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piratemike 09-19-2008 09:58 PM

Hunter 29.5 vs. Beneteau 281?
I have 2 boats I'm going to be looking at, a 1996 Hunter 29.5 and a 1998 Beneteau 281. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts or experiences with either boat or even about buying one this time of year. I am in the NYC area so the season is coming to an end soon. I figure that might allow me to get better deal on a boat, but probably means I will have it put right into winter storage.

A bit about what I'm looking for.. I'm a novice and looking for a boat I can day or weekend cruise either singlehanded or with an inexperienced crew. I'm also more concerned more with a comfortable ride then speed as I have a young son who I want to be comfortable on the boat.

Thanks in advance for any comments.

JimsCAL 09-20-2008 09:08 AM

Not personally familiar with these models, but either should make a fine first boat. Buy the one that you like and is in the best condition. And of course, get a survey.

You should be able to negotiate a good price this time of year. Winter storage runs about $1000 to $1500 on Long Island for a boat that size. You should be able to use that as part of your negotiation as the current owner is looking at laying that out.

Good Luck!

sailingfool 09-20-2008 04:34 PM

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Buy your boat when you find one that you feel is right for you, if that's this fall fine, if not, whenever. Given the storgae and carrying costs you don't necessarily make out by buying in the when you have the right boat.

Given the size boat you are interested in, I'd strongly recommend buying one of a quality, classic 30 footer: Pearson, Tartan, Cataline, Cal, Ericson, Sabre all made nice boats in mid-70-80s that will provide a lot more boat, and a better boat, than the two newer alternatives you are looking at. With the older 30 for the same money you should be able to find one that has been upgraded, don't try to buy cheap, you'll make out better fi you pay a premium for a premium example.

piratemike 09-20-2008 11:27 PM

I had thought about looking at some older boats but was afraid they might come with too many headaches. I guess buying a boat is like buying a house? Just look at a lot of them till you find the one you love and then get it inspected to make sure there are no problems...

If I do look at boats from the 70s/80s is there anything in particular I should keep my eyes out for?

Thanks for all the advice.

CrazyRu 09-21-2008 12:23 AM

It is not necessary to put a boat away here in NYC. Last three winters were mild. It was quite possible to sail year around. Those sunny winter days with just a little wind can be best days to learn your new boat. In water storage can be actually cheaper than storage on hard, and you will get a perfect excuse to escape a family, get down to your boat, open engine compartment, do nothing and feel great entitlement. It takes a few weeks of just watching all those wires, hoses, ropes, several engine starting and shutting down and valve opening to get slight idea of the purpose. Do not waist a winter.

Boat condition is more important than the age. You are talking about 10 years old boats, they may be as worn down as 20 y.o. boat.

For simplicity of single handling and nice interior I'd vote for older Freedom. :)

bubb2 09-21-2008 06:06 AM

I know both boats. The Hunter being a little biger then the bennie. More interiour room in the hunter. however I like the deck layout of the bennie better and I also know it sails faster then hunter. I am not a big fan of the hunter's B&G rig. I think that bennie would be the easier to single hand. All that being said, price and condition also come in to play.

johnshasteen 09-21-2008 01:48 PM

You didn't say where you plan on doing most of your sailing. If it's bays and close-to-shore, coastal crusing then any boat you like will do. If you are thinking about offshore in a year or two when you are more accomplished, neither of these boats is a blue water warrior - keep looking. As others have said, for the same money you can buy an older, much stronger, well maintained boat from the 70's in the same size range - if it needs work, the price will be lower.

SailChick20 09-21-2008 04:33 PM

Of course, I'm first boat is an 86' Beneteau...easy to!...was in great shape and the build was better than some much newer.

People are shocked when they hear the age.

piratemike 09-21-2008 07:52 PM


Originally Posted by johnshasteen (Post 372230)
You didn't say where you plan on doing most of your sailing.

Exactly, bays and close to shore.

Thanks for all the comments! Going to look at them both this week and keep my eyes out for a slightly bigger older one.

JimsCAL 09-21-2008 07:59 PM

I personally think the "sweet spot" of the market is boats about 10 years old. Still relatively new and thus not requiring extensive upgrading but have already taken the big hit on depreciation. If you keep the boat up, you can use it for a number of years and then sell it for not much less than what you paid.

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