Join Date: Apr 2008
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I can say certainly for the new OC43 ....
I spent 2 months negotiating with french dealer, but finally moved into US factory for dolar rate advantage. Boats are from same project and share same plugs (done in France), but I'm glad to hear the gelcoat has a superb finish. Also, woodwork comes ready to assembly from France, and I suspect the handwork in US will be super as well. From a standard listing perspective, both are quite different, probably due to different markets. In french benes are 3 cabin standard, and no cost for 2 cab version, so I suppose US has less people on board in general. US has in mast furling as std, french has it at EU 770 option, puting french on pure sailors galery (well, from an allien perspective), but they insist on slides rather roller battencars. Rigging in US are stronger, winches are 48 against 46, the french. Microwave is standard in US. Radio and audio installation is std in US, and optional in France but without MP3 capability. Heard nightmares about sails from France, where several required replacement, while from US comes the wordless NorthSails.
About dealer options, US is far better, so bimini and dog are very poor construction in france. I just saw an OC46 standing on rain, and all the cushions on deck got suck in water, due to poor dog/bimini shelter (I consider it unacceptable if you compare to the finish a popular simple japaneese car carry). Also, tubbing structure in US will hold kids beter, I suspect french built (smaller diameters) will fail within a few parties with friends kid's and ours hanging on it.
From all in all, I have great expectations from an US built Beneteau, where I disagree with people that loves old Benes, although old ones are darker, with dark internal woodwork giving people the real wood sense, new ones are much more clean and brighter internaly/externaly and much beter fit to actual cruising needs.