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JHodor 12-24-2003 12:13 AM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
Jeff H, I don''t think you have really looked at the newest generation of Jeanneau''s closely and the information you’ve posted is not fair to the masses, aka new sailors that read here. I notice on this site you talk a lot about Jeanneau''s build quality right away when someone posts the question.
(people I know Jeff, and he is a friend....we talk shop all the time) Doens''t look like you like the older Jeanneau''s but many do. The new ones after 02 are much different and most of the line updated again without use of "in house designers."
You have commented on construction of the older Jeanneau boats when asked and I get a hunch that you have been comparing their older builds to other production manufacturers of later vintage. Like so what if they took longer to get rid of their IOR designs, we are talking years ago and different ownerships then. Also I see in posts that when you compare production boats to Beneteau you are always referring to the Beneteau "First series" product line without saying, which is much different to the Oceanis and this is very unfair to the people that are asking because I don''t think many new shoppers know the difference in the two series. It''s a more expensive boat and nothing like the Beneteau Oceanis line that many on this site are looking at. I have read that you said they hire great designers like Farr & Frers, etc but this is only for the "first" series and it would lend a newbie to believe you are saying all are by the famous Farr, and therefore other production builders are inferior. This is not true and actually all of the current designers of the new late model Jeanneau''s are outside designers with very good reputations in France. The Beneteau Oceanis line has most always been the Beneteau in house group w/ finot helping out.
Both Manufacturers have their spot in the sailing world and do it well. I know you have a very strong bias toward the Beneteau First line because you crew on one (40.7) and do very very well, and own a Farr that is the same designer. It’s only natural to have a bias there. I like them but have my bias more evenly spread. It''s a good boat but nothing like the Oceanis line, which is much lesser quality, and the hardware, etc is different, and the firsts are more expensive.

How can Jeanneau''s full length glassed in stringers, be lesser quality than Beneteau''s short cut "hull liners" which have proven to not be the way to go for a long term boat as far as stiffness, maintenance, repair, etc. It''s an inferior way to do it but it works and keeps costs down as you said. Nothing wrong with that. There are proven remarks on Beneteau''s first owners website where an owner says he has "water sloshing around stuck between his liner and the hull" and he is upset he can''t get it out and it is starting to smell like vinegar. That in my opinion would be a bad bad thing. Jeanneau''s does their full length stringer construction well, and fully glasses the bulkhead totally and this bulkhead glassing is something that is only "tabed" and "beaded" in other production boats, only to appear totally glassed. every Jeanneau is EU class A offshore cert. all the way down to the little 32 footer, so that says something about her. They all have Bronze seacocks, the opening ports are placed carefully for offshore or knockdowns. Don''t get me wrong, there are many more expensive better offshore boats. Beneteau uses a interior wood that is a descendant from the mahogany family, called Douka, and then stains it cherry which hides flaws, and in contrast Jeanneau is one of the few production builders that uses the traditional teak that boaters prefer, w/ matched grains from cabinet to cabinet. This provides a lighter interior, and good hardness, and is cut by a state of the art laser. This is all in the later models. Many many folks at the Annapolis boat show that compared apples to apples (oceanis to odyssey) sincerely agreed to the structural differences as better in the Jeanneau’s for the money. Also they do not design a “cruising” bathtub shape to increase interior like many competitors. Jeanneau’s cruising hull forms are the same hulls as their race versions. These race versions, the “Sun Fast” versions have done extremely well in the European IRC races (I have the results) but have not yet been marketed fully over here in NA, this is changing some. So these are the same hulls and therefore these new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey’s sail very nice as the reviews have stated. They have won many top 10 awards, BOY awards, all mentioned great sailing ability. So when we compare we need to compare similar productline. Yes the B- First have great race top of the line hardware, but they are not practical for many sailnet readers, in cost and layout. The First 36.7 has a head forward, and a very very short port side of the V-berth, and on a 36 foot boat this isn’t practical, along with a huge over done high cockpit floor traveler, a overly aggressive sailplan for an older cruising couple, etc. I love it though but I am a racer, the sun fast has the same but. I am a racer and believe in the compromise like you but many here want the convenience and cost sensitive issues looked at and I think you mention that a lot and that’s why we look up to your opinion. Anyone looking for performance should very well look at the First series or Jeanneau Sun Fast series and spend the extra money as I think it’s a better value all around than the cruise versions.
Again one can spend a lot more money elsewhere and get more perfection than a Jeanneau SO, or Bene.-Oceanis. I truly believe Jeanneau has struck the best balance of compromise to quality compared to any production boat. Also I noticed a gentleman posted and gave a review of a charter Jeanneau 37.1 and didn''t like some things. First off he led it to believe this was the newest generation Jeanneau when it is not, the new one is just called a 37 not 37.1 (or a sunsail/moorings version), and also this one was a few years old charter version. This is the kind of thing that gives a false impression for others as I think it may have been a private label Moorings or SunSail (people, don’t buy those, resale value will kill you, and well…it’s a whole other story but the deals are out there). Also any manufacturers older, been around the block charter version, would have had the same appearance and gotten the same review. People need to read reviews that are not of a singled out under maintained charter boat.
Anyway, I am with you….I like the Beneteau First series a lot, except for the liner. When looking at that first series range one has to look at a whole other line of competitors and I''m not saying the Jeanneau''s are the answer either.

Sailmc 12-24-2003 03:00 AM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
I second everything you say. The Jeanneau Sun Oddysey series is far superior in quality to the Beneteau Oceanus series in construction, design and finish. The proper comparison JeffH should make is between the First series and the Sun Fast series. As you mention the Sunfast has been cleaning up in Europe and has beaten the First series boats in every meeting through the middle of this year. As you might imagine this is a hotly contest rivalry.

Jeff_H 12-24-2003 03:52 PM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
Hi Jeff Hodor,

I know that now that you are a Jeaneau broker you have a new found religion about Jeaneau. I think your defense of Jeaneau has a certain ''doth protest too much'' quality that seems to follow the company line. It does not come close to following my experience with the two boats. You have raised some questions worth answering. To begin with, I think that you make some very erroneous assumptions about the source of my opinions on Beneteaus vs Jeaneaus. As you and I have discussed, I have not had any detailed exposure to the most recent generation of Jeaneaus but as we have not discussed, there was a period three to five years ago when I spent a lot of time around 1980''s and early 1990''s Jeaneaus and Beneteaus.

As you well know (since I assisted you on your prior boat), I often help people as they are sorting out their various options for boat purchases. For some reason I spent a lot of time looking at mid-1980''s to early 1990''s, 37 to 42 footers by a number of builders, but in that mix were Beneteau First, Oceanis and Idyle series as well as a bunch of Jeaneaus of equal age. I crawled into these boats pretty deeply. I also helped a fellow who was putting a Jeaneau back together that had been in charter. This boat had been taken about as apart as one might disassemble one of these modern boats in an effort to get to the necessary systems. I had a similar opportunity to go through a Beneteau Oceanis, Idylle and of all of the boats I had the most intimate exposure to a 1990 Beneteau First 38s5 that had electrical damage from a lightning strike.

Jumping on and off a diversity of boats back to back you begin to see trends(in that period I was aboard dozens of boats including Beneteaus, Jeaneaus, Hunters, and Catalinas and spoke at length to surveyor and yacht designer friends as well), such as how well they hold up, design details and finish levels and a sense of consistency of the quality of these boats. Jeaneaus just were not that good.

The question was regarding a 1980''s era Jeaneau, and I strongly stand by my statement that Jeaneau''s of this era were clearly a step down from the quality of Beneteau Idylle, Oceanis and of course the Firsts which are several steps up.

While some of the Jeaneaus benefitted from ''name'' designers (I believe the Jeaneau in question was a Doug Peterson design) most of the designs seemed to be quite dated and less carefully detailed than Beneteau who typically relied on world class designers Frers, Finot, Farr, and Berret and their designs generally reflected the latest thinking of that era. (I admit that I am not a big fan of the Finot designs.)

In the period in question both Beneteau and Jeaneau use a combination of glassed in structural components and molded pans but the glass work on the Beneteaus looked much better in terms of careful layup. Hull to deck joint flanges, and tabbing was visibly wider on the Beneteaus. Rigging connections seemed much more robust. Hardware seemed to be a better grade and more carefully laid out.

While it is true that I race on a Beneteau First 40.7 I also race on a lot of other boats as well. I have been impressed with how well this boat has held up after years or very hard use. I have been impressed that this boat, which is a very reasonably priced cruiser/racer sailed by an amateur crew, was able to beat custom built one off''s with professional crews including America''s Cup tacticians, in the recent IMS Mid-Atlantics. But that bears little relationship to my statement about the relative qualities of the two boats.


WHOOSH 12-24-2003 09:32 PM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
While not very familiar with (nor especially attracted to) Beneteaus & Jeanneaus, I found it interesting to read a recent comparison of these two builders when PBO OR YM (I forget which) visited both their factories and reviewed the business histories of the two companies. A couple of the takeaways were:
1. After B purchased J, Beneteau intentionally chose to permit the Jeanneau manufacturing methods to continue unaltered for the most part, seeing the financial benefits coming more from combined purchasing power with suppliers, selling to somewhat different market segments and using geographically different distributorships.
2. B''s factory was highly automated, it applied many standardized engineering solutions to common tasks shared by a varied set of designs, and employee discretion and judgement were not widely encouraged...nor felt they were needed.
3. J''s factory continued to rely heavily on hand work, traditional approaches that had been in place for decades, and evidenced much less overall ''control'' (QC, inventory, hazmat, etc.) altho'' apparent change was afoot as driven by B.

I didn''t come away feeling warm & fuzzy about either choice if my planned use for the boat was somewhat extreme, but did get the impression the Beneteau product was of more even quality and fell more in line with Catalina & Hunter (however one would see that as a good or bad thing) than did the Jeanneau product.

BTW it also left me mareling at how I can continue to see so much variability in the quality of boats being supposedly mass produced in standardized fashion. A couple of recent first-hand examples (Catalina hull laminate so inadequate that hull flexing blocked the rudder quadrant from moving fully when sailed in Charleston Harbor [boat was withdrawn & replaced by Catalina]; huge hot spots from ''drooled'' resin in Hunter hull layups, subsequently hidden by the hull liner; multiple rudder post failures in larger Hunters; I could go on...). It would appear that, despite the existing ''state of the art'' automated, standardized, jig-and-drop production methods used by some builders, there''s still a fair distance to go before a Toyata is squirted out the far end of the assembly line.


JHodor 12-27-2003 08:28 PM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
Jeff you are a great sport, and great for the sport. Everyone, Jeff H personally crawled all over my Frers when I purchased it and gave me his honest opinion. He will help any one of you out within reason. Don''t be afraid to ask him out in Annapolis. I feel he will make a great surveyor someday. (Jeff you have a great retirement job to go to someday but I know you love your day job for now) I hope to have you design a home for me someday. Sorry for the brown nose everyone but he is a helpful guy all the way to shouting boat trim/crew placement to help me out in a race.

If Jeff feel''s he''s crawled through a good sampling of these boats then he did, be it the earlier models, his finding can most likely be true. Keep in mind all production manufactures had their inconsistencies back in the day so it was easy to look at one of the bad apples or two. I admit to not knowing as much about them. If one is looking at late models then I''d say be sure to check out all the major production lines equally because they are getting.."equal" in production. For those that constantly slam the production builders (above post), please keep in mind that cost plays into it for many individuals and a new or late model boat would not be affordable to many if it weren''t for production builders. If any non-production builder, or low production builder made the volume of boats that these builders did I can just about bet anything that you will see amazing discrepancies when the numbers grow. So I wouldn''t say that production boats are badly made, Honda even has some bad eggs at times. Production builders stimulate the industry as well and put lots into research for the benefit of all.

If had an unlimited budget and most don''t, I would not want to take a Jeanneau or any production boat offshore even if they are all rated category A offshore (later models), because there are manufacturers that are more expensive that specialize in it. But for near coastal, even long term island hoping, they present great trade-offs.
I already know the Jeanneau plant has very recently made tremendous strides in newly automated techniques (most shared with Beneteau) most likely since the above post gentleman visited them all. Also Jeanneau has recently attained ISO9001, meaning they have been checked out for tremendous quality control and record keeping. I don''t know of another production builder attaining that in Europe.
Beneteau "first" are great boats just don''t confuse them with cruisers or with their quality within the whole line-up. Most of the later Oceanis were finot as I understand. Also all the late model Jeanneau’s are designed by great designers, many of whom built winning single hand boats, Open 50''s etc.
Jeff I directly told you in an email that I am part time broker of Jeanneau''s, sorry if it fell through the cracks. I am in medical sales fulltime. Many boat shoppers come to us already claiming that Jeanneau is a great alternative from looking first hand, and I''m sure it happens on the other side as well. No selling required they like them. I did it at the recent Annapolis boat show when a "cold" customer that we never met bought a boat on the spot from me after talking to every manufacturer in class and mostly beneteau. This was a fellow that was not new to sailing, it was not his first boat, and did a lot of offshore on the west coast. He settled on Jeanneau after crawling over them until after show hours and had a deposit down by Friday with me. This is an absolute true story.
As far as my bias, I have a lot of friends coming to me because they know I don''t have to sell a boat to live and therefore I am more helpful than pushy on a product. I am passionate about what I sell in my day job and I do a lot of research. I wouldn''t be wasting my time if I didn''t feel Jeanneau''s present a great value to the owner. It''s not the best, obviously a Swan, Hinckley, or custom 1-off is a better boat, but costs more and we pay for what we don''t need (given comparing new to new) I think a used late model Sabre is the answer for a lot of folks. New boat ownership has its advantages as well as many want to be tinkering less and sailing more, a good wash down and go home early rather than saying late on Sunday night working an older boats systems.

(Jeff I think I saw you at Squisito last week)

JHodor 12-27-2003 09:27 PM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
Sorry for the error when I typed that the above gentleman visited all the plants. He was refering to an article. I bet we all would not like something we see in any factory if we got a complete tour. Also understand he is also trying to help and has some good points about construction. I guess the name of the game is to strike the best balance before just paying good money to have a custom boat built perfectly. Hopefully any manufacturer will back up any obvious problems. If a used boat it''s often too late to have this luxury. Happy Holidays.

bubb2 12-28-2003 01:28 AM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
To JHodor

I think people would trust your opinion more if you didn''t bring up that you sell Jeanneau''s every chance you get.

JHodor 12-28-2003 02:38 PM

Jeanneau quality is fine (Jeff H)
I am only saying that to be honest. I''m sure there are a lot of other industry affliliated folks that like to hide that and just throw opinions out there. No matter what there is a hidden bias if someone sells a product. I thought it would be unfair to make a case with hiding a bias like that. I truely feel what I say and I am just a jeanneau owner then. I do a lot of reasearch, and ask a lot of questions of all, and decided to buy one. Notice everyone on this site touts their boat and sometimes without even saying they own one. I don''t see a problem with the boats, and think there is a good value there. I''ve said time and time again to check them all out. Sorry it looked so sales-Z.

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