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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008
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Beneteau 53 f5

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Last edited by 224; 07-15-2011 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 03-14-2008
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224...welcome. I will leave the numbers to others but I would expect this to be a very good performing cruising sloop given the design by Farr and a boat with great spouse appeal given the interior design. It is not entirely clear what your intent is with this boat...casual local and coastal cruising, some club racing or crossing oceans. Also there is a racing and a standard rig and a shoal IRON keel vs. a deep lead keel so performance will vary based on your combination. I would not call this hull a sea kindly design or say that it is easy to sail shorthanded as you have as much as 1300 sq ft. of sail to deal with in the 100% sail plans...more with an overlapping genny. I would think furlers on both sails and electric winches might be called for. Tankage is a bit limited for a long distance cruiser and the unprotected spade rudder is not a plus for voyaging however much it helps with speed.
So...an excellent boat as a platform for shorter distance cruising, entertaining on and below decks and an enjoyable fast boat to sail. Caution on the keel and rig choice and ease of handling issues. Probably not the best choice for long distance ocean passagemaking.

I would also suggest that while some here do prefer more traditional designs...our "dissing" of more modern boats is generally unrelated to "looks" and more related to production shortcuts and the unsuitability of some modern boats for sea duty. Most of us would be quite happy with an HR or Swan!
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Old 03-15-2008
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Beneteau first 53 f5 suitability?

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Last edited by 224; 07-15-2011 at 11:17 PM.
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224...Thanks for the clarifications. As you may note, I have about the same size boat but it is nearly 20k lbs heavier and a ketch rig...sort of opposite ends of the spectrum. Nevertheless my wife and I feel quite comfortable i handling her and one major reason is the furling boom which allows us to safely raise or reduce sail in any conditions from the cockpit. Even with our split rig we found raising her main with manual winches do-able but hard on the old muscles so I would recommend that if you get a furling main, you also provide for an electrical assist. Be very careful about which furler you install as older boom furlers can be problematic. I am not sure how a Benny47 boom furler would work on a 53 given the sail area difference. How could you get a full hoist and still fit the sail in the furler? Seems like the performance of the boat would suffer quite a bit. FYI...the LiesureFurl and Schaeffer boom furling systems seem to get the best reviews.

My comments on Oyster/Swan were not meant to suggest you look at them...only to say that Euro Style is NOT hat we tend to disparage here...we tend to diparage poorly built boats of any style...and boats that are being considered for purposes they were not intended for. (i.e. "I am thinking about crossing the pacific in my Mac26...How much gas should I bring?" )
Sounds like the larger Bene's will be fine for your purposes. And the 53 with the tall rig and deep keel is good for your waters and the boat' performance. Good luck in your search.
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Last edited by 224; 07-15-2011 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 03-15-2008
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224,
A good friend of mine owns this First 53.5. It's the racing rig version with deep keel, lazy jack's, 4 electric winches, generator, bow thruster, etc etc, and having sailed with him many times just the 2 of us, IMHO it's too complicated a boat for a couple to cruise in comfort. We race with a crew of 12, and on occasion wished we had more people on board.
It does sail beautifully and can be sailed short handed, but you have to know what you're doing, simple things like mooring are a bitch with only 2 people and no help from the dock.
Secondly, although the deck space corresponds to 53", due to the bow quarters with deck side access, below deck it's more like say a 45", so why pay for 53"?
The other thing is that, although I don't have exact figures, according to my mate, the running costs are horrendous.
If you're considering purchase, I would definitely recommend an extended sea trial, to see if you feel comfortable with handling the yacht.
Don't know the prices down under, but a Bavaria 46 (for example) will give you the same space below for in theory quite a bit less cash, and quality & sailing characteristics are more or less on a par.
Good hunting!
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Old 03-17-2008
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Last edited by 224; 07-15-2011 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008
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I looked at some of the ex-charter Beneteau 53s and liked them; doesn't the f5 mean the 4 cabin / 4 head + crew cabin version? The number of heads was too high for me so I opted for a different configuration.
Did you know that there is a very nice Oyster 43 for sale in Sydney at the moment? I looked at it and was very impressed.
P.S. I was playing with the idea of purchasing an ex-charter vessel in the Caribbean and sailing it to Oz in order to sell it. If you look at the current prices of used boats (both privately owned and ex-charter vessels) in the British Virgin Islands you might want to rethink your purchase location.
One option is to buy there, add US$34000 for transport from Florida to Brisbane and then the nasty Customs/Excise costs for importing into Oz and you will probably rethink your purchase location.

[Update]
I checked up on the 53F5 and realized I had gotten the model wrong - but there are some good bargains to be had in the USA right now! I found the qpr (quality-price-ratio) to be pretty generally low in the Australian boats that I looked at. I did see this Beneteau 53 F5 for sale on the internet.
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Last edited by Zanshin; 03-17-2008 at 08:35 AM.
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Last edited by 224; 07-15-2011 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008
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A Few Quick thoughts:

I beleieve that all of the 53F5's were firsts which is Beneteaus higher build quality, higher performance line of boats.

The F stands for Farr, Bruce Farr and Associates, designed the boat. They are certainly one of the top design firms in the world. That said, these boats were engineered by Beneteau's internal engineering staff and so I would not expect that the engineering would be as rigourous as the later Farr designed and Farr engineered first series boats.

Robby Barlow's comment about the apparent size of the boat may not be valid on the particular boat that you are looking at. These boats came in a wide range of layouts which included a racing vesion with a sail locker forward of the master stateroom and a huge lazarette aft, which I believe Robby Barlow is referring to. There is also a crewed charter version with a crews quarter forward and a 'owners edition' with a head forward. I disagree with the idea that these forward and aft storage compartaments, or crews cabins make these boats the equivilent to a 46 footer since this space provides vital functions if you need on a boat that large.

IMHO having looked at both Bavarias and Beneteaus side by side, I serious question that the Bavarias do offer better build quality. While I know that Bavaria tries to claim 'German Quality' the reality is that I have seen a lot pretty shoddy looking work on the Bavarias, more than I have experienced on Beneteaus of the era in question.

I respectfully disagee with Cam's statement that these would not be seakindly hullforms. The hullforms on these boats are derived from Farr's offshore racers and cruisers, and while the Beneteaus are not as robust as his dedicated offshore designs the hullforms employed should be very seakindly indeed.

But I very emphatically agree with Cam's point on the size of the vessel being handled by small crews. More and more aI see couples trying to buy really big boats (boats over 42 or so feet) and more and more I see beginner sailors trying to cut their teeth on bigger boats as well. As I read 224's comments, it appears that this is his first boat, he is pretty new to sailing, and hopes to develop his sailing skills on this boat.

If I am reading this right, and with all due respects, when things go wrong on boats this big, people get maimed or killed. Boats this big are no joke. The forces are huge. They take a lot of skill and a lot of judgement to sail safely. They are really too large to learn to sail well on and its dangerous to try. This is especially true on value oriented boats like the Beneteau in question, which will plenty robust for thier intended use, lack the kind of redundancy and safety margins employed on higher quality designs.

I strongly suggest that you take your time, start much smaller and to learn how to sail well and how to operate a boat, a kind of seaman's apprenticeship, and once you have done that, you won't need us to tell you whether this boat makes sense for you.

The internet is a hard media to express genuine concern for ones fellow human. I don't mean any of this as a put down in any shape or form, and perhaps I misread your comments, but please take my comments as well meaning and no more. We all had to learn how to sail and how to own boats. Its not hard if you start with a reasonably sized boat. Its close to impossible with a boat this size.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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