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Old 22-09-2019, 15:47   #1
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Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

Hi everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster.

I am new to sailing and have spent the last couple years doing ASA sailing certs and whatnot. I have been on motor boats forever and I even used to teach ship handling in the Navy, so I know how to drive. We have chartered a number of boats and are looking for our first sailboat.

I chartered a Beneteau 34 a couple times and most recently a Jeanneau 44. We had the Jeanneau for 4 days and it handled so much better than the Benny did. The Beneteau had a lot of weather helm and I did my best to trim it out, but no luck. It was also a handful when we were docking. The Jeanneau was the polar opposite.

I realize this not at all a fair comparison but would the difference be in the size, the hull or something else. Sorry if this is a noob question. Appreciate the input.
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Old 23-09-2019, 01:58   #2
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

Different boats handle differently. And with such a big difference in size there will be another major difference there. It's not necessarily a brand issue, just two different boats. I've sailed Beneteaus that sail well and other that sail like a pig. The quality of the sails and how the boat is set up also makes a huge difference.

That said, I'd usually take a Jeanneau over a Beneteau if it were my money. But look at lots of different boats.
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Old 23-09-2019, 04:22   #3
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

The hull form on these two boats is so similar, I feel that what you experienced is a combination of size difference and sail/rig tubing difference.
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Old 23-09-2019, 15:38   #4
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

Thanks everyone. I just thought it was strange that a much larger boat handled so much better than a smaller one. Appreciate the responses.
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Old 23-09-2019, 16:04   #5
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

I'd say it's common for a more expensive boat to handle better than a cheaper one. And bigger boats are usually much more expensive. An expensive small boat might handle very well, but will often be more twitchy and responsive for a more experienced sailor. Bigger modern boats tend to be more predictable, especially if you're new to it.
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Old 25-09-2019, 11:55   #6
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

Every single ruddered small boat [up to 36'] I've ever been on suffered from varying degrees of weather helm. The shorter the boat, the greater the feeling of being taken over. The 1st time I sailed a small twin ruddered boat, the lack of weather helm was quite noticeable. YMMV.

Unrelated, but maybe interesting:
Coming from a surfing background, I have 2, 3, & 4 fin surfboards.....and I have yet to meet a single-fin board that can compete with any of them on the same wave. The difference is night and day.
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Old 25-09-2019, 12:48   #7
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

When you say “handled better” do you mean nimble?

The boats are different because they are different, but I want to understand the experience a bit more.

What was difficult about docking? What was easy?
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Old 26-09-2019, 14:40   #8
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by JC Reefer View Post
When you say “handled better” do you mean nimble?

The boats are different because they are different, but I want to understand the experience a bit more.

What was difficult about docking? What was easy?
Aside from the weather helm, it was slow to turn, didn't respond well to the helm and a bit tricky to dock. The Jeanneau was 10 ft longer and the beam was roughly the same but the difference was amazing. Zero weather helm, good response and docking was a breeze. We pulled into Cape Charles and the dockmaster asked us to back it in - in a very tight area. Not only did it just spin on the keel but backed in like nothing. For my first day on the boat it blew me away how easy it was.

I am sure it has nothing to do with the brand, but I am sure the length to beam ratio has something to do with it. Maybe the relative size of the rudder and the distance from the screw to the rudder? Maybe I just expected more out of a smaller boat.

We are in the market for a boat and because of this experience we are looking between 40 and 44 ft.
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Old 26-09-2019, 22:44   #9
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

I used to own Beneteau 34. Very positive experience. Very little weather helm, if not reefed timely, tight turning radius, and easy to dock in moderate conditions. The only docking problem was, it would drift rather fast in a cross wind, somewhere between half-knot and a full knot in a 20-something knot beam wind. I sailed J44DS once. It was a little more intimidating to dock it because of its size, but everything was happening slower. Helm response was not outstanding in any way, just normal.
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Old 26-09-2019, 23:38   #10
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

10 feet longer and nearly 2 feet wider are big differences between these boats. As was said before, what you experienced has almost nothing to do with the brands given so many other variables in the mix. Apples to Oranges in way too many ways to draw the conclusions you’re insinuating.

As to weather helm, it is likely that a smaller boat will get overpowered before a big boat will in the same conditions.
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Old 27-09-2019, 16:49   #11
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Re: Beneteau vs Jeanneau handling

I understand. It was just a question from a sailing noob. Appreciate your thoughts.
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