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Old 25-10-2007, 18:07   #1
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Beneteau 461 45F5 and Idlylle 15.5

We are in the hunt for a liveaboard boat, but one that has solid and stable offshore capabilities.

I had not seriously considered Beneteaus until a couple of days ago, so I'd like to get some feedback.

Here is our criteria for a boat (we think ):
3 private staterooms - bunks are fine and maybe preferred in 1 or 2 of the staterooms
2 heads
at least 1 separate shower
heat source that keeps the boat warm cozy and dry in the NY winter
sloop or sutter rig (really would rather not have a mizzen)
plenty of light and ventilation in salon
sea kindly
draft that will enable us to sail in the Bahamas in a few years
autopilot
water tankage of 200 gals
fuel tankage of 100 gals
propane stove - preferably 4 burner
not afraid of a 20 yr old boat - but price must be low enough to purchase without a loan - (my budget is about 120k for cash)

So how would a Beneteau stack up as a liveaboard? Are they pretty tough and seaworthy?
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Old 26-10-2007, 04:03   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swabbmob
... So how would a Beneteau stack up as a liveaboard? Are they pretty tough and seaworthy?
Whilst I wouldn’t consider most Beneteaus to be particularly tough & seaworthy (these are relative, not absolute terms) boats, they are the world’s most prolific sailboat builder.
There’s a lot of people happily sailing (& even passage-making) and living-aboard Beneteaus. I’m not fond of the Bene’s, but wouldn’t exclude them from my search.
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Old 26-10-2007, 05:31   #3
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Thanks Gord. I had so completely dismissed them that I never even looked at the specs on Yachtworld. But in my desperate search for 3 private staterooms, I had to finally break down and consider them. Now, practically, I am going to be cruising in the New York and New England area for the next several years. Plenty of places to hide from nasty weather. But I absolutely do not want a boat that bounces in the seaway - which is what I see with many of the newer Hunters, Catalinas, and Beneteaus.

I also want a fairly simple rig that makes it easier to slip the docklines and go.
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Old 26-10-2007, 06:53   #4
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swabbmob, you should check out the calculator link that GordMay posted the other day, extremely useful tool:

Sail Calculator Pro v3.5-beta

Compare the Bene F45F5 to the Catalina 470. The results may surprise you, the Cat has more displacement and scores better in both capsize ratio and motion comfort.

We own a Catalina and have chartered Beneteaus a few times, we're familiar with both and we like them both. We were considering buying an ex-charter Bene in the BVI just because it's already down there and we don't look forward to the slog down the east coast. We might re-think that plan in light of what our research into Cat vs Bene is revealing. Might still do the Bene, but I no longer believe they are any better than a Cat and certainly not cheaper than a used Cat. Good luck on your search.
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Old 26-10-2007, 07:08   #5
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For those researching the “Hunta-Bene-Lina” market, ”Sail” magazine’s Boatbuilding 101 article offers a [u]very basic[/u\ description of
HOW PRODUCTION SAILBOATS ARE BUILT ~ by Bill Springer
Sail Magazine 2007 Buyers Guide: Boatbuilding 101

And:
Boat-testing tips
DON'T BUY BEFORE MAKING A THOROUGH EVALUATION ~ by Kimball Livingston
Sail Magazine 2007 Buyers Guide: How To Test A Boat

Index to “Sail” magazine’s on-line articles:
Sail Magazine 2007 Buyers Guide: Articles

Note: None of these are in depth treatises, but they do add a little light "fluff" to our knowledge base.
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Old 26-10-2007, 08:36   #6
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Don't know about any Idylle 15.5 but I did sail an Idylle 13.5 in the Caribbean for a month and found it to be a very solid boat. More robustly built than later Beneteaus. It would make an excellent liveaboard. Here's one. St. Barts Yachts (Charleston, SC)
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Old 26-10-2007, 17:08   #7
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Okay, it is starting to happen again...my mind is creaking open...is someone going to show me that a Catalina is just as viable a liveaboard boat? Guys, I may be studying this stuff for years!I will dig into the information from Gord. I did see a Calatina Morgan 50 in Texas that was pretty dang nice looking.Thanks as always and please don't stop the education.
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Old 28-10-2007, 18:48   #8
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There is a Benneteau on the mooring next to us. I don't know but the stern of that boat slaps in even the slightest swells.

I sleep aboard most weekends and that hull slapping is annoying.

It was also dismasted in April in 30 kt winds and they are still waiting for a new rig. If I were getting a boat bigger than 40 feet and planning ocean crossings, it wouldn't be a production plastic boat.
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Old 28-10-2007, 19:09   #9
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Most modern boats slap in the stern. Once you live on a boat these noises don't bother you. It's the sounds you don't understand, the sounds you're not familiar with, that will bother you. I smile when my weekend sailor friends complain when it's not perfectly still and quiet at anchor. You'll get used to it after a month or two. As long as the anchor's holding, you'll sleep.
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Old 28-10-2007, 19:11   #10
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I anchor around 30 other boats. I love boat sounds at night.

However, the benneteau is unique and broad in the butt...
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Old 28-10-2007, 19:15   #11
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Wait until you anchor near a cat! Especially a Gemini.
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Old 30-10-2007, 06:39   #12
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Originally Posted by swabbmob View Post
Thanks Gord. I had so completely dismissed them that I never even looked at the specs on Yachtworld. But in my desperate search for 3 private staterooms, I had to finally break down and consider them. Now, practically, I am going to be cruising in the New York and New England area for the next several years. Plenty of places to hide from nasty weather. But I absolutely do not want a boat that bounces in the seaway - which is what I see with many of the newer Hunters, Catalinas, and Beneteaus.

I also want a fairly simple rig that makes it easier to slip the docklines and go.
If you are looking for three private staterooms check the Frers First 456. Several have circumnavigated and can be found in good condition.
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:48   #13
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Avaquez, Thanks for the lead on the First 456's. I noticed that Frers designed the Idylle series also. I love the double bunks in some of the 456's and I think that would give us the bunk space we are looking for. They look like fast boats, but appear to have a sea-kindly hull shape.
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Old 26-11-2007, 05:47   #14
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Bene 461 Offshore Performance

Hello friends,
I've just returned from an 11 day delivery of a Oceanis 461 from Long Island Sound to Tortola. What a great opportunity to answer my own questions about the characteristics of the Beneteau's I have been considering as a live aboard cruiser. First, I must say that it was a very tough boat. We had several days of challenging wind and seas, getting smacked by several breaking waves. The winds were 30 to 40 knots, peaking at 62 knots.

This was (and is ) a beautiful boat. Very well cared for, with a gorgeous salon and woodwork. The cockpit was huge, with nary a D-ring. Many comforts of home.

The reasons why I will not continue looking at this series of Beneteau for my needs:

The in line galley on the port side was absolutely useless. The sinks were so small, that on a starboard tack, water from the faucet didn't even hit the sink. There was no place to lock in while preparing meals, and I found my self working back and forth over a 9 foot area to pull the meal together.

The vessel gave up a tremendous amount of leeway. At the height of the storm we were fore-reaching and at times were losing 30 degrees to leeward. The boat absolutely would not track. At one point we attempted to heave to, but became concerned about the pressure on the carbon fiber rudder, and the motion was less comfortable than when fore-reaching, so we plugged on. The boat seems fast, but in reality, your course over ground is 3 knots less.

The motion - the hull shape definitely caused us to pound and to skip across the top of the waves (which may have actually defused the force of the waves). A very uncomfortable boat when down below during a blow. When broad reaching and running, the motion was better.

The in-mast furling main was basically impotent. We had the main mostly furled whenever the wind was more than 120 degrees aft. The furling gear appeared to be very stout, and I think it is a workable system, if you could just figure out how to get a bit of roach in the main.

We would have given a few precious body parts for a staysail. We were very concerned about the forestay, even when the head sail was reefed to the size of a hand kerchief.

As mentioned, the cockpit huge and in my view dangerous in a storm. There were few places to harness - which could be remedied to some extent with the addition of D-rings.

Now, this will be the perfect boat in the BVI, going from anchorage to anchorage. It willl be a gorgeous party platform for socializing, snorkeling and local gunkholing.

I still believe the Idylle series and the First 456 may be what I am looking for. They have a much different hul shape, and a beefier rig, including staysails. Anybody need one delivered offshore?
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Old 26-11-2007, 08:07   #15
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The Oceanis series of yachts were designed to serve the Charter Trade which they seem to do quite well. They are not, however, suitable for prolonged off-shore sailing as indicated by the galley arrangement alone as you discovered. Moreover, based on their hull design, they would seem to roll their guts out in a seaway whenever off the wind. (I weigh in at 170 lbs and if I can feel a 42' boat roll down when I step up onto the toe-rail while the boat's in a slip, that's not a boat I want in a heavy sea.)

We own a 1986 First 42 that is a terrific sailing yacht and built like a tank (although nothing is easy to repair simply because so much was squeezed into such small spaces). Never-the-less, speaking as a structural engineer, I can tell you that the yachts were very well built. The First Series were, however, primarily designed for racing (Admirals Cup) while the Idylle's, though similar, were designed for cruising with somewhat more room and much more storage capacity. (Given our own use of the yacht, we would have been wiser to have selected an Idylle but we were smitten by the sexy look of the First and how well one of her sister-ships sailed.) Either boat is rock solid in a seaway with an easy motion. (Yesterday we had 22 knots across the deck with a full 135 and a single reef in the Main and were doing an easy 7.5-8.5 knots at no more than 15* while yachts all around us, including several quit larger, struck their sails entirely or-apparently-motor sailed with deeply reefed mains and no jib!)

As for the new Beneteaus, we're not impressed with the designs although I'm fairly confident that the build quality is still good. Truthfully, although they are frequently panned, the Catalina 42's and 470's have also shown to be will built and several of our friends that have Catalina 42's swear by their boats.

If you can find a well maintained First or Idylle, you will not be unhappy with your decision.

Cheers,

s/v HyLyte
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