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  #21  
Old 04-04-2002
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Beneteau vs Hunter

Denr (Leon)
You stated that in ths "latest edition of Practical sailor the author describes the vessels built by Beneteau, Hunter and Catalina as entry level boats, not more, not less".......Please if you are going to quote a magazine do it right. They were discussing 30-32 foot boats !!! The implication was NOT about the manufacturers!!! Its was about the size of the boats!!

With that said I think SEC has it pretty correct when he said " like the layout and storage space of the Hunter, but the standing
riging and fit/finish win on the Beneteau."....If you want to sit and party at the dock the Hunter is better, but I must give the nod to Beneteau for sailing and fit n'' finish.

A few more points even though, I am not a fan of the Beneteau iron keels...too bad they don''t use lead which is superior. Also I am a traditionalist, but I do see an advantage to the Hunter Roll bars. It probably places the Mainsheet and traveller in one of the most convenient locations possible . Right next to the helm.....ok..... I still probably wouldn''t want a Hunter.

One other point Jeff, What Catalina is using a cored hull today !?! I was at the AC Sail Expo and talked to Gerry Douglas and I do not think there are any (unless they are the smaller sailboats) that use a cored hull. What Catalina''s did he say were slated for Cored hulls....the new C350 ?

And last but not least your comment about not ever finding anyone with a good Catalina warrantee experience sounds like you don''t look very well. Just go onto any of the Sailnet lists (go now and search in the archives !) You will find hundreds of stories and comments from very satisfied Catalina owners ! I''m sure that there is always going to be a few people that aren''t happy, but the loyalty of Catalina owners I think exceeds the others. In fact just as someone brought up Practical Sailor before, just go back and look at their last reveiw of a Catalina (It was a Catalina 36) It notes how savvy Catalina owners are (they know their boats are Hinckleys, but still great boats for the money). And they must be doing something right.....
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Old 04-04-2002
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Beneteau vs Hunter

After reading all these posts, especially the topic post, and looking at what boat I am comfortable sailing, and then realizing that for that amount of money I could buy about 30 centaurs or outfit my own to the enth degree and sail the world for a long long long time.....I''m just overwhelmed....maybe I''m just poor and don''t realize it.....lucky me...
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2002
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Beneteau vs Hunter

A couple quick comments here,
Beneteau offers a lead keel on most of their models as a comparatively inexpensive cost increase option. In talking to my local dealer about just that issue, few buyers take that option. That said I had the chance to sail back to back weekends on older First 35s, one with and one without the lead keel option and it was very noticeable on a beat.

Regarding coring, at the Annapolis Show I discussed coring with the Catalina sales person. He indicated cited one of the models at the show as being cored and indicated that Catalina was moving that direction with newer models. I do not recall which model he cited as this came in the course of a much larger discussion. To me coring is actually a good thing. It costs more to do, but done properly it really makes a better boat.

On the Catalina warranttee issue, I have posted the issue of alledgedly poor warrantee covereage whenever I comment on new Catalina''s for almost two years now since a disgruntled Catalina owner first discussed this problem with me. I have discussed this statement with quite a few Catalina Owners. To the person they all have concurred to one degree or another with some citing some pretty awful horror stories, that the Catalina has not responded properly to warrantee claims. I have not gotten that kind of response out of Hunter or Beneteau owners. I ahve asked because I wanted to see if this was a normal ''new boat owner carping'' syndrome. Its not. I have yet to have a Catalina Owner say anything contrary about the Warrantee being handled well. I am not saying that Catalina owners do not like their boats. In fact, most that I have met like their boats alot ''for what they do'' and seem to understand the relative merits and issues of their boats. They seem to have the normal list "You know what I would change" items rather than massive complaints about the boats themselves. But with regard to the warranttee, I have posted that statement here quite a few times, as popular as Catalinas are, there hasn''t been a response here from Catalina Owners contradicting that statement and I have recieved email supporting it. I always try to post this issue in a manner that is looking for comments supporting Catalina''s warrantee response. I just have not gotten it. I would love to be wrong here.

Jeff
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Beneteau vs Hunter

tsenator:

It is certainly true that I did interpret the author''s intent in the Practical sailor article when he described the Benehuntalinas as entry level boats to mean their entire product line. Are you suggesting that the boats the three companies in question outside the scope of the ones reviewed in the article are built any differently? You should attend a few more boat shows to look a little closer at these Hinckley wannabes! I might also recommend a trip to the optometrist for you!
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Beneteau vs Hunter

It''s funny how discussion of "the low price three" always brings out the elitests(snobs). I guess they need someone to look down their noses at.
Marc
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Beneteau vs Hunter

Denr,

Sorry, When I typed the reply what I meant to write is that "they know their boats are *not* Hinckleys".. (And yes there are differences in design/build between a 31 foot and a 42 foot Catalina......of which many have been taken on open oceans quite often. I know of at least three Cat 36 that have circumnavigated, but I don''t know of any Cat 310''s. As with the Hunter,s some of their smaller boats are Rated Class B for the Ocean) And by the way, I have attended every AC Sail Expo since it''s inception (1992) and a lot of the design seminars . I was just at the seminar called "the future of boat designs" it was chaired by many designers (Dave Gerr, Gerry, Douglas, Designer of Image Station, the Designer of Freedom Yachts, etc, etc,...) Also I have REALLY looked at the boats through the years and by no means would I imply that the detail and woodworking fit/finish/workmanship of the these boats equal the premium boats. Hell yeah! the Sabre''s, Gozzard and Hinckley''s, et.al. are beautiful ! But they cost 3x as much !! Are they 3x better...hmmm, I don''t know...If I had all the money in the world I would probably purchase one,...but then again maybe not.

So I have crawled around on a lot of boats at the boat shows over the years and the quality from 1992 to 2001 of the boats have improved. Especially the Hunters. When I first started looking at the Hunters at the boat shows , they were a disgrace. I kept thinking to myself "how could they even show these boats?" (The quality of the Hunters have increased and are at an acceptible level).The Beneteau''s always had the best fit and finish of the 3, but I thought they "cheaped out" in small amenities and I felt the boats were a little more "stark". But still I thought the quality was there. As for the Newer Beneteau 473 (original question to this list), I thought that was a HELL of alot of boat for the money much more than the Hunter and on par with the Catalina 47, but a lot less money.


And to Jeff....I will say it again....when you make that statement "have yet to have
a Catalina Owner say anything contrary about the Warrantee being handled well". Of course the ones who want to complain are going to tell everyone who wants to hear. (you sighted...discussion with quite a few ....exactly how many???....Catalina has produced about 100,000 boats over the years !!!) Typically warrantee repair are done by the Dealers and there might be a dealer or two out there that is causing the problems. But, please do what I suggested, go into these Sailnet Discussion list archives for Catalina and do a search using the words "warantee". Just because you don''t find something doesn''t mean it doesn''t exist !! That''s like saying I have never seen Australia so it doesn''t exist !....That''s like me taking a survey on who likes or dislikes the president, but only going to a rally for the National Association for Woman to ask....How many existing Catalina owners do you talk to? And don''t you find it amazing that you can still talk to the CEO/Founder of the Company (Frank Butler). What other boat company can you do that with!! If its so easy for you to talk to him, what makes you think that a paying customer couldn''t get his ear and discuss warantee issues !!....Well I have heard MANY times where someone calls and get taken care of. Sorry I think you are way off base here and you are making a statement from a myopic perspective.

Lets be real . The big three have put more people sailing from one years production than most builders do in a lifetime! And thats a GOOD thing. No they don''t have 8 layers of hand rubbed varnish everywhere, but hey....I guess if you have an extra $200,000 to spend then go for it. And as for being built well enough, I think it is very rare that you will see a catastrophic problem occur on these boats. I think when you will see the difference between the "premium" boats is in a 30 years. I think that is when the small signs of aging will show up less.
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Beneteau vs Hunter

If anyone chooses to do an archive search on "warantee" or "warrantee" I also suggest a search on "warranty." You probably will get more hits on the last one.

I''ve written on these lists before what I know about Catalina warranty policy. Frank Butler still chooses to handle warranty claims himself. He always has and probably always will. The good part of that policy is that the man himself knows exactly what is going wrong with his boats. He can literally walk to the production line and make a change right then. The bad part of that policy is with the high sales volume of Catalina these days. I don''t see how the man can keep up--and obviously he doesn''t always.

I talked to a former Catalina dealer here in Maryland who partially stopped selling Catalinas because of the delays and confusions caused by Butler''s process. The dealer said he would get a single letter from Butler dealing with many boats and the dealer had to sort out which comment/decision applied to which boat. He said many dealers would fix simple things themselves to keep the customer happy, and that only served to piss the dealers off.

How do I know all this? I wrote an article on the history of Catalina for a national sailing magazine, which was published a year or so ago. I had numerous telephone interviews with Frank Butler, and also one face-to-face in Annapolis at the show. His is a terrific story, and he cares about his boats. But he tends to be a control freak, and that can be a problem with warranty work when you sell a thousand (maybe more?) boats a year.

Having said all that, and as pointed out by others on here, there are thousands of VERY loyal Catalina owners out there. It is not uncommon at all for people to buy 3 and 4 Catalinas of increasing size during their sailing careers. The company obviously is doing something right.
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Beneteau vs Hunter

I like the cut of your jib SailorMitch. By the way, you were the one only one to nailed me to the cross when I asked the question on another topic about the best 42-45'' cruiser under a million. This was a red herring just to see who''d bite. I did not say I was in the market for one, I just asked the question about the best one! You''ve earned a sailboat ride on lake Michigan this year, a retail value of nearly $1,000!
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Beneteau vs Hunter

Thanks, Denr! Well, it''s not too often folks get on here and talk about boats costing a million or less, and I have noticed some of your evil ways in the past. nevertheless, I always enjoy looking at the Morris Yachts website just for grins.

Where on Lake Michigan will this ride be? Perhaps I need to plan a business trip to take advantage of it. And should you get to the Baltimore/Annapolis area, you''re guaranteed a sail on the Chesapeake.
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Beneteau vs Hunter

SailorMitch

I too love to browse the Alden, Morris, Hinckley, Hallberg Rassy, Sabre, Tartan etc. sights. Some day I will own one. If you hit the send message tab on the yellow strip above one of my posts and include your email address, I''ll be the only one that can see your information. I am in a north shore harbor in the Chicago area, you must have business in this area. My boat gets launched the 25th of this month.
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