The Hunter 42 Passage Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Hunter 42 Passage, a centre-cockpit 'B&R' sloop, was designed and built in the USA by Hunter Marine.

'Destination II', a Hunter 42 Passage at anchor off Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe in the French West Indies.A Hunter 42 Passage

The H42 is a distinguished class of sailboat that carves its own niche in recreational boating and long-distance voyaging. Being aware of its rich features, design, and performance will help you ascertain whether this beautiful sailboat caters to your personal sailing requirements and ambitions.

Published Specification for the Hunter 42 Passage

Underwater Profile: Wing keel & spade rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 42'6" (13.0m)

Waterline Length: 38'0" (11.6m)

Beam: 14'0" (4.3m)

Draft: 4'11" (1.5m)

Rig Type: B&R*

Displacement: 24,000lb (10,886kg)

Designer: Hunter Design Team

Builder: Hunter Marine (USA)

Year First Built: 1989

Year Last Built: 1997

* Read more about the 'no-backstay' B&R rig...

Design Ratios: The Key Performance Indicators

To kick-off, the numerical data pertaining to Hunter 42 holds great significance as it marks the sailboat's performance under varied conditions. The key design ratios, telling the tale of engineering brilliance behind Hunter 42, are as follows:

  • The Sail Area/Displacement Ratio (SA/D) is 18.6. This provides the sailboat with remarkable speed and efficiency in mild to moderately strong winds. With this ratio, the Hunter 42 showcases a high-performance sailing profile making it an excellent choice for those with a thrill for speed.
  • Presenting a Ballast/Displacement Ratio (B/D) of 33%, the Hunter 42 proves itself as a stable sailboat, capable of withstanding tough weather conditions and strong lateral winds. It provides an added layer of safety, particularly for long voyages.
  • With a Displacement/Length Ratio (D/L) of 174, the Hunter 42 adeptly balances weight and vessel length, thereby ensuring respectable speed and maneuverability. This ratio positions it ideally for both coastal cruising and offshore adventures.
  • The Comfort Ratio of the Hunter 42 is 26.25, indicating a robust ability to provide comfortable and smoother voyages, even in rough waters. Passages are less tiring for the crew, making the boat ideal for lengthy voyages.
  • Lastly, the Capsize Screening Formula for the Hunter 42 is 2.01. This is a safety indicator, as it predicts the boat’s ability to right itself after a capsize. Under this formula, the Hunter 42 is designated as relatively safe, ensuring a high level of security for sailors.

But how accurate are these Key Performance Indicators, and how are they calculated?

Interior Layout & Design

The Hunter 42 offers an impressively designed standard interior that optimizes space and convenience. Its expansive salon, adorned with a glossed teak-and-holly floor, serves as a focal point. This, along with large, permanently fixed windows and a generous 6'6" headroom, contributes to a sense of spaciousness on board.

Originally, the Hunter 42 offered accommodation designed with six to eight people in mind. This covered three cabins: a forward V-berth, a sizeable aft master stateroom, and a convertible dinette space. These spacious and comfortable cabins make Hunter 42 ideal for either family sailing trips or small social sailing gatherings.

Equipped to serve both while sailing and at moorings, the galley of the Hunter 42 is well-suited to every need. It includes a two-burner propane stove with an oven, double stainless-steel sinks, and a microwave. Ample storage space adds to its practicality, simplifying meal preparations on board.

Lighting and ventilation in the Hunter 42 are also noteworthy. A total of eleven opening hatches and ports provide plenty of fresh air and sunlight, and an additional four fixed hatches ensure a bright interior that remains well-ventilated at all times.

On Deck

The exterior design of the Hunter 42 perfectly balances aesthetics and functionality. Its deck layout is amply sized and free from clutter, with all of the rigging designed to run aft for effortless handling.

The rigging system stands out for its intuitive manageability - a defining feature of Hunter's sailboats, admired for their B&R rigging setups. This design makes the Hunter 42 straightforward to operate, even for solo cruisers.

The hull of the Hunter 42 is meticulously handcrafted, with layers of fiberglass carefully laminated with alternating patterns of woven rovings and mat. Below the waterline, the ship sports a beavertail-shaped lead keel, ensuring excellent stability.

One distinguishing feature of the Hunter 42 is its impressively designed cockpit. This expansive and inviting space is perfect for hosting guests. It boasts comfortable seating, a stowable drop-leaf cockpit table, and easy water access via the swim platform.

The Secondhand Market

The availability and resale value of the Hunter Passage 42 can vary significantly. This depends on factors such as the boat's age, condition, location, and added features.

As a general guideline, used models can range anywhere from about $100,000 to $150,000. However, it's important to check with local boat dealers or online marketplaces for the most accurate and recent information.

As this boat is popular for its comfort and performance, it tends to hold its value well on the resale market, subject to the condition and maintenance of the individual vessel.

In a Nutshell

The Hunter Passage 42 sailboat is a reputable mid-size cruising yacht, renowned for its luxurious accommodations and exceptional performance under sail. Designed by Warren Luhrs and the rest of the Hunter Design team in the 1990s, it soon gained popularity for long-term cruising lifestyles.

The Hunter Passage 42 is characterized by its impressive interior space. It features two staterooms; the spacious aft master suite includes a large double berth and private head with shower, and the forward guest quarters provide ample comfort for guests. The main saloon is artistically designed with plenty of light, ventilation, and room for entertainment or relaxation which is furnished with a large dining table and U-shaped couch.

The Hunter 42 is not just all about comfort but also takes pride in its sailing performance. Powered by a standard Yanmar diesel engine and equipped with a B&R rig which eliminates the need for a backstay, allowing more sail area aft for better performance. The overall design of the sailing system is intended to provide stability, speed, and ease of handling.

Its cockpit is equipped with a standard arch for mainsheet attachment, an instrumental console and has enough seating area for the crew to maneuver easily while sailing, or enjoy the view while at anchor. In terms of safety measures, the boat features ample handholds, a non-skink deck, and a built-in swim platform for easy access in and out of the water.

In summary, Hunter Passage 42 is a luxury sailboat that offers comfort, style, and practicality. It is ideal for sailors who are looking for a boat that can handle long passage yet comfortable for living aboard. Whether you dream of cruising around the world or simply spending weekends onboard in tranquility, the Hunter 42 might just be the perfect sailboat.

I wrote this article using GPT-4, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, as a research assistant to develop source material. I wrote the final draft in its entirety and believe it to be accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Dick McClary, creator and owner of

Other sailboats in the Hunter range include:

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