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Old 09-04-2001
JeffH
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beneteau 473

I have been very inpressed with the 473 in terms of the general design. I am not a huge fan of Finots wide body designs but this design is a lot more moderate and just looks right.

I basically like Beneteaus but they have often struck me as a bit gimicky with large expanses of plexiglass and tape stripes instead of good solid design. From the first time I saw a 473, they struck me as down to earth, nicely proportioned and purposeful. I like the deck plan which while simply laid out has reasonably wide side decks and a nice workable cockpit. The same down to earth, nicely proportioned and purposeful comments can be said for the interior layout (except the athwartships berth in the aft cabin.)

Beneteau seems to produce a number of lines of boats and each seems to vary pretty widely in quality. I don''t know where 473 falls quality wise but they definately appear to be better thought out designs than the Charter Fleet fodder that you see more commonly out of Beneteau.

The hardware list (with some options added) sounds quite good to me. For example the boat is planned with motorized winches, a really nice feature on a boat this size. On the other hand I would be tempted to order the boat with a lead keel instead of the standard cast iron (Cast Iron is stronger but not as dense and more maintenance prone.) Also there is no way that I would consider getting in-mast furling on a boat like this. A part of this is a prejudice on my part but if that sail jambs half in and half out in any kind of heavy weather you have a very serious problem that I can''t imagine how you would rectify. That goes beyond the simple issues of increased wear and tear on the sail and the near imposiblity to get proper sail shape in a sustained blow with the sals part way reefed. (I know that there are people out there that like their in-mast furlers and disagree with me so for what its worth take this as one person''s opinion, a strongly held one none the less).
Regards
Jeff
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