madforsailing test: Hunter 707

The 'sportsboat' of choice for the club racer?
Described by designer David Thomas as 'a very simple little boat', the Hunter 707 still manages to provide a level of performance that not so long ago was the preserve of those several feet longer. The 707 was an instant success at its launch, and demand straight off the drawing board surpassed most others in the mid-90's craze for new sportsboats. The madforsailing test team, led by Olympic sailors Shirley Robertson and Andy Beadsworth, took the boat out on a breezy day to discover why. From the get-go, the 707 felt like a much bigger boat. She’s very stable and almost all the deck area aft of the mast is given over to the cockpit - four, five or even more crew can feasibly sail the boat. A number of other features endeared the 707 to the madforsailing team. The deck layout proved almost faultless with controls falling easily to hand. A clever outboard well stores the engine, and made mounting and stowing easy and safe. And the rig should stay in the boat come what may ... The stark, if functional, interior is built from Hunter's proven combination of bonded-in floors together with substantial plywood bulkheads and bunk fronts - and it does a lot to keep the price down. At the request of the owners' association, formed before the first boat was even delivered, Hunters provided a high quality deck gear package using Harken and Spinlock fittings. Construction is solid and the boats are very durable. But our test team had their gripes as well. Upwind in a breeze, the lack of a backstay precluded flattening the mainsail by bending the mast this way. Other measures are required if one is not to be deafened by the constant rattling of the Sobstad sail. This feature could also hurt forestay tension