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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-19-2004 05:25 AM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

I sent you a message via sailnet. I have no idea if/how that works. Please contact me off list at
09-14-2004 05:28 PM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

Or what.....over the last 15 years .I''ve rented a J22 and went all over Lake Erie....then bought a (used) Catalina 30. Sold it for more than I paid for it. (I did not say I made money on it...)

Rented a Freedom 36, Beneteau 35f5, Benetau 381, and then bought a new Catalina 250 on a trailer and sailed that all over. (Chesapeake, coastal Florida) Sold the 250 for a lot less than I paid for it. Then I bought a Catalina 42 (Used, cheap).


Rent. Check out different boats, see what you like, don''t like.
A used boat (Catalina or Beneteau) bought for the right price will sell for close to that.

A new boat will sell for a LOT less than you paid for it. Make sure it is what you want. (Back to conclusion # 1)

Many, many Catalina owners, like myself own three ore more different Catalina''s over the years.

I did not say anything bad about the Beneteaus.

09-11-2004 12:49 PM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

For what it is worth...IMHO, buy a larger 40 to 44 footer used, better value for your money, you will be glad you did after owning it for a year and I would buy our Beneteau 400 again in a minute...perfect, no but then what is?
09-06-2004 03:52 AM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

Let me add an anecdotal illustration of Jeff''s comment about build quality of the B number series and also his comment that they are intended for coastal cruising.

A friend hired on with a Med broker to deliver a 39'' Beneteau to the Caribbean from Gib; I''m sorry but don''t have the exact model but am sure of the length. They had serious rig problems and had to divert to the Cape Verdes (where they were treated wonderfully, BTW) to obtain the needed repairs. Basically, the hardware was just not up to the offshore use. They then sailed to St. Lucia, noticing on the last few days that the galley counter kept growing in height - it simply had not been adequately secured originally, given the racking and torque that the hull/pan structure sees when a boat works at sea. This was an in-season transit without unusual weather, but it was typically a robust passage in trade winds with that obnoxious swell coming down from the storms marching across the N Atlantic, further north. How a boat works offshore, day in/day out, is something most owners simply are not familiar with...but which is a norm off soundings.

I can''t say this would be typical of all Beneteaus and suspect no one can. There are simply too many variables. I also notice we''re off on ''ultimate voyages'' (even a normal ocean crossing is a ''big deal'' when compared with how 99% of all boats are used today, especially in the USA) when talking about model choices that may mostly remain in a marina slip, and even on extended vacations may only see a few hundred miles of estuary and/or coastal sailing. The odds alone would suggest that any Catalina 350 or Beneteau 393 will satisfy most novice owners simply because the owners a) don''t really know what ''good'' is (solely due to their limited experience) and b) because the boats will mostly be untaxed during the ownership period.

Just to offer balance, I''d like to add that while the structural assembly of a First series boat might be more robust, they still appear to me to be a lousy choice for any serious cruising. Ice rink decks with their sloping, smooth gelcoat surfaces, limited anchor handling structures, cockpit designs that service large crews well but aren''t especially compatible with the cockpit being a veranda/living room/protected work space when the boat is cruised long-distance...I think you''d have to value the sailing pleasure such a boat brings you very highly to accept the compromises the design brings to meaningful cruising. And of course, once again we''re off on an application - ''serious cruising'' - that is way wide of the mark for most boat buyers.

Jack Tyler
08-26-2004 02:04 PM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

To begin with, I never said that I thought that Beneteau number series are ''poorly made''. I personally like the build quality on most of the Beneteau (including the ''number'' series) products more than I like the boats that come out of the other three of the big four boat builders, but I stand on my statement that the number series boats are just not as robustly constructed or as nicely detailed as the First series boat.

This is not about speed, it is about the whole range of details that are not all that hard to observe if you take the chance to compare a similar sized number series boat to a comparable First series boat.

To give some examples, on the First series boats, the bulkeads are tabbed in with pretty wide multi-layer tabbing. On the number series (like most value oriented boats built these days) the bulkheads are glued in. While modern glues are so tenacious that they will tear apart the plywood and the fiberglass before they let go, glued bulkheads have a very narrow contact area and so the loads get concentrated in this narrow glue line. The small load distribution are means that damage to the plywood or fiberglass is more likely, especially over time.

Similarly, the First series boats have a series of glassed in longitudinals as well as a partial glued in pan. The Number series counts solely on a glued in pan. Glassed in stringers do a better job of distributing the loads into the skin of the boat and allow a more careful set of connections. Structural pans provide a lot of strength and are widely used in the industry (even by companies like Island Packet) but in the end they tend to be heavier, harder to seamlessly repair and more likely to be separated from the hull due to fatigue, or in a grounding or collision. Even in comparing the width of the hull to deck flanges and the spacing of the two boats, the Firsts have a wider contact area and more frequent bolt spacing.

In terms of finishes and details, the Firsts just seem to have a few more niceties, especially when it comes to their deck layouts and sail handling gear, or grab rails and crash bars down below.

If you are saying that a number series boat has more room for its size, and you are determining size based on length, then I would agree with you that the number series boats are more roomy. BUT if you size a boat by its displacement, which I strongly believe tells you a lot more about the size and ease of handling and maintenance, then the First series boats seem to offer a little more useable space for their size.

The fact that these boats are used extensively in the charter trade really does not mean much to me. While charter boats clearly recieve far more abuse than most private yachts, they come out of charter completely chewed up and spit out.

Lastly, with regard to your mention of the article by Practical Sailor, I think that my comment in the first reply to this thread basically agrees with Practical Sailor, "To answer your original question, based on my own experience with both Beneteaus and Catalinas and a fairly large number of conversations with marine surveyors, I generally consider the design and build quality on the Beneteaus better than on the Catalinas but there is bound to be a large variation in opinion on that." I beleive that there is a place for boats like the Beneteau number series (or for the other value oriented boats for that matter). These boats offer a lot of room and reasonable performance for the dollar. If used as most people use a boat, weekending and short leg cruising where you are likely to be on the hook or at the dock at the end of the day, these boats offer a lot of boat and reasonable performance for the dollar. But it is a mistake to think that they are as robustly engineered or sail as well as they could.

08-26-2004 12:58 PM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

I must respectfully disagree with the 2 prior posts. I know Jeff H is a big fan of the Beneteau First series, but his knock on the numbered series is wrong.

1.--The number seies has for many years been a mainstay of the charter trade. The charter companies may not want to overpay, but they need boats which are built well and they often choose these boats.

2 The first series are built for racing first, cruising second. Just compare the tankage, amenities, and basic hull dimensions. Sure you can cruise in a First series boat, but you''ll have a lot more comfort in a numbered boat of same size, and you''ll go faster in the lighter, narrower ,deeper keel First boat.

3 Practical sailor, probably the only unbiased boat reviewer around, has reviewed many Beneteaus and oncee even did an article comparing Beneteau, catalina and Hunter. Bottom line was that they rated the beneteau
quite well.

4 Fianlly, all products are built to a price. It is not a knock on benteau to say that for a $100,000 more you can buy a tartan 3500 which is better than a B361. But to say that Beneteaus are poorly made is just plain wrong.
08-18-2004 07:26 PM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

The Beneteau ''number'' series, such as the 361, were targeted at a budget oriented marketplace. They lack the workmanship, robustness and nicer details of the ''First series'' which tend to offer better construction and sailing ability.

I would agree with you about the Tartan but would discourage anyone from seriously considering the Island Packet for anything more than a live aboard based on their poor sailing ability and detailing.

08-18-2004 10:18 AM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

I own a Beneteau 361 and I am disappointed with the worksmanship of the boat. This might be something you want to think about when you look at them. They are very loud under power, in mast furling systems are very picky about how they come out, the sterns drag in the water under power, and many other grievances. The interior wiring is messy, and it does not feel like a solid overall boat. You might consider looking at a smaller, older Tartan or Island Packet.
-Dan Barrry
08-18-2004 10:17 AM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

I own a Beneteau 361 and I am disappointed with the worksmanship of the boat. This might be something you want to think about when you look at them. They are very loud under power, in mast furling systems are very picky about how they come out, the sterns drag in the water under power, and many other grievances. The interior wiring is messy, and it does not feel like a solid overall boat. You might consider looking at a smaller, older Tartan or Island Packet.
-Dan Barry
08-16-2004 03:55 AM
Catalina, Beneteau, or What ?

John, I''d like to offer you a somewhat different opinion than Jeff on selecting a boat. First, you seem very vague about the intended use of the boat. But more importantly, you may not appreciate the significance of caring for a larger boat, which will tend to be systems-intensive and which will be costly each and every time you add something to the boat.

OTOH I think you might be the ideal candidate for buying a newer smaller boat. New boats may require some upfront decisions about equipping but that also provides a useful learning curve for you. For a run of the mill boat, you won''t be making exotic choices. Moreover, you would have a warranty period, a dealer (assuming you shop wisely) and a manufacturer to support you, initially. Plus warranty periods on all the pricey pieces.

Perhaps I''m biased in this regard but after some small boat sailing and some formal instruction on a 34'' cruising boat, our first boat was a new 27'' sloop - basic but well equipped and very safe for offshore use (which was our only option, since we sailed out of Santa Barbara, CA). It was a great choice, initial problems were not JUST ours, and it was big enough to allow many hundreds of miles of ocean-coastal sailing while small enough to be manageable, affordable and comfortable.

Too many Americans want to own boats that are w-a-y too big for their needs. You don''t need to consider being another one...

Good luck on the fun!

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