By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
Our former dockmate has been the owner of a Hunter 410. Its style with abundant freeboard, bulbous shape and cockpit arch may be features that sailors may have strong opinions about, for and against, although they seem to generally agree the comfortable accommodations, the bright, well-ventilated interior and reasonable price are to their liking. I had forgotten how popular this model was during her brief five-year production run until, on an overnight at one of our favorite anchorages, three Hunter 410s were anchored nearby accounting for a quarter of the boats in the anchorage.
Introduced in 1998, the Hunter 410 was the product of the company's in-house design team and is aimed at providing the maximum people accommodations that can be packed into her 40' 8" overall length. Buyers could choose from a two- or three-cabin layout sleeping either six or eight persons. The three-cabin layout was particularly popular with the charter trade. Original purchasers were also able to choose a shoal draft keel configuration drawing just 5' or a deep draft model drawing 6' 5". The design style is what I would call American contemporary and may not appeal to the more traditional minded but it certainly has a loyal following.
Like most modern production boats, the Hunter 410 is constructed with an exterior coat of vinylester resin to hopefully eliminate the osmotic blisters common to many manufacturers in the 1970s and 1980s. Vinylester resins have been used in exterior coatings of most entry level fiberglass boats for nearly 10 years now and in coatings of custom and high-end production boats for even longer. It seems to be doing its intended job as osmotic blisters have been dramatically reduced. The 410's hull below the waterline is a solid layup of alternating layers of chopped strand fiberglass mat and woven roving fiberglass cloth and polyester resin. Above the waterline, a 3/8" balsa wood core is used between fiberglass laminates for stiffness and lighter weight. Decks are a composite of fiberglass and plywood core except aluminum plates replace the plywood in the way of hardware attachments. The deck and hull are joined with an outturned flange, bolted on six-inch centers, sealed with 3-M 5200 and covered with a heavy duty vinyl extrusion.
I had a firsthand opportunity several years ago to see how well this construction method stood up to punishment when I inspected the damage to a Hunter that had an unfortunate encounter with a day marker at six knots. Though battered and bruised the fiberglass layup proved to be very well done, and other than at the point of impact, there was no delamination or separation of the balsa core.
The cockpit of the Hunter 410 is very comfortable with deep seats, high seat backs, good storage in the seat lockers and additional storage in lockers on the sugar-scoop transom swim platform. The mainsheet and traveler is attached to the arch over the cockpit and there is no backstay with this rig so these normal cockpit obstructions are removed. There are 24-inch-high double lifelines and stainless steel stanchions along the side decks, a welded stainless steel bow rail and an anchor locker and windless on the foredeck. There are no fewer than 11 opening ports and deck hatches which provide excellent cabin ventilation and there are six large fixed port lights allowing light below.
All the ports and windows make for cheery, bright interiors on both arrangement plans of the Hunter 410. The main saloon features a starboard galley at the base of the companionway and port head and shower. Moving forward there is a large U-shaped dinette to starboard opposite a settee and navigation table. Forward of the main saloon is a cabin with a Pullman berth to starboard and hanging locker and bench seat to port. This cabin is pushed far enough forward that the Pullman berth is necessarily narrow and not ideal for an adult couple. The second head is all the way forward. Aft and tucked under the cockpit is either a master stateroom with an athwartships queen berth or mirror image quarter berth cabins with fore and aft double berths. Standard equipment includes 145-gallon fresh water supply which certainly comes in handy. On the downside, storage is rather limited for a 41-footer.
Auxiliary power is provided by a 50-hp Yanmar diesel engine with excellent 270-degree access for service and useful 50-gallon fuel supply. I have not actually had an opportunity to go sailing for any length of time on a Hunter 410, and the reports from those who have range from fantastic to marginal. As is often the case, performance evaluations depend a great deal on the sailor&s expectations. Generally, owners seem well pleased with performance reaching and running in moderate conditions although reports are less glowing in light air and sailing to weather. Hunter reports the sail area/displacement ratio as 18.2 which I suspect includes the mainsail roach area. My own calculations suggest the number is closer to 17. The displacement length ratio is quite light at 165 which may account for reported rough rides when beating into rough weather.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.