sailing Hunter US to



hope someone can help, I am thinking of bringing a yacht,about 27' over from the US to the UK next year,maybe a Hunter.

I have a couple of worries;

1.Is it concidered safe to bring such a small vessel across the atlantic?

2.Are there any import restrictions or EEC red tape that I should think about?

thanks for you time, fair winds



Well-known member
7 Jun 2001
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Such a boat would not really be considered that suitable for an Atlantic crossing. However, I'm sure you could do it if you wanted. Pick the right time, late May to early July is best, with the least chance of severe gales. Also pick your course. The great-circle route passes close to Newfoundland, which can be both stormy and very foggy in early summer. So it's a toss up whether to risk the Gulf Stream (around 40N) where the weather is not so settled, or further south where there is a chance of being becalmed for long periods. Maybe try around 37-38N as a compromise.

An alternative to sailing is to have it shipped. Lots of yachts now come over that way, and there are specialist carriers who will also help you with the formalities.

If you are an EC resident then you will be liable for VAT when you arrive, also the yacht must be CE marked as Recreational Craft Directive compliant. Recent Hunters are, but not older ones, so beware!

If you are not an EC resident you will be permitted temporary importation for 6 months for your own use without the above; sometimes that can be extended.


Active member
16 May 2001
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Pete, the fact that you have to ask this question, indicates that you would be better to gain experience in local, more protected waters. There are many (probably the majority) on this forum who will say no it's not safe for that boat. There are always those intrepid people though, who will sail the Atlantic in very small vessels but I would hope more suitable ones. Yes there are EU regulations regarding importing a vessel in to Europe. Mainly the Recreational Craft Directive with it's attendant "CE" marking and certification. I don't know what a 27' Hunter would be classified as safe for but I'm fairly sure it won't be "Category A Ocean". Bear in mind that Hunter now make boats here in the UK for the European market.

I'd think twice about doing it in my own particular 36' Category A boat because I think there are more suitable boats. Talk to lot's of sailors before you do anything.


New member
15 Oct 2001
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For a light-displacement and relatively small yacht, Hunters tend to be better-able to cope with big seas and strong winds than one might expect. However, not considering time of year, route and your experience, I would imagine you may find it hard (or at least expensive) to get insurance cover for an ocean passage in anything other than a Cat A vessel.


I do not know what the charactoristics of the Hunter 27 are so I would advise that you talk to the builders and ask if they consider it suitable, and if any modifications are advised. My own experience is limited to one crossing in July 2000. When I sailed an Ebtide 33 which in my opinion is a blue water cruising boat ideally suited to such a trip. Firstly I was not able to arrange insurance at any price, and I spent 2 days 'phoning the world and his wife. The moment I arrived in Falmouth England however I was able to arrange immediate insurance with the first company I phoned.
If you are an EC citizen you will have to pay 17.5% VAT on the value of the boat. It is possible to arrange this before you start the trip, by contacting the Customs and Excise, at the port of entry. With regards to the EC small craft directive, my understanding is that it depends upon the date when it was built. I would advise that you ask the RYA if it will apply to your boat. If entering the EC is a problem for you, one option is to land in a non EC country like the Channel Islands.
I used the great circle route and experienced mostly southerly winds which was great as we were mostly broad reaching, so you can not rely on getting the usual prevailing winds. We also had 4 days of F7-8 when we continued under reefed stays'l and trys'l. If you do go for the great circle route, which has the obvious advantage of being the shortest it is also the most northerly and so you should get ice reports before you go north of Nova Scotia.
Asking questions about the capabilities of the boat are important, but I would ask how do you feel about your own capabilities and experience? Stating the obvious the shortest distance which is St Johns Newfoundland to Crookhaven Ireland at 1700 miles is a long way. You will be very much on your own and should be capable of solving any problems that arise. However we had a wonderfull time and it was the experience of a life time so if you feel you and the boat are up to it, I would say go for it. P.S. get a crew together early, I had trouble arranging a crew, non of the people I knew could get away for such an open ended trip.
P.P.S I found the Atlantic crossing guide was very useful.