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Old 12-24-2003
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Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)

Hi Jeff Hodor,

I know that now that you are a Jeaneau broker you have a new found religion about Jeaneau. I think your defense of Jeaneau has a certain ''doth protest too much'' quality that seems to follow the company line. It does not come close to following my experience with the two boats. You have raised some questions worth answering. To begin with, I think that you make some very erroneous assumptions about the source of my opinions on Beneteaus vs Jeaneaus. As you and I have discussed, I have not had any detailed exposure to the most recent generation of Jeaneaus but as we have not discussed, there was a period three to five years ago when I spent a lot of time around 1980''s and early 1990''s Jeaneaus and Beneteaus.

As you well know (since I assisted you on your prior boat), I often help people as they are sorting out their various options for boat purchases. For some reason I spent a lot of time looking at mid-1980''s to early 1990''s, 37 to 42 footers by a number of builders, but in that mix were Beneteau First, Oceanis and Idyle series as well as a bunch of Jeaneaus of equal age. I crawled into these boats pretty deeply. I also helped a fellow who was putting a Jeaneau back together that had been in charter. This boat had been taken about as apart as one might disassemble one of these modern boats in an effort to get to the necessary systems. I had a similar opportunity to go through a Beneteau Oceanis, Idylle and of all of the boats I had the most intimate exposure to a 1990 Beneteau First 38s5 that had electrical damage from a lightning strike.

Jumping on and off a diversity of boats back to back you begin to see trends(in that period I was aboard dozens of boats including Beneteaus, Jeaneaus, Hunters, and Catalinas and spoke at length to surveyor and yacht designer friends as well), such as how well they hold up, design details and finish levels and a sense of consistency of the quality of these boats. Jeaneaus just were not that good.

The question was regarding a 1980''s era Jeaneau, and I strongly stand by my statement that Jeaneau''s of this era were clearly a step down from the quality of Beneteau Idylle, Oceanis and of course the Firsts which are several steps up.

While some of the Jeaneaus benefitted from ''name'' designers (I believe the Jeaneau in question was a Doug Peterson design) most of the designs seemed to be quite dated and less carefully detailed than Beneteau who typically relied on world class designers Frers, Finot, Farr, and Berret and their designs generally reflected the latest thinking of that era. (I admit that I am not a big fan of the Finot designs.)

In the period in question both Beneteau and Jeaneau use a combination of glassed in structural components and molded pans but the glass work on the Beneteaus looked much better in terms of careful layup. Hull to deck joint flanges, and tabbing was visibly wider on the Beneteaus. Rigging connections seemed much more robust. Hardware seemed to be a better grade and more carefully laid out.

While it is true that I race on a Beneteau First 40.7 I also race on a lot of other boats as well. I have been impressed with how well this boat has held up after years or very hard use. I have been impressed that this boat, which is a very reasonably priced cruiser/racer sailed by an amateur crew, was able to beat custom built one off''s with professional crews including America''s Cup tacticians, in the recent IMS Mid-Atlantics. But that bears little relationship to my statement about the relative qualities of the two boats.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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