Bene vs Catalina? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 74 Old 04-26-2007
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You do know how to start a pissing contest don't you. This isn't a Hunter fan getting even is it?

The answer to Bene or Catalina is. Bene. Catalina. Anything but a Bene, Catalina, or Hunter! Take your pick!

I think that the Bene 36.7 and 40.7 in your range are great boats. Not as amenable to cruising, but enough to keep most people happy...and fast. The 40.7 would be my first choice.....and I own a Catalina.

The number series and prior to that the Oceanis Series of Bene's are nice entry level boats that will suit your purposes. The new 40 I am not a fan of. I agree that the interior finish is pretty on a new or very well kept Bene, but they do not take the beating a Catalina interior will. Different strokes for different folks again. I think that someone said in an earlier post they are just different and that is true. However, in all of the 3-5 year old boats I have seen the Catalina looked better below. Iron also bothers me for ballast, but these are production boats and they need to cut costs somewhere. It is up to you to figure out where.

I liked the old Catalina 38 better than the 387. It is a great sailing boat ( the boat I sailed was a deep draft) and makes good use of the room below. I prefer the 400 to all three of your Catalina choices, although there is nothing wrong with any of them.

Let the pissing contest continue!
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post #12 of 74 Old 04-26-2007
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Originally Posted by kd3pc
You can't go wrong with the Beneteau. We owned a 36CC and there is little comparison between them and the Catalina..most compare the B to IP, H/R, and Dufour...We now have a 38' Sabre and again no comparison to the Beneteau...a step above altogether.
Please tell me that the IP and the H/R are not Island Packet and Hallberg-Rassy. Beneteau's, Jenneau's or Catalina's don't even play in the same sandbox as a Hallberg-Rassy or even an Island Packet in terms of construction! Even the Dufour is a far better built boat than the Beneteau. People who don't know any better may compare them but there are NOT in the same league by any means. I also would hope you are not saying a Sabre is better than a Hallberg-Rassy? The HR's are in the Hinckley, Morris & Swan category not in the Sabre or Tartan type category.

In terms of Catalina or Beneteau they are like Chevy's and Ford's. Catalina's tend to have much more use of stainless steel fittings like cleats vs. aluminum, more tankage and larger engines. They also use real lead keels instead of cast iron but the Beneteau's, as a line, perform better. Beneteaus and Catalina's are very similar in build quality and neither of them, unless it's a FIRST series, would make a good pond crosser..

-Maine Sail / CS-36T

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post #13 of 74 Old 04-26-2007
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The Catalinas also have larger winches, more heavy-duty travelers, bigger blocks, and larger diameter running rigging than their counterpart Beneteaus. The Garhauer blocks are really first-rate.

Last edited by SailinJay; 04-26-2007 at 06:26 PM.
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post #14 of 74 Old 04-26-2007
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For what its worth - I think that the Catalinas are better looking boats than the newer Beneteaus - and I have a sneaking suspicion that there build quiality has been getting better over the last little while - which I don't think is happening with Beneteau.

There are websites for both brands - Catalina for owners sailing production sailboats Beneteau sailboat owners - probably worth asking around on those sites

Good luck !
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post #15 of 74 Old 04-27-2007
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I don't think when you compare Beneteau's and Catalina's there is a appreciable difference in bulid quality. Each has different compromises, so it comes down to which ones carry more weight for you and which boat has the features you desire. They both are targeted to the same market for the same types of use. For me, Catalina's just seem to have an edge in terms of what I like in the layout of a boat.

I usually dream about my next boat being something like a Sabre 387 or 38 or Caliber 35, but knowing my fairly limited sailing ambitions and severely limited budget, I keep the Catalina 42 on my list of boats to dream about, based on its price/availablity, nice lines and spaciousness. (Yeah, Yeah, a pullman isn't as nice as a centerline, but at least you don't have to get out of bed "tail over teakettle" like you do in a V-berth.)
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post #16 of 74 Old 04-27-2007
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OK, someone had to ask... If you are looking at these types of boats, why not throw in the mix the Hunter 380/38 and 410/41. I am not a big fan on the aesthetics of the 380 and 410, but think that the newer 38 and 41 series boats look pretty nice (of the past 2 years type vintage). I hear that the 38 sails really well and is a nice boat - I prefer the Catalina 387 island berth though for that 38' type range (though I think the 387 is close to a 40 footer?).

If you really want the space, liveability, etc., I would take a look at the Hunter 420 as well. We know some folks that have one and it is a really comforatable boat. That being said, I really do not know how well the sail, how the aesthetics hit you, etc. Very comfy - not sure how important that is to you and the admiral.

Is aesthetics the main reason that you were not including Hunters? From what I understand, with the newer boats, you will find little difference in quality of construction, etc. from the big 3. In the end, you should have about the same product, just pick the one you like the most. I personally think the aesthetics of the Hunters are vastly improving from 5-10 years ago.
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post #17 of 74 Old 04-27-2007
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I just can't get past that big arch with the traveler on top of it.
And no back stays makes me nervous. (But, I have to admit, there out there and still standing)
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post #18 of 74 Old 04-27-2007
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Originally Posted by sailortjk1
I just can't get past that big arch with the traveler on top of it.
And no back stays makes me nervous. (But, I have to admit, there out there and still standing)
Yeah that.

The arch just looks like something from a motorboat. If they have to have it, couldn't they move it and angle it further aft and add dingy davits and prewire it for solar panels? Then it would seem more like a feature to me and not just something that detracts from the aesthetics from a lot of peoples view.

Also, the B&R backstayless rig seems to me to be an excessive complication for dubious benefit. Lots of boats have walk through transoms without doing away with the backstay. I'm of a fan of simple and a split backstay seems a better solution if you want a walkthrough transom.

I do have to admit that the Admiral is swayed by the comfortable accomodations that most/many Hunter models offer.
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post #19 of 74 Old 04-27-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks to everybody for your advice.

No intention of starting a pissing contest

I just wanted people’s advice on these specific boats.

I own a Hunter, it is my first sailboat. It has been a great first boat, we sailed and learned a lot last season and we intend to get a lot of mileage out of her this season while planning and looking for a bigger boat for the 2008 season.

This does not necessarily make me a great Hunter fan.
The main reason I did not include Hunters is actually the aesthetics.
I do not like the arch, especially the older fiberglass versions, the stainless arch is sort of acceptable, I am sure it is very practical, but it does not really please my eye…
Lack of backstay does not worry me; I am an engineer and assume that the lads at Hunter have done their analysis on the rig.

I do not plan to cross any ponds any time soon. If pond crossing becomes a possibility in the future, I would then buy a boat that is suitable for this type of voyage.

The reason for looking at Beneteaus and Catalinas is practical, there are a lot of them in the market, and they seem reasonably priced.

I would consider Hanse, Dehler and Bavaria as well but there does not seem to be as many of them in the market here in the States. I also prefer Yanmar compared to Volvo as I suspect that there is a greater service network for Yanmar in the States.

The boats that I really like the aesthetics of, Swan, Baltic and Sweden all have relatively deep draft that is not ideal for the Chesapeake. I would also have to go for a mid 80’s boat to stay in the same price range. More problems and expensive upkeep.

The size range of 38-40 foot is based on what I believe that we can comfortably handle.
I recently had an opportunity to sail on a new Bene 473 with all the goodies. Absolutely beautiful boat but I think it is too large for my needs and skill level.

I agree with Cruisingdad on the "warmer" look of the Bene interior. I also like the teak inserts in the cockpit. Makes it look less plastic. The blue hull on the limited edition 411 looks fantastic.

Sailortjk - I recall that on the 393 "The entire starboard side of the cabin is devoted to storage cabinets and entertainment systems" from when I chartered one. I also prefer two opposing seats.

What appeals to me with the Catalina 380 (there's a couple in my marina) is that I think it has got sleeker looks. Also the centerline aft berth should avoid climbing over the each other in the middle of the night. Chartered a Bene 393 last year and the Pullman berth did not appeal to me.

Thanks to CD for excellent information regarding performance of 380 vs 400.

Does the 380 and the 387 share the same basic hull? It seems that LOA is 38'5" for the 380 and 39'10" for the 387? If the hull (and keel, rig) is the same I assume that the performance issue would apply to the 387 as well?

How do you find the cockpit on the 400?

Reason for asking is that we chartered a Sunsail 39 (I think it is called Beneteau Cyclades) in the BVI. Dual wheel boat with huge cockpit, very few handholds. The wife did not like the lack of handholds.

Anyways, thanks for all your input and advice.
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post #20 of 74 Old 04-27-2007
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Ok, hoping I do not tick anyone off here again, I will try and answer you on several points. Again, no one take offense please:

1) I would buy a new Hunter over a new Beneteau or Jeauneau. I think Hunter is making improvements, and the last few benes and Jeauneaus I went on (new ones, 38-44 feet) were VERY DISSAPOINTING! One of the cabinet doors were loose. THe new Jeauneau hand rails look ready to break some fingers and installing a generator in them would be an absolute nightmare of glasswork. I do not mind big and wide open, but the multi levels and tricks steps were poorly thought out. The wooden steps are a hazard in a sea without taping, and maintenance on extra systems will take a circus acrobat. They look good in the boat show down below. They have a nicer, warmer, more comfortable feel than a catalina (in my opinion, others dissagree), but that was it. I DOOO like the older benes, but I still bought 4 Catalinas over them.

2) The suggestion of the Hunter was a good one. I saw a REAL effort to improve quality. The issue I would have is whether those changes really are long-term. Will they really last and hold up? I do not know. Only time will tell. But if I was about to drop 250-300k in a boat, I would let someone else find out first and let some time play out. Also, you will be dealing with the ever lasting Hunter bashing (which is unfair on these boats and some of the others). You are NOT buying your boat for someone else and as long as you own it could probably care less what anyone else says, but should you ever want to sell it... that will make it an issue.

3) The early model 387's made many changes Kris and I liked. They had the fold-up table and coffee table to the side. I do not care for these huge salon tables that take up half the cabin. If you have that large of a party coming over to eat, sit out in the cockpit. However, that seems to be the trend. Thus, the fold-up table was a real plus. Many of the newer 387s do not have the fold-up. They are sparse on cabinet space. The finish out is fine, just not enough of it. I would buy a 380 over a new 387.

4) The 387 is a totally different hull, basically a totally different everything.

5) If you can pony up a little more for the 400, it is better than the 380 in all respects. It performs better. It has considerably more room. It has 2 heads (I prefer one but my wife prefers 2 b/c of the boys). It has a double anchor roller. The cockpit is VASTLY more comfortable. It has 2 steering stations and easy pass-through. It has more room in the lazarette. It has storage all over the place, including under the floor in the galley. Systems are easier to get access to. The nav station is larger and more comfortable (in fact, short of the 470, it has the best nav station of any of the catalinas). It has a very nice, lighted wine/glass cabinet. It has a lot more storage in the galley cabinets. It has access switches leading down the companionway. It has hidden access lighting throughout. You easily have room to increase the battery bank to 1000 ah with little glass work. The salon table is much larger and more comfortable. you can easily modify and put in a large inverter/charger. Generator access and installation is easier. The head room over the aft berth (owners berth) is higher. Ther is more cabinetry in the aft berth and a lot more storage.

6) The only negative of the 400 compared to the 387 is the shower. It is seperate from the head (very important), but it is smaller than the 380. The shower on the 380 is more comfortable. The 400 also does not have a dedicated wet locker and will take some modifications in one of the heads. The 400 also does not have an opening port inside the shower. It has a solar vent (none of which work really well). We are going to modify this.

Basically, if you can deal with a bit more money, the 400 is a much more comfortable and better boat than the 380, which is a nicer boat than the 387.

7) I almost bought a 42 over the 400. The 42 costs a little less and has several differences that make it appealing. The salon is more open and inviting. The galley and accompanying garage (storage space centerline and aft of the galley). The 42 can come with a washer/dryer in the forward shower area. One head is accessbile from the salon. The cockpit is more comfortable than the 380/387, not as large and comfortable as the 400 (due to the walk-through with 2 steering stations).

8) However, there were several things about the 42 that killed it for us. THe second stateroom is not as comfortable and accessible as the V on the 400. We have 2 boys and they would be crawling over each other to get out. That is a real negative. The nav station on the 42 is way forward and small for a boat of that size (in my opinion). Adding a lot of electronics or goodies will require some hoakie woodwork or just leave them out in the open. I always prefer having the nav close to the cockpit so you are not walking so far in a sea to make 1/2 hour paper plots and you can also communicate with the helmsman easier. The pullman is not prefered to a centerline berth you can both crawl out of. Anytime someone has to get up in the middle of the night (to pee, check the anchor, whatever) which happens several times/night, you will be crawling over the other person and waking them up. The 42 does not have a good escape point for 2 people. An escape point is an area that you can sit down, spread out (away from the kids or company) and read a book, type, or just relax. The 380, 387, and 400 all have that in the owners cabin. The escape point is one of the most critical pieces of living aboard or spending lots of time on a boat. Lastly, the settees in the salon on the 42 are somewhat curved and will not easily accomodate lee cloths or sleeping in the salon for long passages. That will be an issue anytime you make long runs.

9) There is NOOOO comparrison between a Catalina and a HR. HR's are much better built boats. However, I would buy a Catalina over a IP. If you reallywant to go that direction, I like Calibers.

I personally think the 400 is one of the best boats Catalina makes. It is comfortable, performs well, is easy to sail and single hand, and makes a good live aboard/cruiser. It will take you ANYWHERE in this hemishpere in comfort and safety.

- CD

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