Beneteau 323 vs 343, plus general questions - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-09-2011 Thread Starter
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Beneteau 323 vs 343, plus general questions

Hi All,

Considering first charter experience, leaning towards Sunsail out of BVI as it seems a good deal and a good first location.

It will be just my wife and I, but I'm 6'5" and am trying to decide between the Beneteau 323 or the 343.

It seems to me that maybe the 343 is an older boat, or am I wrong on that?

Otherwise even though I'm more comfortable in smaller boats I think the 343 offers what appears to be a larger rear cabin that would fit me better, along with greater water capacity etc.

Any input or experience w/either of these boats appreciated... does anyone know if there is any way to run the water heater except when on shore power? Also general idea of how long per day the engine must be run to keep reasonable battery power (assuming mooring out at night so no shore power and anchor light all night etc.)?

Thanks in advance,

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post #2 of 5 Old 01-09-2011
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Hello Bass,

I hope you have a wonderful time! We just chartered a Beneteau 40 from BVIYC last month for our first charter and had a great time.

The engine cooling system heated the hot water for showers, etc., which was nice -- we had hot water whenever the engine was running and for a while afterward too (there is a small hot water tank).

I would plan to have to run the engine around 1.5-3 hours a day to keep things charged up.

Some other free advice (take it for what you will): if you get there the night before, inspect all the lights, winches and self-tailers, radio (including cockpit radio remote -- can get corroded), and make a list of anything that seems confusing / burnt out / worn out / broken.

In our experience the next morning they were more than happy to go up the mast and change any light bulbs or repair anything we pointed out. Also skim the owner's manual they put on board.

During the boat tour, don't be afraid to ask any questions you might have about the location of the through-hulls and plumping valves and the emergency fuel shut-off, etc. etc. They are happy to answer these questions.

We had some trouble filling up the water tanks -- the aft water tank overflow on our boat didn't come out the vent as it was supposed to, but rather overflowed into the engine bilge. This is basically the back 1/3 of the cabin. It doesn't drain into the bilge because they don't want oil and oily waste to get pumped overboard. Of course I did not realize it was separate from the bilge, so we were left with a lot of gallons of water in these compartments that we ended up bailing manually out the companionway because the bilge pump didn't seem to be draining it (duh). If I had understood that all I had to do was move the water over one compartment to the real bilge (something BVIYC was happy to explain when I finally sucked in my pride and called them), it would have saved some hassle!

So, long story short -- please don't be afraid to ask questions and make sure you understand the electrical, plumbing, etc. systems. You won't regret it when you are out sailing and have a "mystery."

Best, and have a great time (from another 1-time charterer),
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-09-2011
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343 Battery

In the states the 343 comes with a single group 27 as the house bank and another group 27 for engine cranking. I am not sure how a charter will be setup.

I installed a second group 27 in the house bank immediately after I took delivery of my 343. My energy budget estimated between 100 and 140 amp-hrs consumed per day. Of that, approximately 50% of the consumption was the refrigerator. The boat tended to be very short on power and I usually turned the fridge off at night while at anchor. I needed to run the engine 45 minutes to an hour twice daily while at anchor. I think the standard alternator is 60 amps. Figuring 75% efficiency running the engine @ 1750 rpm for an hour should pump about 45 amp hours back into the battery.

The 343 is much roomier than the 323. Both are of similar vintage and were manufactured through 2007 or 2008. I have never sailed on a 323 but I doubt the 343 is any more difficult to handle just because of the additional size. At 6'5" you will find the aft cabin berth very comfortable on the 343.

The hot water heater is plumbed to the engine cooling system and the water gets HOT while motoring or running the engine at anchor.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-09-2011
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Originally Posted by Deadhead View Post
Both are of similar vintage and were manufactured through 2007 or
As an owner of a NON-CHARTER b343, I can confirm that my boat was built into 2008 model year, I have one ofvthe last hulls (#259)

S/V Jendai
Beneteau 343
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-09-2011
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I am 6'4" and have a 323. I find it quite comfortbale. The boat has good headroom thorughout, probably just a bit less than our height. The aft cabin bunk is very large, though with limited overhead room. The head is much larger than the 343. From all I have seen the 343 is also quite a nice boat, you won't go wrong with either one.
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