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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-16-2010 10:44 AM
BoxedUp Slightly off topic...

Since we've chartered in the BVI, I can tell you that I would never purchase a chartered vessel for personal use. Even though the charter companies request a so-called sailing resume, they will charter to almost anyone who can pay for it. On our last charter, we knew of someone who grounded coming out of the marina because they failed to stay in the marked channel.

The charter companies have a huge marketing campaign to lure customers into purchasing boats and guaranteeing them monthly income and 10 weeks of use per year. At the end of the term, the buyer is left with the option of purchasing the boat or selling it. Have you ever seen the # of used boats for sale in a BVI marina? That tells me that most sailors don't want to own one of those boats that was used for charter either.
03-16-2010 10:27 AM
tweitz I also suspect that the market for used boats is dramatically affected by the prevalence of Beneteau in charter fleets. Chartered boats generally get harder usage and tend to command a lower price. Many of them also go on sale in the BVI or other charter locations, so moving them to locations where sailors live is a factor. I suspect there is a sharp line in the used boat market and if you go into detail, you will find used non charter boats don't go up for sale as often and command a very different price.
03-15-2010 12:12 PM

Another effect we noticed is that when we were in the Bahamas, the Catalina owners doing the southward trek had all "found" each other by the time we reached Hope Town and had started mostly cruising together -- so in one anchorage there might be no Catalinas, but when you catch up to the troupe, you'd be cruising along with five. They like their boats, and most cruisers are gregarious and tend to group together for safety and convenience -- and because the weather windows enhance that effect, naturally.

Weather windows effect: By the time we all left Rum Cay after a front had passed through, there were twelve boats in the procession starting out for points south! IIRC about four of them were the 36'-range Catalinas, and that's a good month or more after the initial group-up in Hope Town (and past Georgetown, which one might think of as the First Turnaround for snowbirds who will be heading back to the northern areas for the summer months -- so, many of these Catalinas were heading farther south). As it happened, our best cruising buddies were on one of the Catalinas, and we were in a 36' monohull at the time, so it was also convenient and fun to sail along hitting the same anchorages.

This time we are going to be catamaran people, but given our tendency to want to explore anchorages, that extra speed is a good thing, we may catch up to monohull sailors who are pressing on to get south -- and reunions down-path are just as much fun as meeting wonderful fellow cruisers the first time around!
03-14-2010 09:11 PM
PalmettoSailor I pretty much agree with the idea that Bene's, Hunters and Catalina's are about equal in terms of durablity, and that all three make different choices to build their boats to a similar price point. I know owners of all three brands that love their boats.

I'm glad there is competition in the segment of the market folks without mega bucks can afford. It keeps all the builders focused on delivering the best product they can at a competitive price. We can't all sail Swan's.
03-14-2010 08:28 PM
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
My guess is the number of Bene's and Jeanneau's in charter fleets has more to do with Beneteau making a business decision to pursue that market... It's also in-line with Catalina's business model to NOT pursue that market.
I don't profess to be an expert on Catalina's business model, but I would be utterly shocked to learn that Catalina would prefer to sell hundreds fewer boats every year if they had the option. I just don't buy that.

It's been a couple of years now (mid 2008), but I looked heavily at the Catalinas when we were making our decision, and my conclusion at the end of our process was that from a quality standpoint the Catalinas, Beneteaus, Jeanneaus and Hunters were VERY close to the point of being virtually indistinguishable. One did some things better than another, and some things worse. It comes down to preferences I think.

The one thing I'll give you is that Bene going with iron keels is a shortcoming, and there's no spinning that into a positive, IMHO. That's a tradeoff Bene owners have to make. In terms of joinery, I respectfully disagree that Catalina is better than Bene. I actually found the opposite to be true, but Hunter (if you can believe it) was the best of the three, at least with respect to new boats in 2008.

And for what it's worth, we found the deck layout, sail handling systems, use of space, and performance to be better on the Beneteaus (we also liked the aesthetics a lot better too, but obviously that couldnt' be more personal and subjective).

At the time we were looking the Catalina prices were higher than Bene. I suspect, but don't know for certain, that it's mostly because Beneteau dwarves Catalina in size, so I bet Bene's purchasing power is much greater and thus its material costs is lower. Again, I don't know that for certain by any stretch, and I'm just drawing that inference.
03-14-2010 09:33 AM
Pre-Conceived Notions

I've been reading reviews on some of the bigger Catalinas lately - yeah we all look at bigger boats.

What's interesting is some of the articles I've seen in the Australian magazines and in pubs like Blue Water Sailing. They talk about the bigger Catalinas as solid blue water boats, their use as ocean racers and of sailing off for distant shores.

I'm not a blue water guy so I won't pass judgement on the bigger Catalinas blue water abilities; but I wonder if here in the states we've classified them as "coastal boats". So we automatically look for something different when we're ready to head south.

03-14-2010 09:25 AM
JimMcGee My guess is the number of Bene's and Jeanneau's in charter fleets has more to do with Beneteau making a business decision to pursue that market.

Same reason automakers pursue the auto rental market. The trade-off is low margins against a marketing advantage. You could argue that those charter fleets provide a greater marketing advantage than all the print ads in all the sailing magazines.

It's also in-line with Catalina's business model to NOT pursue that market. Catalina now advertises in magazines, but remember for years they didn't even do that. They're conservative with their designs, updating existing models over years, even decades.

Beneteau updates their models frequently, which gets them more press, but you could argue it's a strategy that has a negative effect on the value of their used boats.

Neither is right or wrong, just two different approaches to a really tough business.

03-12-2010 07:54 AM
Originally Posted by soulfinger View Post
If nothing else, Beneteaus use cast iron keels, vs lead on the Catalinas.
Just did my research and the keel material difference seems to be a big decision maker, especially for salt water sailing.
03-11-2010 07:33 PM
soulfinger Yes, quite sure.

For some reason, Beneteau enjoys a reputation (by some) that their boats are a "step up" from a Catalina, when in fact they are generally a bit less expensive. If nothing else, Beneteaus use cast iron keels, vs lead on the Catalinas. I also bought a Catalina because the cabin joinery and deck hardware were superior to that of the Beneteau.
03-11-2010 08:46 AM
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
I bet more than one charterer has gone home and bought a Beneteau because that's the boat they were most familiar with.
I charter the Bene's but leaning toward purchasing Catalina.

Originally Posted by soulfinger View Post
I do know that Beneteaus are about 10 to 15% less expensive for the same size length boats.
Are you sure you didn't mean more expensive than Catalina?
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