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Old 19-08-2009, 11:19   #1
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Buying an Ex-Charter Beneteau 411 / Gibsea 43

Hi Everyone. Does anyone have any sensible advise on the pro's and cons of buying an ex charter yacht (such as the Bene 411 / 400, Jeanneau 42.2, Gibsea 43). My specific concerns related to the high engine hours the yachts have, some in excess of 9000 hours. Whilst the charter companies say they have been meticulously maintained, is it a major concern?

If high engine hours is a major problem, anyone have any ballpark figures as to the cost of a rebuild to zero the hours?

I have been sailing most of my life, mainly racing smaller boats and have decided to do some cruising for a couple years to get away from the 'rat race' and have an adventure. Starting off in the Caribbean then sailing across to the Med.


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Old 19-08-2009, 11:33   #2
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The main deterrent for me in an ex-charter boat is the configuration. Most of them are built to sleep as many people as possible, usually two or three couples. Most of them have two aft cabins instead of one resulting in less storage. Also in many of the charter boats the galley is along one side of the saloon, very open instead of tucked in a corner aft. If you can find an "owners version" that would be preferable.

Another downside is that few are equipped for cruising. But if the price is right and the condition is good you might save some money. Myself, I'd look at a privately owned 411 that's been equipped for cruising. There are lots of these boats around.

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Old 19-08-2009, 12:18   #3
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Ex-charter boats are cheaper for a reason. Given the extra wear and the ever-present unseen but lurking other problems an abused boat will always have, it may be a false economy. By the way, stop reading the marketing hype about "meticulously maintained" as there is no such thing - just read up on some of the charter boat forums to see how they define the term...
There are too many good boats in that area for sale for me to even consider taking a chance on a rental boat.
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Old 19-08-2009, 12:59   #4
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I have had 3 friends buy out of the Moorings fleet in Tortola. The boats really are well maintained but half of that engine time was probably at low revs and no load just cooling the refrigerator.

At 9,000 hrs that engine is 75-90% used up...figure the cost of a new one or a complete rebuild sometime in the next 5 years.

Plus they are not really blue water boats, the Europeans are redoing the stability rules because of a beneteau capsize...Yes they cross oceans but they are really just coastal cruisers.

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Old 19-08-2009, 13:19   #5
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With the proper inspections and sea trials that you should always have with a qualified marine surveyor, purchase of a charter boat has no more risk than most non charter boats. You will typically find that non charter boats have set unused or almost unused for months or years with little or no maintenance or attention by thier owners.

With a boat from a decent charter company you can get a complete maintenance history for the boat. With that and your marine survey you should be able to make a good buy on a boat. The best time to buy an out of charter boat is Now. Between July and November is when a lot of them will leave service due to incoming new boats.

As with anything you need to do your home work and get good inspections. If you have concerns on the engine, have it evaluated. This is not difficult to do. Things like compression and load RPM's are very simple to evaluate that give you an initial feel for the condition of the engine.

You should also read other post on this same subject which comes up Evey week. You will get many fire filled condemnations of former charter boats and many other reports of excellent service from those who have had actual experience with owning a former charter boat.

It is very true that most designed for charter boats have minimal storage. That is one reason I prefer the two cabin versions over the 3 as stated above. The Beneteau was designed for Caribbean Charter service and with some rethinking on what your going to bring aboard that will need to be stored it will work well for you in that application.

Everyone has an opinion on what is a Blue Water Boat... Are you going to circumnavigate and be in the roaring 40's are is your sailing in this boat going to be in more moderate conditions where you can head for cover if the forecast dictates it. If your cruising includes something like going around the Horn your boat cost will dramatically increase and so would your on going maintenance.

Just take everything you get posted back with a hand full or more of sea salt.
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Old 19-08-2009, 13:32   #6
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I'm on the fence on these. On one hand they are "rode hard and put away wet", on the other, they are outfitted with the basics that work and are foolproof to use. If you get a good one at a real good price... why not? As has been mentioned before sometimes high hours engines can be as good or better than low hours engines. ( I once bought a little nissan auto that had over 100k miles in 3 years on it. I drove it another 50k miles, my buddy bought it and his wife drove it until it was over 300k miles. the engine was never opened up!) I bought a 1955 chevy 4dr from the original 83 yr old woman with only 32k miles on it. The engine was shot... all full of black goo on everything... she drove it 1.5 mi to work for 30 years)
Cautions: scrupulously inspect the hull inside and out for damage from grounding, especially the hull forward and aft of the keel. If it's near the virgin isl's a good man near Redhook overhauled a 3GM30 yanmar for me, including new pistons for about $2200. If the basic boat is a clean example, all else is pretty good and it's well below a non chartered USA price.. maybe so....
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Old 19-08-2009, 15:16   #7
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A good charter boat is better than a bad 'one owner from new'. A 9000 hr engine may be cheaper to replace - yes they do care for engines at the charter companies, but 9000 is a lot. A second hand engine is not the way to go, a new one is. But if the one you (will) have sounds OK then keep it as long as practicable - after all you are buying a sailing boat, aren't you.

I have never heard of "European's redoing their stability rules" because anything related to Benneteau. Yes, I heard of some Bavarias Match (racing boats, not charter boats) capsizing due to keel issues.

Yes, we use 'our own' STIX here rather than your yankee ;-) CR - it is newer, it better reflects the fact that sailing boats carry balast, etc.. And yes - many US manufacturers provide STIX numbers for their boats, at least the serious ones do, because of the same reasons.

However, I have seen at least three Bennetau boats losing their sticks offshore. As far as I remember they have Selden masts. Selden are a VERY respective company, but it might indicate the boats' designers did not specify them for off-shore work. This, as far as I know, applies to some Bavaria boats too.

Last but not least - yes, the charter boats were not designed for off-shore. But the same manufacturers do make 'non-charter', blue water boats, so do not judge them by the name.

Hugs from my side of the pond,
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Old 19-08-2009, 16:35   #8
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The incident that was the start of the discusion that lead to the changes in stability information was the loss of Ocean Madam a production Beneteau Oceanis 390 yacht in October 1997. The investigation by the UK Maritime Accident Investigation Agency is extensive but the basic findings were:
3, The Oceanis 390 is a safe, comfortable, yacht suitable for pleasure sailing
and charter work. Her lightweight design, however, together with her
stability characteristics, introduce a high risk factor in the type of extreme
sea-state conditions encountered by Ocean Madam. The yacht is not
designed for crossing oceans in bad weather.
4.No stability data was available to the skipper asthis was not included in the yacht’s papers.
5. The skipper was sufficiently competent and had the necessary experience

The skipper did 'push the envelope' going to sea expecting 35 knots and 20 ft seas; he got 45 knots and 25-30 ft but the stability curves were not available (she had a angle of diminishing stability of 109, 120-130 is recommended.)

This is why the Europeans are changing the rules, at the time the stability data was only available to owners by special request
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Old 19-08-2009, 21:39   #9
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Zero timing an engine...

Rebuilding is an expensive, possibly risky exercise. The cost is a large fraction of the new price.

If a prospective engine surveys well why factor a new one into any offer (If everything else checks out!)?
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Old 19-08-2009, 22:01   #10
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Hopefully one of the forum members here will chime in, MarkJ. I believe they purchased an ex-chartered Beneteau and sailed it from the Carrib back to OZ and are now in Asia. I think they would be the very best people to ask since they are "living it" on their bene.

Good luck regardless!!
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Old 20-08-2009, 02:00   #11
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Got a PM from MarkJ recently they are indeed on thier way and due in Asia around mid-sep...

Pretty sure he has the 393
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Old 20-08-2009, 06:01   #12
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Oh puleeze! A Moorings or Sunsail boat with 9,000 hours? Get a grip and do some research. They max out at about 4,500 hours which, as you will know from you Yanmar research, is about 1/4 of their 20,000 hour life.

Vasco is correct, the configuration for cruising is better with the 2 cabin versions with the U galley.

We were lucky that ours is a 2 cabin version. It does add a LOT of storage space which you stuff full of junk quickly.

Its better in my humblest opinion to have a boat with out some idiots ideas of cruising equipment. Some people are just nuts and buy the most useless but expensive crap for their boats and then expect you to pay a premium for it!

Our Ex-Sunsail Beneteau 393 was bought last April and we have just ticked up 16,000 NM's only breaking one block and 2 split pins over the Pacific.

As for only built for a safe harbour..... have the people who say that ever been on one? Have you sailed the Caribbean? The charter companies would be crazy to have origami boats there!

A Swan 57 pitch poled south of Cape Horn and no one screams Nautor is trying to murder people. So why should you compare it with a 38 footer pitchpoled on the continental incline off the UK? Everyone knows thats a crook spot to be. They had weather advice while in a port in Spain and were stupid to head to sea in a worsoning gale into a known difficult spot. But, it can't be compared to a 'normal' tropical downwind circumnavigation.

Finally, the marine surveyors in the Carib have all inspected a million Beneteaus so know exactly what to look for. If its been on the rock they will know and be able to show you.

ONe major caveat: Do NOT buy off the internet. Them's piccies lie like an ex-wife. See the boat in person.

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 20-08-2009, 07:34   #13
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Amen MarkJ
I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor.
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Old 20-08-2009, 08:23   #14
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On the side topic of the "...'loss' of Ocean Madam a production Beneteau Oceanis..." it's worth noting on page 8 of the report that "...the yacht, still afloat and upright, was also located."
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Old 20-08-2009, 08:57   #15
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I have a Moorings boat in charter. My expereince is that many of these charter boats are in better shape than people give them credit for. True, they get a lot of use by non owners. However, they are also maintained to coastal cruising standards. The needed outfitting is planned before the boats are even built and items are installed by people who know what they are doing. As with any used boat, conditions willl vary and a good survey is money well spent.

I'd jump in my charter boat and sail it back to the U.S. with little upgrade or worry. I recenetly puchased a used Hunter for sale by owner, and despite weeks of working on it and am still discovering all the neglected sysems. I'm much more worried about it being cruise ready.

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