"Shelgeyr", Hunter Pilot 27 Lying Essex
Hunter's brochure report on the PBO test in a February Force 8 gale!
To get the idea of how it feels to sail from inside a deck saloon in such unwelcome
conditions, here's what PBO said:
Happy with her upwind performance, we turned tail... even with a spiteful following sea, she steered a steady course, needing very little work on the wheel to keep her going straight and true".
And what about motor-sailing?
Steve and I have sailed many boats over the past 42 years, so when we came to consider buying our next boat, as we approached retirement, we felt confident we could find our ideal. We were looking for a sturdy, well-built boat, fast, but easy to sail, with a pilot house so we could enjoy under cover those beautiful but chilly evenings on the Essex and Suffolk rivers. It would have to be a bilge keeler, and would need a powerful, reliable engine to get us in and out of fast flowing rivers like the Ore and the Deben.
We did our homework and spend many pleasant weekends travelling to various boatyards across the East and South coasts. As we looked at more and more boats, we were amazed at the variety of build qualities and standards of finish and maintenance. We homed in on the make of our dream-boat – now all we had to do was find one within our price bracket!
Shelgeyr was the boat; a Hunter Pilot – a boat which had a very good write-up in PBO. She had bilge keels, a self-tacking jib, a powerful engine and had been lovingly built by someone with superb joinery skills. We bought her, sailed her and loved her. The engine is brilliant, we can run it hard in open water (particularly useful when running into a short chop), it can easily go slow enough to manoeuvre in close quarters, and it is wonderful to have the power there when you need it!
Unfortunately, through ill health, we must now part with her.
Motorsailers like this give the best of both worlds. If the weather is good you can have all the fresh air that you need but when the weather is bad you can sail past others, drenched, in full oilskins, whilst drinking tea in your shirtsleeves.