I am planning to buy a used Beneteau 351 built in 1995. The boat was used as a chartered until now.
I have not taken a look at the boat yet, and before I plan a trip to go see it, I would like to get some feedback form someone who has had experience in buying boats that are 6 to 7 YO and were used in charter
Has anyone on this board bought a "charter" boat? Would you recommend for it or against it?
Are Beneteau 351 (1995 or 96) good value boat? How much major maintenance should I plan for?
What is the "expected lifetime" of this boat?
I owned a 351 for 5 years and there are some very good features and some issues to be concerned with. I loved the boats design and layout. In the mid 90's it was a very advanced layout and a boat that would surf in high winds easily exceeding her hull speed under thos conditions.
I will start with the issues to be concerned with:
1. If the boat has a Perkins M30 engine avoid the boat or replace the engine / transmission with a Yanmar. Reason is that this engine is really a lawn tractor engine that will not idle at a slow enough speed to engage the transmission without damaging the clutch in tranny. This is a big problem.
2. Early models have only 2 cockpit winches making it hard to solo sail. you will need to add 2 new primaries at the wheel is equipped as such & reroute jib sheets.
3. Mid 90's & earlier Beneteau's have a hull blister problem. If the hull has been peeled and re-gelcoated or better yet epoxied over all will be good. It's a percentage of these that have issues.
4. General advice on Beneteau's is buy one that was made in France. The quality is much better.
5. 351 boats are heavy in the stern and do not sit proper on the boats scribe line (heavy aft). Solution is difficult perhaps a different keel shifting some of the ballast forward to properly trim the boat.
6. The furling main on the early boats is tricky to use and can jam the sail in mast if not properly setup when installing the main sail, it can only be rigged oneway, the right way!
The good Side:
1. Great strong hull and rig. Well built and great interior.
2. Very usable fun boat to sail on.
3. Fun cockpit with a huge table and cooler.
4. Nice big Jib forward a 140% sail was standard.
5. Below decks two cabin layout was the best around and adding more house battery capacity was easy.
My final advice is to buy a 1996 or new 351 or 360 with a Yanmar engine and you will enjoy since they fixed most of the issues by then.
For the last two seasons, we have sailed the northern Chesapeake in a 1998 Beneteau 352, the nearly identical successor to the 351 you are considering. Our boat has a Yanmar 3GM, not the Perkins, and it is a very reliable and economical engine. Look for one with a Yanmar. The in-mast furler can get jammed if you try to furl it with the boom on the starboard side of the boad (ie: on port tack), but it furls nearly effortlessly if the boom is on the port side. This is due to the rotational direction of the furler. The previous comments about a spacious cockpit are accurate. Dining al-fresco is a pleasure. Also, the galley is well laid out and, for a 35 footer, the two cabins are relatively spacious, with good privacy. Sailing performance is good and backing into a slip is easy once you get the feel of the boat. All in all, I would recommend either the 351 or the 352.
Cruising World August 1994 has a review of the 351 by Ted Brewer and a sea trial by Hal Sutphen. Sorry I can't figure out how to attach a copy, but you can get an e-mail copy from Cruising World for $10.00. It is a generally favorable review with a few notes of caution. The first is that Brewer says the ballast ratio is below par and he recommends adding a few hundred pounds of lead in the bilge. We have added two 8D house batteries at 150lbs each, so we have taken care of that issue. Next is his opinion that the deck is excessively sloped for walking forward, but we have not felt this was a problem. Finally, Sutphen gives his opinion that the large prop slows the boat in light air, but we have a Max-Prop, so that doesn't bother us either. Get a survey by a competent surveyor and if it is favorable, go for it.
Speaking to the charter history question alone, we bought a boat that was in very active sailing club use for three years. It was the model we wanted and with continued upgrades and repairs has become a fine and fast (!) cruiser for us for the last 15 years.
Do bear in mind that the old warnings about "rental" use of a boat adding about 5 years of wear/deterioration for each year of age are true.:o
The number varies, but you get the idea.
I did a multi-day delivery on a Ben 350 a few years ago and the layout inside was great, with a good galley and nav station. Of course that was their 80's design.
Best on luck on your purchase.
Hey Guys, no offense, but he posted that in 2002. If he has not made the puchasing decision yet, one might question whether he ever will!! Nothing wrong with discussing the pros/cons of the Bene 351 though.
I too love the 351 from the mid 90's (and the subsequent 361) and am convinced it will be my next boat (sooner than later I hope...but alas the economy!). I believe it is a great value over the 361 considering the price differential between the two. Great (appreciated) input above regarding the Perkins vs Yanmar, ballast, etc. I'd appreciate reading about any additional such experience/input w/this model.
Regarding the charter issue I have always been skeptical of it but didn't know if that was really an issue or not. My anology has always been with rental cars and I know I wouldn't purchase one of those (despite the fact that the probably get better/more routine maintenance).
Re: Beneteau 351??
I'm looking at a used 351 from 1995 which has a dinette tabletop mounted on the compression post. There is a mechanism for raising and lowering it, and it is claimed that it will form a double berth, but when lowered it overlaps the settees on 3 sides and does not make a flat surface at all. It appears to be original. Does anyone understand how it is supposed to work? :confused:
I wish I could post a link to a picture of the tabletop, but this site is pretty fastidious about preventing that.
Re: Beneteau 351??
It's best to start a new thread with a question like this, capn, rather than sticking it on the end of a very old thread. Anyway, are you basing your question on pictures you've seen of the 351, or have you actually been on the one in question and couldn't figure it out? I've seen pictures of the table arrangement, and always assumed that the overlap was only with the side cushions, and it was be taken care of by lifting the cushions as you lowered the table top.
Re: Beneteau 351??
I have been on board and wrestled with the table (with the help of the broker)
and we could not figure it out. I also took pictures, and you can see the most
revealing one here: tinyurl(dot)com/b4bat46 (Copy this and change '(dot)' to '.')
Notice how the tabletop does not fit into the hole of the settees. There is a good
3 cm lump there that would be really ummm... amazing to sleep on!
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