The Bottom Line
- Good boat for learning to sail: stable and easy to control
- With a broad beam and relatively small sail area, boat heels less and cockpit stays dry
- Long cockpit seats three or four crew (not four adults)
- Control lines well positioned for single handed sailing
- Unsinkable foam-cored hull - easily righted if capsized
- Not a racer - may feel underpowered or sluggish to more experienced sailors.
- Hunter claims "perfect for beach launching" - but it's too heavy to be carried by 2 or 3 people
- Length overall: 14 feet
- Beam: 5 feet 10 inches
- Draft: centerboard up: 6 inches - centerboard down: 36 inches
- Empty weight: 225 lbs.
- Sail area (main and jib): 102 sq ft
- Mast height (hinged deck step): 21 feet 6 inches
- Easily trailered and launched
- MSRP $8,000 depending on options - widely available used (NADA Marine Guide average retail price for older models: $2,760)
- Used sailboats widely available
- Well constructed and holds its value well
Guide Review - Review of the Hunter 140 Sailboat
The Hunter 140 was sold from 1998 to 2010 and earned a decent reputation as a good small sailboat for learning to sail, for children, and for small families. It's more comfortable and easier to sail than the much smaller and wetter 14-foot Sunfish or 14-foot Laser. And it's a better boat to learn on than, for example, the faster 19-foot Lightning. It can hold more crew than either the Sunfish or Laser, and with its longer cockpit and broader beam is drier and easier to move around in - with less risk of being hit in the head by the boom on a fast tack. It may not accelerate as fast as these others in a puff, and it's seldom used for serious club racing, but it's a nice, quality family boat.
It's a shame that Hunter has apparently replaced the 140 daysailer model with two newer models. Both the Hunter 146 and the Hunter 15 are beamier and heavier and have higher freeboard. That means they will sail even flatter and carry more crew weight - but what these boats give up for more comfort and stability they may lose in excitement. The 140 is a fun boat for a nonracer, and the new Hunter models are just more conservative and try too hard to look cool. Unless you absolutely must have a brand new boat, I'd recommend looking around for a 140 in good condition - and through 2011 you might find new ones still in inventory at some dealers. Another advantage of the 140 is that lots were built over the years, and you should have no problem finding replacement parts and gear.
As noted above, the 140 has been popular in many yacht club sailing schools and other venues. You can teach yourself, or your kids, easily on these boats. For more information about learning to sail a 140 or similar small boat, see this full learn-to-sail course that begins with a review of the basic parts of the boat and covers all basic aspects of sailing - plus a lot of photos of the Hunter 140 on the water to whet your appetite!
If you're interested in a small daysailer but don't have room to store it or don't want to have to trailer it about, consider the classic Sunfish.
If you own a trailer for your boat, be sure you maintain it adequately both to keep it working into the future but to stay safe when using it.