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msl 03-27-2003 05:52 AM

Beneteau differences
What can be said about the build and sailing characteristics differences between a Beneteau "First" series, an "Oceanus" series and just a plain Beneteau.

It is a little confusing and quite a large price difference in same size boats, too.

Mark L.

Jeff_H 03-27-2003 08:53 AM

Beneteau differences
Over the years Beneteau has constructed a wide range of ''lines of boats''. Some like thier custom series are very high quality boats. The Beneteau First series are intended to be a step up from their more basic series. The Oceanis, Idylle and ''number'' series are more basic generally lack the higher quality building details, and performance of the First series. Build and finish quality seems to be significantly better on the First series with the posible exception of the ''First Class'' series which were out and out race boats.

Of the fare offered by the big three boat builders; Beneteau, Catalina, and Hunter, Beneteau''s First Series seems to be a big step up.


JWag 03-29-2003 02:11 AM

Beneteau differences
I agree with Jeff H. My perception of Beneteau quality in the Benehuntalina debate is based on my experience with the 1985 Beneteau First 325 that we owned for 9 years. I did not consider the typical Hunter or Catalina to be in the same class with the First Series Beneteau. Those that look down their noses at Beneteau really need to better understand the differentiation that Beneteau acheived in this line. The First 235, 285, 305, 325, 345, 405, 42, 435 and 456 were all excellent boats. All one has to do is read Ferenc Mate''s World''s Best Sailboats to understand the basis for this opinion.

J. Wagner
Charlevoix, MI

msl 03-29-2003 06:04 AM

Beneteau differences
Thank you, both, for your answers. One more question about Beneteau...
Why not a lead keel? Is there some advantage to cast iron or did they go cheap below the waterline?
Mark L.

DuaneIsing 03-29-2003 09:51 AM

Beneteau differences

There may be some structural reasons for this, but I just read in Cruising World, that the $485K Southerly 135 (45'') uses cast iron for its swing keel and the "grounding plate" structure which holds it. Lead may be preferable by most sailors'' opinions, but even some very expensive boats use CI.

For whatever that''s worth...


Jeff_H 03-29-2003 12:28 PM

Beneteau differences
I am not sure that there is the only one answer but traditionally cast iron was considered stronger in a grounding. That is partially offset by Lead''s ductility which can absorb impact energy rather than distribute directly into the hull.

While iron rusts and needs to be refaired periodically, adhesion between lead and fairing materials can be poor as well and so refairing of a lead keel can be as frequent as iron.

These days Europe has tighter occupational hazzard and environmental laws as pertains to lead so that lead is proportionately more expensive in the EU.


henryvand 03-30-2003 07:29 AM

Beneteau differences
Beneteau does use lead in some instances - my B331 shoal draft model has a lead keel.

Jeff_H 03-30-2003 07:41 AM

Beneteau differences
Actually, Beneteau offers lead keels as an option on most of its models that have keel options. Oddly enough, lead is typically only offered on the deep draft versions and not on the shoal draft versions. While you might argue that only a buyer looking for a deep draft version might care enough about performance to want pay the premium for a lead keel, it would seem to me that the folks with shoal draft keels are the ones who really need the enhansed preformance of a lead keel.


serenade 2 04-03-2003 02:56 PM

Beneteau differences
Can''t agree with the comment re First series. At least for the last several years the first series represents the racing line and the oceanis and beneteau series represents cruising boats. Construction is very similar, same factory, hull/deck joint, mostly iron keels. Main difference is that first series is lighter, less storage and hopefully, faster.

Jeff_H 04-03-2003 04:54 PM

Beneteau differences
I disagree about the structure of the two boats being equal. A lot of the Oceanis series had rolled out deck joints where as the Firsts had through bolted inward facing flanges. The Firsts have tabbed in bulkheads, while the bulheads are either tabbed in with narrower fillets or glued into the Oceanis and ''number'' series. Chain plates and attachment points look beefier on the Firsts. The internal framing is closer spaced on the First, or so it appeared comparing several similar sized models boat for boat at a boat show and at Annapolis Yacht Sales open house. Climb down into the lazarette where this stuff is really pretty visible.


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