|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|08-10-2010 12:23 AM|
To protect the guilty for now, I won't mention the manufacturer of a then-new 35-footer we day chartered a few years ago. It had some nice features and went upwind very well. But, a big but, you had to be a three-armed circus acrobat with flashlight and mirror just to check the oil! I wonder how many owners of this boat neglect to maintain their engines.
Also, there was a locker on the sugarscoop swim platform that opened directly into the hull with what looked like a real risk of flooding and attacking some boat systems adjacent to the hatch.
|03-20-2010 12:46 PM|
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
About your boat and the Oceanis, I don’t believe they are in the same price league. The basic price for an Oceanis 40 in Europe, with sails and 20% taxes (I believe you pay less) is around 140 000 euros and if you buy the boat on the right time, they will offer you a discount of at least 10% (or equipments in that value). I believe the Catalina has as standard more equipment, but with more 45 000 euro you will have a well equipped Oceanis. Taking into account the discount, the final price would be around 225 000 USD. I believe the difference in price has to do with different scale of operation, intensive use of robots, but also with a better equipment on the Catalina, the kind of equipment you value (size of winches, more ballast/displacement ratio, better finish and so on).
You don’t like the way new Catalina models are going, because they are going in the way Beneteau are: Basic inexpensive boats with a well designed interior (with just fair quality) for the casual sailor. And they are going that way, as you have said in previous posts, because that is the boat that most buyers want. They will not pay a lot more for a boat that, regarding the way they are going to use it, will do exactly the same thing the more expensive boat will do.
Regarding prices and boats, take a look at the Beneteau price list:
Take a look at the price of the Beneteau Figaro, a 34ft monotype basic racer. I believe the price does not include the sails and the boat comes with a very Spartan interior,
and compare it with the Oceanis 40 price. They cost about the same, I mean the 34ft will cost a lot more if we add the sails’ price.
Imagine both boats on a boat show….99,9% of people would find that the Figaro is incredibly more expensive. Of course we know that they are both made by Beneteau and that the profit margin of the Figaro is probably a lot smaller than of the Oceanis. We know that the prices reflect the quality of the boats in what regards sailing and strength.
You can make a cruising boat with the same strength (ballast/displacement ratio) and quality used on the Beneteau Figaro, and add a very good interior, but the price would be so high that only very rich men could have one. There are at least a line of cruising boats that fits that bill: The cruising line of X-yachts:
Xc 42 Â· The new Future Cruising Range
They are a lot more expensive than the Valiant that you were talking about and they don’t have any of the disadvantages that you were pointing, regarding coastal cruising…except the price, but that is a insurmountable disadvantage for almost everyone .
Even if a manufacturer builds a decent basic cruising boat (the way you and I understand it) it would not be a match, regarding sales, to more basic boats. Bavaria has made one, the Vision 40. That boat has a very good Ballast/displacement ratio, a good equipment, is fast, strong and seaworthy and has a very interesting price. Of course, it is more expensive than the Bavaria’s (so called) cruising line, that corresponds to the Oceanis line.
The Vision line is a complete disaster in sales and I believe they will finish it soon. People don’t see a reason to spend more money on a boat in things they cannot see and that probably they would not need.
Bavaria-Yachtbau :: vision: Technical Drawings
You talk of buying a used good cruising boat, but if you buy a used boat with more than 10 years you will have a lot of expenses (and trouble). There are a lot of things that start to break or need substitution at around that time, and expensive things like the electronic, rigging and sails. If you buy a 5 year old used very good cruising boat it will cost you probably more than a new Catalina.
I suspect that in Europe the sailboat market is a lot stronger than in the US (I believe you have a bigger motorboat market). I believe that here there are more sailors and that has permitted some medium size manufacturers to explore the long range cruising market. Here if you have the money and really want to cruise extensively you normally buy one of these:
Allures yachting, votre voilier aluminium
Alubat - des bateaux en aluminium Ă* vos mesures
Welcome to Najad Yachts
RM YACHTS | Accueil
The RM yachts are particularly interesting because they are the choice for the less wealthy and also for the ones that like to cruise fast. The typical French long range sailor (and there are a lot of them), chooses an aluminum centerboard (Ovni, Allures) or a RM. The smaller RM, the 35 ft, is already a true oceangoing boat.
If you don’t have the money…well you just adapt one of the big mass production boats to the job. Most of the manufacturers and dealers can provide you with the right options. It will be expensive (something as 50% more than the basic price of the boat) but a lot less than one of those boats. I believe that’s why you see a lot more of mass market build boats out there on the ocean: Money, or the lack of it.
It will not be the same, but that´s the difference between having a relativelly new boat... or not .
|03-19-2010 01:09 PM|
To answer Brains earlier question about are the new boats better than the old boats, I would have to say no. I wouldn't trade my 06 Hunter for a 10 Hunter for the same reasons Brain did. I know the recession hit everyone hard.The downsizing of gear and substitution of poor materials is evident in most production boats.
In regards to it is the buyer that is dictating how manufactures produce their products, I am split on this. Yes, sailors want the same amenities as at home. No question about it. One can even blame the women for this. However, what I have major problem with is poor materials and engineering in their designs. While the hull designs and layup of fiberglass is superior than in the past, it is what happens after the hulls are made that make me wonder. I am not so sure the average sailboat buyer out there understands function vs form in how the systems are integrated in the boat build. I am not so sure they understand how a winch is either too small, just right or over built. I am sure if it looks pretty and pleasing to the eye the boat buyer will buy it. I do believe the term "Buyers Beware" is out there. I do believe the manufactures know this and build to this on what they can get away with, "Past skin deep". I have been told countless times by brokers and manufacture reps that I am a rarity when I start to tear a boat apart, looking in all the nook and crannies, try to make sense of how the systems are built and integrated. How I as a owner of said boat, can maintain it, repair it and sail it. If I need to upgrade it and maintain it, can I without doing Houdini acts of feat. Good design and engineering can save an manufacture. Bad design and engineering can kill them. One only has to look at the all the boat manufactures gone and the trouble the auto industry is experiencing on all levels. The piper always gets paid his wares one way or another.
|03-19-2010 09:26 AM|
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Reegarding the comments about the Northshore versus the Oceanis... yep. I could not agree more with your point. Move into a Valiant or other boat that is equipped standard with many of these things and you will find your price jumping up considerably. They do not sell as many boats. They cannot work off the volume discount. They are more labor intensive. They uuse higher grade products and are willing to custom what you need. Try customizing something with Catalina! You can forget it! As such, customized boats cost more. But I bet their profit margin is no better than Catalinas and likely even worse! Many of the specialized builders are hurting right now. But heck - a new Valiant will easily push 400k. I am not saying that is not a solid boat and top notch, but that is a loooootttt of money. For the casual shopper, they would ask why pay that kind of coin for a boat that is half the size down below of the typical production boat (length-length) when they can have a production boat, new, with all kinds of amenities, for maybe hundreds of thousands less?
Now Paulo - you and I can try to explain the many difference and build quality and hardware and lifelines. We can discuss the hull and laminate schedule. We can talk about system access. We can talk about the considerable cabinetry and all that stuff. And they will look at you with glazed eyes and say, "I am not planning on sailing around the world."
I used to work the boat shows for Catalina. My involvement was as an owner of their products and unbiased advice. I would give it like it is. I couldn't care less if they bought the boat or not. But I firmly believe that purchasing a Valiant to be coastal or island hop is a mistake. It is the wrong boat. It is tight down below and expensive. It does not have a lot of hatches for ventilation. It is slow. It is hard to have people over on because the cockpit is small. Getting on and off via tender is more difficult than a sugar scoop. Swimming off the back is harder because it is harder to get back on board. How many more reasons do you want!?? Wrong boat. However - to do long distance cruising, or a circum, it is the right boat. Many of the things which are a negative to the island hopper are a positive to the passage maker.
So buy the boat for the intended purpose. It does not mean you cannot circum in a bene or island hop in a Valiant. What it means is that there will be many costs involved (in comfort or money) to make the boat work beyond its intended purpose. And I shall also say that is ironic that I almost always see the Catalinas and the Hunters and Benes out sailing or anchored out... and rarely see the others. Is it because there are so very few of them? Or, could it be, the person bought the wrong boat for that purpose and now find themseslves no longer enjoying sailing or do not want to be cramped and uncomfortable anchored out on an island? Everyone has their own opinion, but I believe the latter.
Coming back to where this thread started for Melissa, I like my 400 of '04 better than the new 400's. They made some mod's that I do not agree with. I like my boat much more than any of the other models that are new - bene, hunter, or Catalina. I have many reasons for this, many of which you might guess, so I will leave them there. The only boat I might consider trading my 400 for is the new 445. But before I even considered that, I would want to see how she does offshore and if she really is as fast as they seem to make her out. But when you start talking about breaking the 300's-350's (or more considering what I have on my boat that would have to be switched over), I suspect I would move into a more customed sailboat like a used Hylas or Mason or Taswell. But our destinations may very well lie on more distant horizons than our boat was really designed for so our needs are different than most people.
These are my opinoins only.
|03-18-2010 08:25 PM|
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
I like Bluewater sailing magazine. Their boat tests are more complete than in other American magazines and they seem pretty accurate to me. But off course, it is comprehensible that they would have a problem in saying loud and clear what they think about what they consider the less good features of a boat (publicity and all) but you can read pretty well between the lines.
I am not saying that magazine boat tests are not partial…they are, but you can figure it out:
If I want a fair test on a French Boat, well, I look at the Italian, English or German sailing magazines, if I want a fair test of a German boat, I look at the French mags . In the end you can have a good idea of a boat potential and value.
About poor boat design, I am sorry but I don’t agree with you. Boat architects, particularly French ones are very good. Almost all of them come from the racing school and most of them are still design racing boats. If they design Oceanis the way they do, it is because these kinds of boats are the compromise most people want, and therefore they are well designed because they respond correctly to a need. For more demanding sailors Beneteau has the “First” line.
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I do agree with you on most of what you say…except about cost. Fact is that an Oceanis 400 full equipped it will cost a lot less than 300K. These boats you are talking about, because they are mass produced and they are very basic sailing boats are not expensive. Some European brands (Dufour, Elan, Beneteau) that made those boats have also a parallel line of better sailing boats, boats with a more basic interior with a lot less space. These boats are a lot more expensive than the apparently more glamorous siblings.
It is expensive to make a good sailing boat, much more than making a boat that sails reasonably well and has a big interior.
Regarding prices and sizes of boats, I believe that Northshore still builds (if someone commands one) the Vancouver line. These kind of boats are the typical cruisers from the 70’s, strong, oceangoing, well made and with an interior adapted to live on the sea. They don’t sell them, because a 36ft would costs more to produce than a 43ft Oceanis.
|03-18-2010 12:45 PM|
Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
I gave up reading the boat reviews a long time ago. The same people that look at those reviews and say, "This is the best boat because Magazine X said so..." are the same people that do not have a clue, do not know what to look for, and probably will never leave the dock much anyways. However, can you really blame the manufacturers? Blame the buyers.
The issue is, in my humble opinion, that the market began to grow away from the traditional sailing boat. People wanted many of the amenities of home. They wanted refrigeration. THey wanted air conditioning. Water makers. Washer dryers. Large showers. Large TV's. Countless electronincs.
All of this stuff requires more stuff. A/c does not run on its own. It requires a generator which requires more space which requires more cost and more diesel. Refrigeration requires a larger battery bank and potential to recharge. Electronics require a larger nav station. Large showers mean large water tanks. Every one of the systems impacts or requires another system. As a result, the boat gets bigger. Bigger boats cost more money - lots more money. As anyone who has ever shopped boats can tell you, cost-foot is not linear, it is exponential.
This has in-turn created a market where larger boats are the norm. However, the cost of these boats is extreme. A new Catalina 400, with any real gear on it, will push the 300+k range. Bene and Hunter are no different. That breaks the budget of many would-be sailors. SO in an effort to keep the costs at a minimum (like 300 is a minimum), they cut corners where they can. Typically, I believe these cuts are not safety related. However, I have seen winch sizes drop, joinery go down hill, fewer cabinets, considerably less access to available space/systems, cheaper blocks and gear, etc. Anything to shave some money off the boat on a production basis.
Now out of all this have also come some technological advances. The new laminates, grids, liners, acrylic hatches, and better ways of making a product and making it cheaper. We also have many losses, like tabbed bulkheads, solid toe rails, tall lifelines, etc. I find many of the things that many of the new boats leave off (especially on the smaller vessels) are things a offshore sailor would appreciate and a coastal or weekend sailor might not even know about!
Is all this bad? I don't know. I have all those systems I seemed to demonize. I probably would not go without them. I also have made MANY changes to my 400 to get her up to spec that probably cost me more than if I had just bought a typical bluewater boat up front. In fact, I am positive they have. But many of the things that they are producing now are fine for how most people will use the vessels. For those of us that see a more distant horizon, make the changes or buy a boat equipped for the ride. I personally would like to see someone like Catalina spec their lines out a little more high-end. When you talk about teh numbers they are talking about for a new boat, another 10-20k really makes no difference. But you know what? People are buying them. If people are buying them as they are, how do we blame the mfg? Blame the buyer. Now about that roll bar they call an arch.... well, there is an exception to every rule!!
Thanks for the writeup.
|03-18-2010 12:14 PM|
I just received the latest Bluewater Sailing and Practical Sailor magazine. The Beneteau 50 was reviewed in the Bluewater Sailing and cleats were discussed in Practical Sailor.
The Bluewater Sailing gave the Beneteau a favorable review. It did agree with me on the traveler-less system. This article gave me some pause on boat reviews by all the sailing magazines and what Ed Massey said about quote " your comments can be misleading and harmful to others and this is particularly true given the reach of the Internet" and "Boat builders, boat dealers and boat purchasers and sellers are part of the lifestyle that we all love so much". The question that begs to be asked is, " Are boat reviews honest without causing harm to manufactures"! With a responsibility of editors to the industry as a whole, ad dollars and the subscription of sailors can there be a true honesty of what is written. My personal thoughts are no. Too much is at stake for the industry as a whole. I believe this is what Mr Massey was referring to on what I wrote. So where can honesty be written and seen by the community of the boating world. The only two places that I can think of is here on the Internet on various bulletin boards and maybe Practical sailor. The utopia of true honesty of boat designs is making the boating industry responsible for making a boat/parts that is safe, good engineering and parts that last more than a few seasons. I believe without it what I am seeing in the recent crop of boats are poor design and engineering will continue for the sake of chasing dollars and market appeal.
Case in point is Practical Sailors article on chocks and cleats. They too are seeing a dangerous trend in inadequate chock and cleat design and engineering for the sake of vanity on a sailboat and dollars. This is inexcusable for boat manufactures to place poorly design chocks and cleats on a modern sailboat. As pointed out in the article, a sailboat spend an average of 94% of the time tied up to a dock or mooring line. The lack of backing plates, cleat placement and cleat design will cause great harm to the sailboat, marina and possible people. As Mr Massey suggested when "If you would like to get past the "skin" of these boat lines", I am afraid most sailors will not like what they are going to see. I know after touring a few factories in my time, there were times I just closed my eyes and want to scream "What are you thinking"!
|03-15-2010 09:20 AM|
Thanks everyone for the comments. I just got back from sailing the Florida Keys for a 9 days and of course had a blast. Big winds the last 3 days with 20+ winds. I cannot see not having a traveler after this cruise. I tried locking the traveler in the mid-position for one day and just using the mainsheet for trim. Could never achieve a good sail shape with my furling mainsail. Lost about 1/2-3/4 knot of speed on reaching sail points. I guess I will have to sail a traveler-less boat to see for myself. I found that I was working the mainsheet winch to much during all the gusty winds vs just dumping the traveler. It was a lot of work for me and the crew. More tiring I guess is what I am trying to say.
I have a new Mack Sail mainsail being installed today with vertical battens. I hope to achieve better sail trim especially in gusty winds. I will report after I give the new sail a good workout.
|03-07-2010 12:30 PM|
It looks like that almost all new Hunters are using a very similar set-up to the one used on the 50ft Beneteau, I mean in what regards boom control.
|03-06-2010 02:17 PM|
Thank you for your report; you have some very astute observations.
We continue to be delighted with our H49, and how comfortable she is to sail.
We are currently in Puerto Vallarta replenishing before continuing south via the Galapagos to spend the next year or so exploring the west coast of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula, before heading north again.
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