Join Date: Jun 2006
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With any popular production boat, there are general things to observe within the model lines. Certain builders have "off" years, in which economic forces, a change in management, the inability to hold on to skilled workers, or a resistance to making necessary fixes pointed out by the customers, can yield "bad runs" (or rather, runs that could have been better).
For C&C, it's "don't buy the Mega 30" and "watch out for the damn wet balsa-cored decks", for instance. The current C&Cs are coming in for criticism related to construction robustness as well...whether it's justified I leave to those who drive them.
Hunter may be building great boats today, and has built decent boats in the past, but they aren't the first to have uncomplimentary things said about their products. Beneteau has gone through a couple of rough patches and arguably sub-par designs as well.
My point is that further investigation will frequently yield well-researched and well-supported reasons to favour one model over another, or one year over another, despite the fact that two boats from the same builder might be superficially alike.
If you want a Catalina or a Hunter, I would suggest joining on-line discussion groups to give you the greatest sampling of opinions from which to form your own.