Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Beneteau 32s5 as for a beginner
The deep draft version of the Beneteau First 32s5 was a very nice boat that sailed very well. They were relatively fast and sailed well in a broad range of conditions. Beneteau's 'First' series were better built than the Oceanis and 'Number' series and generally were relatively well built. The interior was a Philpipe Starck and was nicely laid out and very nicely finished. The berths are a little short as I recall.
You don't say where you are located, but these tend to be good boats for a venue with predominantly mid-range winds (10-15 knots) and are not so good in lighter winds. The Volvo diesel in the early version of that boat is not the most reliable and the parts are expensive.
As a single-hander, these boats had a fractional rig which is much easier to single-hand than a masthead rig, and the stock design had a tiller which is also much easier to single-hand than a wheel steering (once you get used to using a tiller extension) on a boat this size. This boat sails pretty well under the mainsail alone which makes it easier when in close quarters or the wind suddenly gets to be too much for the sail plan. Make sure that you have a fast and reliable way to reef the mainsail, ideally from the cockpit.
If this is a shoal draft version, rather than the deep keel, and if the boat has a wheel, this is probably a pretty poor choice for what you want to do. The shoal draft version was pretty tender and unforgiving. Regarding the wheel, the boat does not have a 'T' cockpit so its hard to get around the wheel, and the cockpit layout does not work well for single-handing with a wheel since all of the control lines, traveler and winches are at the forward end of the cockpit and are way out of reach from the location of the wheel.
This boat is a little on the large size as a platform to learn to sail, especially to learn to single-hand but not excessively so. These are somewhat physically demanding boats to single-hand (in their stock set up the winches are a little undersized and the line loads pretty high) so it may not be the best choice if you are not physically fit. There are some workarounds for those shortcomings that you can learn over time.
It is very important to have a boat of this age, professionnally surveyed since this boat is old enough to have serious problems. Beneteaus of this period are at a point where they may need keel bolts and the earliest versions of this boat were built at a time when Beneteau was notorious for extremely serious blister problems.
I would agree with the others that its important that you cultivate a friendship with someone who is an experienced sailor who is looking to get out on the water. They can help you learn much more quickly and safely.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 10-24-2018 at 08:50 PM.