Gary, I''m not a big fan of smallish Beneteaus for the offshore plans you hold altho'' I think they provide good value for what they are. Primarily, my reservations stem from the fact that plans like yours, encompassing long-term liveaboard cruising with offshore destinations, ask a great deal from a boat...while Beneteau is instead in the business of providing as much volume in a boat for the widest possible audience for a given price point. So right away, we have to be a bit wary about one goal fitting the other.
I''m sure you''ve already done this but for the sake of the thread followers, here are two reviews that popped up near the top of the Google list. I think they are worth reading and reflecting on, as I think they say much of what is good & bad about this model:
Bob Perry''s review: www.boats.com/content/default_detail.jsp?contentid=7752
Jack Horner''s review: www.boatus.com/jackhornor/sail/BeneteauOcean350.htm
(It might also be worth the small cost of purchasing the Practical Sailor review on this boat, which you can find at www.boatus.com/reviews/sail/reviews/1130-1.asp)
Perry''s is the more positive review but, typical of his design reviews, his focus is more about what one of his peers has been able to accomplish with the design brief in terms of style, space, shape and potential (aka: assumed) sailing ability. His is more about the art of design and less about the grit under the fingernails that we sailors have to sometimes endure. E.g. notice his statement that he''d probably opt for the winged keel because of little performance difference. Someone who has to live with their boat might have a different view, since wings make good anchors and the winglets are bolted onto the fin rather than a cast piece. I also notice he fails to acknowledge the light ballast, iron ballast and medium draft (for the fin; shallow for the wing), all of which suggest to me that the design depends a lot on initial form stability but will be pretty active and easily overpowered in heavier airs when out on the ocean. Still, he points out that the designer did a lot with less than 34'' of length, and you will find this layout on a wide range of 34''+/- boats including high end H-R 34''s, Najad 331''s and older Malo 34''s.
Horner''s been a Bay surveyor for decades now, and so you''ll notice his review is more about what holds up and what works on the water. Since most owners won''t ask nearly as much of a 350 as you potentially will, you have to read some of his comments thoughtfully to grasp their significance for you. E.g. notice his description of the hull-deck joint, which will apparently also be your rub rail in this boat. How will that hold up - and how can it be repaired when it is damaged - when a gust of beam wind gets ahold of all that freeboard and prangs the hull''s side into a steel piling at a fuel dock? Is 28 gals of diesel enough if enjoying the Outer Islands of the Bahamas for several months, knowing you might be charging your batteries every day and doing some motoring, as well? When you read his description of storage spaces - or when you look at the layout and imagine all those horizontal spaces inside an essentially canoe-bodied hull - does that sound adequate for your needs? Just how feasible is it to add the amount & type of ventilation this boat needs?
All boats are compromises, and all 10,000# boats are going to be wanting for space & features when the demands on long-term cruising are placed on them. In that sense, the 350 belongs to a large club and may be better than many. E.g. it''s ''Euro'' layout is relatively functional; the head is accessible & relatively safe to use at sea, the galley and chart table are in the right part of the boat tho'' small, and opposing settes are IMO a good choice for a cruising boat - flexible for social occasions, when the sewing machine is out, and potentially a decent sea berth when off the wind. And I like e.g. the anchor roller assembly; far beefier than latter-day Jeanneaus, e.g. However, the size of all these interior spaces & surfaces are going to better fit smaller bodies than larger ones, and if you plan to cruise in sub-tropical regions like the Caribbean, it''s fair to ask if you''ve slept in a quarter cabin, next to the engine, on a warm night.
And finally, you''ve asked about overall construction. These boats are being sailed everywhere (the Med, Down Under, the Caribbean and around coastal North America) but they aren''t often sailed across oceans to get to those places. These boats are intended for chartering & for family use, and in that sense they aren''t directed at folks like you and I. Could you sail one in season to Bermuda, safely. That''s more about seamanship than about this boat, and the answer is ''sure''. Does it fit into a small niche of boats that, for your purposes, could fairly be labeled ''optimum choices''? I wouldn''t think so.
Good luck on the search. Remember that each time you dig deeply into a boat, you insure that the next boat to catch your eye will be even closer to what you want.