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OK, I'm now a Beneteau head. I admit it. That's the first step, isn't it? Admitting you have a problem.

I've read in several places, including here, that the First series supposedly is a bit better built than the rest of the Beneteau line. I have been trying to figure out the basis for that conclusion, but to no avail.

I actually went to Beneteau, and the answer I got was that the boats are built exactly the same way, and that there is no difference in build quality. The difference, mainly, is a few things, which are:

1. Style and naval architect (Farr has done a lot of the First series boats), which also tends to result in the First series being more narrow, deeper draft, etc., as you might expect on a more performance oriented line.

2. Lead keel on the First series. (As a total aside, did you all know that J's most recent creation, the J122, has a steel keel and only the bulb at the bottom is lead?)

3. Oceanis has more standard and optional equipment, and generally has more "stuff."

4. No roller furling main on the First series.

5. The First series of 40 and up all are made in France, which I'm told explains the price differential (exchange rate and more expensive to ship). I'm advised that in Europe the First series is no more expensive than the Oceanis. I haven't researched that at all on my own.

6. The rudders fall off of all the Oceanis boats. Just kidding.

Other than that, I'm told the boats are built the exact same way. Same construction methods, liners (yuck), hull to deck joint, deck coring, everything.

So, that leaves me with the question, where does it come from that the First series are higher quality on the build end?
 

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So, that leaves me with the question, where does it come from that the First series are higher quality on the build end?
It's funny, but I've heard the opposite stated more than a few times, usually in reference to the older First series boats ('80s-'90s).

On the other hand, my impression of the newer First Series boats is that they are better designed and engineered (to be light and strong for competitive racing), not necessarily better quality construction. It just seems like they get more attention to design and engineering details than the cruising oriented Beneteau/Oceanis series.

But for cruising, I'd rather have the amenities found on the Beneteau/Oceanis series, if only they'd drop the cast iron keel.
 

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OK, I'm now a Beneteau head. I admit it. That's the first step, isn't it? Admitting you have a problem.

I've read in several places, including here, that the First series supposedly is a bit better built than the rest of the Beneteau line. I have been trying to figure out the basis for that conclusion, but to no avail.

I actually went to Beneteau, and the answer I got was that the boats are built exactly the same way, and that there is no difference in build quality. The difference, mainly, is a few things, which are:
They're all still BendyToys... :)

1. Style and naval architect (Farr has done a lot of the First series boats), which also tends to result in the First series being more narrow, deeper draft, etc., as you might expect on a more performance oriented line.
Some people equate higher performance with higher quality... so that might be where some of it is coming from.

2. Lead keel on the First series. (As a total aside, did you all know that J's most recent creation, the J122, has a steel keel and only the bulb at the bottom is lead?)
Again, this is a performance thing... a steel keel with lead bulb makes perfect sense. The steel is needed for the strength in the keel strut, and the lead for the denser ballast and less wetted area, due to the higher ballast density.

3. Oceanis has more standard and optional equipment, and generally has more "stuff."
More stuff generally leads one to believe it is a "better" boat.

4. No roller furling main on the First series.
Again, not surprising, since the First series is more performance oriented. I haven't seen any racing boats that had roller furling mains yet either.

5. The First series of 40 and up all are made in France, which I'm told explains the price differential (exchange rate and more expensive to ship). I'm advised that in Europe the First series is no more expensive than the Oceanis. I haven't researched that at all on my own.
They probably have better quality control over the boats built in France as well. I doubt they're the same price as the Oceanis series, since the lead and other stuff a First has costs money...

6. The rudders fall off of all the Oceanis boats. Just kidding.
I thought it was true of all BendyToys. :)

Other than that, I'm told the boats are built the exact same way. Same construction methods, liners (yuck), hull to deck joint, deck coring, everything.

So, that leaves me with the question, where does it come from that the First series are higher quality on the build end?
It would be strange to change the production methods and such between the two lines. What may change is the quality of the materials used. Lead versus Iron/Steel for the keel, Carbon Fiber and Kevlar in addition to just fiberglass for the hull laminates, etc.
 

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First series ...Oceanis ..

Build in the US .. all of them, except the new f45 and 50 .. for know..
second there is no better quality over there or here ..all is a same good quality , you really believe Beneteau would allow less quality here??? NO they are not..
same construction , except 10R , and all models are very very good sail boats,
finally not last all molds made in France , and quality controlled by ever hull ..

First series more 1 class oriented , race friendly , Oceanis more cruising amenities ..
last , all production boat has now iron keels , due to cost ... all over the world ..
reshaping the foil, no disadvantage at all ..

go sailing !
 

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last , all production boat has now iron keels , due to cost ... all over the world ..
reshaping the foil, no disadvantage at all ..
Seawitch, you make many good points, but I will disagree with the last. In the U.S., anyway, all of the high-quality builders still use lead as ballast.

Also, I would argue that there are disadvantages to using cast iron as ballast. From a design standpoint, more volume of iron is required to achieve the same ballast weight/righting moment as lead, so the boat will either have more wetted surface and/or a deeper draft with cast iron ballast. From cost-of-ownership standpoint, all you need to do is walk around a boatyard in winter and see all the rusting cast-iron keels, epoxy coatings notwithstanding. It is a maintenance headache, and in my book a false economy.

My strong preference is lead ballast. But I wouldn't completely rule out a boat with cast iron.:)
 

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Take your pick per your type of sailing one does. Personally, i would trust myself in a first over an oceanus in more conditions ie sea or wind state.

Then from there, as mentioned, both will cruise reasonably well, but the first will generally speaking, be a faster boat length for length. I also prefer to do some beer can racing etc, so the first series is a better design/built boat for "my" needs and wants. Generally speaking, they have winch sizes one larger for equal sized boats, one or two more on the cabin top, adjustible genoa cars via lines, vs pinstops. Cockpit mounted travellers vs cabin top, and typically a better pull ratio with micro on a first vs oceanus.

Again, it is a what do you want in your boat. John's PSC31 does nothing for me, while it is a very nice boat, it does not fit my needs, where as a first series or equal style boat would and does. that is probably why I have a Tony Castro designed Jeanneau Arcadia, a fast cruiser racer to a racer cruiser in style. With many of the items I mentioned earlier. If i were to buy a new boat today, the F36.7 is on my short list, along with an X35, Dehler 34r, Possibly the X34 or 37 among others. The Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 looks pretty sweet too. All have drafts over 6-6.5', so those on the east coast may not like them too well!

Marty
 

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John's PSC31 does nothing for me, while it is a very nice boat, it does not fit my needs, where as a first series or equal style boat would and does. that is probably why I have a Tony Castro designed Jeanneau Arcadia, a fast cruiser racer to a racer cruiser in style. With many of the items I mentioned earlier. If i were to buy a new boat today, the F36.7 is on my short list, along with an X35, Dehler 34r, Possibly the X34 or 37 among others. The Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 looks pretty sweet too. All have drafts over 6-6.5', so those on the east coast may not like them too well!

Marty
Yeah, Marty, it's hard to find one boat that does it all well. Having logged plenty of time on racer/cruisers, I now lean away from boats that try to compromise too much. Our boat is a cruiser, and while it gives a surprising turn of speed on passage, it makes no pretenses to be a racer. If racing is what I wanted to do again, I'd probably get another Melges 24 or move up to a Melges 32.

That said, I actually do really like the F36.7. However, my nod would go first to the the new 10R design. It seems to focus better on its priority purpose of racing, and as Seawitch mentioned, the 10R incorporates some improved construction techniques.
 

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I am certainly one of those people who have said that I thought the Beneteau First series was better built than the Oceanis (number series) but that was based on comments made by some of Farr's people who discussed the differences between the in-house engineered boats and the boats done by Farr's office. My opinion was also based on a side by side tour with one of the Beneteau USA guys, in which we looked at things like the wider faying surfaces on the First vs Number series, the hand glassed in bulkheads and stringers on the First Series vs the glued in bulkheads and lack of stringers on the number series. And so it went with frame spacing, deck hardware, rigging size and connections. So I don't who at Beneteau told you that the boats were built the same because the Beneteau guy who walked me through the side by side observation pointed out how they are clearly different.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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John,

No issues on which of the two, ie 36.7 or the 10r(34r in Europe) as to which is more high tech! BUT, I think you will find, or at least I have the 10r to be a be more sparten inside, along with smaller etc, so the 36.7 to be more cruise oriented. ALA to me, similar to the J105 vs the J109. While similar in speed, definetly different in how they are equipped interior wise!

I do hope, as it seems, that you did not take offense to my quip about your boat, a beautiful boat for what it was built as, but like a lot of things, not what I look for at this time in my life! Maybe in another 15-20 yrs!

To me, the oceanus looks like a modern day Bayliner Buccaneer that can at least sail! That shows what they look and feel like to me! LOL

marty
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am certainly one of those people who have said that I thought the Beneteau First series was better built than the Oceanis (number series) QUOTE]

Hey Jeff. Hope all's good by you. Yup, you were one of the people I was thinking about. I didn't get the guy's name, and should have I guess. I placed a call to the factory to ask, and spoke to someone in customer service. The information and impression I was getting from him was precisely the opposite of what you're saying. Query whether there has been a change in the production methodology to make the two lines on par since you spoke to whoever you spoke with. Either that, or the guy I spoke with was, shall we say, less than accurate.

I will say that, at least now, the bulkheads are tabbed and not merely glued in place in the Oceanis series. Likewise, the hull to deck joint now is an inward turning flange and I am advised is the same as the First series, which once was not the case.

SD, I agree completely about the basis for the J122 keel, and I'm sure that's exactly why they did it. Smaller cord, and still get more weight lower. "BendyToy." It still sounds like something you'd find in an adult novelty shop.
 

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Dan,

I should probably note that my side by side comparason was several years back around the time of an earlier discussion with someone who wanted to buy a 473 to sail around the world. You may be right that Beneteau has upgraded the structure since my comparason. The fellow from Beneteau that I was with at the Annapolis show was a production guy in town for the introduction of a new model. I was there as a guest of a broker who I had asked about the differences. The broker had told me how the boats were the same, the production guy showed me the differences.

At least on the Oceanis series boat that we were on you could only see the attachement point of the bulkheads in a few places (sail locker/lazarette) and they were clearly glued. The Beneteau fellow explained that they used a glue that was stronger than the fiberglass and that in destructive testing the glass tore first, but of course with the larger contact area of tabbing, there is less of a likelihood of the hull/bulkhead fatigue and failure.

Similarly the hull deck flange and bolt spacing were clearly more robust on the First that were were looking at.

Jeff
 

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Dan,

I should probably note that my side by side comparason was several years back around the time of an earlier discussion with someone who wanted to buy a 473 to sail around the world.
Jeff
Jeff,

What were your impressions regarding the suitability of the 473 for that purpose? Thanks.


John,
I do hope, as it seems, that you did not take offense to my quip about your boat...marty
Marty -- no offense taken.:) We shanty boat sailors are a very humble lot...
 

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Dan, it's hard to compare these two boats as they're intended for different purpose. That mean it will be also hard, to extract building qualities out of material/size/shape/etc ... for comparision. In general, we cruisers, tend to find racer boats weaker (less weight, materials sized to the limit, etc..). In France, First is around 20% more expensive than Oceanis.
 
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