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Old 14-11-2008, 11:51   #1
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boat reputation

Having been kicking tires for years I am now seriously shopping for "the boat" - the admiral has finally decided she wants to go so I am devoting a huge amount of effort to finding "the boat". I also realize that variations on this question are probably the most common threads on this forum.

My question revolves around the reputation of a given boat or boat manufacturer. We have a couple of friends who are supposedly knowledgable and they will make statements to the effect of -boat A is crap but boat B by the same manufacturer is good. Or all boats made by manufacturer C are good etc.

How is this knowledge disseminated. Is there a secret meeting every year that "old salts" go to and there decide what will be deemed rubish and what is not. Can I get a copy of the minutes of that meeting?

So far about the only boats that we can eliminate are the Benateau and that is probably for completely the wrong reasons. Since I believe Benateau is the largest selling boat in the world there must be lots of people happy with them but in those we have looked the interior seems to have poor workmanship and less than steller materials. Therefore the reasoning goes that if the cabnet joinery is poor the rest of the boat may be poor. I will be the first to admit this is a stupid but without having gone to the secret meeting I alluded to above I don't know how else to make a judgement.

Any wisdom, suggestions, articles, books or opinions will be gratefully received.

sk
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:00   #2
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Shawn

I think you need to better define how, why, where and how often you will be using the boat, your budget, your experience and what crew you have available. While some boats are clearly better built than others I have yet to see a boat literally just fall apart by any manufacturer.

As you approach the five year mark care and maintenance can play as large or a larger role than the original construction. I have seen some very well built, high dollar vessels, relegated to worthless hunks of fiberglass due to lack of care and maintenance and also seen some of the least expensive boats in tip top shape, at the 30 year mark, despite being of a perceived "lesser quality"..

It is my personal feeling that more depends on you the owner or the previous owner than does perceived quality. I've sailed on a number of Bene's, mostly First series, in some nasty stuff and none of them imploded or exploded for that matter..
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:03   #3
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Am I allowed to say this?

I'm not sure about the protocol here but I'll stick my neck out and say that if you visit my web site www.perryboat.com you can read about my consultation service. Maybe I know a thing or two that could be of value to you.

If I am out of line "hawking my wares" here would someoine please fill me in on the correct way to particpate here as both a fellow sailor and a professional in the field.
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:45   #4
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Quote:
Can I get a copy of the minutes of that meeting?
No if it was discovered it was given to you they would have to kill you and the person that gave them away unless you care to make a contribution?

Seriously, Boat reputations are fine for sitting around the clubhouse and shooting the breeze. You are not buying all of them. You only need one good one. So what if most of the rest were bad? Simplistic methods of judging quality are easier than they are accurate. So look at the cabinet joinery and extrapolate everything else. It does not really work that way but if the rest of the folks you talk to think so then they will appreciate that you did the right thing. The intent is to do as little work as possible without learning or knowing anything so you don't buy the wrong boat.

This seems to be a very large fear with people deciding they want to get a boat. The idea that you could get the "wrong" one scares too many people to a large degree. The converse of picking the right boat and all the problems go away is about equally foolish. This makes the two ideas balance out. The third approach is you will research all the boats making detailed charts and thus "compute" the perfect boat. I've met people that spent years doing this. Decided they would go out and buy one and find out they wanted a different one because it was a better deal. It's the more painful approach but usually pointless.

Boats are somewhat like suits. The better ones are custom fit to you, your needs, and your intended purposes. Lots of folks sail a lot and only sail on the nice days for a day or two at a time. They love boating and they can't invest more time than they are currently doing. They would if they could but they can't. They still have a lot of fun. Many sailing for 30 years or more. This comprises most of the market for sail boats. All boats do this more or less well.

There really is no secret information available because the critical part of this is determining your needs and purposes to a level of specificity to differentiate one boat from another based on how well it can meet those needs. Since you don't yet understand your needs then you will never find the perfect boat nor will you know it if you fell on it. With limited knowledge you could just go out and find one you like. Brand names are mostly pointless since most boats for sale are used and you don't know where they have been.

There really are no lists of bad boats you shouldn't buy. Since all boats are built for a specific purpose though you may not know what the purpose is. Knowing the purpose won't actually help you understand your purposes any better but it's a way to approach boats you don't know. The first step is to learn about your purposes and you desires. Not so much what you might do but actually what you will do, know how to do, what you like and what the Admiral wants. First lesson in sailing is the Admiral is always right so don't get ideas to the contrary. You can make a list of boats and you can look them over but if the Admiral does not like it it's not the one. The best you can do is stack the deck with some good boats. It's what I did.

Needs and requirements must be derived based on what you can do because you know how. Understanding is the key not a list of boat brands. What you can afford matters unless of course you have exceptional wealth. Boats do cost a lot and we have many threads here about the details - there are a lot of details so you know it really is expensive. The "a lot of money" is the key phrase. There are no cheap boats. From there all secrets will reveal themselves to you without an invitation to the secret meeting.

If your intended purpose is to sail off for extended periods of time (aka "Cruising") then there really is only one significant requirement that many boats fail to have and it has nothing to do with anything about quality. The boat has to be designed and in serviceable condition to haul lots and lots of crap. Water, fuel, supplies, equipment and all your personal crap too plus have room for a nap. An overladed boat will drown you. You need at minimum 2 tons of crap per person to live poorly.

This will eliminate all boats used for racing and day sailing. It is the one issue that we might all agree on. After that things shake out based of all the various things that make some people different than others. The money really does matter and you should never buy a boat you don't like. The good news is the Admiral will know the latter. Half the job is now done.
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:49   #5
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Hi Bob,

Actually we prefer you don't hawk your wares even if your reputation preceeds you. Unlike a lot of folks yours has a positive asspect. We sure wouldn't mind if talked some boat talk though.
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:56   #6
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Paul:
It is really hard for me just to be "Bob the guy with the Norlin boat down the dock". I've been working at this too hard and too long. But I totally understand and I respect your position.

I'll just go back to SAILING ANARCHY where as they say "the status quo blows".
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Old 14-11-2008, 13:00   #7
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Shawn,

You haven't really told us much in your post that would help anyone in offering advice other than your belief that Beneteaus aren't for you. I think Maine Sail has put it quite succinctly.

There are no "secret meetings". Manufacturers develop reputations, some deserved some not so deserved. Boats develop reputations, again some deserved and some not so deserved. It is not too different from cars or any other manufactured product. Those that are interested or in the business gain some insight. When I first started sailing I could not tell a Mirage from a Swan or a Tayana from a Tashiba. It's all a matter of interest and learning over the years.

You could start by distilling what it is you want to do with this boat, whether you want new or used, how much you'd like to spend and what appeals to your eye.
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Old 14-11-2008, 13:05   #8
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Actually, we do have a few professionals around but it is more a situation where you talk about what you know and not so much what you want to sell. Unlike Sailing Anarchy we tend to keep it a little bit more friendly here and try to avoid the commercials. SA isn't always that nice to people. We would like it a lot if you had some time now and again to talk boats in the areas you feel most comfortable about.
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:04   #9
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Bob, your reputation precedes you and I can assure you of the following:

1. Your service has been referred to in previous posts.

2. Your comments on yacht design generally and your reviews of the designs of others have been frequently quoted on this site in past threads.

3. Your expertise in not only yacht design, but in the manufacture of yachts in various locations around the world also precedes you. I must say that the superb quality of the FT10 (there are now 2 in little Cobourg Ontario, where I work) has moved me 180 degrees away from my previous bias against boats built in China. It proves that the Chinese can build a boat of incredible quality at an incredible price - so long as there is a hands-on approach by people such as yourself.

4. While this site is not set up for the purpose of 'advertising' per se, there is at least one boat builder (Fastcat) who is a regular on the site and who extolls the virtues of his boats whenever relevant. There are also contributions from other, admittedly less famous yacht designers, who I suspect gain not only in reputation, but in business through their participation.

I urge you not to write off this site so quickly; while all of us would clearly benefit from your insights whenever you chose to share them, I firmly believe that ultimately, you would also benefit from the same.

Cheers!

Brad
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob perry View Post
I'm not sure about the protocol here but I'll stick my neck out and say that if you visit my web site www.perryboat.com you can read about my consultation service. Maybe I know a thing or two that could be of value to you.

If I am out of line "hawking my wares" here would someone please fill me in on the correct way to particpate here as both a fellow sailor and a professional in the field.
Bob:
As Paul indicated, this site is non-commercial, and not about hawking one's wares.
Notwithstanding, we encourage and welcome expert input from industry professionals, and other knowledgeable contributer/members.
Having made non-commercial contributions to the Forum, we often grant professionals "Vendor Status"; where they are allowed to submit "Commercial Content".
I hope we can interest your participation.
Regards,
Gord
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:12   #11
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I think Shawn is right; there is a secret meeting somewhere. Boat prices and reputation seem to not really have a lot of "basis" and kind of falls into that "everyone just knows" world. I think where must be another secret meeting group whose job it is to fight back, as some brands that always get bad mouthed seem to be listed for fairly high prices compared to all the other choices (Hunter comes to mind that gets lots of bad press but the listed prices for them don't seem to be lower because of it).
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:18   #12
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Don,

Hunter always comes up in the secret meetings. I think that's because none of the coven owns one.
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:23   #13
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A suggestion for getting past all the reputation postings good/bad on a boat that I have been using: search the web for postings about a model you are interested in till you find someone who has 1, contact that person directly and ask what they think about it etc. Sounds easy but most postings about a model seem to come from those who "just know because..." , but never had one or even sailed on it. Just what I think.
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:38   #14
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Don's suggestion makes the most sense. Check also Boat Builders Row - SailNet Community for specific boat reviews.
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Old 14-11-2008, 14:49   #15
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Shawn,
Why not start with some boat DATA create a shortlist and then look at reputation.
I am a newbie at this so feel free to correct my errant ways.
My approach to finding a cruising boat for my wife and 2 kids has been:

1. Use Data focused on cruising boats that are safe
Look at articles on type of boat you need: Cruising Cruising List
2. Search YachtWorld and others for price ranges of boats in your shortlist
3. Make a list of top 10 models based on data and budget and articles
4. Boat Community Search - I subscribe to mailing lists of top boats. For ex:
Tayana News
Corbin Site
Valiant Owners
5. Start asking a lot of questions about weaknesses, gotchas, etc.
6. Maybe get a broker to help you (I asked a friend to help me out)
7. Verify the info here on forums

#3 Is key because you can find that boats like Morris have a stellar reputation, but that doesn't do me any good since I could barely afford a 28 footer!
(Hallberg Rassys, Swans, Frers, etc. also tend to be out of my budget!)

Good luck!
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