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Old 25-09-2009, 18:17   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Kemah, TX
Boat: O'day 322 "Southern Comfort"
Posts: 85
My Observations on the 'South West International in-the-Water Boat Show'

This is the big boat show in the Houston area held each year in the League city/Kemah/Clearlake shores area.

It was much smaller than I thought it would be, but fun none-the-less. I had a great time inspecting and drooling over some Grand Banks trawlers and a big 50' Defever power yacht. Way beyond my means but wow.

The main attraction for me was the chance to get up close and inside of a big catamaran. I got to venture around on a Lagoon 440. I truely see some of the alure in a big cat. The master hull had a big berth couch/setee, lockers and head/shower. It was like two of my boats with a living room in-between. Very nice. It had stainless counters in the galley which were nice. One thing I have noticed is that like production monohulls such as Beneteau and Hunter, it had that RVish fake wood veneer (vinyl?) It looked good but when the boat starts to age it will be hard to make look new again by not being able to sand and refinish.

I finally got a chance to see a Jeanneau. It was a 39i and I thought the build quality looked very nice. It also had the synthetic veneer all over though . It was not very roomy for a 39' but roomy enough. The living area was not much more than my O'day 322. I really liked the huge storage behind the head (two stateroom model).

The Hunters I looked at were nothing new. Not bad, but still too much synthetic veneer. My favorite Hunter is the 41' DS. I love the layout. I am a fan of pullman berths .

Stepped aboard a Beneteau 47'. The layout was very nice. I really like the look of the new line of Beneteau. It is really a sexy boat. It had real wood veneer but the smaller ones 37' on down use the synthetic stuff

I looked at a Catalina 375 and was impressed. Real wood below (except the floor). Because of this the Catalina is my top choice among production boats. The 375 is not my favorite model (387 is tops for me ), but it was very nice.

The boat that most impressed me was a Caliber 40 that was on display. That is a nice boat thru and thru. the fit and finish was first rate, all solid wood (some ply) on this thing. I love the pullman layout . This is a true bluewater cruiser and it looked tough all around. This was my first chance to look closely at one of these boats. There were a few things that I wanted to see first hand and I am glad I got the chance. Most have heard of the poor nav table layout on this model. Although, I think it is not very good, I was easily able to get my legs and knees under there. It would not be a problem for me, but I can see it being so if I was a bit plumper. Storage galour. Plenty of tankage. built like a tank. One of my new favorite boats.

There was a must see there that, if you go, you dont want to miss. There is a 1965 Pearson Countess 44' that has been totally refitted and restored. Whom ever did the work, they were pros. It was probably the best looking boat out there. Magnificant . Under 200k also.

My impressions for the 38' and smaller production boats were:

Catalina was the best out of the four. Gotta love real wood.
Jeanneau was second and looked to be one of the best fit and finish.
Hunter and the Beneteau were about even.

All good boats. the main deciding factor for me was the veneer.
My O'day 322 has Teak veneer marine ply and solid teak used throughout. After fixing dings, chips, and cracked old wood from the companion way backing to other wood in the galley, I cannot imagine having to do it if the veneer was synthetic and trying to match 20 year old stuff. It reminds me of the trend in the '70s to use that thick wood colored plastic veneer. years later when the stuff cant be found, if you damage it, any repair will look out of place just short of ripping it out and either reveneering it or replacing the wood itself.

Except for the Caliber, I had no impulse to trade in my beloved O'day for any of the production boats.

All of my observations were not really sailing related since they were all tied up to the docks

P.S.-please excuse the grammer, wrote this in a fly.
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