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In reading various posts on this list, it comes across to me that there is almost a hatred of Catalina, Beneteu, and Hunter boats. Also, for those who favor trailer boats. the hatred is towards McGregor. So a couple of questions.

In looking at ocean capable boats, the CE A rating is to be ignored, although it's very existence is to set minimum requirements for ocean capable. Why does it even exist if it doesn't have meaning?

The boats promoted as being ocean capable seem to fall into two categories: a) boats that are old, and no longer made (they just don't build anything, cars or boats, like they used to), or b) boats currently made that are extremely expensive (never drove either one, but there's no doubt that a Mercedes is better than a Chevrolet or Ford...the same logic that's killing the US industry). So if the old style, smaller, less expensive boats from years ago are so great, why are they still being produced?

If Catalina, Beneteau, and Hunter are so terrible, why are they the largest manufacturers of sailboats in the world? The charter trade in the islands is tough service for boats and Beneteau seems to own it. Why are the rugged ocean capable boats not in the charter business?

I don't think saying that they are lightly built gets it...A Cat 40 hull and rig weight (displacement less ballast) is 12,500 lbs. A
Caliber 40LRC is 12,100, a Island Packert 40 is 12,800, a tarton 4100 is 12,400, a HallbergRasy 40 is 12,945.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The question regarding old, smaller ocean capable boats should read, why aren't they still being produced.
 

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People love to knock other peoples boats :)

I have to say in general that having bought 3 NEW and about 4 used boats that the amount of defects in NEW boats across the board it is pretty sad and the diffculty getting things right can be a PITA


I can only imagen how many RED circles consumer reports would give most boats
 

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The question regarding old, smaller ocean capable boats should read, why aren't they still being produced.
NCC: you can click "edit" on your own post and fix the typo rather than add a post.... it's a handy button that you see only on your own posts!

I think you need to keep in mind that much of the brand-bashing you read is more "baiting a buddy" than genuine rational criticism. But just as you have, to use your analogy, die-hard Chevy fans vs Ford, so do we have these "conflicts" in the sailing world.

When you speak of the older, rugged 'preferred" offshore boats that are no longer in production, perhaps it's a function of the changing world we live in.. Production and material costs are rising and so boatbuilders look to new techniques and methods to minimize weight/material etc - occasionally to the point of poor quality. To produce that rock solid heavy offshore boat would drive costs up to unmarketable levels... and besides many would argue against that philosophy now on other grounds.

To a degree you'll get what you pay for... the higher end boats will be better built and fitted out with better gear for heavy service, the coastal cruisers are built to a price point in the full expectation that they will never truly venture offshore. People that take to the seas in such boats are either taking risks, or spending a lot of time and money to upgrade them (if possible) to the task.

Personally I'd be content with pretty well any of the maligned brands for the kind of coastal sailing we do - excepting the Mac/Hunter powersailer concept - and most of the recent (10years back) Hunter lineup - mostly due to the aesthetics and their rig ideas.

That said, in the proverbial "pick any boat you want, money no object" game of dreams I'd be looking elsewhere.
 

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Boat Building

Say what they may, Catalina, Hunter and Beneteau have put alot of people into sailing. They are what they are, very good boats for the money but have their limitations. They are made for what 98% of us do, coastal crusing with a good degree of comfort and room. The market and costs have dictated what we get for our money. If they built them like they used too very few of us would be able to afford our boats.
 

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One thing I've noticed about the usual Catalina/Beneteau/Hunter snobbery is that when they describe why they're bad boats, they tend to talk about fit and finish or aesthetics and not structural or engineering issues. I know the woodwork in my Benny is veneered. That's why I can afford it. So thank you, Beneteau.

So you're hitting upon a common question, NCC320, and it's common because nobody answers it well. Why is a modern day production boat considered less worthy than an old classic plastic of the same relative size?
 

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Pain

Not to say my older 85 Jeanneau is better wost than a new version. BUT, being as the older boats, folks it seems did not know how thick they had to make the fiberglass etc, so they were built heavier, so folks assumed they are stronger, and probably are to a point! BUT, that has not stopped folks like the owner of a local boat dealership. that spent 24 months aboard a Jeanneau SO49iP sailing around the pacific rim with his wife and now 13 yr old twin daughters! They had no issues, in fact a few times they were sailing in the mid to upper teens with just one of the girls steering in 20' waves, and upper 20 wind speeds with a main and AS up! she had no issues controlling the boats

I would not have an issue with some of the new boats heading out for a world cruise if you will. Certainly not some of the smaller ones, but mid 30' on up, with the CE A rating. Just do not plan on sailing during hurricane season or equal.

Some of these so called BAD boats, will work fine for the majority of our uses! Just make sure it is a race/cruiser design for my personal needs vs a straight cruiser style build! ie in the Bendy world, a First series over the oceanus!

marty
 

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The funny thing is, BLT, that the older-is-thicker-is-better topic has been debated quite a lot and opinions still vary. And I think that that era is generally considered to be the 50s and 60s, though some may include the 70s. I recently read an article in one of the sailing mags from an old boat builder who called that whole premise hogwash. According to him, those guys knew precisely what they were dealing with. I know that Giu is adamant that the modern, thinner layups of today are engineered better than the thick ones of the past. I tend to have faith in engineering and would like to agree. I do know that Beneteau has laboratories and stress tests plugs of their glass lay-ups and I wonder if the old shops had that kind of budget. So who knows. Certainly not me.

I think we have to do it old-school, trust our own judgment, make up our own minds, and have an adventure. :D I'm going to take my Benny up to NYC this spring with some buddies. If that goes well, me and the boys will set our sights on Bermuda.
 

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I feel you are right, in that some of the newer designs etc are better, stronger, lighter, faster models of boats etc, with more room than before. These new ones are nicer than old, handle better, sail better..........I'l take on over the old ones! For what ever reason, I do not like some of the BIG rounded blob looking boats, like the newest Jeanneau's, Oceanus models, remind me too much of the mega windowed Buccaneers from bayliner! At least the newest versioned boats do sail well!

Now to figure out if I can get to the seattle inland show at qwest field, ie seahawk stadium in enough time to see something before they close at 9 pm! only 3:45 local right now!

marty
 

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In reading various posts on this list, it comes across to me that there is almost a hatred of Catalina, Beneteu, and Hunter boats. Also, for those who favor trailer boats. the hatred is towards McGregor. So a couple of questions.
Hunter, Beneteau and Catalina are the Chevy, Dodge and Ford of the boating industry. They are serviceable coastal cruisers. Not hated but but not quite lusted after either. Hunter gets a bad rap because their quality was not great for quite a few years. Not horrible - just not great.

MacGregors are generally considered to be less than attractive craft. They are very lightly built and not suitable for use in anything other than sheltered waters. Kind of like the mopeds of the boating world.

In looking at ocean capable boats, the CE A rating is to be ignored, although it's very existence is to set minimum requirements for ocean capable. Why does it even exist if it doesn't have meaning?
It has meaning. Other things just have more meaning.

The boats promoted as being ocean capable seem to fall into two categories: a) boats that are old, and no longer made (they just don't build anything, cars or boats, like they used to), or b) boats currently made that are extremely expensive (never drove either one, but there's no doubt that a Mercedes is better than a Chevrolet or Ford...the same logic that's killing the US industry). So if the old style, smaller, less expensive boats from years ago are so great, why are they still being produced?
For a period of time, when there were lots of fibreglass boat builders, the hulls were built quite strongly. So strongly that the boats didn't really deteriorate. They held together so well that there was no real reason to buy a new one, when you could get a used one for half the price. So the reason they don't build most of them anymore is that the old ones are still working nicely thank you.

That said, a lot of the boats that are cruising around the world right now were never designed for the purpose. People being what they are though, they ignore the boat's intended use and happily head off into the wild blue yonder, safely circumnavigating and leaving the less adventurous on the jetties wringing their hands in horror.

The newly built purpose-built ocean cruisers are entirely different craft than the older mass-market flotsam. They are stronger, more intelligently designed and have a much more comfortable motion underway. You get what you pay for.

Imagine that you are driving a car in the Paris-Dakar rally. You could probably finish, and even win driving a Ford Tracker. When you did finish though, there probably wouldn't be much left of the car. So the next time you want to run a rally you need to either buy a new car or rebuild the Tracker.

Contrast that with a Landrover which costs about five times as much as a Tracker. The Landrover is definitely going to finish, and you might need to change the oil and maybe tune her up before you head off to the next rally.
If Catalina, Beneteau, and Hunter are so terrible, why are they the largest manufacturers of sailboats in the world? The charter trade in the islands is tough service for boats and Beneteau seems to own it. Why are the rugged ocean capable boats not in the charter business?
It's not that they are so terrible, they are just not strong ocean cruisers. The reason they sell so many boats is that most sailors have no intention of even crossing one ocean, let alone circumnavigating a couple of times. The big three make boats that are all the average sailor needs.

The charter business is hard on boats but the conditions that they are sailing in are not (usually) too bad. The damage comes from the constant stream of sailors unfamiliar with the boats. They bang, crash, scrape and thunk their way through two weeks in the Caribbean sun and have a great time. After 5 years the boat has paid for itself and is either trashed or sold off. You couldn't do that with a $750K boat. It would take too long to pay off, and repairing the wear and tear is a lot more expensive on the nice ones.

I don't think saying that they are lightly built gets it...A Cat 40 hull and rig weight (displacement less ballast) is 12,500 lbs. A
Caliber 40LRC is 12,100, a Island Packert 40 is 12,800, a tarton 4100 is 12,400, a HallbergRasy 40 is 12,945.
It's not how much they weigh, it's what the materials used in the boat are, and how they are put together. Of the boats that you have listed, the only ones that I would think about taking offshore are the Caliber and the Island Packet.
 

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See comments below.
In looking at ocean capable boats, the CE A rating is to be ignored, although it's very existence is to set minimum requirements for ocean capable. Why does it even exist if it doesn't have meaning?

It is LARGELY marketing that says a boat meets certain minimal standards. It does NOT mean that a boat is suitable for CONTINUOUS blue water cruising OR that it is designed with the FEATURES bluewater cruisers find desireble in their boats.

If Catalina, Beneteau, and Hunter are so terrible, why are they the largest manufacturers of sailboats in the world? The charter trade in the islands is tough service for boats and Beneteau seems to own it. Why are the rugged ocean capable boats not in the charter business?

First. They aren't terrible. They provide great boats at a great price for the VAST majority of what most buyers want to do which is NOT sail the oceans. They all have made some pigs but especially today...they do not make crap.
You completely misunderstand the charter trade in the islands. It is definitely NOT rough service in terms of stress on the boats rig or structure. It is EASY sailing. It is rough service in terms of engine wear, hard groundings and general mistreatment of the boats by charterers. The charter boat trade uses boats which MAXIMIZE the number of people that can be comfortably fit aboard to reduce the cost per person. Large cockpits and interior spaces are at a premium. Just the oposite of a cruising boat which is completely unsuited for the charter trade. A CHEAP boat in price is MOST desireable as it is easier to sell to the people who will actually own the boat while in charter and after it comes out of charter. High volume production boats are thus ideal for the trade.


I don't think saying that they are lightly built gets it...A Cat 40 hull and rig weight (displacement less ballast) is 12,500 lbs. A
Caliber 40LRC is 12,100, a Island Packert 40 is 12,800, a tarton 4100 is 12,400, a HallbergRasy 40 is 12,945.
You can't equate weight with build quality AND with blue water capabilities.
There is simply no relationship since granite countertops weigh as much as properly sized winches and backing plates or a skeg hung rudder.
That's how I see it.
 

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One thing you're also missing is that the idea of what makes a good, marketable boat has changed quite a bit. For many people buying a boat nowadays, it isn't so much about the sailing, as it is about having a status symbol and a place to entertain friends. This has led to larger, beamier boats with huge salons and cockpits, that are really not well suited to being out there on the ocean when it gets nasty.

A lot of the more seaworthy brands have gone out of business, because a blue water cruiser isn't as marketable for most people as a coastal cruiser, and is more expensive to build. This is especially true in the smaller boats, where the profit margins are smaller.

Another thing that you've missed is that the overall boat size that is considered "acceptable" for cruising has slowly grown. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was often acceptable to be out cruising in boats under 30'. That number has creeped slowly upwards, and some of it is due to a change in the demographic population of boat buyers, who, having more disposable income are looking to have boats with more creature comforts, and some of it is due to the manufacturers shifting their product lines to emphasize larger, more profitable boats.
 

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A lot of the points raise above are very good and appreciated, but still vague. I'd personally still like to see a list of empirical qualities to compare one boat to the other. For example, we often hear about "motion in a seaway". Great. I understand that. But how do I evaluate that when looking at a boat in a yard or at a boat's line drawing or design spec?

Another example is the "built for continuous cruising" concept mentioned by Sailormann above. Same thing. I get it, but how does one evaluate a boat for those qualities? Is it in the hull construction? If so, what do I look for? More stringers and stiffeners? Thicker layup? Or is it more a matter of tank capacity and the quality of hardware and gear?

One thing I HAVE noticed is the near absence of grab rails in newer boats and the large expanses of nothing to grab onto in the wide, lovely salon areas. But that's only a small thing.
 

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Cam and Sailing Dog have given what I thought were very clear and well reasoned thoughts on this matter. Take at look at this website that gives comfort and stability indices for many popular brands.
Sail Calculator Pro v3.52 - 2000+ boats
 
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