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Old 26-12-2009, 09:05   #121
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Curmudgeon,
If you truely believe the things that you say, and it most certianly appears that you do, why on earth did you not buy a Morris, HR, or even a 25 year old Hinkley instead of a plywood boat designed to be owner built in the back yard?
I just don't get it???
My budget was 100K and I couldn't afford a Bristol Channel Cutter. My boat is the closest thing I could find. It was custom designed and built by Devlin for her first owner for singlehanding offshore and every component is top of the line. Since there is no exposed wood other than the brightwork, she's just as easy to maintain as a fiberglass boat. The deck and cockpit are awlgrip, for example. No teak.

I mostly sail by myself or with my wife. I was not interested in a boat longer than 32 ft. and was willing to make the necessary compromises.
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Old 26-12-2009, 09:21   #122
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My budget was 100K and I couldn't afford a Bristol Channel Cutter. My boat is the closest thing I could find. It was custom designed and built by Devlin for her first owner for singlehanding offshore and every component is top of the line. Since there is no exposed wood other than the brightwork, she's just as easy to maintain as a fiberglass boat. The deck and cockpit are awlgrip, for example. No teak.

I mostly sail by myself or with my wife. I was not interested in a boat longer than 32 ft. and was willing to make the necessary compromises.
Cold molded? Or simply glassed over the outer layer?
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Old 26-12-2009, 10:24   #123
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Cold molded? Or simply glassed over the outer layer?
Stitch and glue.
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Old 26-12-2009, 10:47   #124
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Without really wanting to jump into the fray as I'm agnostic on these matters and do think you just have to understand the pros/cons of the various offerings and buy the boat that best fits your use and budget, since Ibrgic started it . . . a few related opinions:
1. Mfg 101: The goal of any manufacturer is to find the right balance between the capability and quality of their product vs. its unit cost in order to maximize overall profits, right? So, large production manufacturers do take advantage of newer production techniques (e.g., vacuum bagging) in part because they increase quality (e.g., correct and consistent ratio of glass to resin), but also because they minimize raw material and labor costs. With large production runs, the tooling costs are quickly compensated for by reduced costs in materials and labor. Smaller, higher end manufacturers cannot necessarily offset the tooling costs due to lower sales volume, so some of the more traditional methods continue to be used. Manufacturers are not being altruistic here and are not employing space age technology or materials for their own sake, they are in business to make money. Long term robustness is probably not what the production manufacturers are primarily striving for, but predicable quality control is - their manufacturing process should consistently put out boats that meet their specified quality standards (which doesn't mean "offshore use" quality, it means "intended use" quality). Otherwise, there would be costs associated with rework and/or unhappy customers.
2. A boat's design takes into account its intend use. The designer works with the manufacturer to determine the target market and many aspects of the end product fall from this decision. A boat designed for coastal cruising will necessarily be different from one designed for much heavier punishment offshore. The related raw material and labor costs are carefully calculated up front to ensure their target buyer will accept the boat's final cost (otherwise, why bother?). That said, many manufacturers (especially higher end) are simply leveraging existing designs and therefore may not be taking advantage of the latest / greatest approaches, but they are leveraging these existing designs because they've earned a reputation for capability and durability and thus will sell in their intended market.
3. Large production manufacturers are targeting coastal cruisers because by far, that's where the largest customer base is. These boats are designed and built for that purpose. The product configuration, quality, durability and manufacturing and material costs are all planned accordingly. Enough margin is designed into the quality of these boats so you can occasionally take them beyond their intended use (otherwise companies would be exposed to frequent legal liability), but the more one does that, the more one has to be careful of managing the conditions they're exposing the boat to, and the more one has to rely on luck.
4. Production boats do not have the "heft" of fittings used on higher end boats. We can all see this just by looking at boats in our own marinas. They may be from the same hardware suppliers (or custom made to similar standards), but they're intentionally down-sized and often reduced in quantity to lower unit production costs. In this case, the target customer is a weekender or coastal cruiser, so there's nothing wrong with this. Why should a buyer spend more for capability that they will not use? The higher end manufacturer targets their boats to a customer willing to pay more since they’re more likely to use the boat offshore, or one more likely to consider the boat a status symbol as it sits in the Yacht Club slip, or more likely to pay for extensive real teak and high quality craftsmanship / joiner work below (etc.). Nothing wrong with this either. If I want this and I'll pay for it, I should have it - that's the point of a free market economy right?

So, factoring in all of the above . . . Just figure out which type of customer you are based on your own intended use, priorities and budget, and buy the right boat for you! It's all good. Get out there on the water and enjoy your selection to the fullest; you probably made the right choice for you. If you didn’t, sell it and try again.

If all this sounds obvious, it's because it is obvious and that's why we have the situation we have today, yet these issues are argued ad nausea. We passionately defend our own choice and our own priorities because they are right for us, but we make the mistake of trying to impose them on someone else when they're not necessarily right for someone else based on their priorities or their circumstances. "Couldn't we all just get along?" Happy sailing all!

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Old 26-12-2009, 11:11   #125
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MC01, your paragraphs 3 and 4 above pretty much sum up my views. You said it much better than I did.
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Old 26-12-2009, 11:31   #126
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I swore I was going to stay away from this thread, but now that its reached over 100 posts, here is my 2 cents:

I bought a Bene First 456 15 years ago for $100k, and have put over 60,000 miles on it, including a circumnavigation. I now have the means to buy a boat which costs 5 times as much, but still haven't seen a better boat. The Bene has massive hardware (12mm shrouds, Lewmar 65 winches), and is a joy to sail (a PHRF rating of 66, easy 170 miles/day and demolishes the cruising class in every regatta we've entered). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it also looks good to me.

The boat is 25 years old, and requires some maintenance, but so do all 25 year old boats. The basic design is tough (after SAILING up the Red Sea, the only problems were a blown hydraulic backstay seal and worn out webbing on the jib tack) and is strong enough (there are no stress cracks in the hull or deck, and it was run into a rock at 7k by the previous owner).

Maybe it says more about the sailor than the boat, but I have done a lot of offshore racing (>20k miles) and deliveries, and know how to press (OP) boats, and how to baby (my) boats. One man's opinion, but I would buy another Bendytoy today.
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Old 26-12-2009, 11:47   #127
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Good input donradcliffe, it at least shows what is possible. If somehow we could just get the same from about 1000 more production boat owners with varying levels of experience and using their boats in varrying conditions, and do the same for the "offshore" boat designs, we'd have some real objective data to look at. This would at least address the durability question from an actual results perspective instead of only a design perspective.

Maybe Cruisers Forum (or Practical Sailor?) should sponsor a study?
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Old 26-12-2009, 12:14   #128
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sail that which you are comfortable sailing in and under whatever weather situations might come up.
have fun sailing it.
all kinds of boats sail--is your comfort zone you need to address-----sail all kinds of boats and figger out the way you like it best----ye gotta do it to figger out how ye like it ....LOL---and no one can tell you how you like to sail--is something very personal--and everyone is different.....

oh yes--and watch the weather closely----fair winds.....
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Old 26-12-2009, 13:42   #129
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What an interesting thread this is.I've beenin vehicle manufacturing and design for most of my life. Vehicles today are lighter, cheaper, more fuel efficient and convenient than ever. This is due to two things- advances in technology and market pressure. Nobody complains that the hood of a vehicle is 'more flexible' than a previous model, as long as it does its job. (It's flexible to accomodate pedestrian impact legislation) I can see the same thing happening in marine design and manufacture. There is simply no room in the market for 'duds' any more, however we all have to understand that traditional methods of evaluating 'strength' or 'robustness' cannot be relied upon when basic technologies and design capabilities of the product manufacturer evolve faster than evaluation methods. The only way we (as the buying public) can evaluate the success of mainstream manufacturers in achieving their target of minimal cost and zero warranty with no product liability exposure is to look at the actual data. That will make a welcome change from the various opinions evident on this thread (not that these opinions are not valid, it's just that they are generally based on a sample size of 1- not statistically significant) We are fortunate that we have the best database on the planet at our disposal- Google. So we need to use google's search capabilities to understand how many structural failures of production boats we can find, and see if this is significant, or if there are any trends within the data to indicate what failure modes are prevalent, in the same way that automotive manufacturers use service data. So, who is up for a trawling of Google data to see what problems production boats actually suffer? I ask this as there are surely individuals much more proficient than I at this!
Data and facts are what we need, not opinions and supposition.
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Old 26-12-2009, 14:37   #130
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Data and facts are what we need, not opinions and supposition.


Excellent! . . . but hard to do. Problem with Google trawling is we won't necessarily have apples-to-apples comparisons. Maybe someone here can draft a structured survey with questions along the lines of (or better) . . .
1. Boat make / model / year
2. Average primary use over life of boat (Offshore - rough conditions, Offshore - moderate conditions, Coastal Cruising, Offshore Racing, Round the buoys racing, just sitting in the slip)
3. Average frequency of use over life of boat (Year round, Seasonal / Constant, frequent, Infrequent)
4. Quality Issues / Failures:
Hull:
> Stress cracks?
> Bulkhead(s) separated from hull?
> Delaminating issues?
> etc.
Keel:
> Keel separation from hull?
> etc.
Rigging:
> Dismasting?
> etc.
5. Specific causes - For any quality issues / failures above, list any special cause (e.g., grounding caused keel separation?)
6. Cost of repairs - For an quality issues / failures above, list actual cost of correction or estimate if not repaired

etc. etc.

The design of the survey would have to be carefully done so we could mine the results afterwards, which is why someone with the time/skill should do it (hence the Practical Sailor suggestion).

Maybe we should all collaborate on a survey design based on a draft by one of our experts, then have as many people on CF (and elsewhere?) as possible take the survey.

Who volunteers to project manage? I'd be surprised if something like this would come together, but there's clearly a lot of interest in the topic so it'd be valuable.

Only other option I see is perhaps mining insurance claim data. Not sure how to get access to that.
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Old 26-12-2009, 16:08   #131
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Curmudgeon suffers from delusion he obviously has not had much to do with Mercedes cars in recent years. GM alias Holden in Aussie and Ford make an excellent product at about 1/4 to1/3 the price of Merc. Easy to repair and reliable and have all the extras that the Mercedes, BMW etc etc are equiped with, climate control, sat nav you name it and they are mass produced (production cars). Cork was used in wine bottling as it was the only readily available product in times gone by new technology has provided a better product plastic. Speaking of plastic a certain US manufactured four barrel carburettor was made with the main body section of a plastic type material the rest aluminium. After 12/15 years that piece of plastic was as new with a light clean in solvent no warpage etc unfortunately the same could not be said of the aluminium sections.
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Old 26-12-2009, 17:15   #132
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Hi, Jack from Euro Cruiser gives sound, sound advice.

Personally, I would not choose one of the boats you've mentioned - my preference is something more solid - but that is me. I'm one of those folk who likes the boats from the 70's-80's. But hey, I know of a Bavaria that has just completed Sydney to Hobart and then back to NZ. The crew tell me it was fabulous. So there you have it.

What you do give up is volume in the older boats. The boats you mentioned have lots of space. Many are built for chartering, and some are used for chartering. I can understand why.



As already mentioned,you need to look at boats that you can afford - see what's available.

Everything is a trade off. But you'll get there in the end.
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Old 26-12-2009, 17:53   #133
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Originally Posted by MC01 View Post

Excellent! . . . but hard to do. Problem with Google trawling is we won't necessarily have apples-to-apples comparisons. Maybe someone here can draft a structured survey with questions along the lines of (or better) . . .
1. Boat make / model / year
2. Average primary use over life of boat (Offshore - rough conditions, Offshore - moderate conditions, Coastal Cruising, Offshore Racing, Round the buoys racing, just sitting in the slip)
3. Average frequency of use over life of boat (Year round, Seasonal / Constant, frequent, Infrequent)
4. Quality Issues / Failures:
Hull:
> Stress cracks?
> Bulkhead(s) separated from hull?
> Delaminating issues?
> etc.
Keel:
> Keel separation from hull?
> etc.
Rigging:
> Dismasting?
> etc.
5. Specific causes - For any quality issues / failures above, list any special cause (e.g., grounding caused keel separation?)
6. Cost of repairs - For an quality issues / failures above, list actual cost of correction or estimate if not repaired

etc. etc.

The design of the survey would have to be carefully done so we could mine the results afterwards, which is why someone with the time/skill should do it (hence the Practical Sailor suggestion).

Maybe we should all collaborate on a survey design based on a draft by one of our experts, then have as many people on CF (and elsewhere?) as possible take the survey.

Who volunteers to project manage? I'd be surprised if something like this would come together, but there's clearly a lot of interest in the topic so it'd be valuable.

Only other option I see is perhaps mining insurance claim data. Not sure how to get access to that.
Although I am new to this forum, MC01's idea is a great one to obtain real life statistics on this ever intriguing question. If people can feedback their experiences, perhaps a new thread can be created to capture all this data (no comments, but just inputs), which can then be sorted out easily. So more experienced forum members, can anyone of you or MC01 lead this?
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Old 26-12-2009, 18:39   #134
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damage done

Damage I seen:
- Benneteau (newer 2006) - dismasted,
- Benneteau (newer 2007) - dismasted, (different boat)
- Grand Solei (newer 2007) - dismasted,
- Amel (54, brand new) - dismasted,
- Atom - dismasted (old boat, heavy weather, former rig problems),
- Maxi - dismasted twice (old boat, former rig problems).

So, from the damages point of view, most hulls are "ocean crossing boats", but not their rigs.

b.
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Old 26-12-2009, 22:17   #135
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Curmudgeon suffers from delusion he obviously has not had much to do with Mercedes cars in recent years. GM alias Holden in Aussie and Ford make an excellent product at about 1/4 to1/3 the price of Merc. Easy to repair and reliable and have all the extras that the Mercedes, BMW etc etc are equiped with, climate control, sat nav you name it and they are mass produced (production cars). Cork was used in wine bottling as it was the only readily available product in times gone by new technology has provided a better product plastic. Speaking of plastic a certain US manufactured four barrel carburettor was made with the main body section of a plastic type material the rest aluminium. After 12/15 years that piece of plastic was as new with a light clean in solvent no warpage etc unfortunately the same could not be said of the aluminium sections.
You know, in the 18th century, when Bishop Berkeley hypothesized that nothing was real and everything was an illusion, Samuel Johnson (the lexicographer) was asked what he thought of that theory. He went over to a large rock and started to beat his head against it, and replied "I refute it thus."

Enough with plastic wine corks. Don't take my word for it, go to a boat show (or your local marina) and look at the boats. You will have little difficulty separating the wheat from the chaff.

As for older boats like donradcliffe's Beneteau First, perhaps the 25 year-old Beneteaus built in France were of higher quality than the ones currently being built in NC? Just asking.

BTW I'm quite familiar with current Mercedes vehicles. Now, if there were a production sailboat as reliable and well engineered as a Toyota Camry, I'd buy one. But to the best of my knowledge there isn't.
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