Originally Posted by JimMcGee
My guess is the number of Bene's and Jeanneau's in charter fleets has more to do with Beneteau making a business decision to pursue that market... It's also in-line with Catalina's business model to NOT pursue that market.
I don't profess to be an expert on Catalina's business model, but I would be utterly shocked to learn that Catalina would prefer to sell hundreds fewer boats every year if they had the option. I just don't buy that.
It's been a couple of years now (mid 2008), but I looked heavily at the Catalinas when we were making our decision, and my conclusion at the end of our process was that from a quality standpoint the Catalinas, Beneteaus, Jeanneaus and Hunters were VERY close to the point of being virtually indistinguishable. One did some things better than another, and some things worse. It comes down to preferences I think.
The one thing I'll give you is that Bene going with iron keels is a shortcoming, and there's no spinning that into a positive, IMHO. That's a tradeoff Bene owners have to make. In terms of joinery, I respectfully disagree that Catalina is better than Bene. I actually found the opposite to be true, but Hunter (if you can believe it) was the best of the three, at least with respect to new boats in 2008.
And for what it's worth, we found the deck layout, sail handling systems, use of space, and performance to be better on the Beneteaus (we also liked the aesthetics a lot better too, but obviously that couldnt' be more personal and subjective).
At the time we were looking the Catalina prices were higher than Bene. I suspect, but don't know for certain, that it's mostly because Beneteau dwarves Catalina in size, so I bet Bene's purchasing power is much greater and thus its material costs is lower. Again, I don't know that for certain by any stretch, and I'm just drawing that inference.