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Old 19-12-2009, 21:09   #16
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Someone went around the world in a Catalina 27. If you want to take on that challenge, be my guest.

In sailboats, as in almost everything else in life, you get what you pay for.
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Old 20-12-2009, 02:47   #17
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Production boats are not necessarily cheap.
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Old 20-12-2009, 06:10   #18
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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'Day All,

Finally, when looking at the pretty, open plan interiors of these boats, try a thought experimant: In your mind, tilt that beaut cabin thirty degrees and shake it vigorously as in a big seaway. Are there adequate handholds to safely move about ? Are the storage lockers (if any, ho ho) capable of being securely latched? Are there any berths that can be used on both tacks under severe conditions? Can you safely operate important bits in the galley? You will see that many of these boats are not really designed to be used at sea.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Burnett River, Qld, Oz
Handholds etc are a poor way to decide. This is really more of a setup issue. If you find a great boat, but it needs locker doors/handhold/latches installed then you are golden as these are easy fixes. The only way for most of us to get a boat with all the correct fit out items is to find an old ex-cruiser or do it ourselves. And these threads always start becoming the fear of the 1% storm that maybe a racer stays out it, but a cruiser avoids by sitting it out.
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Old 20-12-2009, 06:13   #19
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Originally Posted by meyermm View Post
Production boats are not necessarily cheap.
Just a questions, but what is the definition of a "production Boat" anyway?
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Old 20-12-2009, 06:20   #20
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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Just a questions, but what is the definition of a "production Boat" anyway?
Good question.
Technically, I think a “production boat” is one built by “industrial” methods, rather than “craft” methods.
Practically, I suspect many of us deem a boat built to a price point, to be a production boat.
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Old 20-12-2009, 08:38   #21
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Hi all,

Thank you to everyone for sharing your knowledge with the novice. You have made me look at the problem from different points of view.

Reason why I would like to go for production boat:

1. They are easy to find (I will be buying in Croatia). Also BTW what do you think about ex charter boats? I heard to keep away from them but what is your opinion?

2. They keep good resell value

3. I like the look (especially of Benetau)

4. I have spent weekend on the Benetau 31, and I like it a lot. I don’t know a lot about sailing but whether was bad and boat was feeling very safe to be on. I had a great time.

Now I know that whatever I buy there will be better boat out there, but on the other hand I can see that there is a lot of people out there with Benetau boats and they have great time and no problems with boat (BTW MarkJ, I am very very envy of your boat. Have spent an hour on your website yesterday!)

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Old 20-12-2009, 08:50   #22
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Who's up for writing this book? - I'll buy a copy

In order to assess how much emphasis we should be placing on durability and certain design characteristics (e.g., rudder design), we need more objective information collected and organized about actual failures that are occuring, their cause, cost of repairs, etc.. This information needs to be correlated to how the boat is being used, its age, and its design characteristics. This information could be obtained from boatyards around the world, but I don't know that its ever been attempted has it? Perhaps insurance companies have similar information that they use in making underwritting decisions?

Someone who can figure out how to fairly assess and categorize actual usage against actual durability across a broad range of designs, manufacturers, etc. would be doing us all a great service and might sell a lot of copies to the sailing community.

Anyone up for putting together such a book? I'll buy a copy. Maybe Practical Sailor can take this on, or have they?

An actual data based approach would take us away from all the anecdotal information, strongly held opinions, etc. and give us some real information on which to base decisions based on intended use, cost, and our personal tolerance for risk.
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Old 20-12-2009, 08:54   #23
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Originally Posted by ibrgic View Post
(BTW MarkJ, I am very very envy of your boat. Have spent an hour on your website yesterday!)

Thank you Nic updated the website today and has added quite a hansom, if I can say modestly (although honestly), photo of me looking very intelligently at a rock... as one does when the photographer says "Stand there and look intelligent" Anyway, the rock doesn't have the beer gut.....
Notes on a Circumnavigation.

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Old 20-12-2009, 10:27   #24
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Here's one anecdotal answer to your Q (about buying charter boats in Croatia):

Boat purchased: Beneteau First 12+m sloop; had been in charter in Croatia
Buyer: Danish chap who was keen to 'buy a good boat cheap' and sail it back to Denmark (where boat prices in the entire region are breathtaking)
Initial Use: Surveyed locally and purchase concluded, he sailed it with friends as far as Lisbon, where the windward work he was doing up the Iberian coast led him to call into a boatyard to examine the grid/mast step assembly

(One) Problem: The mast step and adjacent metal structure to take the rigging loads had significant corrosion and needed to be replaced. (Not a terrible job for Tagus Marine, which has a massive metal shop & works in all metals, but not fun or cheap). As the mast step/grid structure is being removed, the workers are finding the area contaminated with diesel fuel. The only fuel source is 8m further aft, in the diesel where was the fuel coming from?
Answer: The boat's structures had worked to the point where the cored hull had failed in multiple places; also, the fuel tank was also compromised and had begun to weep diesel fuel. The fuel was migrating from back aft, inside the cored hull, and exiting where the hull had failed at the mast step.
Future: The mast step/grid structure was replaced but the yard advised the owner not to take the boat to sea, believing it was no longer safe. There were other issues. E.g. the ballast keel - having been removed to be sand blasted and barrier coated - was found to not mate fairly with the keel stub of the hull, leaving gaps of 2.5cm in places and preventing even loading on the keel stub. Beneteau provided new keel bolts but they were found, just like the ones removed, to only allow the nuts inside the hull to grab a few threads. The bolts' insufficient length also meant that large/thick washers could not be put on the bolts, to spread the load, before the nuts were tightened down.

This is only one story (tho' I know first-hand since I followed the whole multi-week episode) but it illustrates how charter boats can be abused and also how cheap boats may not be cheap. Someone earlier recommended spending time in boat yards, looking at what problems are found in the boats you are considering. I think this is excellent advice. In the same small Tagus Marine yard I saw, among many other sad stories:
-- a Beneteau First 31 that had been sailed locally (coastal Portugal). It's rig tension was peeling the deck mold away from the hull mold along the joint back aft where it had been gelcoated over by the builder. (Here we are, five years later, looking at a Hunter DS41 in this yard that fouled its rudder on a shoal, and its deck mold was peeled away from its hull by a rudder that was hardly damaged - so different circumstances but similar results).
-- a Jeanneau 45, a beautiful almost-new boat, that had only been sailed out to the Azores and back by its owner. When hauled to cure a number of other issues, the keel was found to be 'tearing' horizontally. The top of the keel had a 'step' in it, and it was tearing across the taller part of the step, fore to aft, towards the lower level of the aft section of the keel's top. Unbelievable to see. Metal specialists were called in to assess the problem and, before I left, it was determined that a) the keel was not built by Jeanneau or parent Beneteau but by a contractor (no doubt to a price), b) the keel was not solid lead as advertised but some kind of sheathed structure with a lead core and an outer layer of material no one had been able to identify, and predictably c) Jeanneau/Beneteau stopped answering the phone and only lawyers were talking to one another.

This was all just from a stay in one modestly size yard over a period of a few weeks, while we had engine repairs made to WHOOSH. These stories, in my view, do not disqualify any of these 'price boats' from being considered for ocean crossings. And Mark's boat, for one, is a good example of how some owners on some of these boats are very satisfied (or even moreso) with their purchases.

What it does suggest is that high production-volume builders that build down to a price a) miss things when building many boats each day (Bavaria was producing 2,000 boats each year as of five years ago...and they were expanding production), b) getting cost out of a boat inevitably forces compromises (which of course is true of every boat), but that c) the odds incrementally add up against you with these compromises because it becomes harder and harder for the builder to properly test & evaluate these, and to adequately inspect every hull being finished. Hanse (another such builder) found its mid-sized sailboats were losing their rudders several years ago, including one life lost, not just because they were being fabricated to inadequate standards but because the subsequent testing was insufficient. The stories go on and on...

So what to do? With research, you'll find some models of these builders, for some periods of time, are simply better engineered and more easily/reliably built than others. I saw a Jeanneau 41 out in the Frisian Islands of Germany that had been doing the offshore run up the Jutland Peninsula to Norway every year for 17 years. This can be a very tough run. I thought it was first rate and wouldn't hesitate to take it south of the Great Capes. But when built, the owner could ask for modifications such as additional high-tech (kevlar, as I recall) build-up in high-stress areas, and this owner had done that. The trick is to find out which of the many models being built over many years are less prone to major failures (since every boat will have its issues), and zero in on those for your shopping. Of course, if "your" process is to a) start with 'it must be in Croatia', and b) it must be in the charter fleet, and c) it must be at the end of its charter period & ready for sale (meaning well used), then you may not have the choices available to you that will - ultimately - meet your needs.

My favorite story is about the Beneteau a Dane was delivering from the Med (as its charter season ended) to the Caribbean. He had the middle night watch and also the breakfast cooking duty each morning, when he was still groggy and half asleep. It took him 4 days to figure out how, each day, the galley was getting bigger and bigger. You would have to hear the story from him for its full effect...pretty funny.

Jack (who sails a "production boat")
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Old 20-12-2009, 11:34   #25
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I don't usually particpate in these types of discussions, on-line, since they can be contentious and of course being filled with opinion, do not lend themselves to easy "black" and "white" answers.....and while I wasn't going to post to this thread, I thought commenting on Jack's earlier post seem like a good idea.....
And, now here I am again.....

Originally Posted by Euro Cruiser View Post
So what to do? With research, you'll find some models of these builders, for some periods of time, are simply better engineered and more easily/reliably built than others.
The trick is to find out which of the many models being built over many years are less prone to major failures (since every boat will have its issues), and zero in on those for your shopping.

Jack (who sails a "production boat")
I couldn't agree more.......
Just like all Chevrolets aren't Chevettes, and all aren't Corvettes.....
Neither are all "production" boats made by the same company, made they same way.....
Some models of some manufacturers are truly structurally designed and built to real offshore, ocean crossing standards......
This includes hull design, structural grid / stringers / bulkheads, hull-deck joints, deck design, chainplates, mast-steps, mast and rigging, etc. etc. etc......
{I grew up sailing offshore (N. Atl., Med, Carib, Bahamas, etc.) on a Hinckley.....but I didn't have a spare couple of $Million laying around, so I set my sights a bit lower....}
I've been trying to find a way to illustrate this, without touting my own boat......but what the hell, if you look at the Catalina 470, of which only 170 have been built since their introduction in 1998, you'll see a true offshore design and manufacture of a cruising boat from a "production" boat manufacturer......
(Yes, Catalina has made over 75,000 sailboats in their ~ 40 years in business, but they did make a significant decision not to scrimp when it came to their 470.....maybe a hold-over influence from Morgan??, or maybe just Frank and Gerry making a statement that they can make a serious offshore cruiser and a modern-designed cruiser, all-in-one boat......but whatever the reason, I for one, and very glad they did it....)

John (who also sails a "production boat")
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Old 20-12-2009, 12:47   #26
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Whenever these threads pop up every few months, I always have the same thoughts:

1) I speculate that people putting down a certain type of boat 9 times out of 10 do not and never have owned the model boat they are putting down.

2) With the age of the average cruiser now, I wonder if a lot of the fondness of 1960-1980's boats (usually mentioned by the time a thread gets to be 3 pages long, or when specific recommendations for a "good" boat start to be handed out, whichever comes first ) is due to familiarity of these models and a reluctance to try new systems, designs, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, is it due to justification of the extra cost in purchasing "semi-custom" or custom yachts? With few exceptions, everyone seems to write about how much they love the boat they own because we all seem to grow attached to our boats emotionally (myself included!).

3) Frequently mentioned in these threads are yards all over the world full of production boats that are suffering from major design-type flaws. However, in all the boatyards I have seen near where I am, they are full of wooden boats, and (for the sailboats) older 15+ year old boats that owners are pouring untold hours and $$$ in to "finish" refits. Meanwhile, I'm simply performing preventive maintenance in relation to my boat.

4) I'm sure there are some poorly maintained and abused charter boats out there. But, the same could be said for non-charter boats. My former charter boat is not falling apart at all, and in fact passed engine and hull surveys with flying colors. I've never had a problem. It is all about the maintenance program the previous owner had it under, charter or not.

5) I still don't get the "plastic boat" or "clorox bottle" thing...a light-hearted slur by haters of these boats. After all, the only non-wood surfaces on my boat are the ceiling, heads, and 1/2 of the berthing walls. Any more wood and it would start to look like a cave, I think!!

6) If Bene, Jene, and Bavaria had not thought their boats capable of crossing oceans, why do they market them as such? Wouldn't there be a hundred lawsuits on-going if these boats had as many design flaws as some believe they have? How many 100's of these boats have to make a transit before nay-sayers change their minds?

Everyone has their own opinion, of course. As for me, I still haven't seen another boat out there that I would have rather had than mine for the same price point.

I guess what I'm trying to say with all of this typing is- Don't sell yourself short on key features that would make you happy when you are cruising because of stereotypes.

Happy shopping!!

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Old 20-12-2009, 13:37   #27
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GeoPowers - I could not agree more, just before I came to your post I was thinking about many of your points. It seemed to me that in my travels most boat yards were repairing old cruising yachts and carrying out minor service work to later model yachts.
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Old 20-12-2009, 14:28   #28
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We sailed a late 90s 352 from Boston to Puerto rico non stop a few years ago as a delivery. Lots of lousy weather. Too much wind and then not enough.

To answer your question:

The boat is fine. The problem is mostly with the sailors.

Euro Cruiser is nailing the discussion down. Tx, to him.
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Old 20-12-2009, 15:06   #29
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G'Day again, Ivan,

A lot of interesting opinions have been expressed in this thread by now, and again I must point out the thoughtful posting of Eurocruiser. His specific examples seem to me to address just the kind of worries that I have about the specific marques that you originally were asking about.

As to the continual references to all the "HunteBeneVariaLinas" out there sailing happily...
I have no problems with these boats in the service that they are designed for and sold into, which I believe to be life mostly in marinas, recreational sailing in good weather and only short stays on board. This includes events such as the ARC, which is typically a "once in a lifetime" adventure attracting folks who carefully prepare for the cruise in relatively new boats, and who have large budgets to support their efforts (or else they would not spend the large fee for entry to ARC).

Ivan, your initial query addressed the suitability of such boats for a circumnavigation voyage. This typically takes a number of years, and will involve sailing through some difficult waters and serious bad weather somewhere along the route. The posting suggesting that "cruisers" would sit out bad weather rather than sailing in it simply doesn't address crossing oceans, where sitting it out is not an option. Jack's recent post gives the example of an ex charter boat being driven hard to windward (something that doesn't fit in with most charterers plans for a sailing holiday but is likely to be required sometime during a circumnavigation), and having major structural failures cropping up in a fairly short time. The repair efforts revealed further hidden design/execution faults. Was this boat a "lemon", or is it evidence of the general design and building practices of the manufacturer?

This sort of question led to my suggestion of checking in repair yards where you could make your own observations, and speak to folks who make their living fixing broken boats.

As to the question of what constitutes a "production boat"... to me, anything that is built as a series of identical or near identical boats qualifies as such. This obviously covers a big range of quality and price. Oysters and Swans are production boats too! My worries mostly revolve around the ones that are truly mass-produced, with thousands of hulls per annum rolling off the lines.

Finally, Ivan, with the budget that you propose, and the 35-40 foot size range that you desire, your choices will be somewhat limited, and very careful surveying of whatever you buy will be a good idea. I hope that some of the collective wisdom expressed in these postings will help you make a good choice.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Burnett River, Qld Oz
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Old 20-12-2009, 15:14   #30
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For good information on just one of the Beneteau Yachts, see .

What I find remarkable about discussions of Beneteau and certain other "production" yachts, is the number of opinions expressed by people that are not owner's of the yachts being discussed if not maligned. If one wants to know about a certain class of yacht, it might be wise to enquire of those that have owned/cruised them, eh?


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