Old enough to know better
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Beacon, NY
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DownEast 32 vs Beni First 345
OK I have been looking mainly at Newport/Columbia/Pearson/Catalina sailboats in the 30 to 34 foot range. But 2 more expensive and better built boats have caught my eye and I may try to find the money to get. They are quite different boats, so it may seem strange to look at both, but I am looking into my options. The first boat I am looking at is the mid 80's Beneteau first 345. I like the lay out, and it appears to be well built and has an excellent reputation for good sailing traits but looks are very utilitarian. The other is a late 70's Downeast 32. I really like the traditional looks of the Downeast. I could not find much info here on sailnet on them. There is a good .org site about them, but of course that is all from folks who love them. I am making arrangements to see them both. the Beneteau is close to me, but the Downeast will be a drive to look at.
Here are my goals:
Live aboard on the Hudson river (have slips arranged for summer and winter and is where I happen to currently be working) and possibly move to the RI/CT coast for the next few years to be with my oldest daughter and near some soon to come grandchildren. With some trips to Block Island and Bermuda. Then I want to take off on a couple year solo cruse down the coast and through the canal, possibly leading me to Hawaii, where I have family and a job if I want it. I may actually not wait as long to do the cruise, depending on the situation.(kids that do not live with me) This is why I am starting to think the costal cruisers may not be enough boat for me.
Originally I thought I would get a costal cruiser for a few years then jump up to a Blue water cruiser, but with the economy the way it is there are some good deals out there and I may be better off jumping in and just getting one boat and not stuck trying to sell in 2 years and not able to get out of a boat.
So what do you think, would the First 345 be up to the task? Seems like it would be the better sailor on the river and coastal waters. But the Downeast is so beautiful and appears to be more blue water capable. They are about the same price, both have good diesels and fairly recent electronics and sails and other upgrades. Both will need some minor cosmetic work to get them up to my standard. And of course I will have a survey when I get closer to purchase. What are the advantages of one over the other. I intend to do my own maintenance work, and the amount of bright work on both seems doable. I want to sail, and not be a slave to keeping the boat looking nice, but do love the traditional look of some teak.
The costal cruisers I could pay cash for, but likely would have to get a loan for a couple of years for the First 345 or Downeast, but should be easily doable. I am getting excited about simplifying my life and getting aboard.