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Old 14-05-2008, 00:03   #1
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Jeanneau VS. Hunter or Bene?

Is the Jeanneau better, worse, or about the same in construction method and quality as the Hunter and Bene?
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Old 14-05-2008, 00:58   #2
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Difficult Question to Answer

The first problem that you have is that all three companies have been building boats for many years and have changed their methods of construction over time. The other problem is that there is variation between models (eg Jeanneau's 29 footer has a completely different hull construction method to the 32i, 36i and 39i).

If, for the purposes of this exercise, you divide a boat into Fittings, Motor, Hull and Deck, this is what I have found out in relation to the latest models.

Fittings

All three manufacturers use brand name fittings for many items such as winches, jammers, masts and so on. Accordingly, these will not be distinguishing factors (except where a particular manufacturer uses fittings that are only just adequate for the relevant boat).

Motors

You will find that all three manufacturers use either Yanmar or Volvo shaft drive or saildrive. There are pro's and con's with each manufacturer and with shaft versus sail drive. There are lots of forum articles that cover this.


Hull

All three use grids which are bonded to the hull (instead of more traditional glassed in wooden stringers or even steel frames which are used in some very expensive boats).

As far as I know, Hunter and Beneteau (Oceanis models) only bond the grid, while Jeanneau yachts with the "3rd generation" hulls bond as well as glass the grid in.

Hunters have solid glass below the waterline with cored topsides. Jeannea and Beneteau (Oceanis) are solid glass all the way.

Deck

The Decks on all three are cored with wood. Jeanneau uses an injection moulding process to produce its decks which may result in more evenly distributed resin which may result in less voids in the glass. A lot of "mays".

Beyond this, it is difficult to get actual facts from any forum (including this one) as to how well built these different model boats are as you will struggle to find hard data.

Most of what you will read will be anecdotal (my mate said) and usually hearsay (my mate knew a guy who said ...). You will also get statements put as though they are fact without any evidence to support them.

You will also see fallacies of extension (eg one Hunter / Beneteau / Jeanneau has problem x therefore all Hunter / Beneteau / Jeanneau's have problem x.

The other problems that you get are patent bias (from people who love their boats and will not hear a bad word about them) or agenda posts (for example where a new boat owner thinks they are not being treated well by their dealer or the manufacturer and want to use a forum to get some action.

The best type of post is one from an actual owner who has had an actual problem. These can be found in the various HunterOwner, BeneteauOwner and Jeanneau Owners websites.

Good luck. You will need it.
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Old 14-05-2008, 02:49   #3
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Dam good

Dam good answer.
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Old 14-05-2008, 04:22   #4
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That is a great answer as well as a good general question. I've always been curious about those very yachts as well. And I've heard people be almost embarrassed about mentioning the Hunter yachts while I've heard others say that a bene are not true blue water cruisers, etc..

My wife and I are seriously looking at the Wauquiez or the Hanse line of yachts. How do they fair?? Any real world owners to chime in??
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Old 14-05-2008, 08:31   #5
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As said, you'll find different views from different people. I own a FIRST series Beneteau. built in france, just down the street from the Jeanneaus. And even Though I own a Beneteau, there are some I wouldnt sail in open water.
The First series is a "race" designed boat and built to withstand the punishment of abuse. The larger of the First series was and is designed for open ocean racing and many of the series were designed for a perticular event.
Jaenneau is now owned by the same people that own Beneteau France so I would think that the construction is somewhat the same..
And the first series, is only built in France..
We've turned a First 42, A true thoroughbred in racing, into a cruiser. she's fast, stable, and a joy to sail. and with the wide beam, plenty of room below for living aboard.. (check out the pictures in my Profile)
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Old 14-05-2008, 09:21   #6
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I also am impressed. Very good answer.

The boats I am looking at are mid 1980s models. Was jeanneau part of bene then?

The general impression I get is that jeanneaus are moderately better than the others, like maybe a buick as compared to a pontiac or chevy. Of course, I'm no expert.
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Old 14-05-2008, 11:20   #7
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No. I think Beneteau acquired Jeanneau much more recently than the mid 80's. IIRC it was within the last 10 years. I am curious as to why you did not include Catalina in your question. And, if I were asking your question, I'd state what I was planning to do with the boat... it might get an even more informative response.

I'm a relatively new Beneteau owner. It's one of the Idylle series from the early 80's and so far I am very impressed. Especially with the design and engineering.
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Old 15-05-2008, 22:52   #8
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How did Catalina get left out of the comparison?
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Old 16-05-2008, 07:11   #9
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Jeanneau,Bene, Catalina, Bavaria { although Bavaria seem to be having a few problems with keels coming away on there "Match 42" series} are all mass production boats built to a price with the" Coastal cruising " person in mind ,they are great boats and in most cases you get alot of boat for your buck ,however thay have a light D/L ratios...Displacement /lenght ratio . In short they will not handle a big load as they like to be sailed on the level sure there are plenty of people who have crossed oceans on them and with a few modifications they will get you there but it will not be a pleasent trip, prepare yourself for alot of Pounding ,Rolling and a peculiar sort of "zig zag " motion in heavey seas I speak from recent experience as my Brother in law has recently purchased a Bene 393 ,all spick and span and I love been invited on board . Would i take one Bluewater Cruiseing? .. Think I'll wait till i can afford that I.P 380.
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Old 16-05-2008, 07:51   #10
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Originally Posted by Aquah0lic View Post
Is the Jeanneau better, worse, or about the same in construction method and quality as the Hunter and Bene?
Horses for course, all the boats listed above are fine for the intended purpose. Some of each model are blue water capable, some aren't.
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Old 16-05-2008, 21:31   #11
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I just began my sophomore year of Jeanneau '01 Sun Odyssey 34.2 ownership.

I can say that I am very pleased with the construction quality of my boat. Dockmates have a slightly older Beneteau Oceanis 351, which I don't think is quite up to the quality of my Jeanneau. And that was one of the boats on my "short list" when shopping.

My boat has traditional construction, with tabbed bulkheads and the like. There's direct access to most of the hull, the only exceptions being the aft fuel and water tank areas.

All that noted and said, this wide-stern, aft-cabin craft does have a tendency to pound in certain wind/sea conditions. But she does get up and go, logging an average speed exceeding 7 kt for a crossing of Lake Michigan last September with abeam winds in the high teens.

I can gripe about various deficiencies in different systems of my boat, but who can't? What I think is important is, when you find deficiencies, is the construction of the craft such that you can correct them? My experience, to date, is "yes"! I've rebuilt my fuel system to erradicate the French primary filter that isn't readily available and located the Racor replacement in an area where the trapped water can actually be drained. I mounted the flopping-about water pressurization accumulation cylinder. A Raytheon SmartPilot was installed with modest grief.

I do believe that the construction quality of Jeanneau boats of my year and earlier was definitely better than Beneteau. The newer ones may still hold an advantage, but perhaps not as much so. Hunters, IMHO, can't be classified generally - certain years had better construction than others. Ya gotta do yer research and shop accordingly.
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Old 18-05-2008, 20:36   #12
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You've gotten some great replies! For mid-80's boats I think it can safely be said that the Jeanneaus werer built a tad better than the Hunters and Benes IN GENERAL, but as was pointed out, there are so many models from each builder that one can't really extrapolate build quality from one to another across the whole line. From my admittedly limited personal experience (I chartered a 38' Bene in the BVI about 10 years ago, and have been aboard a couple of older Hunters in the Chesapeake), none of these builders made really rugged boats at that time. The Bene shuddered and shook when we took her out of the channel (they didsn't earn the name "Bendy Toy" because they were so strong!) and the Hunters seemed, well, a bit flimsey to me. That said, they ae fine for what they were intended for - coastal and lake boats which don't encounter heavy weather and wshich are not asked to carry typical cruising loads. Are there exceptions? Sure ... but one also sees cars whizzing down the turnpikes which were eally intended th spend their lives shuttling between the grocer's and the soccer field. Personally I wouldn't touch any of them ... but that's just me, and that's just for my use in my cruising area. The big charter boat fleets are full of Benes and Jeunnaus, and they seem to work for them ... kinda like Hertz buying lots of Tauruses.
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Old 18-05-2008, 21:44   #13
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Well, I'd classify the Jeanneaus as at least "Mercurys", if the Beneteau Oceanis is a "Taurus". But they aren't Maseratis or BMWs, nor Hummers or Suburbans. I wouldn't take mine across an ocean, though Lake Michigan in autumn with short-period waves from multiple directions can get a bit intense and our boat handled that just fine. We will out-run some of those full-keel super-stable oceangoers, but the Beneteau First series will leave us in their wakes.
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Old 18-05-2008, 22:44   #14
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Being that were talking about different models within a make of boats, I've got to share this short story with all of you.
Years ago, I purchased a Catalina 22, new from the factory in southern California.
After the order was placed, My wife and I were invited to the factory for a tour. During the tour, we were with a number of others who had ordered boats, from the size of 47 foot on down.
without revealing what boat we had purchased we asked the gentelman giving the tour if there was some type of trickle down effect within the building of the boats, (thinking that the same person doing the detail work on the 47s would be working on our little 22)
Well, I was informed that when someone was hired, they were put to work on the 27 foot boats.. If they excelled in their work, they were moved up into the larger models, BUT if they screwed up, they were moved down to the 25s and so on..
He then went on to say that if they screwed up on the 22s, they were sent out the door...
So there I set, just spending my hard earned money for a boat that I had dreamed about, and this guy just told me My boat was built by screw-ups.
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Old 19-05-2008, 02:19   #15
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Originally Posted by harryrezz View Post
You've gotten some great replies! For mid-80's boats I think it can safely be said that the Jeanneaus werer built a tad better than the Hunters and Benes IN GENERAL, but as was pointed out, there are so many models from each builder that one can't really extrapolate build quality from one to another across the whole line. From my admittedly limited personal experience (I chartered a 38' Bene in the BVI about 10 years ago, and have been aboard a couple of older Hunters in the Chesapeake), none of these builders made really rugged boats at that time. The Bene shuddered and shook when we took her out of the channel (they didsn't earn the name "Bendy Toy" because they were so strong!) and the Hunters seemed, well, a bit flimsey to me. That said, they ae fine for what they were intended for - coastal and lake boats which don't encounter heavy weather and wshich are not asked to carry typical cruising loads. Are there exceptions? Sure ... but one also sees cars whizzing down the turnpikes which were eally intended th spend their lives shuttling between the grocer's and the soccer field. Personally I wouldn't touch any of them ... but that's just me, and that's just for my use in my cruising area. The big charter boat fleets are full of Benes and Jeunnaus, and they seem to work for them ... kinda like Hertz buying lots of Tauruses.
Lots to learn. I am in the market now with a limited budget and am looking at a 1974 44ft Tartan sloop. I have heard these boats were built really solid. I live in the Western Pacific and we have some big water out here. Can you give me some advice on the Tartan 44. A good friend with considerable passage experience in the Pacific is telling me they are beefy and very seaworthy?
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