Beneteau vs Hunter
Sorry, When I typed the reply what I meant to write is that "they know their boats are *not* Hinckleys".. (And yes there are differences in design/build between a 31 foot and a 42 foot Catalina......of which many have been taken on open oceans quite often. I know of at least three Cat 36 that have circumnavigated, but I don''t know of any Cat 310''s. As with the Hunter,s some of their smaller boats are Rated Class B for the Ocean) And by the way, I have attended every AC Sail Expo since it''s inception (1992) and a lot of the design seminars . I was just at the seminar called "the future of boat designs" it was chaired by many designers (Dave Gerr, Gerry, Douglas, Designer of Image Station, the Designer of Freedom Yachts, etc, etc,...) Also I have REALLY looked at the boats through the years and by no means would I imply that the detail and woodworking fit/finish/workmanship of the these boats equal the premium boats. Hell yeah! the Sabre''s, Gozzard and Hinckley''s, et.al. are beautiful ! But they cost 3x as much !! Are they 3x better...hmmm, I don''t know...If I had all the money in the world I would probably purchase one,...but then again maybe not.
So I have crawled around on a lot of boats at the boat shows over the years and the quality from 1992 to 2001 of the boats have improved. Especially the Hunters. When I first started looking at the Hunters at the boat shows , they were a disgrace. I kept thinking to myself "how could they even show these boats?" (The quality of the Hunters have increased and are at an acceptible level).The Beneteau''s always had the best fit and finish of the 3, but I thought they "cheaped out" in small amenities and I felt the boats were a little more "stark". But still I thought the quality was there. As for the Newer Beneteau 473 (original question to this list), I thought that was a HELL of alot of boat for the money much more than the Hunter and on par with the Catalina 47, but a lot less money.
And to Jeff....I will say it again....when you make that statement "have yet to have
a Catalina Owner say anything contrary about the Warrantee being handled well". Of course the ones who want to complain are going to tell everyone who wants to hear. (you sighted...discussion with quite a few ....exactly how many???....Catalina has produced about 100,000 boats over the years !!!) Typically warrantee repair are done by the Dealers and there might be a dealer or two out there that is causing the problems. But, please do what I suggested, go into these Sailnet Discussion list archives for Catalina and do a search using the words "warantee". Just because you don''t find something doesn''t mean it doesn''t exist !! That''s like saying I have never seen Australia so it doesn''t exist !....That''s like me taking a survey on who likes or dislikes the president, but only going to a rally for the National Association for Woman to ask....How many existing Catalina owners do you talk to? And don''t you find it amazing that you can still talk to the CEO/Founder of the Company (Frank Butler). What other boat company can you do that with!! If its so easy for you to talk to him, what makes you think that a paying customer couldn''t get his ear and discuss warantee issues !!....Well I have heard MANY times where someone calls and get taken care of. Sorry I think you are way off base here and you are making a statement from a myopic perspective.
Lets be real . The big three have put more people sailing from one years production than most builders do in a lifetime! And thats a GOOD thing. No they don''t have 8 layers of hand rubbed varnish everywhere, but hey....I guess if you have an extra $200,000 to spend then go for it. And as for being built well enough, I think it is very rare that you will see a catastrophic problem occur on these boats. I think when you will see the difference between the "premium" boats is in a 30 years. I think that is when the small signs of aging will show up less.