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Old 12-06-2007, 10:36   #1
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Very Light Blue Sailing???

The point is I will not be making deep blue water voyages but will be doing Island hopping in the Caribbean with home base in British VI.

I know the deep blue set hate production boats like the Beneteau 36'. I have use them via charter and don't have a problem with them for the type application I intend to place them in which would be 3 to 6 week bay hopping in the VI's and Leewards and maybe Windwards at some point if I get bored with the upper chains. I do not have plans on Hurricane passages and am a bit too familiar with them as I live in Florida.

What I would like to know is, would it be such an awful thing to consider such a purchase? Would I have to turn in my seamanship badge and put on a disguise to go into a sailors bar?? It this such an awful boat for my purposes? I have no time to rehab a boat and am getting too old to consider building one myself and do not have the funds to have one built to my specs.

Additional info... most of the time I would effectively be single handling as my crew often has minimal knowledge but have always been great at picking things up. Again we are not making long distance voyages and typically are on the hook every night.

I know this is a repeat question and deep blues hate them but with the goals and uses I plan.. it the use of a Beneteau really as bad as what many forums say. Speaking of a 2000+ year vessel. Opinions and facts welcome...
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:26   #2
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I think that 90% of all sailors would agree that there are a HUGE number of boats out there that can used for a variety of things. And they make those boats to fill a need - if no one wanted what they offered, they wouldn't be there. So, the bottom line is: Get the boat you like, are comfortable with, understand the limitations and go with it. Ain't no one that can tell you what is best for you.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:38   #3
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Well-reasoned approach, RC . . .

I can't find any flaws in your thinking, RC - in fact, you appear to have taken a logical approach to finding a vessel to satisfy your needs, something not all sailors do.

By defining exactly what it is you want to do, you have essentially answered your own question as to the viability of the Beneteau for your intended use.
I suppose a possible drawback is that after you've accomplished your limited goals, you may decide to take the vessel through the Ditch and cruise the South Pacific.

As long as you stick to your original plan, the Beneteau should serve you well. And, if you do decide to venture further, disposing of the Beneteau and buying a true, blue-water vessel shouldn't be too hard to do.

What many people do, IMO, is dream "too big," then start looking for a vessel appropriate to their grand scheme. In other words, many start off with the dream of circumnavigating, acquire a vessel that can stand up to the demands of a circumnavigation, then put it up for sale in the first port that offers them a nearby international airport and fly home disillusioned.

By starting off with a rational, obtainable goal, you are much more likely to achieve it. If you enjoy the experience, and want to pursue the lifestyle further, you will find it an easy "next step."

Go for it, RC! You'll only regret it if you don't.

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Old 12-06-2007, 11:45   #4
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Older "Bendytoys" were just that: not very rugged and not really meant for serious sailing. The newer ones (I was relieved to se that you are thinking of a 2000+ boat) are better. No, they are still not great for serious offshore work, but they are better than the older ones.
For the same money, however, there will be LOTS of boats which are better suited to your intentions. So many that I can't even begin to list them. Before plopping my money down for a mid-sized Beneteau I'd most definitely familiarize myself with the other options in the same price range. I can't help but think that you'd be much better off with a 25 - 30 year old, well built cruiser than a late model Bene ... but that is just one man's opinion.
BTW - some of those passages between the islands can be pretty hairy, and they didn't give the windwards their name because of gentle breezes!
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Old 12-06-2007, 13:07   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality Check
... I do not have plans on Hurricane passages and am a bit too familiar with them as I live in Florida....
At the risk of sounding like a complete smart a$#... I've not met a sailor yet who intentionally sailed out into a hurricane. It's the ability to handle the unexpected that defines whether you, your boat and your crew are "Blue" water or "Light Blue" water types.

If your reliable weather forecasts can extend out as far as your planned voyage time, then you might get by. Note that "reliable" is defined as a description of the weather that happened YESTERDAY... or the weather you can see from the cockpit at that moment. As you can read in numerous other threads (Crossing the Gulf Stream for example...) forecasting is still an inexact science.

So weigh the risks of boat type against your intended use and the environment you'll have to deal with. That decision is a personal one for each of us.

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Old 12-06-2007, 14:23   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality Check
The point is I will not be making deep blue water voyages but will be doing Island hopping in the Caribbean with home base in British VI.

I know the deep blue set hate production boats like the Beneteau 36'. I have use them via charter and don't have a problem with them for the type application I intend to place them in which would be 3 to 6 week bay hopping in the VI's and Leewards and maybe Windwards at some point if I get bored with the upper chains. I do not have plans on Hurricane passages and am a bit too familiar with them as I live in Florida.

What I would like to know is, would it be such an awful thing to consider such a purchase? Would I have to turn in my seamanship badge and put on a disguise to go into a sailors bar?? It this such an awful boat for my purposes? I have no time to rehab a boat and am getting too old to consider building one myself and do not have the funds to have one built to my specs.

Additional info... most of the time I would effectively be single handling as my crew often has minimal knowledge but have always been great at picking things up. Again we are not making long distance voyages and typically are on the hook every night.

I know this is a repeat question and deep blues hate them but with the goals and uses I plan.. it the use of a Beneteau really as bad as what many forums say. Speaking of a 2000+ year vessel. Opinions and facts welcome...
The Beneteau is a FINE vessel for what you are considering. Don't let any opinionated folks who are not out cruising themselves put it in your mind that there aren't any Beneteaus out in the Caribbean. In fact, there is one in nearly every harbor. They are a very popular boat for cruising down there. Of course... I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that mine is currently for sale in the same price range as your proposed boat, but is 10 feet longer and a bit more sound than the Beneteaus that make you nervous. But still... there are tons of them out there actively cruising right now. You'd be blending in the with the crowd in one. The times they are a changin'. Look at the entries to the latest trans-Atlantic rally to confirm this. The number of standard production boats (although large ones) outnumbered the so called "blue water" boats this year.
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Old 12-06-2007, 14:47   #7
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Never sailed on a Beneteau of any kind, but they are probably the most popular brand of monohull used by Caribbean charter companies. When you charter a boat for a week, you pretty much sail/motor some place new every day. Try that for 3 to 6 weeks and your crew will quickly rebel. Probably, you will wind up cruising the same way as most full time, live-aboard, Caribbean cruisers. This means that 90% of the time your boat will not be sailing - it will be anchored. IMHO just about any Good Condition cruiser class boat is suitable for this kind of Caribbean island hopping. Furthermore, for any given length the light weight mass produced boat frequently provides better accommodations and live-aboard comfort than a similar length bluewater boat. Having said that, I am not a fan of the silly twin aft cabins on some of the larger Beneteaus.
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Old 12-06-2007, 18:23   #8
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What I would like to know is, would it be such an awful thing to consider such a purchase?
Sure beats staying home. 90% of sailing is showing up.

If you have an idea of what you want to do there is no reason to feel it's not good enough by someone else's standard. By the same reason believing is not enough to assure success. Training and experience do matter. In a case where you hop from point to point the assumption is you pick your day and have the good sense to wait when appropriate.

The boat won't sail itself no matter how much you pay for it.
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Old 12-06-2007, 20:33   #9
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It's interesting mental masturbation to beat yourself up over a boat choice. Everyone has their favorites. As others have said you will basically be using the boat for the same mission as the charter companies and what do they use? You came to the same conclusion they did. Anything more becomes "mission creep." Youv'e already stated you aren't out to circumnavigate.

Another plus of a production boat of recent vintage is that parts, support and maintenance is easier. Nothing worse than waiting around for custom built replacement parts to be machined and welded.

We had a Benteau demasted here a couple of weeks ago. New stick and all the stuff to install it was on the next ship to Asia. Literally within 3 days.

Final thought. We did our first weekender trip a few weeks ago. We met up in a cove with six other boats. The average was around 40ft and the largest was 52ft. Did we feelt like the poor cousins? Sure a little but we were definitely welcome and made up for our lack of boat with lot's of enthusiasm ;-)

(Oh we also had the best chicks on deck ;-)

As Paul said 90% is just showing up!
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Old 12-06-2007, 23:19   #10
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Hey, that was a nice segway into a sales pitch, Sean. I have to agree with what you said. Maybe if I was rounding "the Horn" I may chose something other than a Beneteau or Catalina but lets face it a vast majority of us will be sailing in more pleasant latitudes. I don't really have a dog in this fight but I have been wondering lately why the "production" boats get a bad rap. I recently came across a website about a couple that did a 9 year circumnavigation on a 1985 Gibb Sea 40. Had no significant problems with the boat. Another on a 1985 beneteau 38 something or other. I can find story after story of "production" boats making open ocean passages safely. There will of course be stories of shoddy products from some builders but if Jenneau, Beneteau, Catalina, and Hunter were turing out an unseaworthy product they would not be in business long.
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Old 19-06-2007, 03:04   #11
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Saw this summer in Auckland a Beneteau 50 of 1996 era that had sailed from the UK, around the Horn, up to Mexico and then across the Pacific to NZ. Took them 4 years to complete that part of the trip and the boat needed a bit of work but it was still in reasonable good order. It is a Bruce Farr design and had a few modifications but it did make it round the Horn in one bit. They only broke the boom and the vang in the whole trip!!
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Old 21-06-2007, 14:50   #12
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Thanks for the inputs... having chartered in the areas that I'll be cruising in for the next 2 years or so... not full time but as the opportunities presents themselves, I know that a very large percentage of the mono hulls are Beneteau and far more that half built in the US. They typically stay in high end fleet service 5 to 7 years then move on to private ownerships or lower end (smaller) fleet service. Marine Surveyors I have had the opportunity to talk or e-mail seem to feel they are well suited for Caribbean service and beyond. I really have no intent to go beyond at this time and probably never but I'll likely cross the Gulf Stream a time or two as I have in far smaller and less equipped sail and power boats... but that was when I was younger and didn't mind working as hard.

While I'm sure many older, well founded vessels exist.. one thing I see in all of them is A Heck Of A Lot Of WORK required just to bring it to the condition of most newer Beneteau presently on the market in the Southern US and Caribbean. That is the primary factor why I really don't care to consider those that need significant amounts of work because this work is NOT FUN to me... sailing and 3 to 4 week slow boat cruises/ gunkholing in the islands is FUN. I have no interest in a different port/ cove every night as someone thought... that is for the week long charter people / former racers not me unless I'm running from something... someone....

Still doing the math to see if my budget will work with the boat I'm primarily looking at and the type sailing I intend to do. One surprise is the wide range of insurance cost and the number of restrictions some want to apply. This factor alone make me think of stepping down to the level of doing an all cash purchase but the boats are just a bit too small for my desires unless they need so much work that I am not willing to consider... Will let you know when I close and what it is on and how it is working out for me and my personal uses.
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Old 21-06-2007, 17:08   #13
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"One surprise is the wide range of insurance cost and the number of restrictions some want to apply."
If I may suggest, call Al Golden at IMIS, 1-800-541-4647; algolden@imiscorp.net

They don't try to be the cheapest, but they are professionals who will sit and explain differences to you, and not pressure you. I've heard people say "they're the best" and also "they're too expensive" but I've never, ever, heard them badmouthed by anyone after a claims experience.
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