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Discussion Starter #1
I`m considering ordering a new boat and the 423 is at the top of my list. It seems to have alot of value for the money spent. I`m a little confused as to which keel type to order with it. Long Fin, Medium Bulb, or a Shoal Draft keel. I`ll be circumnavigating with it. Does anyone have a thought on the subject. Thanks
 

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Maybe this is just me but I need to ask, out of curiousity, if nothing else, if you are planning on sailing around the world, how did you decide that a Beneteau 423 would be the right boat?

As much as I like Beneteaus for coastal cruising and even think this would be a reasonable boat for a Carribean sojourn, I would think that there are much better choices than a Beneteau 423 for that purpose. When you think of doing a circumnavigation you are talking about a lot of sea miles in a very wide range of conditions. A circumnavigation is roughly equivilent to the amount of miles that an average coastal cruiser does in 20 to 20 years of sailing only in harher conditions and further from repair yards. That is a lot of wear and tear. You need a boat that is robust enough take that kind of abuse and frankly, with all due respect to the Beneteau 423, they are just not that robust.

As to your question, if you do have your heart set on a circumnavigation on a Beneteau 423, then I would suggest going with the standard 5''7" draft version which should be a reasonable balance between seaworthiness and shallow enough draft to get into most popular cruising locations.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jeff. So what would be your pick of boats in the price range of 200k-250k? I haven`t found a production boat yet that is built as well as the Beneteau. Is there something about there constuction you have reservations about? Hunter boats where roomy but lacked in fit and finish quality. Catalina 42 Mk2 was a nice boat but lacked in lay out and their customer service sucked at the factory. Island Packetts are wonderful but the price range was out of my reach. Cabo Rico again high dollars. I`ve done alot of research on the Beneteau 423 and I can`t find too much wrong with it. Currently I have a 60ftr and if something was to happen to me, my wife would have a hell of a time bringing it home. The simple controls and nimbleness of the 423 would be a cinch for her. Hell she might take the boat and not go home. Would`nt that be funny.I`m sure there are alot of other picks. However the service I`ve recieved from Jeff McCord at Beneteau is something other companies should follow. So combine that with the fit and finish tells me they are very detail oriented. This is why I`ve picked Beneteau to build my next boat.
 

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I know very little on the relative costs in the Beneteau series, but I would imagine the First 40.7, the Farr design, would be a better choice.

It''s only me, but the size of the main cabin "skylites" alone scare me. Also the large ports amidships would be a hinderance docking at the rusty old diesel barge in some remote part of the world.

At almost 5,000 pounds less, the 40.7 would also be more easily driven, and is overall much quicker at all points of sail. Taking DAYS off the long passages, and also taking less of a toll on her crew.

The layout also seems to sleep the same, more or less, in the 40.7.

The standard keel on the 40.7 is a little deep at 7''9" but the shoal draft model is a more reasonable 6''2". Still deep, but not much of a speed penalty and a boon at sea. (Personally I would go for the deep keel and dingy in when necessary, but that''s me)

If you like the construction techniques they offer, take a look at 40.7. Better boat for a circumnavigation, by a long shot!

IMHO, I would go used, find a nice Perry, Island Packet or the like, do a little overhaul work and enjoy your trip!
 

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Of the big three boat companies, I also personally prefer Beneteaus for all of the reasons that you mention. But there are a huge number of really good 42 foot or so cruisers that can be purchased for $200-250K that would be way more suitable for your cruising goals. While there is a lot to like about the Beneteau 423, these are really not constructed to take the kind of abuse implied in a circumnavigation.

For example, like almost all of the high volume boat builders the 423 glues the bulkheads into place rather than tabbing them in. These glues have tremendous strength and so the builders rightly state that the fiberglass or bulkhead will fail before the glue joint. But that statement is largely true because the contact area betwen the glue and the bulkhead and glue and the hull is very small and so concentrate the loads in a very small area compared to tabbing. Over time these concentrated loads take a toll in dislodged bulkheads and torn laminate. You can go through these boats an item at a time and come to a similar conclusion. Whether it is the lack of backing plates, access to key areas of the hull and systems from the interior, whether it is adequate storage low in the boat, whether it is internal framing systems in the bow area, whether it is the construction of the hull todeck joint, in normal duty these kinds of construction details are fine, but for sheer amount of the kind of prolonged punishment that the offshore work that a circumnavigation involves, they are just not up to the task.

My best best recommendation is to look for a used boat that began life built to a more robust construction standard. I would also agree with Simerl that Beneteaus First series would make a better choice as they are more robustly constructed. Beneteau has a new First 44.7 that might be a better choice on all counts if you are committed to Beneteau.

With all due respect, when I look at your short list Beneteau, Hunter, Catalina, Cabo Rico, and Island Packet, these are boats that represent very extreme corners of the boat buying spectrum. I would think that you might take some time and research the desirable traits for a boat being purchased to make a circumnavigation. You might conclude that none of these boats belong on your list. I know that I would.

Regards
Jeff
 

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If you can reach $270,000, (in the water) I would highly recommend looking at a Tartan 3700. Is has everything you would want for the kind of sailing you are looking to do. Perhaps, the C&C 121 (40'') would interest you but it is not as "finished" as the Tartan.

Island Packet also has a very proven off shore pedigree.

I would go Tartan, Island Packet, Sabre, C&C and so forth rather than Beneteau in the long run hands down.
 

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I think the B-423 would make a great coastal cruiser, but I don''t feel that any Beneteau Catalina or Hunter is right for offshore world wide cruising, and would suggest you look for boats built for this purpose. Specifically, you would need a V--shaped hull, especially in the foward section, to avoid excesssive pounding in heavy seas, a skeg mounted rudder, deeper bilges, more storage, a safe sea berth (I love the 423''s large centerline V-berth, but its not where I''d want to be on an offshore passage), more tankage, a smaller cockpit, with a bridedeck (this minimizes anount of sea water on board from rogue waves), and so on. As to the First series--these are designed for racing primarily and would not be right for any long term cruising. They are lighter, more tender and have even less stowage and tankage. I''m not knocking the quality of Beneteaus. i own one and love it. But all sailboats are compromises of speed stability, comfort, etc. For offshore cruising you need to look at boats designed for the job.
 

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I somewhat disagree with you regarding the recent First seriues boats. While the Firsts definitely offer more performance orientation than the ''number series'' and can be raced very competitively even at a grand prix level, they also make very good performance cruisers and structurally are a lot more robust than the number series and offer a more comfortable motion and seaworthiness. I race on a 4 season old 40.7 that has been campaigned hard for 4 seasons and has over 10,000 offshore miles. The boat still looks and feels like a new boat. I have been amazed at how rigid and creak free the boat is when driven hard. While it is true that the recent First series do not have as much form stability (stiffness) as the number series, the Firsts have a lot more stability. Stiffness is not a desireable characteristic for offshore boats as it results in a more violent motion.

I disagree that they lack storage or tankage. They have a lot of storage and tankage for a 17,000 boat.

All of that said, I agree that a purpose built performance offshore cruiser would be a better choice.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks guys on your info. I`ve taken a closer look at the 42.3 and have decided that the 47.3 will fit our needs better. As far as the FIRST Series vs the Numbered series,the only diference is the performance issue. I contacted Jeff Mc Cord at Beneteau and he said that hulls are exactly the same. Its just the First series is more of a racing type boat. But as far as strength and construction methods it the same boat. What are thoughts on this boat?
 

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Sigh....

There is more to it than the fact that the hulls are built the same way. The DESIGN matters too! The First series esp the ones mentioned, are designed by Farr, a VERY respected yacht designer. The number series are done by the in-house team.

The First series are meant to SAIL, the number series for being a "dock-a-minium" and occasional light coastal cruising. Regardless of the damnable CE rating!

The First series have better sail handling capabilities, and a more seakindly motion, weight out of the ends and concentrated in the center, the number series have the living quarters as the primary mission.

In the 47'' range, I can''t believe you cannot find the level of comfort you need in the First series, but hey, to each their own.

At this point, what about the Sabre 452? I would consider it HANDS DOWN over the 473! Especially concidering your off shore plans.
 

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I don''t know who Jeff McCord is but having gone through both boats in a fari amount of detail, there are huge differences between the Farr designed Firsts and the Beneteau numbwer series in terms the engineering and construction. The Firsts have a pretty sophisticated series of longitudinal and transverse framing as well as tabbed bulkheads vs the glued in bulkheads of the number series and comparatively minimal internal framing. The Firsts were engineered by Farr''s office which has some of the most sophisticated structural engineering knowledge that is out there. The number series are engineered in house. The differences in these two lines of boats are enormous. The Firsts have much better quality hardware in terms of matching winch sizes, etc. to loadings, and much better ergodynamics in terms of sail handling gear.

The Firsts offer much more easily driven hulls and much higher stability which make it easier to deal with heavy going. They offer better motion comfort and a higher limit of positive stability.

The Firsts are better as both cruisers and as racers. They are more robust. They are easier to handle shorthanded. As most of us have been trying to tell you, the 423 and 473 are just not the kinds of boats that are designed to be robust enough to take the kind of wholesale abuse of a circumnavigation.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Just a correction to tarmand: With all due respect, the 423 hull, and rig are designed by Groupe Finot. The structure, construction details and interior were designed in house by Beneteau.

Jeff
 

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Jeff, I don''t claim to be an expert, so no respect is due. However, Finot sure seems to be taking credit (or blame as some may see it) for more than just the hull and rig of the 423 on their website. Please see:

http://www.finot.com/bateaux/batproduction/beneteau/oceanis%20423/oceanis423_ang.htm

P.S. I''d rather not get into a protracted contest over this, but dismissing the 423 as purely an "in house" design seems a little extreme regardless of the mix of Finot and Beneteau.

Peace!
 

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I see what you mean when you visit the link that you provided. My info about who designed what came from a detailed question and answer session that I had with a Beneteau USA person at the Annapolis show before last. We talked in detail about the differences in the design and construction approach on the new Beneteau number series boats vs the new Firsts.

That said I see what you mean about the Finot site.

Jeff
 

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I was given the information about the "In-House" design by reps at the SailExpo at Liberty Island NY last fall. Now it may have been an over eager sales person pandering to a potential customer who already had a sizable chip on his shoulder regarding the number series (me). I was questioning the design of the only First (36.7) that they had there, along with the 5 or so number series boats they had in the water. The rep told me that the First was an entirely Farr design, working in conjunction with Beneteau. He went on to say that the number boats were mostly "In-House". He went on to say that because the number series outsells the First''s better than 2 to 1 that is why they brought mostly number series boats.

But I stand by my thoughts on the two series. The First was designed to sail, cruise, and race. The number series are little more than RV''s with sails! And built to a price point to compete with the other RV''s with sails. When one builds to a pricepoint, things get compromised, and I would NEVER want to be worrying about where the compromises might show up during a circumnavigation, as the original poster of this thread stated his intensions were for his new boat.

According to the rep at the show, the intent of the number series is for light coastal cruising, a summer home lets say, a place to get away and to entertain on. The First''s are, and I quote: "Are for serious sailors" I would concider a circumnavigation "serious sailing"

When an RV breaks down on the highway, you call AAA and go to the nearest Motel "6". But when a system fails 3,000 miles from the nearest port, who then are you going to call? I don''t think SeaTow covers that many square miles of ocean.
 

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Thanks for the comments silmaril, and for the record, I own a 423 and agree that it would be far from ideal for a circumnavigation (back to the original thread? what a concept).

As much as I hate to admit it, we do use the boat pretty much for the purposes you state, and she is well suited for that. I actually considered a First 40.7 instead, but it was too small inside and the cockpit mounted traveller was too dangerous to have with a four and six year old on board. For the forseeable future, I''ll be RV/sailing on the Chesapeake so the 423 is just right. As has been stated many times on this site and elsewhere, everything is a compromise!

Anyway, the only thing I would add is that she does actually sail pretty well on top of being comfortable (we have the traditional main not the furler!), and we are taking her to New England this summer, but circumnavigation? fughetaboudit!

Lastly, not to put too much stock into "glossy magazine reviews" but Blue Water Sailing has a nice write up on the 423 at:

http://www.bwsailing.com/01articles/issue/0603/boattest.htm
 

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Tarmand: Where do you sail out of? There was quite a collection of 423''s and 473''s out this weekend near Annapolis. I do think that the 423''s seem to sail quite well and are less condo like than the comparable Catalina or Hunter.

Jeff
 

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Sailing Emporium in Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore. But Annapolis is our favorite destination.

Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky ones out this weekend... I just got out of the hospital so my boat isn''t in the water yet (shame on me!)
 
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