I bought a '98 311 a couple of years ago as my first boat purchase
and am sailing it single
handed. Here's what I can tell you of my experience:
1. The dripless shaft seal
has a hose nipple fitted to it which is very likely to become broken (only a few threads hold a brass nipple to a pvc shaft tube). Check to see if it has been repaired or broken, and if repaired if it was done well (mine wasn't and would have sunk me if I'd been moored in deeper water). Beneteau has a recommended fix however that requires hazardous 'Nasa superglue' which could not be air shipped to my region of the world. So I used my own method to fix the problem.
2. The boat has a lot of sail for its weight is tender
and will tend to round up to weather
in winds of 20 knots when close hauled. Usually rigged for two reefs
, would be better if rigged for three. It's capsize
ratio is not very good - see Sail Calculator Pro v3.0
for the calculation. That being the case I really enjoy sailing in moderate conditions and have found that after accumulating more onboard gear
& supplies (and weight), and more experience withit, I am sailing it with confidence.
3. Found that the only autopilot
I could install was a wheelpilot
. That is because the quadrant is above the deck
, not below, in a recess under the rear seat. There is no room on the quadrant for rudder
sensors, so my autopilot
is not as 'auto' as I would like.
4. When surveying the hull
, check the hull
liner under the galley
. Mine had some movement there in the past. Has not become a problem for me or worsened, but it may be a weak point in the design scantlings.
5. Prop end-shaft anodes are special to Benetau and will likely need to be purchased online. No room for other types of anodes on the shaft.'
6. Like other Beneteaus, it has brass through-hulls, not proper bronze sea cocks. I plan to replace these next season.
All that being said, I am happy with it as my first boat. I find I can control the boat at the dock
(anything larger would be more than I could handle on my own). Would be nice if it had a mid cleat.
Hope this helps.