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  #1  
Old 06-04-2002
JIO JIO is offline
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Thoughts on new boats

I am looking for thoughts on new boats in the 35 foot to 37 foot range in a 130k to 150k sail away price after adding common options.

I am a Chesapeake based sailor and thus, am looking for something that will be able to move in light air conditions. I am a cruiser, not a racer. I also have a wife and a young child who will be my most frequent sailing companions, so I am willing to sacrifice some aspects of performance for the sake of creature comforts. For example, I know some of the participants in this forum like the new Farr designed Beneateu First series boats, but I would prefer to not have a boat with a traveller that cuts through the middle of the cockpit. A large cockpit is also important to me. It seems like so many new boats have such a small seating area in the cockpit. I plan to use the boat in the Chesapeake Bay, with no real offshore plans. Also, for the record, I have no interest in trawlers, if this discussion moves in that direction.

From recent postings, I have the general sense of the group as to the position on the Big 3 production companies. What about some of the other production boats, such as Bavaria, Jeanneau or Dufour classic and Gib Sea. Any other suggestions in this new boat price range that merits consideration? I have looked into Dehler, but it is priced above my range. I posted a message about the Compac 35 a few weeks ago, but no one responded. Anybody know anything about this boat. It is more traditional in appearance than most of the other new production boats, but falls in the same general price range. They only build 3 or 4 of these per year. Seems like it might be a good value. Your thoughts are appreciated.

I would be interested in how folks would rank the quality of the boats in this price range. Hunter''s can be eliminated from the ranking/discussion, but please throw Catalina into the mix of comparison with the other boats.

Thank you.

Jon
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Old 06-04-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

Jon,

First off, I admire your pluck for bringing up this topic with this group. I''ll tell you what I know about a couple of the boats you''ve mentioned.

Compac 35 -- I saw your recent post and was too lazy to respond. I probably was in the throes of the wide stern thing at the time. I checked one of these out a few months ago with a friend who is also interested in them. Yes, very traditional compared to the competition. A Charley Morgan design, and he knows how to design a shoal draft cruiser. The fit and finish seems pretty good, and the boat comes with a ton of standard stuff. My friend has talked with one current owner, and that fellow likes the boat a lot. I think it''s worth considering.

Dufours -- I spent a lot of time at the Annapolis show kicking around on these boats, and also at the Annapolis dealer''s open house back in March. They have a lot of appeal. A definite step up in quality over the Big Three. My only quibble is ventilation in the forward cabin. The Dufours don''t have the usual surfeit of ports and hatches you find on most other boats in this price range. Practical Sailor just did a favorable review of the Classic 36, and that''s a plus. Only complaint I''av read from an owner was a fellow in Australia who seemed to have more problems with the dealer than with the boat. Dufour finally flew someone from France to Australia to take care of him, and I found that to be amazing.

Bavaria -- I''ve been very enamored with them in the past, but I seem to be over that now for some reason. Lots of boat for the money of course, and I have yet to chat with an owner who dislikes his Bavaria. Others on here have made negative comments about them but when asked for specifics, they haven''t come up with any. Bavaria is coming after the US market and one rumour I heard is that they have cut the quality of their boats to keep prices so low. I have seen nothing to back that up that claim, however.

One other boat to consider is Etap. made in Belgium, unsinkable. But now that I think of it, the traveler may be in the cockpit on those. Still nice boats to check out if you have time.

I suggest lurking on the Sailnet email lists for the boats that interest you to get a feel for problems, and good points, too.

Last suggestion: find the boat that speaks to you, the one that calls out "I''m the one, Jon!" One will, and that''s the one to go with. Take most of the advice you''ll get from this list (including this one) with two aspirin, find that one boat, and go sailing.
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Old 06-05-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

Jon, Mitch makes some interesting points. The Beneteau First series is a good line and a cut above their "female appeal floating condo" efforts. No offense meant to the hardy female skippers we know. I will, however, drag out my old saw..."why buy new?"
There are plenty of "previously owned" boats in the class you are talking about, just a few years old, and you don''t have to take the depreciation hit, haggle with the factory about flaws/problems, and so on.

Small cockpits...well, they come in handy when you are getting green water over the bow but if you don''t plan on doing that much and have a bent for leisure sails with guests that like to eat/chat in the cockpit, then you may need to look at those "condos".
Whatever is best for your needs and your sailing plans. Looking at used boats is healthy for the wallet.
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Old 06-05-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

Jon,

I started to mention buying a used boat as well but didn''t. Halyardz is right -- you should check out some late model used boats if nothing else as a way of comparison shopping for price for new vs. used. Many used boats have a ton of equipment you are effectively buying at a deep discount as well. Buying new is nice, but no guarantee of anything either. There are plenty of stories about warranty hassles with boats primarily because the different gear, engine, etc. are covered not by the boat manufacturer, but by the gear/engine manufacturer. It comes down to how good the dealer is in many cases to pull it all together.

No matter what you buy, new or used, Beneteau or Compac, try to go for a test sail for that model. There''s nothing like feeling the boat move under YOU first hand to know how it sails.

The cockpit thing depends on your needs of course. Large cockpits are nice when lounging, but can be a problem when you are heeled over in 20 knots and don''t have a way to brace yourself. It sounds to me like you have a handle on that anyway, so go with it. there are lots of boats out there that will meet your needs both above and below deck.

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Thoughts on new boats

Jon,
Here is my two cents:
For the type of sailing you are planning to do you can not go wrong with any of the big buiders like Beneteau,Dofour,Jeanneau or Catalina.In fact these boats in 36-40 foot range are built targeting customers with your needs.However don''t expect to have much light air performance from any of these boats.Except First and Fast series all of them have ubdersize rigs (values less than 18 SA/D)for obvious reasons.
Dehler,J boats Etc.are more performance oriented boats with the mainsheet traveler right in front of the tiller or wheel where it should be.They are also more expensive and out of your price range(in US not in Europe).
Etap which is certified unsinkable is a nice boat which has a detachable mainsheet traveler in the cockpit.
Buying used will give you the advantage of saving money but the process will be longer and sometimes frustrating(surveys,test sail,thing to be fixed before the transaction,seller backing off,traveling etc...)Buying new more expensive but less complicated and you will be covered under the manufacturers warranty.Try to negotiate the price and buy the least amount of options you can get away with.Most of it is cheaper to add-on after you buy the boat.
Good Luck
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Thoughts on new boats

Again, great advice from Double and Mitch. I''ve been very pleased, overall, with the used boat market. Its simply amazing how many well-cared for and tricked-out boats are available. My Tartan actually came with more than $3k worth of upgrades that I had planned to add to any boat I bought and those were really not reflected in the asking price. At the same Long Island broker there was an outrageous Jeanneau in the 40'' range for sale, only a few years old but many thousands off new price. Of course there are dogs out there too and your surveyor should steer you clear...things like deck delam etc. can be financially painful.

Add ons: If you are handy, consider this example. A new boat dealer installed stereo system may list for over $600, you could do it yourself, very nicely for $250.

What is really nice to either have already on a new or used boat? A list from fellow posters would likely help you. My top choices are: anchor roller, good roller furling, spare sails, good engine (old ones always seem to have a few problems but replacement is a real pain), lines run aft (particularly reefing lines), etc. etc.

What to avoid? Here too a set of items from posters would help you Jon. For example, I''m not a big fan of in-mast furlers.

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Old 06-06-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

JIO,
I just completed the process of buying a boat under almost the same criteria (it comes in next week!!!!), except I have two kids and my wife also wanted a separate stall shower. Like many of the above posts have suggested I looked at the used market. If you’re willing to have a ten-year-old plus boat, you may be able to get into a Sabre 362 or a Tartan 3700 in the upper end of your price range. I (more accurately the Admiral) did not want a ten-year-old boat so we ended up going new. Also as suggested, we found the e-mail lists on SailNet plus the owners’ sites (the ones put together by actual owners, not the companies) to provide a lot of insights into what types of issues people are having with their boats. Also, people are fairly willing to engage in one to one e-mail discussions to answer specific questions. Despite the general negativity on this board around any boat that might actually fit your criteria such as a Beneteau 361, Catalina 350, Jeanneau 37 or Bavaria 37 (its only a matter of time before someone suggests you buy a Trawler), you actually can get some good advice from some people in this group! Best of luck to you in your search.
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Old 06-06-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

Thanks to all that have responded so far. I appreciate the advice. I am actually looking at both new and used and should have stated such in my original posting. I was more interested in the feedback, however, on the new side of things.

Tarmand, what did you wind up purchasing?

Thanks all.

Jon
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Thoughts on new boats

JIO-
We ended up with the B361, mainly due to positive owner feedback on the boat, and it met more of our criteria than the others. The type of sailing we will be doing (not much "green water" north of Annapolis!) allowed me to acquiesce to the admittedly "condo-like" needs of my “female” wife and family. Hey, halyardz is right, chicks dig Beneteaus… (when, by the way, did that become a bad thing?) Anyway, here''s how my experience with this board and other online feedback guided our final selection: I really liked the Catalina 350, but there was way more chatter about poor Catalina service follow up than there was for Beneteau. Plus, my first “real” (i.e. non sunfish/lark/laser) was a Catalina 27 (granted it was vintage 1973) and I wasn''t wild about it. Not that all B people are ecstatic but there was generally more noise around Frank Butler than there was about Beneteau. As it relates to the Beneteau, thanks to the illustrious Jeff_H, we got the "classic" rig instead of the furling main. This is widely agreed to be the better performance option Also, there was a lot of groaning on the Beneteau owner''s page about jamming main furlers. By the way, the SA/D of the 361 is 21.7 which, while certainly not J-like, is better than the 18 or lower suggested earlier. Due to other owner feedback we got the Yanmar engine upgrade and the primary winch upgrade from 44s to 48s. I''d also suggest that once you settle on a few models, owners can and will give good feedback on dealers which of course is critical if you buy a new boat. Lastly, I also really liked the Jeanneau 37, and the dealer was ready to deal, so if dry toilet paper (i.e. a separate shower) is not on the list, it may be worth a look. Cheers!
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Old 06-06-2002
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Thoughts on new boats

Be honest and admit it, you bought this boat even before starting this thread. I hate it when people do this and were never sincerely looking of an objective opinion. You simply wanted to validate your decision! I hope your iron keel rust completely away the first season for this charade! The weather gods will punish you!
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