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jorgenl 04-26-2007 03:27 PM

Bene vs Catalina?
I am in the process of determining what boat to by next.

I currently own and sail a Hunter 30 (okay – I’m ducking…) in Chesapeake Bay.

I would like for my next boat to be in the 38-42 foot range. I know that a lot of people say to by the smallest boat you can live with but I like to have a bit of room and would rather by the biggest boat my wife and I can safely handle.

Intended purpose will be day sails, weekends and the occasional 1-2 week sail on the Chesapeake.

I really like look of the heavy cruising boats, Liberty 456, Bristol etc but feel that they are overkill for my intended purpose. A bit like driving a Hummer H1 to the local mall.

I would like a relatively new boat (later than year 2000) and do not mind “high volume production boats”

I am currently looking at and would like your opinions on:

Beneteau 393 vs Catalina 380 or 387

Beneteau 411 vs Catalina 400 or 42

If I ignored all practical aspects (and the admiral) I would by this puppy; Boats and Yachts for Sale

Thankful for any input.

kd3pc 04-26-2007 03:40 PM

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.

donrr1 04-26-2007 03:47 PM

Enlisted personnel have always known what's best for the Admiral ;)


h16Sailor 04-26-2007 03:48 PM

ok, your boats are out of my league; price wise and size wise.
when i dream, i think of these monsters and my own crew.

The research i have done suggests prices on catarmans this size don't go down
I can't remember which specific model but a new boat in 2000 was cheaper then than the same boat now, used.

why the rant? just to help prove:
Buy the biggest, most expensive boat you can and when you sell it, it will pay off.

welshwind 04-26-2007 03:50 PM

I agree
I also own a Beneteau 36CC. We looked at a Catalina 36 at the same time. Fit and finish below was far superior on the Beneteau. The Beneteau we bought is a '98 and I think the Catalina we were looking at was a 2000. We bought in 2002.

sailortjk1 04-26-2007 03:52 PM

I am not a big fan of the layout in the Bene 393.
The entire starboard side of the cabin is devoted to storage cabinets and entertainment systems. This may work for you, but we prefer having two opposing seats to sit and lie/lounge on as opposed to the one on the 393.
Other than the layout which is a personal preffrence, it looks to be a good boat for what it is, a production family cruiser. Large roomy cockpit, nice galley, easy to sail, etc.

You do realise that the other Bene model on your list is no longer in production.

They now have the 423 or the brand new 40. I don't care for the astethics of the new line from Beneteau. You should be able to find a 411 available in your search, but they are out of production.

Can't comment on the Catalina's, don't know about em, I'll leave that for CD, if he is available.

btrayfors 04-26-2007 03:53 PM

Either the Beneteau ("Bendy Toy") or the Catalina would be fine for your purpose. Others like the Junneau would be fine, too.

The Swan 43 in your link is a great boat, but it would not only cost more initially....the upkeep would likely make you and the Admiral unhappy. Especially the teak decks.

For daysails and the occasional couple of week (or month) trips on the Chesapeake, just about anything afloat would work. Choose one in good shape which meets with your needs (and makes the Admiral happy), get a good survey before purchase, and go for it.


Cruisingdad 04-26-2007 04:26 PM

I apologize if I do not have a lot of time at the mooment to do a long comment on these boats. I will try and make it as short and sweet as I can.

If I offend anyone with my comments, I apologize. I am not myself here lately, but will try to restrain my comments.

Contrary to what was said, I have found little if any of the Bene that was better to the Catalina. I think the exception may be some of the first series, but those are poor to terrible cruisers (though I think they would be fiun to sail). I have found the cabinetry on the benes scant with little thought to storage. I think benes are warmer down below than most catalinas (the dark wood versus teak). I am tryin to remember the exact layout off the top of my head, but I think the benes you mentioned have forward facing nav stations which is a big plus. That is about the end of the benefits I have found. The Catalinas have many benefits beyond the Benes too. Let me outline some of the ones you have mentioned.

Me, my wife, child, and 2 dogs lived and cruised on a Catalina 380. It is from the old morgan hull design is not the fastest boat in the world, but is heavy and does well in heavy seas. We had ours in many storms. It is a very nice liveaboard boat. It has a very comfortable aft berth, a seperate shower (important), and a comfortable nav station. The cockpit is laid out well and easy to single hand. The one negative is that it needs to be blowing 12-15 to really get close to hull speed.

We currently own a 400. It is better than the 380 in most respects. It has more wood, has 2 heads (both a positive and a negative), and a LOT more storage. It is very comfortable. It performs MUCH better than the 380. I have not had her offshore yet. If you do not mind spending a bit more money, the 400 has many cruiser aspects that are better than the Catalina 42.

I like the original design of the 387 more than the changes they made. I personally would just spend the money on a 380 over a 387.

If you have specific questions, pm me or write back here and I will answer as I can. I know those boats EXTREMELY well.

- CD

PS Catalina has a very large owners group and puts out a magazine called Mainsheet which details specifics on each boat. I have heard that the technical editor of the 400 is a very good sailor, very knowledgeable, good looking, and a true gentleman. I wonder who he is????

longwaterline 04-26-2007 04:26 PM

Regarding your consideration of Catalina and Beneteau the boats mentioned would be fine for your intended purpose although the quality is something I would be concerned about. For example Beneteau uses iron for ballast whereas lead is the preferred ballast material for a number of reasons. This is an example of the quality shortcuts taken. Another concern is if you decide later you want to do an off shore passage you would not feel comfortable with your current choices.

bestfriend 04-26-2007 04:29 PM

I have to disagree about the finish being superior on the Beneteau. Its cleaner and more modern looking, but that doesn't make it better. I think they are just different styles. I like them both. Just made for different tastes. The make or break for me is the aft cabin layout. I like the island berth in the Catalina 400. Its roomy enough that you don't have to climb over someone to get out, or slide in to your coffin style bed. I initially liked the pullman berth, but after trying out a few, they are too small for the master berth and you have to climb over each other. My favorite is the Catalina 400, especially the cockpit.
Good luck.
Nice to see you CD! Hope all is going well.

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