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Old 03-27-2014
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J or Bene?

Hi folks,

Just looking for an opinion. Have a 26' T-Bird, which I've cruised for about 10 years. I'm not a racer, but want to upgrade to something a bit roomier, but also with decent performance. Heard great things about J's, and have seen a J-34C on yachtworld that looks nice. Also a Bene First 3100 that's much closer to home. I know they are very different boats, but would appreciate any real world feedback on these two.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

The Bene First series is nothing like the other Bene series. The First series is designed to be more of a racer than the rest. The rigging is stronger, and the boat has few creature comforts than the Oceanis.
The 34C is designed to be a performance cruiser. Three feet is a huge difference in a sailboat of that size. It is not as beamy as newer designs, so the cabin is not large compared to newer 34s, but the price is not comparable either.
Condition, engine hours, needed upgrades all need to be factored into the equation. Its like buying a car. No one model is right for everyone. You need to find the one YOU like.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

Where do you sail, how do you plan to use your boat, and how much will you spend?
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

James- I live near Vancouver, BC, so I sail in the Pacific Northwest between the San Juan Islands and Desolation Sound. Am planning to go further afield in the future. I try to get out as much as I can throughout the summer months, but am hoping a larger boat would get me out more often, and expand my cruising season to include earlier in the spring and later in the fall.

As I mentioned, I'm not a racer. At the moment, I sail on as many weekends as I can, with a few 5 to 7-day trips throughout the summer. I'm looking for (as many people are) a good mix of comfort and performance within my budget of around $50K or so. A boat that is not difficult to single-hand would also be a bonus.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

And, JBoat that is a C. Rare.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

In general, Js and Bene Firsts are similar in that they are racer/cruisers. The emphasis is a bit more on the racing, but are fine cruising boats for those that value performance over maximum space below. The older J "C" boats are tilted more towards cruising than the other Js, but are still excellent performers. I really like the J34C, J35C and J37C and if you can find one in good condition at a good price, I would grab it.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

On the face of it, given their rare availability I'd look at the J34C first - however the Bene 'First' series are a great combination of speed and cruisability too.

If the Bene's here and the J's a trucking distance away, that will be a factor. Here in BC it's nice to be able to deliver the boat on her own bottom, that gives you a range down as far as Olympia for shopping. That said, though, boats get trucked up here routinely so other than the added costs and logistics, either way can work.

How you feel about cored hulls vs solid may play a part here too...
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

What's a Bene First 3100? You mean 31 something? What year?

Around my marina i hear how J's are not built as they say they are......but, i have no idea about this. The older ones have a tendacity to get stress cracks, so i've heard. I CAN'T confirm this. I know the older Bene First's are built very well with good engineering behind them. (parts still available).

Size wise i would expect the 34 would be subtantially bigger and faster. Not substantially though.
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Old 03-27-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

The J boats cruising boats are very nice looking. But at this age you will want to take a very close look. If someone did a lot of racing you might want to pass. Seems with J boats it is all about how the previous owners took care of them. If they were raced hard and put away wet they develop problems. Not likely to be an issue with a C though. There was an article about a J boat, cruising model I believe, in Good Old Boat a few years ago. They liked it enough to rebuild after a fire.
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Old 03-28-2014
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Re: J or Bene?

Sorry- a typo. The Bene is a First 310, not 3100.
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