Saturday, November 26, 2011
In 1977 I bought a kit Hunter Europa from Hunter Boats of Rochford, and fitted her out for cruising and club racing.* (See Small ‘Zeta’ – Hunter Europa 19 in the Links section) At that time Hunter Boats ceased producing their Hunter 490 which was a brilliant small cruiser/racer. She had a proper drop keel, but the internal housing for it somewhat restricted the accommodation. Although she had little more than sitting headroom, she was a very good boat for single-handing. Stowage space wasn’t up to much, but there was enough for solo weekending.
She was a trailer sailer that could be left on a mooring if need be, without fear of her capsizing. Her high aspect Bermudan mainsail and Genoa gave her a good turn of speed. All lines for working the boat were led back to her spacious cockpit. She was vice-free and she had a well-balanced, sensitive helm. Her performance to windward was above average, partly due to the tight sheeting angle of her foresails. This was achieved by mounting the shrouds on chainplates attached to the sides of her cabin trunk. Racing crews could sit her out, if somewhat painfully, by perching on her raised coamings, but not if a pushpit was fitted.
Peter Poland, the man in charge of Hunter Boats at the time, decided to move on and produce the Hunter 19 followed by the Europa 19, all designed by the legendary Oliver Lee. I felt it was a shame Hunters stopped making 490s, but in terms of good business, they were proven right. I will add a footnote that bigger is not necessarily better. The problem is commercial viability.
Built between 1972 and 1977 – 80 reputed, but between 40 and 50 more likely
LOA 4.9 m
LWL 4.26 m
Beam 2.01 m
Draught 0.46 m up 0.99 down
Displacement 454 Kilograms
Sail Area Main 6.5 sq m
Jib 4.65 sq m
Genoa 9.29 sq m
Spinnaker 15.6 sq m
Berths 2 (Advertised as 3, but no way)
Engine Outboard 2 – 3 HP
Text for the Day
Matthew 6:34 ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’
490 Under Sail
*Small ‘Zeta’ – Hunter Europa 19