Wife and I are in the process of looking for a boat for coastal & caribbean sailing and have basically made a decision on the Beneteau 331.
We are looking for comments & suggestions.
Have a great sailing day.
If you have made the decision on a 331 I am not sure hat kind of comments or suggestions you are looking for but what comes to mind immediately is under no circumstances buy one with in mast furling for the kind of use that you are proposing.
Also have you considered the First 337. Generally, while this varies from model to model, the Firsts generally seem to be better hardware and seem to be slightly engineered and constructed. They deniately tend to sail better than the straight numbered models (old Oceanis series). The fractional rig in the First 337 is also a better set up for short handed cruising.
First as an owner of a 331 I admit my comments are somewhat biased. I am delighted with the boat. It sails well and is very easy to handle - I single hand a lot. Under power the boat is very responsive and will get you in and out of crowded anchorages with ease. I originally also had reservations about the in mast furling but having lived with it a while I am now a fan.I have had occassions where sudden squalls required unexpected reefing and being able to simply roll in the main was a terrific benefit. When winds are below 10 knots no doubt the classic main would perform a bit better. In 10 to 15 knots I suspect the differences are slight. Over 15 you generally need to start reefing and the furling main offers the benefit of limitless reef points. As to sail shape I find that the furling main holds it shape very well and offers lots of trimming options.
My negative comments are few - holding tank needs a level gauge or inspection port and could be a bit bigger - aft cabin needs more ventilation ( we added a fan ) - opening ports can leak a bit when being pounded by driven spray.
I''m new to the board, but cant help comment on the Beneteau 33.7. I have raced on, and against my friends new 33.7 which rates 119 on the LI Sound. The boat is very ill mannered in winds above 15 true, and rounds up continously. It appears well made, solid throughout, functional, and attractive down below, but a bit short on headroom (I''m only 6 ft).The deck is difficult to work as the absence of a flat surface makes me want to hold on to whatever I can latch on to. It will not sail to the 119 rating, to the degree that he can not match boat speed with my 1973 Ranger 33, even with a 3dl inventory, and the local North guy onboard. He has yet to beat me in our club races and we have yet to come close to placing in any race of about 10 in a variety of conditions. We have lost to the C&C 29, Catalina 32, Hunter 37, Beneteau 35 s5 etc. etc. The cockpit is cramped IMHO despit the wide stern section. This boat is not a Farr design and should not be confused with other Beneteau models that are. Anyone looking for a fast dual purpose boat should look elsewhere.