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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Beneteau vs Hunter
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Thread: Beneteau vs Hunter Reply to Thread

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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-04-2011 05:44 PM
MarkSF Just get yourself something like this.


Go on, you know you want to. Just look at all that teak.
08-04-2011 05:11 PM
Beneteau vs Hunter

Hatchet job by unscrupulous Hunter Dealer removed per forum rules
09-06-2009 12:56 PM
pearle99 I agree with K1VSK - set your budget, set a range of LOA and go see what you can find on the market. What type of sailing are you doing? Hunters, Catalinas and Benes are built for easy cruising and have less aggressive sail plans, smaller winches etc. I personally looked at Beneteaus, Catalinas, Hanse and C&C's - mostly because they still make boats in my size range of 32' and under. The C&C owners I spoke to tell me the boat is very fast - it has way more sail area than the others and HUGE winches (40's and up). But it is more money and more performance means my wife as a novice may be intimidated by the tendency to heel. In the end, budget killed the C&C (among some other tidbits like sail drive issues and product build quality). The Hanse is very lovely but none were available and they too are pricey (built in europe and subject to import duties, shipping costs). The Catalina 309 and 320 we looked at - nice boats - no teak to worry about but I felt they were just plain - 'plain'. Which maybe isn't a bad thing. We did not look at Hunters - I personally like the idea of adjustable back stays like on the C&C but no back stay at all is just a little weird. Also the idea of going forward to unjam a line in rough water and getting past the extra B&G stay which seems to be at a perfect angle to ensure you will get it in the neck was disconcerting. I feel the Hunter looks and is disproportionately tall in the water. In the end a Beneteau 31 came on the market - for me it had more 'character', plenty of room - sails well in light wind (which is what we get here in the Pacific NW) and it was the right price. It has a huge beam - so I am trading off some rough water handling for extra cockpit room. And it has a rear stay (not adjustable) but alas - every choice has a trade off.
I offer this information not as an endorsement of Beneteau but as an outline on my decision process. Take all opinions about this brand or that brand posted here or from your broker with a grain of salt - do you own homework. Enjoy the search - there is a lot to learn in the process. In the end the right boat at the right price will make itself known to you - whether it is a Hunter or a Swan or anything in between.
08-13-2009 09:46 PM
gene80 I'm also considering a Beneteau/Catalina due to the cost to quality ratio. Does anyone have any thoughts they could provide in choosing between a B373, B393, B36.7, or C380?

We'd be based out of Ft. Laurderdale and would be mostly sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Thanks for any advice.
08-13-2009 08:10 PM
CaptainForce When considering all the variables, there is far more impact resulting from the skill and prudence of the captain than any trait of these three vessels. I'd buy the Hunebenelina if you want one and enjoy it! 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
08-13-2009 06:48 PM
k1vsk SEC
If you are still following this discussion, it seems to contain a lot of the same denegration of a particular boat or brand common to Hunters, Catalinas and Beneteaus that some like to perpetuate.
For what it's worth, I suspect I am among the very few who have owned all three at different times and now own an Alden so I may be both more objective and less biased.

In that context, my opinion is simply that there is little difference in quality among these three very competitive companies all competing in the SAME market; hence the differences are subtle.

Among the things I found to be different among them are:
Beneteaus - fit and finish seemed to me to be below that of the other two, particularly the sole plates, bulkhead tabbing and deck hardware mounting which always proved to be the sources of various leaks. Coupled with it's relatively flat bottom which promotes pounding, it was the most disconcerting boat I've ever had in bad weather.
Catalina - better fit and finish but still prone to leaks at all ports and hatches, difficult logistics and accessibility for routine maintenance and sailed the slowest of the three, pointed the worst and went downwind like a barn door.
Hunter - never quite got used to the huge salon windows but my wife preferred them so what that proves is debatable. Had to sail off the wind dead down wind because of the spreaders but found that was often a better VMG angle. Preferred the B&R rig which is actually stronger that a traditional one and since we had a backstay as well, this was a non-issue (some H models do not apparently).

I should mention each was a new boat so wear/tear was not an issue in comparison.

Bottom line - as I've said previously, internet experts are usually worthless. Years ago when I had the opportunity and time to travel, we sailed from the east coast to the S Pacific and never, ever throughout that trip during which we spent time with many cruisers on all type boats did I hear anyone denegrate any boat mfg like we routinely see here. Everybody had problems maintenance issues and breakdowns regardless of who made their boat. Coral doesn't care what the nameplate says nor does a 30 ft wave.

Ignore the so-called internet experts and pick the best maintained boat within your budget, take care of her and try to anticipate your future use to choose the best candidate accordingly.

Everything else is pure BS
08-13-2009 05:50 PM
hunter vs ben

Originally Posted by SEC View Post
Thanks for everyone''s reply. To answer a couple of questions that were asked, price is DEFINITELY a consideration. Also, these are both new boats and range, completely fitted, in the $265-275 range. Space/layout are also a definite concern because if the sopuse is not happy, it will not get much time away from the dock. I filled my racing need in the 70''s, I now strictly cruise.
ha! that is so true! I am the wife of a captain/pirate! Actually, my husband is a 777 airline pilot and we have been Hunter owners of various sizes.
Even though we admire the Jeanneaus, beneteaus, Swans, Islanders, etc... the newer 42 Hunter center cockpit gives us the most cruising fun time!
P.S. Our boat plays in San Diego and Catalina. It's perfect.
And i used to race as well.
04-08-2002 07:26 PM
Beneteau vs Hunter

I haven''t spent any real ''quality'' time on boats with in-mast furling but I have seen a lot of them underway. I''ve had the chance to watch two sisterships, one with in mast furling and one without, which gave me a pretty fair sense of the relative behavior in a breeze. I have talked to sailmakers who have consistently confirmed that in-mast furling shortens the life of the sail (especially if the sail is used in the partially furled condition). They have also confirmed my observation that if really needed in a blow, the leech creeps toward the foot and so the sail ends up with a powered up shape just when you need it bladed out.
But the real deal killer for me is discussions that I had with friends who are delivery skippers who tell stories of how well in mast furling works until it doesn''t. Once it jams, which seems to be a pretty regular occurance in high winds you have a non-repairable mess to deal with. These brushes with disaster with in-mast furling in extreme conditions have convinced me that they do not belong on any boat that might get ever caught in a blow. I''m not taking about offshore, I mean ever. When they jamb as they seem to inevitably do in heavy conditions you''re stuck. You can''t reef, you can''t tension the luff, you can''t drop the sail, all you can do as one fellow discribed is cut away the sail and hope your motor runs long enough to get you home.

04-08-2002 04:43 PM
Beneteau vs Hunter

Wow! Very informative answer. Thank you for the response - I learned a great deal from that. I am really up in the air about the main sail furling vs a fully battened stack pack main. My current boat has main sail furling, and while you do lose a bit in the performance category, it is so easy to reef at an infinite number of points, that it''s hard to say goodbye to that. Have you sailed anything with main furling? Sorry we''re getting off the point of this thread. MS
04-07-2002 06:34 PM
Beneteau vs Hunter

I don''t pretend that I have an answer explaining why a Tartan is worth $200K (actually I thought that the actual difference for a similarly equipped Tartan 460 was just over $100K) more that a similar size Beneteau 473 but I can centainly explain some of the difference. I do want to say that I am actually a fan of the Beneteau 473. I think these are a tremedous amount of boat for the money and certainly represent a major step forward for Beneteau''s ''number series''. I would take one that had a normal mainsail (i.e. you could not get me to go offshore with a in mast furling mainsail on a bet) offshore with no more trepidation than with most good quality cruisers.

BUT there are big differences between the Tartan and the Beneteau. To start with the Tartan uses an injected and vacuumed epoxy resin intead of laid up polyester on the Beneteau. Epoxy is substanially more expensive but results in an extremely tougher laminate. Epoxy reduces the likelihood of blisters to less than zero and increases strenght, impact resistance and fatique resistance greatly over normal polyester resins used in the Beneteau.

Tartans bulkheads and frames are hand glassed into place while the boats are in the mold resulting is a very stiff structure and one that is likely to last a very long time. glassing while in the mold means less distortion and potentially stronger connection because the contact area is larger and defects can be observed and worked out. Beneteau uses what they call a space age adhesive that is supposedly stronger than the fiberglass it is adhered to and will delaminate the fiberglass before letting go of its adhesion. The problem here is the small contact area of the adhesive limits the area absorbing the loads to a smaller skin area and so is more likely to be a problem over time. This opaque adhesive cannot be tested observed for holidays and poor coverage during layup like a glassed in component. Similarly Beneteau glues in its liner/ internal framing system. Again this has less stength and resiliency in an impact as well as being extremely difficult to repair in an extreme incident.

Beneteaus decks are glued on with the glue serving as the primary bond and any bolting is solely for assembly alignment. Again this has become a very normal industry approach to installing a deck and with modern adhesives it does produce a strong joint. Tartan uses a bolted and adhered deck joint with frequent bolts and aluminum backing plates. This results in a potentially more impact resiliant joint and one that is easier to repair and less likely to leak over time.

Tartan''s hull uses a high density closed cell foam coring which is vacuum bagged into place. That means an extremely strong and extremely durable way to build a lighter weight boat. Beneteau only cores their decks and they use balsa core which is much cheaper and more likely to succumb to deck rot. Tartan also used balsa core decks but they core and fill each fastening point with epoxy. Beneteau does not.

Then there are little things. I haven''t specifically done this on the 473 and the Tartan 4600 but if you open the cabin sole access port and look at the plywood that is used, the Beneteau has noticably thinner top veneers than the Tartan (I have not done this in a couple years but last time I looked this was the case.) That thicker top veneer means that you can refinish the deck on a Tartan for many years to come but are less likely to be able to maintain the Beneteau deck at some point and are more likely to have to replace a deck panel at some point due to the simple damage that occurs putting the deck piece in or taking it out.

Tartan 4600 use cast lead keels. Beneteau 473''s use cast iron. Cast lead offers the ability to absorb shocks of hard groundings without transmitting as much of the shocks into the structure and so are less likely to damage internal structure in a hard grounding. All other things being equal, the higher density of lead means greater ballast stability. That means a more comfortable motion and the ability to carry more sail. That means reefing later and also might mean the difference in being able to claw off a lee shore.

There are a whole lot of little details as well. When you look at the 473 casework, the doors are plywood with an applied trim. Its a little clunky to my eye and the plywood edges will break down over time. The Tartan cabinets use a plywood door as well but at least the last time I looked they had flush hardwood edges which protect the plywood edge and permit the door to be shaved if it swells over time. Beneteau uses interior hardware that looks virtually identical to the hardware on Tartan but from experience I can tell you that in the past, and I assume its still the case, the Beneteau versions had potmetal and ferrous components and the Tartan versions were non-ferrous. Even the details of the Tartan interior seems to be a little more complete.

Please don''t get me wrong here, I am not saying that the 473 is a bad boat. I really like the 473. I have had the chance to watch one sailing on a very gusty day and was quite impressed. Earlier this winter I had gone out to try to get a sense of how my boat would behave on a day predicted to winds into the mid-20 knot range. As it turned out the normal winds were in the high teens but there were very sudden gusts into the mid- to high 20''s. In cold air this feels like a lot more wind than the wind speeds would suggest. It was really very challenging sailing. In the whole afternoon of sailing I saw maybe 5 other boats underway and one was a Beneteau 473. Except for making gobs of leeway, the 473 was sailing quite well, looked balanced and under control, and was moving quite well through the short chop that had kicked up. At one point, when the two boats were quite close, we both were hit with a strong gust (probably in the high 20''s or low 30''s) and I was very impressed with the 473''s ability to take the hit and not round up out of control.

So, with all of that said, I am not sure that a Tartan 3600 is worth $200K (or even $100 K) more than the Beneteau 473. It really depends on how you intend to use your boat, how picky you are about little details, and how much you are willing to (or can afford to) spend for a better constructed boat. No matter how much or how little you have to spend there will almost always be a better built boat or a not as well built than the one you ultimately buy. We each set our own budget and our standards and hopefully that will be all the boat that we will need to be happy and comfortable.


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