Thanks to everybody for your advice.
No intention of starting a pissing contest
I just wanted people’s advice on these specific boats.
I own a Hunter, it is my first sailboat. It has been a great first boat, we sailed and learned a lot last season and we intend to get a lot of mileage out of her this season while planning and looking for a bigger boat for the 2008 season.
This does not necessarily make me a great Hunter fan.
The main reason I did not include Hunters is actually the aesthetics.
I do not like the arch, especially the older fiberglass versions, the stainless arch is sort of acceptable, I am sure it is very practical, but it does not really please my eye…
Lack of backstay does not worry me; I am an engineer and assume that the lads at Hunter have done their analysis on the rig.
I do not plan to cross any ponds any time soon. If pond crossing becomes a possibility in the future, I would then buy a boat that is suitable for this type of voyage.
The reason for looking at Beneteaus and Catalinas is practical, there are a lot of them in the market, and they seem reasonably priced.
I would consider Hanse, Dehler and Bavaria as well but there does not seem to be as many of them in the market here in the States. I also prefer Yanmar compared to Volvo as I suspect that there is a greater service network for Yanmar in the States.
The boats that I really like the aesthetics of, Swan, Baltic and Sweden all have relatively deep draft that is not ideal for the Chesapeake. I would also have to go for a mid 80’s boat to stay in the same price range. More problems and expensive upkeep.
The size range of 38-40 foot is based on what I believe that we can comfortably handle.
I recently had an opportunity to sail on a new Bene 473 with all the goodies. Absolutely beautiful boat but I think it is too large for my needs and skill level.
I agree with Cruisingdad on the "warmer" look of the Bene interior. I also like the teak inserts in the cockpit. Makes it look less plastic. The blue hull on the limited edition 411 looks fantastic.
Sailortjk - I recall that on the 393 "The entire starboard side of the cabin is devoted to storage cabinets and entertainment systems" from when I chartered one. I also prefer two opposing seats.
What appeals to me with the Catalina 380 (there's a couple in my marina) is that I think it has got sleeker looks. Also the centerline aft berth should avoid climbing over the each other in the middle of the night. Chartered a Bene 393 last year and the Pullman berth did not appeal to me.
Thanks to CD for excellent information regarding performance of 380 vs 400.
Does the 380 and the 387 share the same basic hull? It seems that LOA is 38'5" for the 380 and 39'10" for the 387? If the hull (and keel, rig) is the same I assume that the performance issue would apply to the 387 as well?
How do you find the cockpit on the 400?
Reason for asking is that we chartered a Sunsail 39 (I think it is called Beneteau Cyclades) in the BVI. Dual wheel boat with huge cockpit, very few handholds. The wife did not like the lack of handholds.
Anyways, thanks for all your input and advice.