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Old 04-06-2009
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Bene 31 vs Hunter 33

I took a look at a beneteau 31 and a hunter 33 over the weekend. We're looking for something late model for Dallas area lake use, thus the production boats. Due to some crazy wind (I imagine the same front that caught our friends on Matagorda Bay) there was no actual sailing involved.

I've found very little in the way of reviews on the Beneteau 31, other than the speak-no-evil big magazine reviews. Does anyone own or have experience with one?

I know I'm comparing a 31 to a 33, but from an asking price perspective, they aren't that far apart.

Fit and finish was just fair on both, but probably good enough for our purposes.

From what I could tell sitting still, the Hunter was more liveable below decks (of course it's a bit bigger but I think there's more to it than that.), but the Bene seemed more "sailable". The Hunter had lots more storage below. I'm not sure you could store a standard sized dinner plate on the Bene. I really liked how the Hunter has all the through-hulls under a single panel in the cabin sole. It also had little things like extra 12V outlets in the cabins. I was surprise to find this particular instance had a fixed cooktop, microwave, but no regular oven.

OTOH, the Bene had _lots_ of cockpit storage, and lots of clever features from the companion way on out. The hull shape and more conventional rig would probably make for better sailing--although the beneteau's spreaders sweep back more than I have seen on any non B&R rig.

Last edited by bacampbe; 04-06-2009 at 07:51 PM. Reason: fixed some typos
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Old 04-06-2009
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This is largely a matter of personal preference as the differences are not that great. Also, don't knock the B&R rig as it has many advantages and only one drawback when sailing DDW which is neither efficient or safe.
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Old 04-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k1vsk View Post
This is largely a matter of personal preference as the differences are not that great. Also, don't knock the B&R rig as it has many advantages and only one drawback when sailing DDW which is neither efficient or safe.
I guess it's all guessing unless someone with experience with the Bene 31 chimes in, but do you think the Hunter, with it's smaller headsail, with point as well as the Bene? Will it handle light air (common on area lakes, although the last couple of days make it hard to believe) as well? I notice that the Hunter hull is wider towards the bottom--probably a good bit of what makes it so roomy. Will that make the motion underway more or less comfortable?

If the two really have comparable performance, then the better creature comforts of the Hunter may matter more.
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Old 04-06-2009
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Oops, I just realized I posted this in general discussion, rather than the new boat section where I intended to put it. I'd appreciate it if a moderator would move it, if it is appropriate to do so.
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Old 04-06-2009
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what years on the boats?
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Old 04-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
what years on the boats?
The one's I looked at were both new (2009). The current Hunter 33 has been around a few years, but I gather the Beneteau 31 is a new model.
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Old 04-06-2009
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Oops, I just realized I posted this in general discussion, rather than the new boat section where I intended to put it. I'd appreciate it if a moderator would move it, if it is appropriate to do so.
And, of course, by "new boat", I meant "buying a boat".
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Old 04-07-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bacampbe View Post
I guess it's all guessing unless someone with experience with the Bene 31 chimes in, but do you think the Hunter, with it's smaller headsail, with point as well as the Bene? Will it handle light air (common on area lakes, although the last couple of days make it hard to believe) as well? I notice that the Hunter hull is wider towards the bottom--probably a good bit of what makes it so roomy. Will that make the motion underway more or less comfortable?

If the two really have comparable performance, then the better creature comforts of the Hunter may matter more.

Regarding pointing, the main driving force on any boat comes from the mainsail which is typically larger on a B&R rigged boat which is one of it's advantages both in light air and in overall handling. You will find yourself sailing on just the main as the headsail serves only to aide when you want the slot to help.
There has been much written on the various comparisons of the traditionally rigged vs. B&R which you may want to research or just look at most of the high-end racing boats to see what these designers have concluded in going with B&R rigs.
Neither is ideal as either are a compromise but in your situation when you have no compelling need to go DDW for prolonged periods, the decision is largely one of convenience.
Neither hull shape will create any significantly disparate handling issues and the only noticeable difference may be some pounding with the relatively flat Bene hull.
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Doing a few calculations, I find the Hunter, with the classic mast, has a pretty good SA/D ration (20.99) which surprisingly beats the Beneteau (18.99). The Hunter with the furling mast comes in at 18.2. Unfortunately, Beneteau does not publish sail area for the furling mast, but I assume it is lower.

Both dealers are pushing furling mains pretty hard. I have mixed emotions on them, but can see some real advantages for short-handed sailing. (My wife knows how to sail, but lacks the strength to raise a heavy main by herself.) Given that one of the big B&R rig advantages is to make it easier to carry fully roached mainsails, do you think it would be more impacted by mast-furling than a standard rig?
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One of the things I like about Hunter is the smart way they made use of locker spaces and ease for DIY installation of AC, cold-plate(fridge/freezer) and other electronics. The H33 comes with Owner's Manual that shows everything you need know about the boat and even the electrical diagram and plumbings etc....
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