Originally Posted by Curmudgeon
My point is that you can't make inferences about a boat's suitability for cruising by looking at the same boat that has been set up for racing at great expense.
You are a cruising couple, middle aged, reasonably experienced, with a 300K budget
plus investments that will provide a modest monthly fixed income
that will cover cruising expenses. You are looking for a boat. Do you buy that brand new (or very late model) Bavaria
or Beneteau, or a used Valiant, Pacific Seacraft
, Kelly Peterson
, Ingrid or other purpose-designed cruising boat and use the balance of the 300K for a refit
? That is the issue.
Some questions to ask yourself: 1) How much will the new boat depreciate the second I buy it? 2) What condition will the new boat be in in 10 years? 3) Will the components hold up under hard use? 4) What will its resale value be? 5) How will this boat handle a grounding? 6) Is the rig sturdy enough? 7) Will this boat recover from a knockdown? 8) How is the boat reefed, and what happens if a furler
jams or a halyard
gets tangled? Etc. Etc.
I think the above buying
decision is pretty clear if this particular couple intends to do any serious cruising.
Randyonr3, let me repeat the question: is your boat an older Beneteau that may have been better built than the newer ones? Maybe you're the exception that proves the rule
, or perhaps you are simply a better sailor than most of us.
This is a little long, sorry. I keep writing a point, going to do something else, coming back for 2 mins, etc., and that's the perfect way to draft
an opus of a post. And as Mark Twain said, sorry this is so long; if I had more time it would be shorter.
To start, you've suggested that production boats are not suitable to sail in oceans. That many have sailed in these offshore
events suggests the contrary, which is why I raised it. I do agree that being capable as an ocean racer
doesn't make a boat a good cruiser, but that's not the point I was making. My point is that if a type of boat consistently makes ocean passages, I think you are hard pressed to maintain the position that such boats cannot make ocean passages.
Further, I think you're starting to conflate the issue (that is, if I understand the issue correctly). Whether to buy a new boat or buy a used one and spend the difference to refit is a separate discussion, so I don't think we should, in this thread, delve into a comparison between a new Beneteau or a used Valiant. If I understand your point correctly, you advocate that "production boats" simply are not good boats for cruising and people shouldn't buy them under any circumstance because there always is a better choice (i.e., for the money
a purchaser always should choose buying an older smaller Valiant instead of buying a newer larger Beneteau, just as an example). I think that fairly sums up your viewpoint, but if not I'm sure you'll correct me.
I think you need to address the intended use of the boat, and I think you then need to have a bit more realistic view of what the various boats can and cannot do, and what you will and will not be doing with them.
Let's say you are a family
of four (two adults, two kids) and your intended use is to live aboard, cruise
the U.S. east coast
, the Bahamas
, run off to Bermuda
every now and again, and maybe go down to the islands, which is a fairly common cruising scenario (to the extent any cruising scenario is common). I submit to you that a late model Beneteau 46 (or similar) just might be a better choice than the older Valiant 40. Why? Because the newer larger Beneteau will be more comfortable and better suited for 95% of your use. Not just merely sufficient, but actually BETTER suited. The cockpit
will be larger and more comfortable, which will be a HUGE advantage while at anchor
and even while sailing most of the time. The swim platform will make your daily existence on the hook so much easier, and enjoyable. You will have more space below, which if you are cruising with a family
will become incredibly important (on the B46, you and your wife can have a private cabin
, and each of the kids
can have his/her own cabin). You will have more light, air and ventilation, which are things that are likely to make your family more happy and comfortable, and I don't need to tell you that you ignore such a thing at your peril.
As to the Valiant, it's an absolutely beautiful boat to be sure, and remarkably well built. But, it's not that big. Four people living on that Valiant for an extended period of time is going to feel cramped. Indeed, in my hypothetical, with four people living aboard
, someone, somewhere is going to be sharing a berth or cabin
, and that will get very old very quickly for long term cruising
. I'm not saying it's an impossible setup, but it's less desireable. The boat's cockpit
is incredibly small, designed with the almost-singular purpose of not filling up with water
if pooped while at sea. When you're living on the hook at an anchorage, having a small, uncomfortable cockpit that you cannot board from the water
is not a design feature that you intentionally employ. For much of the time you are likely to encounter light air; the Valiant will not fare as well in those conditions. You may need to motor
a fair amount, particularly in the ICW
; the Valiant will be a lot slower. For those few occasions where you are making an offshore run and the weather
kicks up, you certainly will have a more comfortable motion in the Valiant, and likely will feel more secure. You also are less likely to break gear
on that trip. But you are talking a handful of days in the life of, say, a one-year cruise
. In your everyday life, do you live only in the basement every single day of the year because every now and again there might be a massive storm that hits your house? Of course not.
Now, if instead, you're a single person or a young couple, and you intend on doing some long term high latitude sailing, then, to me, the Valiant 40 is an infinitely better choice than the Beneteau 46 (and again, I'm just picking these two brands for purposes of example; my viewpoint applies to any number of brands/models on both sides of this aisle). Even if a meaningful percentage of your time is going to be spent on long open ocean crossings, then the Valiant is a better choice, in my opinion.
Does this mean the Valiant is a better boat? For some applications, absolutely yes. But for some, maybe not. Is it more robustly built? Certainly, but sometimes that's not what is required for the intended use, and it is possible to "over buy" (do you buy a riding mower to cut 20 square feet of grass?).
So you say if you have $300,000, you should buy an older smaller Valiant or similar rather than a newer larger Beneteau or similar. I submit to you that you should view the process a little differently. You should first decide what you are going to do with the boat. Then, figure out what boat best suits that intended use and your personal needs, and figure out what is available in your budget range. If you need a three-cabin boat (just one of a million potential criteria), then buy a three cabin boat; don't buy a two-cabin boat because it has a Valiant placard on the side -- when your spouse and family are at your throat about not being comfortable, it won't be much of an answer for you to say, "But honey, kids
, you can't be unhappy, we're sailing a Valiant!" And when you're deciding which three-cabin boat to buy, you may decide that for cruising the Chesepeake Bay you don't need an icebreaker, and by buying a boat suited to your intended use, but not more, you might save yourself several hundred thousand dollars, which might mean you get out there cruising sooner or stay longer. But if you become married to the notion that it's a Valiant or nothing, even if you're just cruising the Bahamas
, then you might find yourself cramped, uncomfortable, or at worst, never get there because you have to keep working that many more years so as to afford the more expensive boat that you don't need.
All the above being said, there's one other overriding point, IMHO. Boat purchases are not so logical. If you like a certain boat, but not another, by all means, buy the one you like. If you love the Valiant (not hard to fathom), then buy a Valiant. If you hate Beneteaus, or simply can't stand the thought of telling your friends at your club that you sail a Beneteau because you'd be embarrassed, then without question don't buy a Benny. If you have the means and you want the highest end, most prestigious of boats because having that sort of thing gives you satisfaction and makes you proud, go ahead and buy that vessel and enjoy the hell out of it. But be careful about telling others that they should not buy a boat suited to THEIR needs simply because you have a pre-conceived notion (which I'm sure I won't change by posting
a message to you on the Internet).
One last thing, where do you get this notion that older Beneteaus were good boats but newer ones are not? I read that notion on boards such as this all the time, like a 1970s Cal
all of a sudden has become an iconic great boat, but a 2000's Catalina
is horrible. I'm sure 15 years from now people will be posting
that the "new" Catalinas are horrible, "but you should have seen the ones built in the late 2000's, boy were they built like tanks
how time and distance alters your perception. Believe me, with the advances in production methods and materials, production boats today are far superior to those built 20 or 30 years ago. I'm not saying the builders haven't laid an egg from time to time, or with certain models, or even during certain runs, but generally speaking, improvements in production methods and materials means improvements in boats generally. Today's production boats are faster, stronger and lighter than their ancestors (assuming you are comparing apples to apples, not Beneteaus to Oysters).
This is a totally useless thread, but it is highly entertaining and serving as a great diversion for me, so for that I thank everyone.