I am looking at a Beneteau 343 2008. I would appreciate any information about your experience with this boat, be it good, bad, or otherwise.
In addition can anyone recommend a Surveyor in St. Petersburg, Fl.
Re: Beneteau 343
I've owned one since new.
We love the boat since its perfect for the kind of sailing/cruising we do. Bigtime plusses are the sheer amount of space in the cabins. The rear cabin is our garage right now, and we've loaded the thing up! The head too is HUGE. Its great to hang the foulies right there in the wet stuff. The cockpit is good size and easily fits six. I love the split rear backstays that are out of the way fo the stern. I like full size nav station where I have my instruments repeating. The swim platform is a great spot at anchor and so is the stern shower. I've added a lot of toys to her including radar, wireless windlass remote, upgraded the batteries and added a monitor, inverter. She came with great kit already including A/C, plotter at the helm and full wind/dept/autopilot.
We have had trouble with the in-mast furling and in retrospect, I'd not get it. We've also had rust on the iron keel that was covered on first haulout under warranty. My diver says it has returned and we're just soon leaving warranty on the hull. So we'll see if Beneteau does right. The wheel pilot can get overwhelmed in the heavy stuff, so I'm looking to upgrade to a below deck hydraulic model. The placement of the split backstays makes an arch a bit difficult to install, but others have put davits. If you can, I'd recommend getting the deep draft version too, otherwise put your first reef in 15 knots of wind and try to sail her flat. If you can, she'll be faster than her waterline suggests. I'd like there to be a split anchor locker for 2 different anchor packages, but thats really reaching. She also dances like a ballerina at anchor because of the hull/rudder/keel design. So a riding sail or some way of keeping her in place is recommended.
A few other small annoyances. I'm not a fan of the fridge. For "owner" versions, the default setup is an isotherm front loading fridge behind a wooden cabinet. The compressor has no place to breathe and many owners have complained about the control unit on our danfoss compressors burning out. This is easily solved by setting up a duct, pc fan, and some dryer ductwork for airflow. In fact, this is one of the things I'd rather have had the charter setup, where they have a countertop cutout and icebox w/cold plate setup.
One more thing - I'd love there to be more storage...although I recently found TONS of "hidden" storage. Behind the front water tank is a positively huge space to store things. As is there a ton of room behind panels in the aft cabin. I'll probably make shelves/diveders in both those spaces to capitalize on it. Lastly, the microwave is useless. I'd rather have had more storage there...unless you're in a marina, a microwave is just a useless dockside toy.
She's a perfect boat for what she's designed for...coastal sailing, sailing in places like the cheseapeake or biscayne bay, and bahamas gunkholing.
Re: Beneteau 343
Very informative, I appreciate your input.
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