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  #1  
Old 02-04-2008
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Impressions at the Show

I hate to say it guys, but after spending some time at the show last week, and spending quite a bit of time on board several boats, of the Big Three Production Boats, its my opinion that Hunter now has the best looking interiors and are the most comfortable down below.
I am just talking comfort below decks. I have no idea how they sail and still don't like some of the things above the shear, but down below, the Hunters are very comfortable. Opinions are like A#$'s everybody has one, and I am sure others will disagree, but hands down better than the new Beneteau Series and the Catalina's.

We spent very little time on the Jeannaeu's

Sailing characteristics are a different subject all together, I am just telling you what I saw at the boat show. I have no idea how they sail; I am just talking about comfort level.

After the so called Production Boats, despite the negative feedback they have been getting lately, my favorite boat was the Tartan 4300. It had a very comfortable interior and nice build quality. I did not like the placement of the Nav center as it was aft of the galley. I prefer to see the nav station more a part of the salon and not removed from it. Other than that, it was a beautiful boat with traditional lines with traditional ports and not that crappy looking curved coach roof.

The IP's I have always felt have a very comfortable interior. The bulkhead mounted table that opens up the main saloon nicely.

If I had money to burn I would go for the Valliant. Beautiful boat designed for a specific purpose. It was the first time I was aboard a true Blue Water boat and you can really tell the difference between Blue Water and Costal Cruiser. Even standing still on jack stands the boat screamed, "I am solid as a rock and I will take you anywhere you want to go."

Best looking 25 footer I saw was the Harbor 25 by Schock. Great looking little boat.

Didn't get to a lot of stuff, but I was able to find a nice Henry Loyd costal jacket and also picked up some of the Prism Polish.

You guys can all tell me I am full of crap if you want. These are just some of my impressions from a couple of days at the show. Best time I had was on Friday evening at 5:00, thats when all the a$%es came out.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2008
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I have to agree that the Hunters have gotten much better, on the inside at least. The outside still bothers me. SA and I walked around and looked at the hulls. They just don't look like they were built to sail, something not right by the eye. No holds barred here, the Beneteaus looked horrible. They looked like the Hunters of the 90's. Low quality, sharp corners, one even had the microwave above the Nav station. Thats right, you sat at the Nav and faced the microwave. Catalina was the same as always. The 387 was the new addition and it was decent. Personally, I liked the Jeannaeu line better than all of those three. I liked all the blue water boats.

My show favorite, and I forgot to look at the J109, was the C&C 115. I though it was laid out extremely well below deck with plenty of room to cruise and still safe enough for rough seas. Above deck I was happy to see the traveler at the helm and the winches within reach. Just wish it had opening ports.

I also really liked the Cheasapeake Bay sailing dinghies. Sturdy, easy to build, aesthetically pleasing, light, and not too expensive.
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Old 02-04-2008
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Ok, as mentioned, opinions are like A@$%#$. I was aboard the same boats ,at the same show, and came away with a very different feel. It is no secret that I'm not a big Hunter fan, but I went looking and collecting literature for a buddy of mine. I found the Hunters to have the most cheaply built, and poorly designed interiors of any boat I have ever been on. I saw companionway ladders that had what looked to be partical board sides that will no doubt crumble as soon as they get wet. I had a repeated problem with hitting my head on doorways that were too short (I am 6' 0" tall), lots of little 4-5" step-up/down inside that made for tripping hazards, and kept banging my shins on things that we placed in ackward places.

If you want a big interior, that you have to crawl around inside of, and a big clunky exterior that looks like a Clorox bottle, buy a Hunter. I found the Catalina's to be very roomy (remember I currently sail a 40 yr. old design) and much better designed for actual use. I personally like the Bene's, but I don't have the experience with them that tjk- has.

The Micro/Nav station combo was pretty funny!
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Old 02-04-2008
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I couldn't agree with you more. The fit and finish on the new Hunter's are hands down better than the other production boats. As far as Valiants, love at first site. I will be going to the factory in the next month or so. Stay tune for a full report. What I don't get on almost all the new production boats is the no opening ports. They are just this huge solar house with all the lexan glass all around. I understand they want light in but in the hot the weather, give me a break!
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Old 02-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
After the so called Production Boats, despite the negative feedback they have been getting lately, my favorite boat was the Tartan 4300. It had a very comfortable interior and nice build quality. I did not like the placement of the Nav center as it was aft of the galley. I prefer to see the nav station more a part of the salon and not removed from it. Other than that, it was a beautiful boat with traditional lines with traditional ports and not that crappy looking curved coach roof.
There are two interior arrangements offered in the T4300. I prefer the alternate layout which offers three sleeping cabins and a forward facing nav station in the more traditional location (starboard side, near the base of the companionway ladder).


Quote:
Originally Posted by bestfriend View Post
I also really liked the Cheasapeake Bay sailing dinghies. Sturdy, easy to build, aesthetically pleasing, light, and not too expensive.
Assuming you mean the Chesapeake Light Craft dinghies, they are neat, aren't they? We have the 11.5' sailing pram and it's a lot of fun, to build and sail!
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It is interesting to see the changes Catalina is making on their new models. Case in point - the new Catalina 375 pictures sent to me by a broker in FL indicate pretty clearly that C is following many of the ideas Hunter has been using for years - namely the type furler on their furling main, the deck plans and many of the interior features seem to mirror Hunter designs.
In terms of construction, having recently been to both plants recently, I can only say that Hunter seems to me to be clearly better built, stronger and with more attention to both strength and future maintenance but that is an opinion with which I'm sure others may disagree.
Making such statements typically starts a class war which is not my intent. Rather, only wanted to point out that it seems clear Catalina is changing their models to mirror Hunter's concepts which can't be as bad as some here might want to believe.
Paranthetically, I also had an opportunity to visit the Caliber factory as well as IP which are both quality boat companies and making any comparison to Catalina or Hunter seems misplaced as they are designed for very different purposes.
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Old 02-04-2008
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I am curious about the prices on 34 ft. coastal type sailboats. ( Not that I could ever buy one ) I bought an Irwin 34 to restore and I've got the blues about the cost. I'd really love to find out I've saved about $100,000. I have NO IDEA what a current production boat costs. I'll have about $18k in the Irwin when I'm done.
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Old 02-04-2008
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Boat show pricing for the Hunters was $110,265 for the 33 and $149,790 for the 36.
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Old 02-04-2008
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I like reading people's a*#s, er, I mean opinions...

Seriously, it is a continual source of amusement to me that one person can say "Friends don't let friends drive Ford", while the very next person will say "Chevy's suck!" It's as inane as taking the "tastes great" "less filling" argument seriously.

I spent a week once in a condo on the north side of Kaui (in Hawaii). It was beautiful, warm and sunny, lush, etc. The guy I worked for at the time told me I shouldn't go there "because it rains all the time on the north side". Yup, he spent a weekend there once (at a different time of year) where it rained both days. So, according to him, that meant it rained all the time there. Fortunately, I did my research and I that was just his a%$. Oops, did it again. I mean opinion...

If anyone bothers to read this, yes I do have a point - and it is about sailing. If you are in the market for a sailboat, and you have a budget, look at the boats in your budget with an open mind. Be deliberate and gather factual, substantive information that you can use to compare "apples to apples". If you go strictly by other's opinions, you'll never buy a boat, becuase you'll always find someone who thinks that particular boat "sucks"...
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Old 02-04-2008
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I didn't go on too many of the big boats (MO lakes aren't too friendly for large sailboats), so confined my attention to the small trailer-ables. Many nice options at that level, with much variety from the Laser to the Picnic-cat. Lots of great info at the classes, but now the Admiral is fixated on chartering in Croatia! The Chesapeake Light Craft booth with the kayak being built in front of your eyes was pretty cool, and we see one of their 12-15' models in our future so I can stop being a boatless member.
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