Originally Posted by danielgoldberg
OK, I'm now a Beneteau head. I admit it. That's the first step, isn't it? Admitting you have a problem.
I've read in several places, including here, that the First series supposedly is a bit better built than the rest of the Beneteau line. I have been trying to figure out the basis for that conclusion, but to no avail.
I actually went to Beneteau, and the answer I got was that the boats are built exactly the same way, and that there is no difference in build quality. The difference, mainly, is a few things, which are:
They're all still BendyToys...
1. Style and naval architect (Farr has done a lot of the First series boats), which also tends to result in the First series being more narrow, deeper draft, etc., as you might expect on a more performance oriented line.
Some people equate higher performance with higher quality... so that might be where some of it is coming from.
2. Lead keel on the First series. (As a total aside, did you all know that J's most recent creation, the J122, has a steel keel and only the bulb at the bottom is lead?)
Again, this is a performance thing... a steel keel with lead bulb makes perfect sense. The steel is needed for the strength in the keel strut, and the lead for the denser ballast and less wetted area, due to the higher ballast density.
3. Oceanis has more standard and optional equipment, and generally has more "stuff."
More stuff generally leads one to believe it is a "better" boat.
4. No roller furling main on the First series.
Again, not surprising, since the First series is more performance oriented. I haven't seen any racing boats that had roller furling mains yet either.
5. The First series of 40 and up all are made in France, which I'm told explains the price differential (exchange rate and more expensive to ship). I'm advised that in Europe the First series is no more expensive than the Oceanis. I haven't researched that at all on my own.
They probably have better quality control over the boats built in France as well. I doubt they're the same price as the Oceanis series, since the lead and other stuff a First has costs money...
6. The rudders fall off of all the Oceanis boats. Just kidding.
I thought it was true of all BendyToys.
Other than that, I'm told the boats are built the exact same way. Same construction methods, liners (yuck), hull to deck joint, deck coring, everything.
So, that leaves me with the question, where does it come from that the First series are higher quality on the build end?
It would be strange to change the production methods and such between the two lines. What may change is the quality of the materials used. Lead versus Iron/Steel for the keel, Carbon Fiber and Kevlar in addition to just fiberglass for the hull laminates, etc.