"What a pretty boat, with that nice stern and unusual rig: what is it?"
We agree that the questionaire is right: everything about the boat is both pretty and practical. David Thomas developed the design for Hunter Boats in 1979, capitalising on his memories of the stern of a Royal Naval Montague Whaler and the best aspects of Gary Hoyt's American Freedom concept (hence the "Liberty" name) but anglicised so that conventional mast tracks could be used - and therefore a single sail instead of a wrap round - and the sail also reefed more efficiently as the complications of the wishbone and snotter are avoided.
But we do enjoy not having genoa sheet winches, the easy balancing of the two masted rig, the use of the tightly sheeted mizzen to keep the boat heading into wind while the main is set or the anchor weighed. Enthusiasts set upwind blade staysails or downwind balloon types between the masts, or even forward of the main mast, so it is possible to make life as complicated as you wish
Life below decks is highly civilised because the main mast is so far forward that it does not interfere with the accommodation layout, while the offset main hatch allows a full sized heads compartment (with surprisingly good headroom) immediately to port. So the saloon allows a double or two singles, plus a very long quarter berth running back under the cockpit and a good galley.
The Minstrel and Liberty 23 hulls, keels and rudders are identical. Below decks they are also the same, except that the Minstrel has an essential mast support. This slight inconvenience is countered in some boats by using it as a table support. Likewise, despite the support, owners have found ways to organise an infill cushion, so allowing a double berth
Minstrels are normally faster up wind than Libertys, as they should be since they have single masted rigs and a little more sail area. For the same reasons they are not quite as stiff. Off the wind there is little difference, though Libertys sometimes seem to gain in stronger winds. To our surprise, a goose winged and well laden Liberty has run away from a spartan Bermudan rigged Minstrel with its spinnaker set, so nothing is certain
Altogether 84 Libertys were built: 65 22s and 19 23s (the same hull with more ballast, a slightly bigger rig and bigger, less attractive windows) and then Hunter Boats used the same hull to build 30 of the gaff rigged Minstrel class, which is equally popular; Liberty and Minstrel sailors delight in late evening discussions over the relative merits and speed of their boats.
The Association boasts 87 members, so we still have to find about 30 of the boats, to document the whole class. If you happen to know of one, anywhere, we would like to know how we can contact the owner, so that we can try to discover its history, regardless of whether the owner wishes to join us or not.
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£ ono. Contact Peter Walsh 01869 338093 firstname.lastname@example.org
Am looking for a Liberty in reasonable condition, having owned two Minstrels I have decided that simple sailing is for me now, with trailer but consider on without.
Preferred on the East Coast or South Coast email@example.com or 07970852505, based Oxford.
£6950 ono. Contact Alun Gwenan-Jones 01404850996 firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to a change in financial circumstances I need to do the sensible thing and sell lovely Rubato. I bought her from her long-time owner and keen HLMOA member last year, and sailed her from the Solent to the Exe.
Rubato sails beautifully, and was the original Hunter Liberty I believe. She is now ashore on her launching trailer (which has had new wheels fitted and is in good condition) which is sitting on a very serviceable road trailer with new tyres all round (it's a tilt-bed, twin axle car transporter trailer, which means you can use it for other purposes than for the boat if you have a mind to).
She has Kemps power main sails with stack pack and lazy jacks and all lines led aft for ease of use and single-handed safety. She also comes with a 2019 Tohatsu 6HP long shaft Sail Drive outboard, which worked faultlessly on my trip, and has been thoroughly flushed through since arriving home. As extra cost items there is also a brand new Yamaha 2.5HP short shaft outboard and a light weight two person inflatable which could go with Rubato if the new owner so desires. The Yamaha will power her if need be despite the short shaft, so you would then have a back-up auxilliary engine as well as an engine/tender package.
Additional bow sprit, cruising chute for 'ghosting' along in light airs and small jib to help tacks in the same conditions. Easy single handed sailer, with large comfortable cockpit and cosy cabin. 2/3 berth. Makes very comfortable double bed.
Headlining was replaced in 2018; Keel has 6-1 ratio with Dyneema ( no shackle) allowing pull up by hand; metal skin for main mast bolt in 2014; rudder and stock replaced in 2012; gel coated top sides in 2012
NASA depth Sounder; Battery electrics with trickle solar panel and lights in the cabin, Dodgers; Boom Tent; Orico Alcohol stove and water tank with foot pump. Also Simrad tp10 tiller pilot; Osculati Tiller Friend; NASA LED Nav lights; various Fenders and mooring lines.
There is a separate toilet, with chemical loo, and wet locker area.
I have lots of extra photos and would be happy to send you these if you are interested. This is a very good boat, and I'm sorry to see her go, but she could be the perfect easy to sail, creek crawling, pasage making, cheap to moor boat for you, so please do get in touch if you are interested.
Conact: email@example.com 07504 687746
£7500 ono. Contact Tim and Ginny Faulkner Tim@homeoak.co.uk
The famous Lydia (see listings below) Still a very tidy boat on good galvanised and serviced trailer. One of the last Liberty's made in I think 1986/7. 6hp mariner 4 stroke outboard. Galley, chart table some electronics (chart plotter/depth VHF and remote, plumbed Sea toilet. 3 berths, brand new berth and cockpit cushions. Excellent head linings and beautiful hardwood lined interior. All equipment included, anchor and warps etc. copper clad hull so no need to anti foul and ready to launch for the summer. Can deliver anywhere for £1 per mile @ cost, viewing ashore near Dawlish by arrangement. My mooring on the River Exe at Starcross could also be available long or short term by arrangement. Very sadly on the market but my daughter and I are still working too hard to find time to enjoy her!
£ ono. Contact James Connolly 01432 274074 San_623@hotmail.com
Does anyone have the upper casing for a Liberty rudder for sale? I mean the upper casing that carries the rudder blade, sometimes called the stock but I think that's a misnomer! I will be truly grateful if someone can help.
Mobile 07790 574503
£6400 o.n.o ono. Contact Geoff Hales & Sandra Cats 01929 792957 firstname.lastname@example.org
1986 boat show Minstrel in good order and two owners from new.
5hp Honda outboard with complete set of sails (main, roller jib, genoa and genacker).
Recently refurbished DG galvanised and braked trailer. Pictures available and viewing recommended (Plymouth area
Please contact Dave Carter 07905378710