Originally Posted by JohnRPollard
I know the Beneteau 351. They are nice boats. VERY voluminous. Great for coastal sailing with a family. But not sure I'd want to take it across Bass Strait. I'll ask my friend that has one if he would go to Bermuda in it -- I think I know the answer.
Here's a photo of my friend's 351 rafted with another friend's boat. It is really an interesting study in contrasts, especially when you consider that the other boat (on left) is a 42 footer:
We liked the 351 as well for the same reasons. I don't think Bass Strait would probably feature in our plans anytime soon - I just used the 1998 Sydney to Hobart as an example of a situation where a forecast had been off the mark, with alot of the fleet getting into trouble a few nautical miles off the coast before they even hit the strait.
The immediate plans for us would be a cruise up the east coast of OZ to the Whitsundays, QLD islands etc. Once I get up there it is tradewind sailing with a lot of islands a day sail away from each other.....beyond than the plans get a little more ambitious, across to the louisiades archipelago in Papua New Guinea(a 3 day sail but we are now off the beaten track, with no rescue services). There are also then tentative plans beyond that of Asia or the Pacific, but the reality that we are starting to accept is that those plans are going to be a little way off yet.
We were initially looking for a boat that would be capable of all of the above, that is one that would be able to take us offshore when the time comes. But if the next 5 years is going to be only coastal cruising, then we have started thinking well why not a boat like the Beneteau 351?