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post #1 of 9 Old 12-03-2004 Thread Starter
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

Ok, We are looking at a BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987.
Located near San Francisco in fresh water berth and has been there since 1999.
It was previously kept somewhere in Mexico.
One owner and seems to have been well maintained. e.g.. last haul out and bottom paint in Aug. 2004.
Some blistering size of quarter and dime size, repaired & epoxied
The seller has provide information and the boat looks like a good buy.
Asking price is at the low end of the NADA pricing, not taking into account of extras.
It is equipped with lots of extras.
Only things of concern are the Kubota generator needs attention.
Our main concern is that it has a draft of 7'' 6"
Is this going to limit us too much?

We are asking for advise from friends and they have offered other things to consider.
Such as:
The Boat would lose not only value greatly for resale if the boat is going to be sailed on the East Coast.
But the just to get it there even the long way would be not less than $10K
Are these true concerns?
Our present thinking is to keep it there there because the price of keeping it there (it is about half of what we have researched is available in TX an FL)
till we are ready to depart on our life dream.
We are about 3 years from being able to leave (kids to get out of the house).
But it will be there for us to enjoy on vacations and long weekends.
Should we wait till closer to the time?
We are located in CO. and are land locked sailors. We do race Hobies competitive and have for years. Chartered several in Caribbean and HI.
We are in no hurry to buy, but this looks like a good opportunity. and learning experience.
Should we listen to the Nay say-ers.

Many questions but we are all ears.
I expect that we will get a variety of answers. Or generate more questions.
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-03-2004
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

Rockie, you’ll surely get a variety of opinions. One reason is that others will substitute their own, varying views of the boat’s suitability for cruising in lieu of what should be applicable to you. (Just where DO you plan to ‘go cruising’?) Another reason is that your preference in rig, layout, systems, tankage et al. should be at the heart of the boat’s desirability…but others will substitute their own preferences. And there’s probably no more personal issue than the decision to become an absentee owner. So…a lot of what you ask is tough for others to answer.

Still, I realize everyone appreciates some feedback so let’s start with the draft issue. I can cite two recent examples of West Coast sailors who sailed their 7.5’ draft boats to the East Coast (Chesapeake Bay and Ft. Lauderdale), wanted to sell, but subsequently gave up due to the draft’s effect on potential buyers and returned them to CA (one by truck; one is underway as I write this). But more to the point, why do you care? If in 3 years you will START to begin cruising, why is resale at your departure point (a port of convenience to you, up to that point) a concern? This gets back to the question about what your actual (not ‘someday’ but realistic) cruising plans are. Many, many sailors who are going to sail off to the ‘islands’ don’t get much farther than the Bahamas, do their ‘Caribbean Thing’ and then sell the boat in the SE USA somewhere. Given that scenario, a 7’+ draft is a big liability. But if your plans include Europe or going thru the Canal (again, your ‘realistic’ plans…) then pick the boat for the route and the crew, not for SE USA draft concerns.

The impression I have from your post is that, contrary to what you state, you ARE in a bit of a hurry to buy. You’re having a Walmart Experience: You’ve found what *seems* to be a ‘good buy’ and don’t want to miss out. Yet you point out the boat is poorly located (due to berthing costs on the West Coast), while the ‘right place’ (SE USA) is flooded with brokerage boats. Why the rush to settle on this one (poorly located) boat, especially since you have the time to shop thoughtfully in the SE USA market?

Re: shipping costs, your most cost effective option is to truck to Galveston or Kemah or thereabouts and then deliver the boat to your preferred SE USA cruising grounds; much less costly.

Re: absentee ownership, how do you feel about the berthing, haulout and upkeep costs of a boat you use a few weeks each year? How about owning a boat in Hurricane Country with you unable to prep her for a storm...or arriving at the boat needing to undo your storm prep efforts from the last visit? And then there’s arriving at the boat for a few precious days and be torn between projects, improvements and using the boat. (A small, simpler boat works better for this scenario than a larger, complex boat).

Sorry I’ve raised more questions than answers, but you may need those more at this point.

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post #3 of 9 Old 12-03-2004 Thread Starter
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

This is the exact responce I need.
I''m a bit of a consumer.
Things to ponder is good.
Actually the berth in CA is cheeper than in SE USA. And in fresh water. I don''t know if that is good. But sounds like less maintanence than Salt water berth. And seemingly more suiteable to "Absentee Owner"
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-05-2004
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

Hi Guys

Jack really hit the nail on the head. I would like to just put those aspects of boat buying in another perspective for you. Value. No boat is a good investment, though many high quality boats hold their value if upgraded and well maintained. SO...when you are boat shopping, you will need to think about the total cost of acquiring that boat. And...whether or not those costs ADD value to the boat.

Shipping a boat adds nothing to the value of the boat.

Having to modify the keel ($7-10k) adds nothing to the value of the boat.

Thus, getting a boat like the Bene 405 for say 70k and then paying 10k to ship it and 10k to mod the keel at some point....only ends of getting you a 70k boat that you paid 90k for. You use it a few years then sell it for perhaps much less and are out much more cash. In reality, you could have purchased a boat worth 90k...and gotten a nicer boat that might net more at resale.

And draft. Yes, from Annapolis south on this coast it is an issue for resale (whether it is an issue for another issue). There is a Dufour 39 here that has been for sale for over 3 yrs. It is in perfectly good has over 7ft draft. That is the kiss of death here and for anyone thinking of going to FLA or the islands...which would be a good number of sailors. Or down the ICW. Just had a friend take a boat down. 6ft draft, went soft aground 3 times from Norfolk to SC.

Better to take a step back. Think about getting a boat whose total cost is comensurate with its absolute value. From there good maintenance and upgrades can add value and increase your sailing experience. Don''t get 20k in the hole on day one.

Hope this helps

Got to run.

s/v Invictus
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post #5 of 9 Old 12-05-2004
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

A couple additional thoughts, Beneteaus 405''s are pretty light duty boats, so if your long term goals are long distance cruising you might keep looking. They and the Beneteau First 42 are common as dirt on the east coast (in both deep and shoal draft versions) and typically sell somewhere in the price range that you are considering. 405''s are small boats to carry and aux generator.

As to cutting off the keel, I wrote this for another venue but it may be helpful.....

This is a popular subject on this BB. Keel shortening can work within reasonable limits. While it can be done, the success depends on the design of the boat, the construction of the keel and keel supporting structure, and the amount of reduction that you are proposing. I have only heard good things about Mars Metals. That said I suggest that shortening a keel is a major operation and one that should not be undertaken lightly.

People seem to think there is a magic solution that will give them equal performance. To be blunt, there is absolutely no way that you will end up with equal performance to your existing keel unless the existing keel is really poorly designed. The reason that I say that is to equal the stability and lift of a deeper keel you will end up with greater foil area and greater weight and both will slow a boat down. People seem to think that wings will make up the difference. Marketing materials aside, the small wings typically used on a typical cruiser do not make up for the lost lift of a deeper keel. Looking at the PHRF ratings for some production 32 footers, for example, the hit for a wing keel is 12 to 24 seconds a mile. That is a very significant difference.

Based on what I have heard from others who have done this and resold their boats, they felt the boats became really hard to resell and that they took a big loss on the boats beyond the simple costs of the keel change.

When you talk about shortening a keel, the rule of thumb that I have seen kicked around for draft reduction is that 10% reduction is a reasonable amount on a deep draft boat with 15% as an outside maximum. If you think about the average boat, the depth of the canoe body is somewhere around 25 to 50% of the overall draft. That means that the foil is somewhere between 50% to 75% of your draft and when subtract another 15% plus you further subtract the bulb or wings, well, there is almost no foil left.

There are other issues as well. When you talk about extreme shortening of a keel it means more than taking a chainsaw to the bottom of the keel and then bolting on wings or a bulb. In order to achieve reasonable performance the whole foil will need to be redesigned. This is less the case with more moderate shortening.

It is often easier to shorten a deep fin keel than a deep long keel, if nothing else than because there is less length to cut and restructure. But that is a rough rule of thumb and often can prove not to be the case.

In general, Deep racing style fin keels tend to have a short chord length and to even begin to come close to the original performance of the boat; you will need to increase the area of the foil by extending it further fore and aft. This sometimes results in a situation where there is actually more jacking leverage fore and aft in a grounding than in the deeper keel. In other words you may need to rebuild the frames and other support structure in order to support your shallower keel. The land on deep keels tend to much shorter than the land on shallow longer keels so your bottom will need to be modified to land the new keel.

Bolt on keels tend to be far and away easier to modify than encapsulated or glassed in keels. With an encapsulated keel, care must be taken to re-establish the strength of the glass at the bottom of the shortened keel so as to properly support the weight of the keel and keep water out of the keel cavity. Also encapsulated keels often do not contain a ballast casting and there may be an amalgam of metal and resin that makes up the ballast. This amalgam may not have the structural capacity to carry the concentrated loads of a bolt on bulb or wing.

In the case of a bolt on keel, it may be possible to drop the old keel off, and have a new keel cast and bolted on. While this is not cheap, around Annapolis there are boats that have kept their old keels for resale and racing purposes and still others who swap keels to go cruising. (This is actually pretty common on the J44 and J105 fleets.)

Even if foil area and performance were not an issue, there is a limit to the amount that you can cut off a cast keel. Depending on the design, at some point you will have to contend with keel bolts. Traditional keel bolts ran the length of the keel. In more modern boats the keel bolts are actually "J” shaped and are cast into the keel. Since lead shrinks away from the bolts when it cools the hook is what holds the bolts in the lead. If you cut 20" off the bottom of the casting you are also bound to cut off the hooks as well.

I guess in the end, you are talking about a major alteration to your boat and not one to be undertaken lightly. The above is a broad generality which may not apply to your boat but like most broad generalities applies more often than not. In my mind if I wanted to own a shoal draft boat, I would look for a boat that was designed to have shoal draft. In this way you have a chance to test it before you bought it to see if its sailing abilities suited you. In the case of your proposed alterations, you may end up with a boat that no longer sails well and which cost a major amount of money to cripple.


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post #6 of 9 Old 12-21-2004
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Info on BENETEAU FIRST 405 1987

I have seen this boat and am considering a First 42 on the east coast. Please feel free to contact me if you additional questions regarding the 405 located in the Sacramento Delta.
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-04-2006
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We own a First 405 with a shoal draft keel (5"6"). We race the boat and we do pretty good. Last year I "templated" the keel. The shoal keel has the same amount of ballast as the deep draft version. This is accomplished with a longer cord length. The drawback when racing is tacking. The additional cord length really slows down the tacks. We have cruised the boat & found it wonderful. Compared to other 40's the storage limited.
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-04-2006
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Why are you dredging up a thread that is almost two years old???


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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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post #9 of 9 Old 06-15-2011
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1987 Beneteau First 405

Maybe I can help. I am the current owner of a 1987 Beneteau First 405 that I have sailed on the Chesapeake since I bought it new. The boat has a 5' 7" keel and can and has been sailed almost everywhere on the Chesapeake. It has been a great boat except 2 yrs ago the Perkins engine thru a rod and destroyed the engine. $20k+ later a top of the line Yanmar was put in along with a lot of other enhancements and I feel like I have a new boat good for another 20yrs+. It sails reasonably good in light air but really comes alive in 15 to 25 kts. At the end of the day, I would hesitate buying the a boat with the old's trouble waiting to happen. After the new engine and other upgrades my boat was inspected and valued by a accredited marine surveyor to be in excess of $125K. I hope that I have been of some help
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