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Old 04-24-2013
JohnB40 JohnB40 is offline
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Re: Beneteau Oceanis 40. Experiences??

Hi
When I looked at the Beneteau 40 she was about 18 months old and hardly used.
Regarding "tender". Looking at most cruising boats I saw that the weight of ballast devided by total weight was about 30% i.e. ballast/displacement about 30%. If I looked at more of a performance cruiser such as a Beneteau First, C & C etc this was closer to a 35% ratio. A "racer" even higher. The Beneteau 40 was about 25% and I had not seen anything so low. I was told there is much more to "stability" than this ratio and with a test sail (light wind) I was fine with it and bought her. I do find that with about 12 knots of wind, depending also on sea state, I need to put in a reef (furl) and at about 18 knots (true) I need to furl to what beneteau call the second reef position. This is not a boat you can sail with the rail in the water as she will round up. As I sail mostly with my spouse (who prefers to sail at a sensible degree of heel) I just make sure I reef early ... especially if the sea state is challenging. So sail in 15 knots with all sail up and get hit by a gust would cause you a bit of excitement ... but we have sailed in tough conditions with the sails well reefed and all is well.
The boat is somewhat lightly built ... get what you pay for. To hang a fairly small outboard on the stern rail I needed to add a couple of supports going from the rail down to the swim platform as the rail was so wobbly. I then put radar on a pole which was also joined to the stern rail ... I needed to have a bit more support added but all is strong now.
If you look at the deck cleats, they are huge ... if you look under those cleats there are no backing plates, just rather small washers and nuts. The stanchions/lifelines are far from robust but I'm not going to cross oceans and I haven't had any worry about strength so far ... just don't let folks pull too hard on them ... again no backing plates.
A few other small points that perhaps show a bit more quality control would have been good. It took me ages to get the bilge dry. Most of the leaks were from the domestic water system and just needed to tighten up some clamps ... but there are plenty to find!!! The drain fixture on the head sink leaked as someone had cable tied heavy hoses from head/holding tank to the drain which pulled things lose ... easy to fix but who does these crazy things?
The fuel guage always showed full. I did take this back to have it fixed ... it still doesn't work. I have a Webasto heating system which is great except the metal fixture holding the fuel uptake tube into the diesel tank leaked. I had that fixture replaced ... two months later it started leaking again. This is not Beneteau I guess but the folks who put the heating in.
She's a beautiful cruising boat .. so much light below. We sailed 100+ days last year and have over 70 planned so far this year ... retirement is tough! If you want a "tougher" and better made boat then a Tartan, Saber etc would be much better but for the money a Beneteau 40 I believe is good value and sails well.
I intend to get a gennaker soon and again there could be a design issue. The halyard comes out the top of the mast, runs a couple of feet down the mast and goes through a metal loop (spectacle) which is VERY close to the forestay attachment. I've been told things could easily get snarled up if I don't move that spectacle up a bit ... if that's true it's again sort of annoying when the boat was sold as "rigged for a gennaker".
all the best, JB40
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