Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Maxi 34 vs Jeanneau Sunshine 38
Depending on the route you chose to take (i.e. the great capes vs Panama and Suez Canals), the answer is neither. Both boats have dismal reputations in terms of build quality, and while Maxi's build quality improved during the 1990's, they still have a reputation of being light duty coastal racer-cruisers. Assuming the Maxi in question is a Maxi 1000, Both boats have IOR hull forms, which are less than ideal in terms of motion comfort. seaworthiness, and carrying capacity. The IOR sail plan on the Jenneau makes this a more difficult design to handle short-handed, while the Maxi's fractional rig (with careful adaptation) would be an easier rig to single-hand/short-hand.
While you may be able to pour a lot of money in making these boats robust enough for the Canal route, personally I would suggest that you scratch both boats off of your list and look for a better suited design. Instead, I would suggest that approach this by looking for performance boats that were designed for offshore cruising, or more traditional boats that were similalry intended, and avoid boats that were intended as coastal cruiser/racers, and particularly those with IOR hull forms and rig proportions.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay