343 vs 323 ? - SailNet Community

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Old 02-18-2012
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343 vs 323 ?

Trying to decide between 343 and 323. Both 2005, same equip.
I would like the bigger 343 but don't know if it's worth an extra 30k.
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Old 02-18-2012
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Always a struggle to justify the cost increase for the 2 extra feet.. presumably the layout is very similar, just 'roomier', so you need to figure out if that extra elbow room is worth the premium.. that may depend on your intended use. One couple? Frequent guests? kids? etc

Tough call unless you simply can't raise the cash!
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Old 02-18-2012
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I think the 323 salon seems a little cramped due to large head, bigger is usually better. I've had a 320 for 2 years and looking forward to our next slightly bigger boat.
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Old 02-18-2012
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We own a 343. Can answer any questions you have on it. One limitation we feel is the lack of storage space. Imagine it would be even worse on a 323 for anything beyond a weekend!
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Old 02-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by night0wl View Post
We own a 343. Can answer any questions you have on it. One limitation we feel is the lack of storage space. Imagine it would be even worse on a 323 for anything beyond a weekend!
Hi Nightowl, What mainsail setup do you have? The boats I'm looking at have the mast furl system.
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Old 02-19-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sail268 View Post
Hi Nightowl, What mainsail setup do you have? The boats I'm looking at have the mast furl system.
I have the furling main setup. I cannot say I'm happy with it...*ALTHOUGH I MUST STRESS THAT I AM IN THE MINORITY IN THIS OPINION* We've had trouble with the furling main ever since day one sailing. It jams on unfurling and now has started jamming on furling as well.

I suspect the issue is *NOT* the furling system on the main itself, but the sail. The OEM Neil Pryde sails are made with vertical batten pockets that tend to be a bit thick. The mast extrusion just doesn't have a lot of room for the sail to come out, so if you have a thick bulge, it just gets caught. The typical issue we've had is that the wrap of sail behind the leading edge coming out of the extrusion forms a "hernia" and causes the whole thing to jam up. No amount of refurling and unfurling will shake this loose. Another issue has just started...where the clew of the sail has a webbing bundle that attaches to the worm drive unit in the mast. It comes out of the mast and now refuses to go in without someone pushing it back in with a screwdriver...this makes it impossible to reef!

Also you have to be very careful with leech tension. If your leech flutters at all, it can cause a crease or a foldover at furl time...in which case you are screwed the next time you unfurl because it will not come out and the sail will bunch up. This is prevalent especially about 2/3rds of the way up the sail...just out of reach.

We've come to learn its "quirks" and can use it effectively now, but I simply cannot depend on it if the chips are down. If there is any danger of rough stuff, we rely on the genoa which is on a profurl furler. That has been rock solid and has taken us over 7 knots double reefed on Biscayne Bay.

I've taken to a couple of tactics to manage this system effectively. First, at the dock the night prior to going out sailing, I will unfurl the sail with no wind at all and refurl it *extremely* tight to make sure to minimize the hernia issue. The second is that I rarely bring the full sail out. I will always leave 1-2 wraps on the worm drive. This reduces my sail area, but to be honest, the Genoa does all the work on our boat anyway...the Main only stabilizes...and in heavy conditions, it causes me to round up a lot.

Sorry for the book, but this is my honest opinion on the setup.

When I get new sails, I'll be looking at sail cloth that is optimized for these in-mast furlers, thinner profile batten pockets and battens, and more thought given to the webbing loop that attaches at the clew of the sail. But thats still a few years away I hope!
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Last edited by night0wl; 02-19-2012 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 02-19-2012
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343

I purchased a 343 new after looking pretty carefully at both boats. From what I had read both boats sailed pretty well and were pretty comparable in most ways. I went with the 343 for a couple of reasons.

Bottom line was that I liked the engine accessibility and the house battery location much better in the 343. I ended up installing a Flo-Scan fuel flow monitor and vacuum gauge on the fuel system, a squeeze bulb to facilitate bleeding the fuel system, and a 325 amp-hr Rolls battery under the berth in the aft cabin. I doubt I could have crammed all of that into the 323.

I really liked the storage volume under the starboard cockpit seat of the 343.

The Admiral liked the headroom above the berth in the aft cabin and preferred the interior layout in the salon/galley of the 343.

I did not have any significant problems with the mainsail furling system. All in all I was very pleased.
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Old 02-20-2012
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I wanted a 323 when I was ready to order in 2006. We sat in the 343 for a bit and then went to go take one last look at the 323 and it felt really cramped, especially in the salon. You'll never be unhappy with more space on a boat. You might be able to negotiate away some of that 30k difference.
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