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post #5 of Old 03-31-2013
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Arrow Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

A Catalina 34 or 36 were at the top of our shopping list when we moved up to a bigger boat a couple years ago. The Beneteau 361 (due to a charter experience) was high on the want list but way outside the budget.

We couldn't find any of the Catalina's this side of Lake Ontario and somebody suggested I look at either the Beneteau 351 or 352. We located a 352 in Sturgeon Bay that was in great shape and it is now ours. If you are looking at the one available in Whitehall, MI . . . it is a carbon copy of ours.

We use our Beneteau 352 exactly as you plan to use your future boat; weekend sailing with a couple multi-week cruises each season. We will be returning to the Ludington-Charlevoix/Petoskey coast again this season.

The boat is very stable and forgiving. We have been out a few times in 30+ knot winds (including the 2011 Queens Cup night crossing to Muskegon) and she sails/motors quite nicely.

The boat has been pretty much maintenance free (except for routine stuff) and the only weekness when cruising is the small size of the holding tank (I'll likely upgrade to a larger tank this season). One other item to note is the location of the winches (they are on the cabin top). This doesn't present a challenge when sailing with two or three people aboard. With a working autopilot, I have no difficulting sailing the boat by myself.

There is a bit of commercial freighter traffic on the Great Lakes, especially in the NE portion of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is also prone to fog, both day and night. Whatever boat you get . . . plan on having a radar reflector aboard and plan on having either radar or a VHF radio that has an AIS receiver capability. (as an example Welcome to )

Good luck in your search.

`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes
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