What sort of information are you looking for? I have some experience with older Jeaneaus, especially the 40. I thought they were pretty junky boats, basically a couple steps down from a Beneteau. To me, in many ways, they are sort of the French equivilent to a Hunter. By that I mean boats that were built to be affordable. They sail reasonably well, had reasonable but not great standard hardware and they can be problematic over time. Unlike the Hunters, they do not tend to meet all of the US safety standards of the era in which they were built. (Dispite the so called general "common knowledge", Hunter does and excellent job of meeting all of the ABYC standards and Coast Guard regs and their general systems are well engineered.)
My opinion is similar to Jeff''s. Back in the mid 80s when I was looking, I checked out Catalinas, Hunters and Jeanneaus 22-28ft) too but finally bought a Beneteau. In my
opinion, the French boats have a tendency to
be designed for weekending and not long range
The older Catalinas just didn''t have good
cabin space, the Jennys seemed like a knock
off of the Beneteaus with lower grade gear,
and the Hunters were for the "really" budget
conscious and in some respects still are.
I''ve been looking to move up to a 34-37 footer, and have ruled out all but certain
Catalinas of the above set of manufacturers.
But every boat is right for somebody. If you do decide to look at Jenny or Bene...used...
just stay away from the charter vets and
I''m looking at old Pearson, Tartan, Ericson, and some Catalinas for coastal cruisers. Good luck.
I have to disagree with the comments on here. I bought a bank repo Jeanneau four years ago. Its a 1981 Sun Fizz, 40 sloop. I find it to be in pretty good shape considering the hard use and no maintenance it received. It was a racing boat, won its class in the 1982 OSTAR, then used for club racing until 1994. I''m planning to take it to the caribbean next year and I have no question about it being able to make it there and back. Like all production boats it has some strange construction quirks. But all-in-all it is a strong boat.
Beneteau and Hunter are "pan-boats". That is they drop the liner in the hull and tab in place. Jeanneau is considered a "stick" boat.
That is they place a structural grid between the liner and the hull. Similar to Caliber, Catalina, Swann, Waquiez,etc. This makes for a much stiffer, longer lasting boat. We''ve sold many used Jeanneau''s in the late ''80''s, some ex charter boats. They sail great,age well and because of charter boats depressing used boat pricing. A great value.
I am in the process of looking at an older Jeanneau. In fact today I received the survey. The boat is a 1989 and spent some time in the charter trade and I certainly expect it to need entensive clean up and upgrading. (To qualify myself, I grew up with boats, raced and cruised boats for the past 25 years, graduated from a merchant marine academy and focused my post grad education in naval arch. and worked for a very well known Rhode Island based boat builder.) I recently compared the Beneteau 432, 430 and Jeanneau 44 Sun Magic boats. It is my opinion that the Jeanneau is a better built boat than the Beneteau for many of the reasons that can be attributed to the "stick boat" construction method. In addition, my inspections revealed that the quality of finish, which can be observed in details such as the running of the wiring, wiring of the panal, installation of lights, use of "larger" backing plates on stanchion and winches, quality of hardware used below, finish wood working, etc is slightly better on the Jeanneau. I read recently of a couple of families that purchased Jeanneau boats(specifically the Sun Magic 44) and are in the process of completing circumnavigations. I''m sure Beneteaus have sailed the same routes. I would not get to wrapped around the axle when you read about email reviews of various boats. So much of what you read in these emails pertains to issues that deal with the results of maintaince or lack there of. Further, the "factual" information I have been reading tends to be unsuported and I would have difficulty basing any major acquisition decision on what I read here. Like someone else said in a reply, there is a perfect boat for everyone. Buy the best you can afford and leave room to add special upgrades to bring it up to "your" level of expectations and live with it. You don''t need a Hinckley, Alden or Saber to sail coastal or around the world. On the flip side tuck the comments away and recall them as you personally inspect each boat. Go for it!
I beg to differ from some of the early responses posted -- I am partially biased but I may have more facts. I am a recent and happy owner of a mid-90s Jeanneau 37. I was shopping Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter... My final decisions were based on: Superior construction and maintainability of a rib-based hull vs a molded pan, use of Kevlar (for 35''+) and solid glass in hull for impact and lightweight, solid glass at stressed locations on deck, excellent cockpit design - great party boat, nice rich interior - not "fiber glassy" inside, quality hardware and logical layout. My vessel came from France across the Atlantic on its own bottom. While I would not call it a blue water cruiser, I would feel safe to go trans-Pac in it. I felt less so in some of the other boats I looked at.