Thoughts on new boats
We ended up with the B361, mainly due to positive owner feedback on the boat, and it met more of our criteria than the others. The type of sailing we will be doing (not much "green water" north of Annapolis!) allowed me to acquiesce to the admittedly "condo-like" needs of my “female” wife and family. Hey, halyardz is right, chicks dig Beneteaus… (when, by the way, did that become a bad thing?) Anyway, here''s how my experience with this board and other online feedback guided our final selection: I really liked the Catalina 350, but there was way more chatter about poor Catalina service follow up than there was for Beneteau. Plus, my first “real” (i.e. non sunfish/lark/laser) was a Catalina 27 (granted it was vintage 1973) and I wasn''t wild about it. Not that all B people are ecstatic but there was generally more noise around Frank Butler than there was about Beneteau. As it relates to the Beneteau, thanks to the illustrious Jeff_H, we got the "classic" rig instead of the furling main. This is widely agreed to be the better performance option Also, there was a lot of groaning on the Beneteau owner''s page about jamming main furlers. By the way, the SA/D of the 361 is 21.7 which, while certainly not J-like, is better than the 18 or lower suggested earlier. Due to other owner feedback we got the Yanmar engine upgrade and the primary winch upgrade from 44s to 48s. I''d also suggest that once you settle on a few models, owners can and will give good feedback on dealers which of course is critical if you buy a new boat. Lastly, I also really liked the Jeanneau 37, and the dealer was ready to deal, so if dry toilet paper (i.e. a separate shower) is not on the list, it may be worth a look. Cheers!