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  #1  
Old 03-30-2013
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Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

My husband and I saw three very well-taken care of boats this weekend (looking for our first boat): A '99 Beneteau 352, a '92 Catalina 36', and an '87 Catalina 36'. The Beneteau is considerably more expensive (obviously!). Our plan is weekend sailing and short summer cruising on the Great Lakes (primarily Lake Michigan) for five years or so, and then on to longer adventures. We would appreciate seasoned insight into making this decision.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

I think anyone of these would be a fine sailboat for Coastal cruising. What do you mean by..
Quote:
for five years or so, and then on to longer adventures
If you mean off-shore adventures; you may wish to consider something a little different.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

The important consideration...which one do you like best? Answer that and then buy it. I'm sure the Beneteau is the nicest due to its age but is it worth the extra $$$? Only you can answer that.

Agree with the other poster...if your long range plans include blue water sailing, either look at other boats or enjoy this one now and replace when you want to hit the high seas.
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

ANY of these boats will work for the next 5 yrs. You might even get 2-10' ites in themean time! so do not rule that out. If you have not sailed a lot, nor owned a boat, the first boat will be a learning experience in more ways than one.

A newer boat may be a better option of total rookies, as things hopefully willnot have to be replaced or fixed, so you can spend more time sailing and learning.

Also get yourself on other boats asyou can, to see if in the long run, you have the boat for you. Again, if positive the boats mentioned are boats for the next 10 or so yrs, newer would be better than older! generally speaking mind you! If it were me, I would also look at if you can find one, a Jeanneau SO37 or a 36.2. Both of these have gone transatlantic many times over. I am sure the bene or cat have to frankly! I personally like the look and feel of the jeanneau better. then one probably knows about opinions....kinda like aholes, we haveone, they all steenk! so get the best boat that you like all around and say the heck with the rest of us!

Marty
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Old 03-31-2013
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Arrow Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

A Catalina 34 or 36 were at the top of our shopping list when we moved up to a bigger boat a couple years ago. The Beneteau 361 (due to a charter experience) was high on the want list but way outside the budget.

We couldn't find any of the Catalina's this side of Lake Ontario and somebody suggested I look at either the Beneteau 351 or 352. We located a 352 in Sturgeon Bay that was in great shape and it is now ours. If you are looking at the one available in Whitehall, MI . . . it is a carbon copy of ours.

We use our Beneteau 352 exactly as you plan to use your future boat; weekend sailing with a couple multi-week cruises each season. We will be returning to the Ludington-Charlevoix/Petoskey coast again this season.

The boat is very stable and forgiving. We have been out a few times in 30+ knot winds (including the 2011 Queens Cup night crossing to Muskegon) and she sails/motors quite nicely.

The boat has been pretty much maintenance free (except for routine stuff) and the only weekness when cruising is the small size of the holding tank (I'll likely upgrade to a larger tank this season). One other item to note is the location of the winches (they are on the cabin top). This doesn't present a challenge when sailing with two or three people aboard. With a working autopilot, I have no difficulting sailing the boat by myself.

There is a bit of commercial freighter traffic on the Great Lakes, especially in the NE portion of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is also prone to fog, both day and night. Whatever boat you get . . . plan on having a radar reflector aboard and plan on having either radar or a VHF radio that has an AIS receiver capability. (as an example Welcome to StandardHorizon.com )

Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-31-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

Hey,

IMHO, you should buy a boat for the sailing you plan on doing TODAY and not 5 years from now. A lot can change in 5 years. Anyway, for your current plans, any of those boats would be fine. If you really think that you'll do long distance sailing a few years, then my advice would be to buy a cheaper boat now. The cheaper boat will have had had more depreciation and will be easier to sell in the future.

Good luck,
Barry
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

IMHO, you should buy a boat for the sailing you plan on doing TODAY and not 5 years from now. A lot can change in 5 years. Anyway, for your current plans, any of those boats would be fine. If you really think that you'll do long distance sailing a few years, then my advice would be to buy a cheaper boat now. The cheaper boat will have had had more depreciation and will be easier to sell in the future.

Good luck,
Barry
Not sure it will be easier to sell, but you certainly won't take as big a hit on depreciation on the older boats.
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Old 03-31-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

Watch out for hull moisture readings on the older Beneteaus around the toilets, and especially the rudder.
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Old 03-31-2013
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Question Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by sony2000 View Post
Watch out for hull moisture readings on the older Beneteaus around the toilets, and especially the rudder.
Interesting observation. What do you consider to be an "older" Beneteau?
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Old 03-31-2013
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Re: Beneteau vs. Catalina - seeking advice / opinions

I can't speak to the Beneteau, but I've had either a 1986 or current 1991 Cat 36 for the past 26 years. You will probably not lose any money over the next 5 years with either. You will enjoy the walk-through transom on the '92 Cat. I can't recall if the '92 has the new MK II interior or not, if it does then you need to pick which one you prefer. I purposely bought a '91 as it seemed to be the last year with that great nav station. You can easily singlehand the Cat 36 and it handles like a long car around the dock, very predictable. Good Luck.

Mike
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