What would you buy for $100,000?
Ah, the ever popular production boat debate. The key to any kind of consensus in this discussion is context. The parameters of $100k budget, 34''-40'', and coastal cruising use mostly cover it, but leaving out age opens up the whole thing to conjecture. For Denr to categorically exclude Bene''s/Jenne''s, Hunters and Catalinas means that the newest 40 footer that qualifies will be at almost 20 years old, with the 34 footer being at least 12 years. While not a longevity issue, you are going to miss out on some of the design innovations that started to occur by the late-80''s and into the 90''s. Many of these are comfort and amenity oriented as opposed to that of performance, but we''d be kidding ourselves to say these are not a priority with many owners.
That being said, I continue to believe that in the production world, Beneteau and Jeanneau offer a great balance between quality, comfort and cost. Ferenc Mate'' whole heartedly acknowledged this in his book World''s Best Sailboats. Having owned a Beneteau First 325 which sold 10 years later for more than we paid for it and now owner of a Jeanneau 41, I have no qualms about our choice. They are competent, well designed and well finished boats that utilize first grade materials and hardware. Among others, we looked at a 1984 Sweden 38, a 1983 Baltic 42, and a 1987 C&C 41 before choosing our 1991 Jeanneau because we felt it represented the best value even though the Sweden and C&C were cheaper in price.