has anyone here experenced Beneteau's after a few years, do the interiors hold up to wear and tear very well?
We have a First 47.7 that we have had for 12 years. Everything is holding up quite well. The Cherry interior and cabin sole is prone to scratching, so we have to be careful. It probably would have been better to use the corian on the entire galley counter top instead of a portion with cherry wood as the counter top. The corion has cracked though.
If I remember correctly, Beneteau is now using a more durable laminate? Check that.
We beat up the boat as much as one could reasonably beat it up, been through all sorts of weather including the Mac storm this summer with full main.
At strictly sail last Thursday, the Beneteau factory rep told me that the Oceanis and First are built to the same structural standards. The only difference is that one is more of a racer/cruiser and the other more of a cruiser.
You wouldn't know that the boat was 12 years old. The only significant problem we have had is that we had to replace the rudder bearing which fused itself to the rudder sleeve. I am pretty happy with things like the wiring, how everything is well labeled, etc. The cabin headliner is very thoguhtfully done with Velcro and screws.
That said, I saw the Catalina 445 on Sunday, and I was pleasantly surprised. I like that there is no wood on the exterior. We have teak in the cockpit. Looks nice. But, I think I like the grey nonskid of the Catalina better. Things are simple. I didn't see any obvious structural problems. Some of the cabin sole has exposed screws, and that is a little cheap looking, but so what? I tried to check how the chainplates were attached, but I couldn't really tell by feeling my hand into the liner. I have a feeling that all of these modern boats have chainplates designed well in excess of what is necessary - one significant improvement over boats from the 70s and 80s. I know that is a general statement, but that is what it seems like to me.
The water tight bulkead in front is pretty cool. If I remember correctly, the 445 has a cockpit lazzarete hatch that leads into one of the aft cabins? That is interesting, but maybe not for me.
The Oceanis was at the show as well, but I didn't take significant note of it. I paid more attention to the 45. The 45 was nice, I guess, but I still can't get into that "Euro" design.