I own a sister ship to Bagheera my fifth sailboat. She is a First 38r, 10 winches, deep keel, tall rig. The finest machine I have ever owned. Continues to impress me with her performance. I have been doing this for over 50 years.
I raced a Hunter 31, quite succesful, last 2 years I raced won every race including 2 figawi races. Hunter copied Beneteau's pan grid construction, very strong boats, but not the quality of Beneteau's. We were going through woods hole, ma once, doing at least 9 knots over the bottom, my father at the helm, wanted to try it. He cut the channel, nasty place and we hit hard, then bounced off the rocks. Boat did not leak a drop, outer hull flexed and broke some stringers continued to MV and had it fixed later.
Beneteau had it right for awhile, would not buy one made after about 1995, engineering made some to thin, especially American made boats.
Some of the best boats made were in the 80's tough as nails. I first saw these first series boats at the Newport international boat show and fell in love with them. True racer/cruisers, scream upwind. Done over 10.5 knots downwind many times, does not creak, rattle, etc. Sounds like a frieght train going through the water, extraordinary sea kindly.
The more wind, the faster she goes, comfortable ride with a well thought out interior, and since i liveaboard, all the comforts of home.
Experienced see this boat and know.
I am an engineer, they got it right. Boat is in 7 books, all of Liza and Andy Copelands books, plus Worlds best sailboats volume 1 and Used boat notebook, top choice for a 40 footer. Most Beneteau's of this vintage are a good choice. Proud owner.
I might add that the original first series boats were 0ver 35ft were open ocean certified and built to the French merchant marine standards and qualified by Lloyds of London. Not the lesser standard of ABYC.
Re: Beneteau Cruising
Check the entries to the Pacific Puddle Jump. That rally lets you start anywhere, at any time and go to anywhere in the South Pacific so I think quite representative of the actual cruising community. The first stop from anywhere is 3,000 NM so a real test. Beneteau is by far the most common boat listed. Are there better boats? I'm sure there are. A friend had a budget from between $100-$150k for a boat, a nice amount, wanted it less than 20 years old. He'd heard the stories about Beneteau so was considering the Pacific Seacraft, a great line of boats. For his budget, he could get a 31-37 foot Pacific Seacraft or a 42-47 foot Beneteau.
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