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post #2 of Old 10-28-2002
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Need Opion about boats...

Since you asked for opinions....
It all comes down to budget.
The brands you mention are the big builders of lower-priced boats, and as a whole, offer the most new boat for the money due to economy of scale. A little more quality can cost a lot more, and you can easily get less than what you pay for. My experience with these brands is limited to charters and sailing on other peoples'' boats. But my quick opinions are:
Jenneau is the best overall, based upon a more labor-intensive construction style which also results in a better looking interior. Interestingly, Jenneau is owned by the company that owns Beneteau, yet is competitively priced with that brand. It seems they are in competition with themselves.
Beneteau pretty much owns the charter market, so they must hold up under abuse pretty well, at least for a few years. The Beneteau "First" series is more performance oriented, but probably less suited to your intended use than the "Beneteau" series.
Hunters sail the fastest and point highest, but their innovative styling is just plain ugly, and seem to be the flimsiest built of the lot.
Catalinas have the most aesthetically pleasing exterior lines, but distinctively "girly" interiors.
Since the used sailboat market has recently softened in the buyer''s favor, you may do well seeking out a higher quality used boat, which is not what I''m doing, with a new Nauticat 42 currently under construction (pictures on my personal page).
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