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Old 11-08-2005, 09:37   #1
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pirate Beneteau Oceanis 461

I am looking at buy one of these boats, and will be sailing around the world. Any one have any experience of these yachts and how they perform in bad weather? Any one done serious water sailing">blue water sailing in this or any of the Oceanis 46 series? Appreciate your input!
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Old 11-08-2005, 12:39   #2
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There was a detailed discussion on the Oceanis 461 on Sailnet with a number of owners weighing in. The jist of the disucssion is that these were boats that were intended to be inexpensive coastal cruisers, or charter boats, which lack the robustness to stand up to the rigors of prolonged offshore cruising (no less a circumnavigation).

The 461 shares the same hull design with the Beneteau First 45F5 but the 461's were more crudely constructed and have a more primitive rig and less of an offshore suitable interior. The 461's fully lined hull makes it very difficult to beef a 461 up and make the kinds of mods that would be necessary to stand up to the sheer amount of use implied by a circumnavigation.

Beyond that these boats are 12 to 16 years old and would need a major refit prior to being pressed into service for a major passage. It is important to understand that boats like these were designed for normal coastal cruising seasons where a heavily used boat might sail 1000-1500 miles in a season. The hours underway during a circumnavigation is roughly the equivillent of sailing a boat for 20-30 years. The kinds of climates and weather encountered ar far more extreme than one would expect a normal coastal cruiser to encounter as well.

The 461's have an interior and deck layout that is optimized for coastail cruising and charter work, where the boat will spend the majority of its nights on the hook or in a slip. The deck gear and interior layout were not designed to spend days or even weeks in heavy going. The 45f5's have subtly different interiors and substantially better deck layouts an deck hardware. They lack the kind of fuel and water tankage that a boat this size should have it is going to be used for distance cruising.

With all due respect, I would like suggest that perhaps you spend some time studying the characteristics that are ideal for a long distance cruiser. While I disagree with much of the older and out of date literature recommends heavier displacement cruisers, when you start to consider a lighter weight boat for distance cruising, it becomes a bit more important that a lighter weight boat be constructed to a higher standard than most 'value oriented' production boats.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 11-08-2005, 14:40   #3
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thanks Jeff, the boat I specifically looking at is a 1997 model I admit, but she only has 200 engine hours and is virtually brand new! I will try to find these articles in Sailnet, as I have concerns about the stability of this boat in adverse weather conditions! I want to know how they handle! I am also looking at the 45f5.
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Old 11-08-2005, 15:22   #4
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I do not think that stability would an issue with the 461 but if you are concerned with stability, the 45F5 would be a much better choice with its greater ballast to weight ratio, slightly deeper draft, and fractional rig. To some extent, as with most of these higher preformance cruisers the ability to quickly power up and down is very important. For that reason, the masthead sloop rig on the 461 is a pretty poor choice for offshore or for distance cruising.

The perception of stability is often a product of the relationship of the sail area to drag (high drag boats need more sail area relative to their displacement), the relationship of drag to stability (in order to carry the necessary sail area, high drag boats need proportionately higher stability) and rig design (the ability to quickly and easily adapt the sailplan to changing conditions). The 461 and to a much greater extent the 45F5, do well in terms of stability to drag and sail area to stability. Where the 461 gets into trouble is in the ability of the quickly adapt to changeable conditions (further agrevated by the frequent use of in-mast mainsail furling on many of the later 461's) The proportions of the rig on the 461 is such that there is a very high dependence on very large genoas in light to moderate winds. On the 461 these are huge sails, and while up to 15% area reduction by roller furling of the genoa coupled with putting a reef in the mainsail are adequate for short term heavy conditions, the sheer size of the genoa means that headsail changes will be necessary in dealing with longer term heavier going. The smaller headsails typical of a fractional rig, and the ability to precisely control mast bend means that the 45f5 would be a better choice in heavier going, and would appear to

While a 1997 model is a later model than I had expected, (I did not realize that the 461 stayed in production that long) you are still talking about putting something resembling 20-30 years of hard use on pretty light duty boat. Even if this were a new boat, I would seriously question the suitability of its design and robustness of its engineering to stand up to that kind of use.

Jeff
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Old 11-08-2005, 17:49   #5
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I do not own one of these but have looked at several in the BVI's that are charter boats. Looking at the boats the specs layoutdesign and build I like them a lot and wouldn't hesitate a second to circumnavigate in one with reliable crew. The charter boats in the VI's were used heavly and hard for several years and stood up to it well although I notice one loose rudder stock so that might be something to check. Although Drakes passage is protected these boats had seen offshore work in the Anegada passage and around the north sides of the Islands and over to St Croix where 10 miles offshore is OCEAN with nasty currents to boot. Try the Beneteau owners site for first hand info..
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Old 11-08-2005, 22:40   #6
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Why is it.....

Why is it that light weight construction, poor load carying ability and a lack of ultimate stability are acceptable in catamarans but not in modern production monohulls?
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Old 12-08-2005, 17:17   #7
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Ummm well ummmm it's all about tradeoffs..
The Cat crowd says
we are more stable so won't roll
we are much faster so can get away
we are roomier so worth it
w won't sink if capsized or flooded

The Light monohull crowd says
we are faster we can get away
we can sail better so can handle it better
we are heavy enough
we are less expensive so more room adn boat for the buck

The Heavy displacment crowd says
We will get there eventually
and we know we will get there
we are willing to put up with a smaller size and higher cost for safety

Reality--an 80' breaking wave on the ocean is going to crush almost any boat and if your getting hit by one of these any fiberglass boat is going to shake apart as pieces start to fall off it and it will sink
80' breaking waves can almost always be avoided if you sail in the right waters in the right season


Reality--a 60' breaking wave on the ocean is going to crush all but the heaviest boats and even the cat will then sink
60' breaking waves can almost always be avoided if you have the time and sail in the right waters in the right season

a 40' breaking wave on top of the lighter boats and Cats will cause tremendous damage if it hits at most angles and the boats not extremely well handled..and the boat may be disabled or sunk
40' breaking waves can almost always be avoided if you have the time and sail in the right waters in the right season..

a 20' breaking wave on top of the lighter boats and Cats can be handled by almost all production boats if they are well handled..but a bunch one after another will cause the boat to start flexing and probably lose it's rig or break apart
20' breaking waves can almost always be avoided if you have the time and sail in the right waters in the right season..

Just keep going down in size...now whats a Blue Water boat?
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Old 22-08-2005, 04:32   #8
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Bene's Oceanis

I've owned one smaller Beneteau and have chartered several bigger ones in the islands. Overall, to my humble way of thinking the First series is better. Charter-trade or sailing condo designs do have limitations. I tend to side with Jeff H. on this topic.

Given the use characteristics of most sailboats, I wouldn't be seduced by the fact that any boat is a "late" model. There are a number of slightly older, more solidly-built/rigged boats at a similar price point.

Don't get me wrong, I like Beneteaus as coastal cruisers. And yes, many have made long passages.

Also, the 46 is a lot of boat to work short handed. Have you considered something in the 38-40 range?

JR
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Old 22-08-2005, 23:50   #9
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I am confused.

I have been reading on this site that Beneteaus, Catalinas, Hunters, and the like are nice coastal cruisers but not capable of being taken offshore. By whose determination are these boats less capable than the myriad of more expensive one-off boats.
I would like to point out several items:
1. Modern manufacturing methods are generally superior to hand cut and installed parts given that they are more precise and repetitive.
2. Mass produced products are generally less expensive, but not necessarily cheaper.
3. Most (especially Beneteau and Catalina) are certified by ABS for offshore use specifing wave height and wind velocieties.
Many have chosen to ignore the fact that an outside certifying agency has classified the larger aforementioned vessels for Catagory A, (waves > 8 meters {I don't remember the wind velocity spec.}and are self sufficient) and built to plans approved by The American Bureau of Shipping for Offshore Racing Yachts.
This is where I become confused. Are the ABS, the various manufacturers and their design teams lying to us or are a few of our readers less than well informed concerning the abilities of modern production boats and their construction techniques. It is apparent that the production manufacturers have been wronged by the slanted OPINIONS of a few poorly informed individuals.
Jim Kane
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Old 23-08-2005, 08:03   #10
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Cruisers are a conservative bunch...

The confusion probably comes from cruisers being a conservative bunch who do not like to accept a new boat until it has stood the test of time.
It is possibly only now that some of the modern build boats are coming onto the market at acceptable prices.
I have seen a Beneteau 350 used by a very happy single sailor some years ago and a Catalina 42 used by a slightly damp miffed couple who used it to cross the Pacific.
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Old 23-08-2005, 11:12   #11
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correction

I misquoted the specifications for Category A. The correct spec is as follows:
"SPECIFICATIONS OF THE BOAT


Type BENETEAU 393
Name of Builder BENETEAU USA INC.
Design Category A
No. of acknowledged body CE 0607


DESIGN CATEGORIES

Category A: OCEAN – Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4 m and above, and vessels largely self sufficient."
Quote from the Beneteau 393 manual.
Jim
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Old 25-08-2005, 15:00   #12
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You can throw out CE ratings..They were created by a groupd of manufactures to make there boats have a "ocean" "bluewater" whatever you want to call it rating. Same time there is way to much "conservative" traditional predujice out there..

Looking at boat sinkings or serious problems where it was the boats fault the major cause is eith hull flex causeing loss of the rig or oilcanning causing cracks in the hull with through hulls and blown out port a problem too..

Cheaper boats have cheaper ports Hylas, Gozzard, CR etc uses a stainless steel port frames with heavy glass or Lexan. Catalina, B, J use mid weigth plastic with midweight lexan,, hunter, gibsee uses crap I accidently break while closing or opening them..also bigger opening are more likely to break.. choose your demon safety or more light and air..

A modern grid enginered hull or a liner works fine for overall stiffness but when going to windward in big waves that thinner hull skin is more likely to develope cracks especially at joints..
So don't bash to windward in a lighter boat in big seas..
its all tradeoffs...
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Old 24-09-2005, 02:25   #13
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I have a Jeanneau and live on it.

I bought my Jeanneau sun odyssey 51 1991 for the purpose of living aboard and eventually sailing to far-off ports of interest and adventure. The mast is a rolling furler, and massive. The winches are ST 66's and ST44's etc., as are the blocks big and worthy. There is alot of contraversy about whether production Beneteaus or Sun Odysseys and even the modern Hunters can handle Bluewater sailing. OK, fair question for any boat. Ask yourself this, "When was the last time you heard of one being lost in the middle of a circumnavigation?" YES, WE HERE OF BOATS BEING LOST TO THE SEA all the time, but they are all makes and models and for many differing reasons , not which the least of may be sailor experience or a lack there of.

This question is a bit like asking "car" guys who makes the most worthy 4x4 truck. You even suggest a Nissan or "other" traditionally unacceptable "man's" truck and you get an ear full.

For a better opinion(s) You need to always go back to the statistics you can find through the costguard records and all the online stats and owners groups as well as company reputations. Also important, the guys who actually own and have to live on them or deal with the law suits if something fails or has a habit of failing.

There are alot of "old-timers" out there two who will never buy a Toyota over a Chevy or Ford! Or a Range Rover over a Cadillac Esalade.

Here are some facts and some ideas to keep in mind while being bombarted with both traditional views and staunchy ..."don't rock the boat" kind of guys. And , of course, the ..." Leave well enough alone" guys who subscribe to the.. . "Change is bad! We don't like change"!!!

Most of the bigger Beneteaus and Jeanneaus( just as an example of a reasonablly priced mass produced sailboat) are sailed across the Atlantic every year by factory- paid delivery crews to be sold here in the USA or chartered etc. That is "Blue water sailing" Not a day sail near a coast When was the last time you heard of one being lost??? . Just recently a 203 or 4 ??? Hunter completed a circumnavigation of the world and was well documented by Latitude 38 magazine. The owner had the time of his life! And saild in comfort, I might add. One issue with a broken rudder that he fixed when hauled out, but nothing else and it didn't stop him from completing. Todays liability issues make manufactures try harder to produce safer boats. Latest technology allows for better designs and at cheaper manufacturing cost by mass producing the design over and over again. Most production boat use name brand, tried and tested hardware and mast makers.

Laminations are better and modern yacht designs allow for better comfort and even , dare I suggest...luxery aboard? If you plan well and watch the weather, the truth is that being out-there in the middle of the ocean is only as scary as you let it be. Most circumnavigaters will never run into a huricane and the silly fact is most cruisers spend 90% of their time either on the hook, in a marina or day sailing from one island to the next once you get across the ocean to the area you intended to get to. let's see, thats three weeks across a lot of nothingness then months of isalnd hopping and sitting on a hook, until you have to cross again.

I love my boat and it is a compromise, sure. But I am not racing, want my comfort, not afreid of the ocean and I know the dangers of a lowering ones standard of comfort and living, and what effect it can have over time.

Are there stronger boats more suitable for scary seas? Sure. But I could choose to buy and drive an armoured car to and from work every day just so I couldn't get shot at, crashed into or die if run off the road. But it would SUCK 90% of the time! Hey, how many cruisers are out there right now, and then calcualte how many have died or will be lost due to JUST their boat design?

chris
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Old 25-09-2005, 09:42   #14
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Sources of confusion

I think a major source of confusion surrounding the suitability of today's mass-produced sailboats for extended cruising is this CE rating applied to boats sold in Europe. E.g. Jim gets a manual along with his Oceanis that states the boat is suited for use not just in tough ocean conditions, but for unlimited ocean conditions - >4M waves and >F8 winds, signed off by the manufacturer, who in turn is compliant with the EU's RCD. That sounds not only official but also 'sanctioned' in some kind of objective, absolute way. OTOH common sense tells us the Oceanis has limits in what it can handle at sea, certainly lower limits than boats with stronger monocoque hull-deck structures, beefier deck hardware, etc. But beyond common sense, it's fair to ask if even the buiders really believe these CE ratings, or if they are simply following the rules (which BTW they helped to construct in the first place).

I think the answer is illustrated by how the builders market their own products outside the CE/RCD European marketplace. E.g. read the 2005 CW BOTY write-up and notice how the boats' intended uses are described by their builders vs. what the CE ratings are for the boats http://www.thesailingcompany.com/art...=395&catID=635 Hunter may place an authorized 'A' rating on its new model but it sure doesn't describeabout model as unlimited ocean-capable, because it knows better. (In truth, the RCD was essentially created as a trade barrier and reduces the number of non-EU builders who are willing invest the time & expense to get their boats CE rated. E.g. I'm sure no one thinks Valiant builds an inferior product for ocean sailing to one built by Hunter or Catalina. Valiant simply builds fewer boats and so the cost of competing in that market vs. the expected benefit is too low).

Another misleading issue is this 'structural grid' system now in use by all the mass production builders, which is often touted as a high tech solution to structural integrity and an improvement over the previous generations of boats. Boat hulls & decks used to be joined and made into a complete monocoque structure via the attachment of transverse bulkheads, laminated into both the hull and deck. This did two things: it transmitted the rigging loads (chainplates were attached to bulkheads and nearby knees) to a large portion of the structure (vs. localizing them), and it insured that a major loading on one piece of the hull-deck structure (e.g. a big wave landing on a piece of the trunk cabin, or the racking and torquing experienced by the hull in a heavy sea) was distributed to a much larger part of the structure. Many of today's grid systems accomplish the former but do little to deal with the latter. (See the last para in Robbie's post on this point). There are grids and then there are grids; the designs TPI builds and the grid systems it assembles aren't going to be the same as Hunter's grid.

Yet boats aren't sinking right & left, so how can this manufacturing choice be 'wrong'? The answer IMO is that almost every boat sailed will, sooner or later, experience a heavy rigging load, even if only for a short period. We all get caught out, sooner or later, in a thunderstorm or a squawl line, or have to beat back against a stiff headwind so we can get to the office the next morning...and so heavy rigging loads need to be accommodated by almost every boat. However, few of these boats go to sea for one continuous week, even once, when the boat is guaranteed to see a broader weather cycle that includes some heavier seas. Almost none of these boats, even once, experience two or three weeks at sea while covering longer distances and seeing an even greater variety of stresses. Consequently, the builders don't need to build to that standard and everyone ends up happier as a result: the build process is quicker, easier and therefore cheaper on both accounts, the owner gets good value for his/her intended use, and a broader cross-section of the sailing public can afford to be invested in boat ownership.

Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that 'modern' grid systems in all cases mean stronger monocoque structures, because they simply don't.

Jack
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:36   #15
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Oceanis

Well I went ahead and bought one, I like the Farr design and she is a fast and comfortable cruiser. As long as we don't sail in in a hurricane zone during hurricane season, then we will be fine, I think that smacks of common sense. We did have a deep keel warrior 35 and she was brilliant for single handed ocean crossing and survived a capsize around cape horn, but we need something bigger for longer term cruising, and to be honest I think the larger production builds are using modern technology and I have looked at forums and seen 461 owners doing circumnavigations and arc rallies so I guess she is going to be a great boat!
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