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  #31  
Old 05-09-2007
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Beneteau vs Catalina, I chose Beneteau

I sailed Beneteaus, Catalinas, Hunters, a Passport, a Caliber, and Sabre before settling on a new Beneteau 423. I have no regrets. The 423 is a wonderful sailing vessel.

Storage space on the Beneteau 423 is enormous (2 cabin version) and that was a major factor in my decision making. It never ceases to amaze me how little storage room there is on some other boats.

As much as I like my Beneteau let me say that it is a work-in-progress. Beneteau offers a fine basic production boat. If you purchase a new Beneteau you will begin a lengthy customization process. I like that because the boats represents my preferences, not some designers.

I noticed in this thread there was a comment that the cast iron keel was a reflection on cutting corners. Thatís not so. It reflects Europeís tighter environmental concerns about lead and other heavy metals. Itís also because lead is not strong and does not cast well to intricate shapes.

My Beneteau has crossed the Gulf of Alaska a few times and thatís not a trivial voyage. Based on that experience I wouldnít hesitate to cross oceans.

There are better boats, there are boats with exotic reputations, but it is reflected in price. IMHO, what you get with a Beneteau is the best value for your money. Thereís a reason they are the largest sailboat manufacturer in the world.
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  #32  
Old 05-09-2007
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Catalina 400 - my choice

I'm not sure how I ran into this thread, but some of the posts caught my eye.

First - who is the guy who is called "Catalina 400 Technical Editor". I had that job (for Mainsheet) for a half dozen years and also was the Commodore of the C400 Association almost forever. Are you editing the Mainsheet articles (if and when they come) or is it for something else?

Now for the the boats. All three (Catalina, Beneteau, Hunter) have their loyal following and all three have their merits - although you can tell which way I went 11 years ago. But I chose the Catalina 400 AFTER test sailing several of the others, including the Ben First 42, Hunter Passage 42 and Legend 40, Catalina 42, and several others including a J120. The absolute best thing for any buyer to do is to test sail the boats to see what HE (or SHE) likes. Assuming he / she knows what they're doing, my opinion should not be as important as his. You've got to live with it, not me.

Why did I prefer the 400 over the others (with the First 42 being in 2nd place). A number of things got factored in, but VALUE seemed to be near the top, coupled with how well the boat sailed. Took one out in both light and heavy air and it moved very well for what it is - a mid-displacement peformance cruiser. Construction was also an important issue - some of the others did not have steller ratings in the mid-90's. The J120 was interesting, but was not really a "cruiser" back then. The head had a sliding curtain (my wife would have loved that).

Examples of "Value" include the standard lead keel (as opposed to the Bennies cast iron - which is an absolute mistake for most uses), standard primary winches that were 14 sizes larger (58 vs 44) than the bigger Beneteau's, a standard toe rail, etc.. Some of these things could be optioned on the Beneteau, but WHY weren't they standard????? They would have gladly sold me a boat with an iron keel and winches more suited for a 35 footer. Besides being a headache in salt water, iron is not nearly as dense as lead and they have to make it bigger & wider. Add in the bigger (and brighter interior), the MUCH bigger cockpit, and the fact that the twin wheels make sailing a big boat a lot easier. You can be on the high or low side within easy reach of the helm and not have to walk thru an 8 foot wheel buried into the cockpit sole.

After 11 years and 32,000 miles, I've never looked back on this decision - I'd do it again in a flash.


Former C400 Commodore, Secretary, Treasurer and Technical Editor
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  #33  
Old 05-09-2007
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Catalina 42

There have been a few good things said for the Catalina 42 in this thread...let me add a few more....

The C42 is an excellent value. For the price you pay, it is a VERY sound boat with excellent hardware (mostly Garhauer). This is especially true on the West coast where shipping the C400 from FL costs much more than the CA built C42. They keep their value, too.

The C42 is available in a number of configurations to suit your preferences. You will find strong opinions on 2 cabin vs 3 cabin, and pullman vs centerline berths. We chose the 3 cabin pullman. The pullman gives you a fantastic forward head with separate enclosed shower. As one owner said, "What's wrong with crawling over your spouse?" Some bemoan the reduced galley storage of the 3 cabin, but we frequently use the entire 3rd cabin for storage.

Most C42 owners I know do most of their cruising with just two people on board, many singlehand. I would have no concernes with handling a boat of that size. The only thing I would avoid with that concern is the 155 genoa.

Are there downsides? Sure. It's no Tartan or Island Packet. And there are always tradeoffs on any boat.

I just returned from our C42 Fleet 12 Puget Sound Rendezvous where we had 13 C42's, along with an original C38, a Morgan 38 center cockpit, a C390, a CM440, and a C470. Without exception, we LOVE our boats. I'm sure that's true of other makes as well, but you couldn't leave the gathering without noting the strong sentiment.

If you are unsure, I strongly recommend chartering (and the thread starter mentioned that). There are quite a few C42's in charter, including mine.

Our discussion forum has more than a few discussions along these lines:
Catalina 42 Technical Discussion - Message Board - ezboard.com

Ken Fischer
2005 C42 Solaria
Anacortes, WA
C42 Int'l Assoc Vice Commodore & Mainsheet Editor
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  #34  
Old 05-09-2007
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Captron400-

You're talking about CruisingDad... You could always PM him... He's not on the board as much as he usually is due to a family emergency.. but generally responds to PM's quite readily.
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

óCpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #35  
Old 05-09-2007
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Captron400,

Nice to have you here. Yes, I took over the job at Mainsheet from you. You and I have exchanged emails many times. I thought I told you this was my name on Sailnet and Cruisers forum??? Maybe not. It has been a while since we have spoken.

Without a doubt, your knowledge of the 400 is vastly better than mine. I would welcome your input here - especially on the 400. Hang around and welcome aboard. I had a family situation that has pulled me away from here quite a bit and probably will continue to for a while (off and on).

Anyways, thanks for the input.

- CD
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  #36  
Old 05-09-2007
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Jeanneau 40 -- My choice

The newer model, 40.3, is built well and fast ! Rates a base PHRF of 90 here in the SF Bay, 96 with my in-mast furling main. I sail mine single handed and just did the single handed Farallones race last month -- just under 8 hours to cover the 56 miles as the crow flies course sailing with a 105% headsail. Winds were 15-18 kts from the south with a single tack out from the GG Bridge and the islands, then 22-25 kts with rain back on a reach / close reach back to the Gate. Seas were 8-10' at 16+ seconds, so not too bad. Boy was it fun !

I have the 2 cabin "owners" version. Single head. Very large V-berth forward with a sink. Single large head to port, aft of the nav station. Love the twin helm. Doesn't feel as big below as the Hunter 380, 41 or Catalina 400.

WRT to the Bene, on equivalent "newer" boats, the Bene seems to be rigged with on size smaller everything compared to the equivalent size Jeanneau -- winches, lines, rigging, etc. Except for the First Series of course. I have a friend that has a Bene First 40.7 that he races competitively and his wife prefers my Jeanneau interior by a lot.

Just my BIASED 2 cents ...

Paul Koenig
S/V Bear Boat

Last edited by pkoenig; 05-09-2007 at 06:55 PM.
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  #37  
Old 05-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captron400
standard primary winches that were 14 sizes larger (58 vs 44) than the bigger Beneteau's,
I wasn't aware that they made 45, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57 size winches? Going from a 40 winch (since they don't seem to make a 44 anymore) to a 58 winch in with Lewmar's winch line is five winch sizes larger...(46, 48, 50, 54, 58), not 14 sizes.

Harken makes a 53, but doesn't make some of the other sizes and it would only be four winch sizes different, if they made a 58.

Andersen has sizes 40, 46, 52, and 58... so it would be three sizes different...

I was just curious as to which manufacturer makes all those size winches you're talking about?
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

óCpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 05-09-2007 at 07:40 PM.
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  #38  
Old 05-09-2007
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Catalina 400

I traded our '04 Catalina 387 for a new '06 Catalina 400 and have not regretted that decision. We carefully evaluated the Catalina 42 but decided that it does not compare in the area of cockpit and aft cabin configuration and the galley in the 400 is a lot nicer china cabinet and all. But enough of that, the boat just sails great. It's easy to handle for two people and because of the location of the primary winches can be managed nicely by one person. We have looked at Benneteau's and Jeanneau's and quite frankly prefer the mostly teak wood on the Catalina and the overall finish out. We have looked at a lot of Hunter's and still believe the Catalina 400 is the way to go. We would Island hop the boat but not cross blue water...we prefer Cunard for that assignment. Sorry all you blue water sailers...about 1% of all sail boat owners.
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  #39  
Old 05-10-2007
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Lots been said here, but I'd like to point out some things

In the grand scheme of things a Bene or a Catalina are not worlds apart, but there are real differences. I do have to agree with Haleaki (sp?) and a few others, noting that its absolutely ludicrous to compare a Bene to an Island Packet let alone a Halberg Rassey. Once someone posts anything like that, everything else that person might write is suspect.

The other thing that must be noted is that Bene has different boats and thus different qualities have come from them. Beneteau has made some very good boats. The First 40.7 comes to mind, but they have made some very 'uninspiring' boats too. (ocean series come to mind and I have heard some negative comments on the sailing qualities of the 36CC directly from their owners. The word "bathtub" was actually used more than once). As noted before the First series are generally a cut above for racing, but the amenities and "feel" down below is much more "sterile and utilitarian". (hey its a race boat, what do you expect ) The problem is most "Admirals" are less enthused about the First Series unless their name is Dawn Reily.

The comment about Steel keels vs Lead not being a big deal is something everyone with a Steel keel likes to tell themselves to make them feel better. Other that an ultra race boat where the foils on the keels are extremely thin and thus you need the extra structural integrity of steel is the ONLY reason steel might be preferred. All one need to do is hit a simple rock at 4 kts to understand the impact that is produced. I personally know dozens of boats that have hit with a lead keel and dozens with a steel keel. Lead is FAR superior to steel when it comes to impact absorption. The lead keel boats had far less or NO damage to the hull after impact, most all steel keels create much more structural damage. The lead deforms and absorbs . The steel transmits almost all of the force to the hull keel interface = recipe for disaster.

If you've got an ultra high aspect keel foil race boat, I will give you the edge for steel. For this discussion that does not count.

If you NEVER hit any bottom when sailing then the Steel vs Lead argument is moot. For all the other sailors. Lead wins hands down. Not that a Steel keel isn't fine - its just that lead is FAR superior for a regular crusing boat. One should never put the two on a level playing field.


Here is one more point that I have noticed when it comes to quality of a Beneteau vs a Catalina. Now I am not talking about a new "boat-show" boats.. Beneteaus do look good while wandering on them at the boat shows. They have they nice Cherry stain and everything. What I am talking about is different. Take a look a 10- 15 Year Beneteau vs a 10- 15 year Catalina. Not always, but usually the Catalina seems to look like its aged more gracefully. At first I though maybe the Catalina Owners are more hands on and take care of their boats and Beneteau owners just "ride em hard and put em away wet".

BUT then I started to notice something and after I noticed it, it was more and more glaring every time I went to a boat show. Take a look at how Beneteaus make their interior doors to their cabins. At the boat shows everything looks great, but upon closer inpection its compressed wood with a thin dark cherry wood veneer. Look at the door jambs where the latch is. I was on a boat on at the boat show and something caught the edge of the veneer on the door and the 1/32" cherry wood veneer was peeling off the side of the door and exposing the raw white compressed wood. It looked like crap.

Since then I have noticed gouges on the doors of some Beneteaus. Instead of being dark cherry wood, what you see is the white compressed wood. I think if you want you can paint the gouge, but it doesn't look as good.

Not saying that Catalina is a Hinckley or anything, but one thing I have noted is that all their doors are SOLID TEAK. You get a gouge or a scratch in that, you just varnish back over it beacuse its solid teak. You don't have to worry about white pressed wood showing up under the Cherry Veneer.

Since learning this about Beneteaus and how they cut corners I brought it up with a local surveyor and he actually laughed and jokingly commented "There isn't enough real wood on a Beneteau to start a girlscout campfire".

Maybe it doesn't matter to everyone and the boat probably still sails well, but how a boat looks after 10 years might matter to some. I also note some other corner cutting so in this case I give the edge to Catalina.
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  #40  
Old 05-11-2007
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I own a Catalina 34, and decided on it after seeing several boats, Benetau included. Catalina is not better nor worse, its slightly different. Made in the USA.
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