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JEdwards 08-11-2006 01:44 PM

Please Help Me Choose a Boat!
Hello all,

This is my first post (I joined last night, but have been reading for a while).

I have been researching for quite a while and just when I thought I had it narrowed down to two (thanks to all of your comments to others!) a third popped in last night. So, here we go...

The two in top contention (and I will be living aborad, but sailing long distance) are the new:

Tartan 3700
Beneteau 423

Here's what I've pretty much gotten from all of you per your comments to others. The Bene will fall apart if I use it as a long-distance cruiser and not as an "RV on water".

The Beneteau:

-I prefer the interior.
-I prefer the non-V-berth stateroom
-2 heads and showers! (that's big for me for long-distance with guests).
-I can safely assume the company will be around for a while so parts, etc. won't be an issue.

The Tartan:

-Greatly prefer the exterior. Gorgeous.
-I have heard it is far more sturdy for actual use.
-Only one head.
-From the photos, it looks like one would smack their head if they sat up in bed.
-Non-slip, sand colored non-slip panels on deck. Teak may look nicer, but this is close and safer. However, will the panels be replaceable should Tartan go under?

Okay, all of that said...

Then I find the X-Yachts X-37. Great exterior, somewhere between the Bene and the Tartan. 2 heads w/showers and no v-berth. So, it seems perfect, but not enough reviews or comments to know how well it will hold up, what flaws it has, etc.

No sugar coating needed, all comments welcome. Thank you very much. I look forward to meeting all of you.


Gene T 08-11-2006 02:18 PM

It seems to me the only thing these boats have in common it they cost about the same. Is that your primary criteria?

JEdwards 08-11-2006 03:20 PM

Please help me choose a boat!
Yes, that is the price rance I am looking for. It's their lack of similarities that makes it difficult.

From what I've gathered, and I'm the first to admit my knowledge is limited, the Bene is made for light cruising, possible living and entertaining.

The Tartan is a cruiser which can race as well.

The X-37 seems the most geared towards racing of the three., but that's my perception from my research.

If I could find the external beauty of the Tartan (I prefer the flat back, not the step down platform of the Beneteau) with the internal beauty of the Bene, incl. the 2 heads and the more spacious staterooms (non-V-berth), I'd buy it today.

The X-37 seems to be a good mid-point between the two, but I haven't found enough info to see if they are well-built, what issues they have,...

sailingdog 08-11-2006 03:24 PM

What do you mean by sailing long distance? Are you going to be making ocean passages, going from LA to Hawaii? Are you going to be doing the ICW? Are you going to sailing on the Great Lakes? Are you going to be doing laps of a small land-locked lake... All of these are ways to sail long distances, although the last is a bit ridiculous.

Where are you going to be sailing/living aboard?

What are your skills as a sailor?

Are you going to be singlehanding?

What is your budget for the boat?

What is your budget for maintenance?

Also, how tall are you? If you're exceptionally tall or short, that can make a difference in what boat to get.

Will you be doing your own maintenance, in which case engine access is more necessary, or be having a marina do it all?

BTW, having two heads, while convenient, can lead to a lot more maintenance/repair problems more often than not. Unless your planning on sailing with several crew on board for very long passages, a single head may be the wiser choice.

Gene T 08-11-2006 03:49 PM

I have nothing bad to say about the Tartan 3700, it is a fine boat. The Beneteau is clearly built cheaper, to provide a larger boat. If I were going to be caught out in a storm and I had to choose I would rather be in the Tartan, no question. But I agree with sailingdog, you haven't really told us how you intend to use the boat. There are others to look at like Hanse, Jeanneau, Elan, Delphia, Dufour that might fit your needs. Have you considered a cat?

sailingdog 08-11-2006 04:08 PM

Also, is this going to be your first boat?? If so, a boat that large might cause you problems in getting insurancel, especially if you are going to be living aboard.

JEdwards 08-11-2006 04:11 PM

Please help me choose a boat!
Interesting point about the dual head maintanence. Hmm...

Live-aboard, out of Ventura, CA (Pacific). Would like to circumnavigate at some point, though not in the near future. Hawaii is likely. Up the coast Washington, down to Mexico are likely. Through Panana east. West to Australia would be greatas well.

Limited sailing experience as of now -- still getting certified, but plan to do as many hours as possible. I want to sail, not sit around in the marina.

Someone just recommended the Tayana 37 as well. Any thoughts?

I'm 6'1".

Thank you all for your responses.

JEdwards 08-11-2006 04:14 PM

Please help -- cont.
Singlehandedly, primarily.

Yes, first boat. Didn't realize the insurance issue.

What is a good maintanance budget on a new boat?

I'm figuring around $270,000 for the boat with $50k down. $220,000 loan, I'm ballparking 9% for 20 years in $2,000/mo. Plus slip fees, live-aboard fees, electric, etc. Should be $3,000 before maintanence. About right?

Jeff_H 08-11-2006 04:18 PM

As has been noted these are three very different boats.

The Tartan 370's were available using some of the absolutely most modern materials that are available. While the epoxy hull is about as good as it gets in terms of durability, the carbon fiber mast is a bit of mixed bag; great for sailing ability and stability, but potentially at risk for wild electrolysis problems and lightning problems that would be far in excess of those expected with alumuminum spars. I am not a big fan of the Tartan hull form and really don't like its rig and deck layout for ease of handling.

I really love the X37. I think that the layout is my ideal for single-handing, or a couple cruising, or cruising with two couples. The hull and keel design would be an excellent choice offshore, or sailing in changeable conditions, offering good motion comfort and an easily driven hullform. The sail plan on the X boat would be the easiest of the three to handle and I have almost always been impressed with the quality of their deck hardware and its placement. I really think that X-Yachts does a great job with their engineering, especially since they tend to engineer around conventional materials. That said, I have never felt completely comfortable with the galvanized steel structure that they use for their keel connections. I have talked to quite a few long term owners who swear that it is no problem and it makes a very sturdy boat so I am starting to come around on that point. The X37 is part of their cruising series rather than their racing series and is no more racing oriented than the Tartan although I think it would be an easier boat to race in terms of really great hardware layout. I'd personally would probably do the two cabin/ single head version but if you must have two heads they make the X37 with two heads.

A couple other boats in this price range that you might want to consider:

Hanse 371/370. I have sailed on one of these and find them to be really nice boats all around. Nicely built and well thought through.

Beneteau 40.7: I have raced on one of these for the past 5 years. They seem to be very well constructed (better than the number series boats in a lot of ways) and sail better than any of the other boats on this list with the possible exception of the X-yacht. On the other hand they have less of a cruising interior than the others.

Elan 37: (Elan Yachts) This is a company that I was not familiar with until a couple years ago. Since then I have been board a number of their different models and have been quite impressed. The 37 looks like a really neat boat all around.

Good luck,

captnnero 08-11-2006 04:28 PM

less is more ?

Originally Posted by sailingdog
...BTW, having two heads, while convenient, can lead to a lot more maintenance/repair problems more often than not. Unless your planning on sailing with several crew on board for very long passages, a single head may be the wiser choice.


With all due respect to you, I've heard this argument before, but I don't understand it. It suggests that heads are unreliable, in which case it would be preferable to me to have a spare than to have to immediately repair the broken system. "Immediately" is the operative word when you lose the use of the only head system.

In the worst case the two head systems would be twice as much maintenance and repair, but I doubt that would be the case given the same usage split between the two systems instead of one. Does having more than one head system somehow cause both heads to fail even more frequently ? I suppose if the second system is hardly ever used there could be issues from seals drying out but that is very is to prevent by cycling the idle system periodically. Our one head boat sits idle the whole winter without ill effects on the single head each spring.

The bottom line is I'm skeptical of the argument. What am I missing ?

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