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Discussion Starter #1
I've found the following article interesting: Top Ten ARC Boats:

ARC 2005 ARC 05 - from Yachting World magazine

The article is simply based on the frequency of participants in the Arc, and I began by reading about the Westerly Oceanlord, which is relatively common over here. I've been on Oceanrangers and similar, but I'm still not a big fan of center cockpits and the separation of below decks and above decks.

An even more popular boat on the top ten list is the Beneteau 40.7, a racer/cruiser designed by Farr:

ARC 2005 - from Yachting World magazine

Here's a sample one for sale:

2001 Beneteau First 40.7 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

What I find interesting is that I could see this boat chosen as an inexpensive choice, but would its design hold up well for a typical cruising load? The fractional rig sounds easy to manage, but the example boat only has a 35 gal water tank.

To quote the article, "She's modest and well behaved, balanced, light, responsive, easy to move about on and comfortable - an all round good egg, in fact." However, how much would be lost if she were fully decked with cruising gear (water maker, stores, spares, extra fuel, four people...).

I could see the Beneteau 473 handling the load better, but at a real price increase.
 

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Jim :
Take your money stateside. There is far better value for money there. In the UK, that 40.7 is £70,000 (excluding taxes, it seems).
Convert that to dollars, and go stateside, buy your ship there, and sail it back, or ship it back.
Taxes on arrival will be about 20%.
You will still be well in front.
You will have more choice too.
Perhaps look at a Hans Christian, or similar.
 

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Jim,

I understand the ARC is often used for delivery voyages for vessels going into charter in the Carribean. Therefore I'm not sure I would use it as a reference for what is used for long term cruising.

I did something similar for the Sail Indonesia cruises (basically Darwin to Singapore via Indonesia) and the most common yachts were as follows:

Roberts (mainly 434's and Offshore 44)
Hallberg Rassy (30'-52')
Adams
Amel (53' being the most common)
Tayana (37'-52')

Just had a quick look and could not see any Beneteau 40.7 listed from 2002 to 2008. Most common Beneteau was around 45-46ft.

Ilenart
 

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Well...Farr is a great designer and has some fine boats out there so you are assured of a good sail. OTOH...I agree with Ilenart that crossing a single ocean on a typically downhill run does not mean the boat is a good cruising design for long term world cruising. (Though it does say you can make passages in good safety.)
I'd be looking at boats like those on the Mahina list here (see sticky in Buying a BOAT FORUM) rather than taking a boat designed for other purposes and trying to make it into a cruising boat.
 

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I agree with the idea that there are bargains Stateside, but you should also look at Panama and Trinidad. Many an optimistic voyage has started with a great, well-equipped boat and a poorly equipped marriage: you can get "priced to sell" boats in good shape except for the bird **** on the decks if you budget for flying in yourself and a surveyor for a week for several boat visits.

Which boat you buy depends on how "shore-independent" you wish to be, and whether you intend to dawdle or to go point-to-point as efficiently as possible (the difference might be two knots of speed, mind you!).
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'd be looking at boats like those on the Mahina list here (see sticky in Buying a BOAT FORUM) rather than taking a boat designed for other purposes and trying to make it into a cruising boat.
I may agree with you about the First 40.7 (the tankage is a giveaway), but I just glanced at this year's entries for the ARC and found at least three of them listed again, along with other larger and smaller Beneteau First series boats.

Maybe my mind's being polluted by some of Giu's posts about lighter, racer cruisers. I know it's been common here to group Beneteaus with Catalinas and Hunters, but Beneteaus (and Jeanneaus) are about the most common boat you see in Southern England marinas and they are taken out in all sorts of conditions on a regular basis. I wouldn't want one that had been chartered to death, but it's interesting to research which ones (and what size) move out of coastal cruising to decent offshore ability.

Lisa Copeland's books about circumnavigating with three young sons on a First 38 are interesting, and I was also surprised by John Kretschmer's review and personal offshore experiences of the First 38--

Used Boat Notebook: From the Pages ... - Google Book Search

Some of the users on Sailnet are also out cruising on Beneteau First series--

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/209972-post7.html

(The First 42s7 is another Farr design, for example.)

Beth Leonard has a good section in The Voyager's Handbook about Racer/Cruisers (pages 49-51), in which she notes the First 40.7 as an example. In her words, pros include less sail area because of less weight overall, easing handling for a short-handed crew. Cons include the need for a more experienced crew in heavy weather, because the boats need to be actively handled or even hand-steered downwind in bad conditions. Speed and performance are reduced by cruising crews who reef down in heavy winds, but still the boats can average 6 knots or more and are typically spending less time out on passage (or in bad weather) overall. They can't carry the heavy loads of traditional boats, nor the stores, but they do handle well in marinas and have better windward performance.

So, I don't care to try to convert a coastal cruiser to a long-range cruiser, and an older Halberg Rassy may still be a better choice. I'd be interested, however, in certain Beneteau/Jeanneau models that might cross the line. In the end, less weight, better performance, and easier handling are also safety factors.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree with the idea that there are bargains Stateside, but you should also look at Panama and Trinidad.
Over the past few years we've looked at a lot of boats for fun, in several parts of the country and here in the UK. For example, the selection of boats is much more extensive in Southern California, but in general I liked the condition of boats better in the Pacific Northwest. One guy said it was the frequent "fresh water" washes of all the rain, keeping the salt off the rigging and decks. There's also a lot of boats in Florida and Mexico, but it seems like the reports of their condition can vary a lot.

Here in the UK, it's expensive to buy a boat and expensive to keep a boat. You don't want to know what we pay for a slip each year. Maybe as a result of this, there does seem to be fewer neglected boats in the marinas, simply because it's too expensive to keep a boat but not use it. There are boats in varying conditions (lots of fresh water washes here as well), but overall there are more boats that were really loved by their owners and made a big part of their lives. Those are the boats we like-- almost no expense spared on maintenance and upkeep, instead of creeping green on teak and fiberglass.

Anyway, the idea of buying elsewhere for less $$$ has its appeal, and one idea is to wait until we're ready to go, and then buy anywhere in the world. The only problem is finding a boat that wouldn't take 6-12 months to prep, and we'd also be sad not to start here and enjoy the Med. Also, having a boat from the US brought here has more than just the delivery charges-- there are tax implications and re-certification implications if we're still living in the EU.

All in all, our current boat is great for the next couple of years. It is interesting to see what boats are being sailed across the Atlantic by others, though, just as it is interesting to read through the boats on the Baha Ha Ha and the Pacific Puddle Jump. :)

(Lots of fireworks going off outside our windows-- it's almost Guy Fawkes night...)
 

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We sail the Windwards and Leewards in the Caribbean every couple of years with friends on their Farr-designed First 36.7. These are very hardy people who are able to live very simply, without all the bells and whistles that are typically seen on the cruising boats in that area.

We get EXHILARATING sailing in the dashes between islands... we have on a couple of occasions pulled this off with 6 people on board (all of whom were accustomed to boating and living in close quarters) but we're doing so with no refrig, no A/C, no wind or solar generators.. obviously not the plan for everyone when you look around you in any of the marinas down there.

Storage is minimal, no doubt, but for this type of sailing shopping each day is easily done, produce is fresh daily, an occasional caught fish enhances the daily menus.

There has been talk on board by the owners speculating about dashing across to the Med for a season or two over there. These experienced sailors do not view their own boat as one they really want to do that trip on.

A faster sailing boat does have rewards and advantages - for the right type of service. In the various caribbean anchorages you see a lot of awfully marginal looking boats in various states of care.. some of them do move from island to island (I reckon with a wary eye on the weather windows) but the ones that have clearly come a long way to get there are either more of the type in Cam's and Ilenart's list or, if of the racier set, generally larger than 40 feet.
 

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The current crop of Beneteaus doesn't do much for me, but the mid- to larger First series are quite good, and I agree with your assessment of them.

There's no right or wrong here...I love sailing on almost any boat that isn't a deathtrap...but I would say "actively hand-steering" in heavy weather with a crew of two adults would lose interest quickly and get dangerous shortly thereafter in an Atlantic passage...which can be heavy weather for days at a time.

Alex's boat is not extreme, but it's essentially a racer with some cruiser amenities, and plenty of performance. He himself has said that it is not the boat to cross the ocean and even going to Madeira (a 600 NM, three to four-day passage for his boat) would require a good weather window and better skills. It comes down to crew, tolerance for the ride and skill more than anything.

A friend told me of when he crewed 30 years ago on a 1974 Viking 33 (I have a 1973, near identical model). They went New York to Bermuda to BVIs with it, a boat with a gas engine, a 12 gallon tank, 20 gallons of water and a 30 gallon holding tank. They had a crew of six, all young men. They likely didn't have provisions that weren't out of a tin, no pressure water, no GPS and probably just a bulky VHF and a bulkhead compass.

With that, they were able to sail 24 hours a day and made good time while hotbunking, drinking beer and ignoring hygiene. That's because in the mid-'70s, a 33 footer was a good-sized boat and why shouldn't it go to Bermuda and the BVIs?

But I imagine the ride was rough...hell, I KNOW it was, and that six young men would have been needed, two per watch, to keep things going. A few weeks of that were likely enough. As liveaboards, the parameters are different, and even minimalists and Luddites like the Pardeys opt for comfortable motion in a seaway.

I would suggest that you and your wife buy personal EPIRBs and crew...separately...on boats of the type you like going trans-Atlantic or on known hard runs like Falmouth to Finisterre, for instance. Compare notes and contrast experiences: You may find there's a big difference between boats on which you'll be happy to spend one to three weeks on passage, and those on which you think you could spend three to five years.
 

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Phase 4

I would suggest Farr Phase 4 if you think 39 feet, 13000#,5ft6in drft.masthead sloop,775 sail area is to your likeing.
 

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Jim..GO FOR IT....

In Europe we have a different point of view about those boats ...I know the boats, many frineds have 40.7 and 44.7, and you could very well go around the world with them...granted you have less space for crap, but less crap means you also travel light..

I take my boat on outings for 3 months and am still here...to have fun, you don't need to bring your whole house behiind you..a La American...and most defenately don't need valiants and Cabo Ricos to sail around the World..

Just go for it. good boats, but beware..getting pretty old old as far as design..

I know of a Portuguese guy that is now circunavigating for the second time (this time the other way around), in a damn BAvaria!!!!!

Its a myth..especially here at sailnet..that you need a tank to survive cruising...I mean liook at the cars Americans buy..big SUVs...it's the same...

If I were to cruise around the Caribbean??? I'd take the 40.7 above any boat...and actually sail around (look at Zahnshin he does it happily with a Jeanneau DS)...instead of "real cruisers" and other same sort type of boats that sail backwards...and have motor to get to places...once the wind hits 10 knots


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Ohhh and remember...here at Sailnet...DARE YOU..say the words "I" "GO" and "CRUISE", (It's considered bad seamanship, bad taste, and not trully being salty, and shows you know nothing about boats), if you cruise with anyhthing but the one and only, built in 1521 for Captain Cristovao Mendonca discoverer of Australia - aka Terra Java: THE HIGHLY WOOD ORNAMENTED SAINLET RIDICULUS BLUE WATER CRUISER, I RATHER MOTOR THAN SAIL




Note...not visible is the 4 foot thick hull



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This argument will run, and run.

I own a Union Polaris 36 ft cutter, and it weighs in at about 10 ton, with a modified full keel.
It has crossed the North Atlantic, including one gale when we had to stream a warp to slow the ship.
I was glad of every ounce of that 10 ton, and for the long keel.
By then, the faster deep fin boys probably would be about 300 miles in front of me, but I hope they didn't get caught in that gale.

To each their own.

It's long keel for me, with the weight, and the stability, and the keel cast into the glass fibre, and the lack of keel bolts, and the keel-hung rudder.

In the lighter airs, I have no hope of catching the lighter ships, but you wait for the big seas, it's tends to be different then.
 

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I have spent a lot of time racing aboard the Farr designed 40.7 and I really think that these are great all around boats. The one that I have been aboard probably has something approaching 15,000 offshore miles, years of hard racing and has been pounded in a storm off Cape Hatteras. Though all of that the boat has held up pretty well. That said there was some remedial work done on the forward transverse frames and the rudder bearings needed to be replaced.

In a general sense the first series are typically better engineered and more robust than Beneteau's 'number' or Oceanis series. This seems especially true of the 40.7, but compared to Farr's other cruising designs the 40.7 is not especially robust.

At the heart of it the 40.7 was designed as a racer cruiser, and in that vein these have been outrageously great boats, with class, if not overall fleet wins in most of the big race series and under most of the popular rating rules used world wide. The boats are a lot of fun to sail and are moderately easy to sail for thier capability to win. While they are becoming obsolete under the current IRC rule, they continue to do well under less grand prix oriented rules. They offer a comfortable interior for coastal cruising, and have sufficient amenities and adequate carry capacity to support a racing crew for a weeks offshore.

All of that said, I would never consider these to be an ideal 'long range cruisers' but that is not what they were designed to be. As noted it would take a lot to adapt them for that purpose and frankly there are better suited and built designs (by Farr and others) for that purpose.

Jeff
 

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Jim, I like this post, and I like those boats, a few of my favorites. I have to pass on a bit of info from a friend that just sailed across the Pacific to Australia. He commented that despite all the good intentioned advice on here about being safe, and what kind of boat is suitable for Ocean passages, there were way more pieces of junk floating around making passages out there than there was "suitable" boats.
 

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Isn't the Bene 40.7 the boat that lost it's rudder off Long Island in June on the way to the start of the Nwpt-Bermuda Race? I have a friend who owned one and he said he ended up modifying the bolts holding the rudder housing on -- basically he drilled the bolt holes to a larger diameter and replaced the orignal bolts with heavier ones. "Light" boats can have problems because everything is designed to save weight, and in the case of Beneteau, cost. Light designs are probably OK for weekend coastal cruises and round-the-bouy races, but long distance / offshore cruising is a different matter.
 

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Jim, I like this post, and I like those boats, a few of my favorites. I have to pass on a bit of info from a friend that just sailed across the Pacific to Australia. He commented that despite all the good intentioned advice on here about being safe, and what kind of boat is suitable for Ocean passages, there were way more pieces of junk floating around making passages out there than there was "suitable" boats.
BF,

There may well be. But I offer as counterpoint a first-hand account from someone who is sailing the same waters.

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/pacific-seacraft/48511-voyage-swan-update-outfitting-etc.html

JimH,

A few questions to ponder: Do you want to set-sail to cross oceans with confidence in your vessel, or with doubts? How do you want to spend your time when you arrive? Making structural repairs?
 

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JimH, what about that lovely Rival you've bought? It seems like an excellent choice for cruising. It's well-made, sturdy and best of, already yours. If I may ask, what set you to thinking the Rival isn't right for your plans?
Regards,
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
A few questions to ponder: Do you want to set-sail to cross oceans with confidence in your vessel, or with doubts? How do you want to spend your time when you arrive? Making structural repairs?
Hi, John

Thanks for the post. I don't think anyone wants to make structural repairs when cruising, and I'm not saying that I'm sold on the idea of Beneteau as a cruising boat (the 40.7, the 44.7 or the 47.7, etc.). However, I was intrigued by how many do the ARC (which could be just one-way trips) and how some have done long-range cruising. If they were made to a higher spec than typically discussed, I could see them as an interesting option (as described by Beth Leonard and done by Lisa Copeland and family).

I might also note that structural repairs aren't only reserved for racer/cruisers. We did look at a pristine 38 foot Swedish-made cruiser, less than 10 years old, and it had structural repairs to the hull after falling off a wave in the English Channel.

So, no big racer/cruiser argument from me, but I am intrigued by what others have to say.

(Yet we reserve the right to fly back to the states and impulse-buy a Kelly Peterson 44 footer at any given moment...)
 
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