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Old 07-04-2019, 19:02   #1
GS1
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Join Date: Mar 2019
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Beneteau / Bavaria boats quality issues

Hi,

I have been reading a bit ons Beneteaus and Bavarias, and they seem to be on the poorer / lower standards of quality.

What kind of problems could I expect if I were to buy a 2000(ish), 40ft from one of these brands?
The plan is to sail the med for a few months, not cross oceans.

I heard a lot of complains about furniture: drawers coming appart, doors falling, etc. What else?

Also it seems to me that boats from around 2000 were better build than newer boats. As of when did the quality declined?

Thanks
G
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Old 07-04-2019, 20:50   #2
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Boat: 50í Bavaria
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Re: Beneteau / Bavaria boats quality issues

I looked at a lot of these last year (and bought one). All the Beneteaus I looked at were quite tired-looking, with cosmetic elements that obviously need replacement. The Bavarias I saw (only about half a dozen in detail, like the beneteaus) were all in better shape and had stood up to use very well.

The sailing components you're going to find on any production boat are mostly the same from the expected trusted brands - mine has a Selden mast, Harken winches, Rutgerson deck gear, Jefa steering, Lewmar autopilot etc. This will be size specified to some extent by the original purchaser. Boats bought on an extreme budget will have the minimum sized kit. Boats bought by owners and upgraded at the time of purchase will have much more substantial gear. For example, many Bavarias are bought as charter boats, for which you want the maximum number of berths for the minimum price with minimum complexity. You could also, at time of ordering, specify a taller mast, larger engine, deeper keel, higher quality sails, more and bigger and electric winches. So be careful when comparing boats of the same model - they can be very different.

An old-school sailor here has become a friend recently, and he's been on a number of his friends' Beneteaus (approx 50 feet mostly). He was very surprised on seeing my boat for the first time how much better built it was, particularly for heavy weather sailing. We often get unforecasted 40-50kt winds down here and I'm very comfortable how well she handles them.

There are up sides and downsides to the woodwork internally. No, the quality of craftsmanship is not like you would find in a quality builder. I had a new Westerly 41 built in the UK and visited progress regularly. The timber finish was excellent (and I'm in the wood finishing business so can tell the difference). But the glass fibre and structure on the Westerly wasn't done as well as on this boat.

Quality production lines give you other benefits as well. The other day I managed to swap two entire door and door frames around and invert both of their locks, because I wanted to change the hands on both doors. Because all the woodwork is computer cut everything was identical and I did the entire job in an hour. In the Westerly that wouldn't have been possible without a huge amount of rework.

I particularly like the immense grid reinforcement of the hull on this boat, and the size of all the keel attachments. Some boats have an internal hull liner which means big trouble getting to anything, so watch for that.

In my viewings I found that full lead keels became much rarer after 2005 and quality dropped dramatically after the GFC in 2008.

Keep an open mind, go see a lot of boats, and find a trusted surveyor to help you.
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:36   #3
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Location: Melbourne Australia
Boat: Timpenny 770 7.7m
Posts: 28
Re: Beneteau / Bavaria boats quality issues

I have recently purchased a 2010 Oceanis 40. It was in charter for around 5 years and in private hands with a familiy as a liveaboard for the rest of the time.

3 cabin versions were typically use in charter which means that they had people on them, week in, week out. The boats built around 2000 that had been in charter for 10 years wer very tired looking inside. the other thing about a 20 year old boat is that all the windows and portlights were all crazed and looked pretty ordinary.

you will find the occasional boat that has been in private hands all its life and these will usually be in much better condition, the engine will have much lower hours too.

Apart from the wear and tear, I have no issues with the build quality of my boat, everything works. Beneteau usa [http://spareparts.beneteauusa.com/] have a good stock of spare parts too. Just about everything, door latches, portlights, hatches etc are available.

The bavarias I looked at were a similar story, the privately owned ones were in much better condition than anything that had been in charter.

I find the boat to be well made, everything works and anything that is not working is easily fixed because it is typically made of readily available components.
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Old 09-04-2019, 18:24   #4
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Boat: 50í Bavaria
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Re: Beneteau / Bavaria boats quality issues

I was watching a video just this morning of a guy buying a production cat only 8 years old out of charter, and pretty much everything needed replacing. The wear on these Caribbean and Mediterranean boats must be ridiculous especially when loaded with people -- my boat was available with 5 double cabins and I can't imagine where ten people would sit all day, but most examples of this boat seem to be in charter with that layout. You're not going to find a Hallberg-Rassy that's been through that so it's not surprising they last longer.

An owner version, particularly one that hasn't been raced or sailed as much as the owner really wanted to, can be in almost as-new condition in many areas.

As far as drawers falling apart is concerned, I can only think of one drawer in this boat which is the cutlery drawer. It's fine. The doors would take some serious beating to start "falling", but obviously I can only speak of a small number of examples.

A more premium-end boat will have more drawers -- I remember in particular sailing on a couple of Rivals where just everything was dovetailed whether or not you could ever see it. And they will have a lot more "finishing" inside lockers and storage areas -- the storage areas underfloor and under bunks and under benches are generally just flowcoated inside on my boat rather than having specific liners or wooden interiors. This sort of thing takes a great deal of time and money to do and is something you expect on a higher budget boat.

Don't get me wrong -- if I had five or ten times the disposable budget free to allocate to my hobby I'd be all over a Discovery or Southerly or something similar. Getting on the water is what matters :-)

You'll expect to throw money at rigging, sails, various maintenance jobs from electronics to engines, but this will be true for almost any boat. Go buy a good one and get sailing :-)
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