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Old 24-12-2006, 09:30   #1
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Beneteau 343 ?

I'm looking to trade up to a larger boat and there is a late model Beneteau 343 in my marina that would fit my size and budget parameters. However, I've been warned by a couple of people to avoid Beneteaus because of "springy" (i.e., too much flex) deck issues. Before investing time and $$$ into checking out this boat, can anyone provide input on this problem and late model Beneteau quality issues generally? Would a Jeanneau be a better choice, even though they are sister companies? (A boat broker has been trying to sell me a "new" 2005 Jeanneau 35 Sun Odessey. He is not connected to the Beneteau I've located, but the SO is higher priced.) Thanks.
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Old 27-12-2006, 14:39   #2
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Hi and welcome,
I'd go check out the boat myself and not take too much notice of such 'warnings'. They are usually made by others with a different agenda to your own.
Beneteau have grown to be the biggest boat manufacturer in Europe because thier yachts were good enough to sell the most. And you'd be doing us all a fovour by checking yourself and letting us all know if the deck really is 'springy' - or if this is just scuttlebutt.
I'd bet $10 on the latter.
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Old 27-12-2006, 17:12   #3
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Not springy

I find it hard to believe that the world's largest boat builder built its reputation on Springy Decks. I have a Beneteau and find it to be a great buy for any money. There are few boats in our search that give the buyer so much for so little. Most manufacturers are at a great disadvantage when it comes to purchasing product for their boats. Most buy resins by the drum, Beneteau buys by the tank car. Who gets a better price. Not the most expensive does not mean low quality. Poor quality can be found for very high prices and conversely, high quality can be found for reasonable prices.

You may want the opinion of a designer: Sailing Magazine

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Old 28-12-2006, 09:20   #4
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Thanx for The Straight Scoop

I realize B's are a production boat, but I'd never heard of this "deck flex" problem before. I'll take a look at the boat and if it looks good, arrange for a survey.
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Old 28-12-2006, 09:23   #5
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I must agree that there are a lot of "opinions" out there. The best is yours! Go check it out. I'm sure you've noticed how boat owners like to share their knowledge at any given opportunity. These boats are most likely well built in my opinion.
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Old 02-01-2007, 18:06   #6
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If the boat is in generally good condition, and the price is right, I wouldn't worry about it too much. It isn't like deck flex is going to sink your boat, nor that it cannot be fixed. seriously, though, I doubt that the world's single biggest yacht builder would be producing a range of boats with so simple an inherent fault (although all Beneteaus are, by definition, referred to as "Bendy-toys" hereabouts )
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:31   #7
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As an owner of a 393 I'd say the Beneteaus are as good as any "production" boat and better than most. Not knowing them and having heard what most sailors hear about them, I did not think too much of them until I crawled around a few of them when I went to help deliver a new 423. I was impressed by the build quality and ended up buying a new 393. My major complaint is that anything under a 42 appears a bit dumpy because of the high freeboard but that might be in the eye of the beholder. From a distance she might look pretty.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:26   #8

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I've never heard of Beneteaus having "springy" decks either. In fact, they do seem to be a lot of boat for the money. Plus... if you ever wanted to resell it, you're in good shape, as they have a lively market.
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Old 03-01-2007, 16:51   #9

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The British maritime safety board stated that Beneteaus are unfit for offshore cruising in any rough water. When you buy a Beneteau you are buying style over substance. You are paying for the name, not what goes into the boat.
You've seen all those glossy ads. Wanna pay for them?
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Old 03-01-2007, 17:16   #10

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Brent, of course it may not be considered an off shore vessel, but you could get yourself through a nice Caribbean cruise on one. I know many people that have. I'm not pro-Beneteau at all. In fact, I dislike them. But I didn't get the sense he was looking at taking a Beneteau 343 into the roaring 40's.
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Old 03-01-2007, 22:23   #11
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Several Beneteaus compete in the Sydney to Hobart each year, some of them do pretty well. I am not a fan of Beneteau in general, by any means, neverthless, they are horses for courses. I would counter Brent's arguments with an observation about the relatively large cost benefits associated with large scale production line type building over one-off type building. At the end of the day, beneteaus sell a lot of boats because their product is price competetive against other vessels in the same market sector. Nobody is forced to buy a Beneteau, but lots of people do. Like I say, they aren't my cup of tea, but that is a moot observation since they are out of my price range anyway, but I can certainly see their merits as well as their disadvantages.
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Old 03-01-2007, 22:52   #12
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Originally Posted by Louis Riel
The British maritime safety board stated that Beneteaus are unfit for offshore cruising in any rough water.

Which organisation? CHIRP? MCA?

I'd be gobsmacked if such a blanket statement was made by a government body about an entire range of products from an EU manufacturer which have all been assessed under the stringent criteria of the Recreational Craft Directive

The current Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 343, for example, is rated CE Category A with 6 persons aboard which means it has satisifed independent examiners that the construction, stability and safety equipment is suitable for use in deep water ocean environments.

Mind you, can't say as I like the look of the boats myself and I couldn't afford one even if I did!
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:15   #13
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Mr. Lucky, you don't tell us where you are based or what plans you have for the boat...and IMO those are major factors in trying to answer your question. The Beneteau model you are considering, again IMO, lacks suitable tankage and deck hardware for even regional cruising in some areas, and there are additional problems with it if wanting to cross an ocean. OTOH if your plans are like 98% of other owners, it's probably as good as any other comparable choice out there. (What a great marketing slogan: "Our boat is no worse than the other guy's...")

Re: all these AWB's, I think it's when you begin looking at the details that questions arise. As just one simple example, check the deck hardware associated with anchoring. The plate thickness used for the anchor roller is usually 1/8", the roller is cantelevered forward of the bow, fasteners are inboard and few in number, the platform's bail does not accommodate anchors of larger sizes, the roller cheeks may not be rounded, and the nylon snubber for an all-chain rode (not expected by the builder) lacks a fairlead to a suitable cleat. None of this is a major problem for the weekend sailor but these anchor roller assemblies bend or fail altogether when doing more serious cruising. Eventually, such limitations can even make themselves known if e.g. living on the hook in the Caribbean or Baja. Imagine how many systems there are on a boat carefully built to a price which may include similar compromises.

One last thought: I recently spent 9 weeks in a boatyard of superior capability, watching them try to repair used AWBs. The generic problem they kept having was that all these cost-conscious build choices worked against long-term longevity of the systems and made repairs difficult and expensive. Beneteaus distinguished themselves in this regard: hull/deck joints split, mast step/rig loading structures rusted, welds broke, and they had to be removed and junked, fuel was found to have migrated inbetween the hull laminates of foam-cored First series hulls, the fuel came from leaky manifolds that couldn't be easily repaired since they were built of plastic and not accessible for removal, keels lacked a good match-up with their hulls' keel stubs (I could easily place my hand in the gap on one boat), and the list went on. In one case, a 2-year old 600K Euro Beneteau began to have its keel crack horizontally, Beneteau wouldn't answer the phone or examine the boat, lawyers were involved, etc. This is hardly a distinguished record and the implications of building to a price go way beyond 'springy decks'.

Still...most Beneteaus probably provide good service to their owners because they see very little use. If your plans are similar, then it's all about a careful survey with a small portion of luck thrown into the mix.

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Old 04-01-2007, 11:42   #14
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Point Taken About The Lack Of Details ...

First, much appreciate all of your responses. Second, I should have mentioned at the outset that this boat is located on Lake Ontario, and I would plan to sail her in those waters, including trips to Canada from the US. Planned use would be coastal crusing, with occasional lake crossings. Usual crew would be the Admiral and me (mostly weekends), although on longer jaunts (a week or so), we would plan to have another couple with sailing experience on board. Hope this helps in terms of the environment/planned use of the boat.

I'm happy to hear that deck flex on Beneteaus is not as big an issue as I was led to believe, but I've also heard the term "Bendytoys" and wonder why that moniker stuck to these boats. Also, I am a bit concerned about the posted remarks to the effect that "Beneteaus are not for me"/dislike Beneteaus. Any specific reasons, particularly with a later model B such as this one?

In my original post, I mentioned the availability of a "new" 2005 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey. Any opinions of this manufacturer/model or whether it would be a better choice for the planned use and waters? The SO has been on offer for quite a while and probably would be price-competitive after serious negotiations. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2007, 15:55   #15
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Springy decks???

I don't own a Beneteau but I have raced and sailed on 8-10 beneteaus over the last fifteen years and I heve never felt anything but solid under my feet. You are going to find people that hate Benehuntalinas for no reason other than they are just grouchy know-it-all jerks. Beneteau, Hunter and Catalina did not get to be the size they are by building crappy products.... I've delivered and sailed on numerous boats, in all price points, and I can assure you that the more expensive boats have MORE breakdowns than the Jenneaus, Beneteaus and Catalina's I've delivered but this is mostly new boats or less than a year old. After the first year or two it's buyer beware because lack of maintenance can kill a Hinckley as fast as it can kill a Beneteau!

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