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Old 20-03-2008, 10:05   #1
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Please review: 1st boat purchase 28' Beneteau First 285

Please review and let me know your thoughts. I have not viewed the boat myself yet, debating on if it's worth the 3 hr drive yet to go look at it. My original plan was to line up a bunch to view come April/May time line (all the locations and where I'd be slipping the boat are 3-4 hours north of me).

Boat: 1988 28' Beneteau First 285

1988 Beneteau First 285 Boat For Sale

Intended use: Light/moderate coastal cruising type of sailing on Lake Superior. Want the option open to do ~ 12+ hour sails across the open water to other locations (Apostle Islands to Isle Royal etc). Not sailing across oceans here, but possible across Lake Superior...

Ability for 2-4 adults, maybe 2x kids, to have enjoyable weekends out.

Ability to use and learn all the various systems.

I've been trying to get off the Huntabennacatala kick (how ever that is spelled!), however for my intended use those might not be bad boats. I just don't know, very limited experience on boat boats myself (only sailed on a 37' Beneteau in the BVI so far). Was planning on chartering a few different boats this spring to figure things out.

My guess is this boat will not be on the market for too long, looks to only be a few available.

Pros: Nice sail inventory, electronics, large engine for size of the boat, pressure water/hot water etc, propane stove (I'd much prefer this I think).

I really want a boat with doors on the front and aft berths. I don't know why, someplace to hide the kids I guess. This is the smallest boat I've seen that on- next steps seem to be newer Hunter 290's/Hunter 310 etc. Need to get up to 31 feet or so I guess.

Cons: Not much fresh water inventory (I'd be on a fresh water lake... ), small berths, unknown if headroom would work (6'0 headroom and I'm 6'0), smaller/lighter boat which would get tossed around I'd image. Per reviews no bilge pump in the shower, most owners have added this from reviews I've read.

Seems to be maybe more of a racer boat which is not bad, I just want all the cruiser comforts I think.

Good reviews on the Volvo engine, I'd like a Yanmar since everything under the sun seems to have those. My guess is once learn one diesel they are all pretty close.

I've got a think going to allow for this to be basically a cash purchase but the time line is not done. Expect the cash to be in hand in ~ 2 months so moving before then on the boat would be financing it.

I'm not a huge fan of the older boats with no aft berth in this size range (27'-32') but am slowing understanding the pros/cons of each hopefully.

Let know your thoughts please!

Thanks,
Marty
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Old 20-03-2008, 11:38   #2
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A 28 ft boat is a compromise in a lot ways and you can't get around it. Tanks and space just have to fit some place. The budget has to be in mind all the time as well.
For twice the money you could get twice the boat so that is always an option but you do want the money to work out too.

For a drive up to Superior it's probably worth a look. Finding out what you really like and can actually buy needs some persepective and a drive to see a real boat up close is a good thing. Look at some boats bigger and out of your budget too. It's how you can come to terms with how much comfort you can afford.

If you can bring your wife. I can tell you if she hates it it's over and if you find one she likes you best not wealk away too fast. When the Admirral is unhappy the captain sleeps in the cockpit. This is really somethig you both should do together.

Just so you don't get the wrong idea Lake Superior dishes it out like the ocean but with a salt free diet. There is a lot of rocky and inaccessible coastline with long distances between ports. The really good news is the water does not get much colder in the winter than the summer. If you can master this lake you can sail any place in the world. This is not Lake Calhoun.

I think you are not going to see much more boat for the money unless you get to about 30 ft and really for comfortable cruising you may want to get closer to 33 ft.
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Old 20-03-2008, 11:42   #3
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For that price, looks like a nice boat.
You'll want a survey, of course, but it certainly seems to have all the bells and whistles.

And for a first boat, it looks fine... the systems look relatively simple and easy to learn and you'll probably find it's easy to get on the water and sailing.

Don't worry too much about headroom. I'm six feet and I have standing head room in the companionway. Then the coachroof slopes toward the bow. NP -- I just keep my head down. And I spend most of the time on deck.

The real place you need room is in the Vberth -- if there are two people in it, getting out of ours is like trying to wiggle out of tight jeans in a closet. That Vberth looks as if there's room to move.

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Old 20-03-2008, 11:45   #4
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yay, post number 150 ... do I get a prize?
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Old 20-03-2008, 11:51   #5
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Why is there one for sale for $19,900?
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Old 20-03-2008, 11:52   #6
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Quote:
do I get a prize
You bet! Show up at Marty's house and you can drive him up to look at a boat.
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Old 20-03-2008, 12:02   #7
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Why is there one for sale for $19,900?
Where?

Got the 2005 survey, didn't know those things were 15 pages long!
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Old 20-03-2008, 12:39   #8
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She looks like a nice boat. There is some misinformation in the Yacht World ad. I believe that the Liberty Series were 305's and not 285's, and I don't think the boat was designed by Farr, I think that Berret did the design if I remember correctly.

My quick first thoughts are that this is a heavy boat for a 28 footer and so light air performance so critical in lake sailing will be lacking.

I also think that having a wheel on a boat like this is very unfortunate.

Volvos tend to be less reliable than Yanmar and Volvo parts are wildly expensive.

That is a high asking price perhaps reflecting the pile of stuff on board but the boat appears to lack a decent 150% genoa which you will probably want for lake sailing this boat.

This is not a race boat even if she's been raced.

The survey shows signs of rust blooms on the iron suggesting that the fairing material is starting fail.

The survey is three years old. Three years is a long time in the life of a 20 year old boat. You need to get the boat surveyed.

Jeff
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Old 20-03-2008, 12:41   #9
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Aloha Marty,
A lot can happen in 3 years so if this is your first boat you'll want the seller to do a new survey. It should be no problem for them because in my point of view they are asking a lot of money for the boat.
Don't mind me too much. I am a real cheapskate.
I know you might have fallen in love with the idea of this boat but take my advice and do more shopping around. In my opinion a really great price for a 30 footer that is sailable but needs some work is $10K. That is if you know how to do some of the work yourself or can learn.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 20-03-2008, 12:49   #10
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Originally Posted by marty9876 View Post
Where?

Got the 2005 survey, didn't know those things were 15 pages long!
Look at all the Yachtworld listings for the 285.
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Old 20-03-2008, 13:05   #11
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Look at all the Yachtworld listings for the 285.
My mistake, I've been just looking at the Great Lakes listing. Thanks.

Ok, back to thinking this one out. Thanks for the info everyone, time to search for that perfect boat in every regard... (ok, so I've learned there is no perfect boat so that's step one!).

I was hoping the seller would take less than asking... a lot less!!!!

I think it's the smallest boat with all the big boat features I've found which might be most of my attraction to this boat. Obviously when a company does this there are many other compromises that have to be made.

I'd like a wheel but am forced to agree that when the wheel blocks of 1/2 the cockpit there might be an issue with this.

Wonder why they bought a 130% over a 150% if the previous owner bought new sails. Broker stated the owner is looking to trade up in boats as reason for sale.
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Old 20-03-2008, 14:51   #12
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Originally Posted by marty9876 View Post
Please review and let me know your thoughts.

Intended use: Light/moderate coastal cruising type of sailing on Lake Superior. Want the option open to do ~ 12+ hour sails across the open water to other locations (Apostle Islands to Isle Royal etc). Not sailing across oceans here, but possible across Lake Superior...
I will confess that I would struggle to place lake Superior on the map .....and one Beneteau type boat looks much like another to me......and my sole experiance of Lake Sailing is an afternoon on Lake Taupo in NZ.....but I consider these minor technical handicaps to me giving out advice.....

Have a looksee / Google and see what type of boats folk go for in your chosen cruising area - does not mean they are all right of course , but they won't be all wrong either - yer should get a good feel for what type of boat folk go for........my gut feeling is that the Beneteau will be fine on the basis that she is big enough to cope if sailed for the conditions and although she does not get my pulse racing I do appreciate that they do pack a lot into them......and just cos' some folk do not like them doesn't make them bad boats.
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Old 20-03-2008, 15:43   #13
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Quote:
I think it's the smallest boat with all the big boat features I've found which might be most of my attraction to this boat.
Sounds like some right thinking after all.

Quote:
Wonder why they bought a 130% over a 150% if the previous owner bought new sails.
Over long distances the 130 is more versatile. I saw they also had downwind sails too. In 20 knots the 150 isn't going to be a fun time. The shallow keel will give a lot of leeway when it blows.

Quote:
Broker stated the owner is looking to trade up in boats as reason for sale.
My guess is he was thinking like you were but took a little longer to realize it. Finally decided that he really wanted big boat features.

I have good friends that sailed the heck out of a Saber 27 on Lake Ontario then did the same down here on the Chesapeake in a different Saber 27. They now have a Saber 34. In the grand scheme of things I think this is what you are wanting - the bigger boat features, but are fighting to make the budget work.

Our friends made do with the 27 and I know had a wonderful time even sailing with their kids! This really has a lot more to do with you and your family than it does with the boat you select. I mean that in a good way since in the end you all have to find a way to make the money work and still have a great deal of fun. The way that works for you is the way to go.
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Old 20-03-2008, 18:38   #14
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Years and years ago we kept a 25' Hunter at Washburn WI for a season. We sailed the boat around the Aostile Islands and made a few short cruises ..... The boat did well and we had a ball. If our 25' hunter (with tiller, alcohol stove, 8 gallons of water, porti pottie and a Honda outboard) was adaquate, the 28' Beneateau you're looking at should seem like a palace.
Actually, the Beneateau you're interested in really looks great ..... good luck!
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Old 20-03-2008, 23:31   #15
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Quote:
I've been trying to get off the Huntabennacatala kick (how ever that is spelled!), however for my intended use those might not be bad boats. I just don't know, very limited experience on boat boats myself (only sailed on a 37' Beneteau in the BVI so far). Was planning on chartering a few different boats this spring to figure things out.
You mention that you are liking the "big boat" amenities, so if they're important to you, then a boat from one of the Big 3 manufacturers is probably ideal. The reason that they have sold so many units is that the boats offer a lot of comfort at an affordable price. There is probably more cachet associated with owning some other marques, but I don't think that's an important thing for you at this point. Just remember that they are not quite as well built as boats that are designed to cross oceans, so you need to be a bit more vigilant about maintaining and repairing them.

The one thing that concerns me after looking very quickly at this boat, is that it seems to have been left uncoverd over the winter. This COULD allow water to enter the deck/hull in areas that are less than perfectly sealed. When the water freezes, it expands and damages the boat ever so slightly. If this happens for 15 or 20 years, the damage becomes significant.

Beneteau makes some decent boats. I would encourage you though, to consider starting with a smaller boat (16 to 20 feet) and sailing that for a couple of seasons
giving yourself and your family an opportunity to learn what happens when you pull on a line. It's certainly possible to learn to sail on bigger boats, but their weight can make it difficult to understand some of the nuances that can affect performance.

As well, the maintenance learning curve is a fairly steep one, and it's nice to be able to make some mistakes on something that's not too expensive to fix. When you are looking at boats and considering what size you'd like, don't underestimate the costs of maintenance. If you need to do serious work on a boat - it is not unusual to end up spending more than the initial purchase price.

Quote:
My guess is this boat will not be on the market for too long, looks to only be a few available.
There are ALWAYS good boats on the market. Particularly in the current economy. It looks to be a nice boat, but there are at least 1,000 more out there that are in better shape, cost less, and sail as well or better. Not all of them are in your area but they are out there. It can be difficult to resist buying something that looks great and seems like a deal, but there are some incredible opportunities to be had when the economy is slow, so don't spend your money too quickly.

I would encourage you to go out and look at as may boats as you possibly can. Don't even think about making a purchase until you have seen 25 or 30 and preferably 50 or 60. You need to see enough to be able to determine what good condition is and what bad condition is.

Good Luck!
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