Sales. Deltaville is a small town with a big reputation among the community of cruisers who move up and down the East Coast. Not only is it a convenient stopping point in the southern Chesapeake where they can get a wide variety of top quality services for a reasonable price before heading offshore, it is one of the friendliest and most welcoming ports on the Bay. 

I met with Carolyn and Ken Schmalenberger from Norton Yacht Sales. Carolyn represents the third generation to operate this boatyard that her grandfather built in 1948, and Hunter Marine consistently ranks their facility number one in the world for customer service. They were happy to take me for a spin on the new Hunter 49.  

This is no small sailboat. It has roomy accommodations that are genuinely comfortable enough for a family to live aboard for an extended cruise. Like many modern production boats, Hunter has moved the master stateroom to the bow. This makes sense for cruisers spending a lot of time at anchor especially in the trade winds. As the boat lays into the wind at anchor, the master stateroom will have plenty of natural ventilation through the overhead hatches. The forward cabin also features a centerline queen bed with inner spring mattress and tons of storage, including drawers and hanging lockers. There is an en suite head to starboard with toilet, sink and vanity, and a separate shower compartment to port. This is another great comfort feature for liveaboards. Having a totally separate "rain locker" not only keeps you from spraying down the vanity and toilet every time you shower, it also keeps the humidity confined to an easily enclosed space.  

Moving aft, the Hunter has a cavernous saloon area. There is enough room to invite everyone in the anchorage over for dinner. The galley is equipped with a front-loading refrigerator that includes a top-loading compartment that can operate as either a refrigerator or freezer. In addition to all of standard galley gear, there is also a built-in drip coffee maker and a dish cabinet with an internal fan system to help dry your dishes after you put them away. 

Back aft there are two quarter cabins port and starboard that both feature a queen-size bed (interestingly, the port cabin bed is oriented athwart-ship and the starboard is oriented fore and aft). The guest head is on the port side and is complete with a separate stall shower. Just forward of the head is a very comfortable chart table with enough space for plotting, plus a well laid-out electrical distribution panel. 

Underway, the 49 was easy to sail. Line handling is simple with all lines leading aft. Hunter's signature double-ended mainsheet means you can do it all yourself from one of the two helms. In particular, I like that Hunter equipped this boat with a self-tending staysail. This would come in handy in breezy conditions, especially when short-tacking in a narrow channel. The Hunter 49 is a big comfortable sailboat that moves along nicely in a light breeze and requires little effort to sail. You can take it to the islands or sail it around the Bay, and take all the time you want.