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Old 04-27-2009, 08:47 PM   #15
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A friend of ours circumnavigated in a San Juan 30, which was a boat that nobody would consider a blue water sailing boat. It took him safely through a 360* roll, without a dismasting, in the Bass Strait (off Australia - see Sydney to Hobart races) in wintertime where other boats were lost due to the horrible weather. Would I try to cross oceans in one? No, but he had no qualms.

SV Watermelon is a Jeanneau Sun Fizz built in 1981, and its previous owner commented on its stiffness, he coming off a 42' classic Concordia yawl (wood, stiff, beautiful). Watermelon never let us down no matter what the weather. Friends who were National Champion racers in small boats but who cruised on a Swan 38 (or 42, forget now which), spent 3 days crewing for us in the 1988 Heineken Regatta and told us how much drier a boat Watermelon was because she bobbed in seas like a cork, not submarined through the seas like a Swan. Would they have liked Watermelon better than their own Swan? Probably not, but they did not feel that Watermelon was unsuited for the blue water cruising that we did.

As far as water in the bilges, I'm surprised to hear that there are keel bedding problems with so many Beneteaus, etc. Watermelon's bilge was so dry that we regularly vacuumed it, and occasionally dumped water into it to clean up the dust and debris that inevitably wound up there.

With a lighter displacement boat such as Watermelon, which will have a lot more movement in rough seas, one has to be sure that there are plenty of handholds both in the cockpit and below to grab.

I wonder how many "bendy toys" are not necessarily badly built, but badly rigged with improper tension applied on stays and shrouds.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:07 PM   #16
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We sailed in tandem with a 46 Beneteau a few years back. In a 40 hour trip from the Turks & Caicos to the Dominican Republic, we had a series of small squalls, with the wind coming from behind the beam. Seas were probably a bit more than 2 meters, but not 3 meters. The couple on the Beneteua was worn out & tired. e were wet from rain, but or modified full-keel boat treated us well. The Beneteaus are designed with a shallow "canoe" style underbody, so they pound & slam, unfortunately, it appears they do this in a vaiety of wind & sea conditions. Beneteau's have a great interior layout, good woodworking for your money & solid rigging, I just think that they do not present the best option for longer passages from the perspective of comfort & seakindly motion. Two "fin-keel" boats that have better motion in a seaway are AMEL & SWAN. If you see them out of the water , you can see that the middel sections are not a flat plane, as in the Beneteau. I believe this small design difference makes for a more comfortable ride. There are a lot of good, solid boats out there, if indeed your budget can swing an Oyster, you would be making a quality purchase.

Do take your time & do your homework during this process. It will take time, money & effort to get your boat in to shape for true, self-sufficient cruising. Best of luck & Fair Winds!

Tom
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:57 PM   #17
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Greetings from a flying sailor - having been between South Africa westward to Yap and Phillipines recently, but always coming back to check on your meaningful comments. Thanks again so much for all who contributed to this topic!

My travel-time studies :-) are starting to indicate a pattern or at least a 'mainstream' opinion that sailboats with an integrated (full) keel (safer if you happen to screw up and strand somewhere and/or to protect rudder) and some of the older designs may be safer (all other conditions been equal, eg your idiocy not being the cause of major mishap) for bluewater cruising... I´m sure to elicit some ire by raising this but that´s what seem to me to be the prevalent opinion.

In any case I´ll sure continue inquiring, listening and learning. Current weather ($$) forecast indicates our evolution from land to sea may take a bit longer tha n expected, so we´ll hang around here and keep learning.

Safe passages, fair winds, and in the meantime let´s try do something to save the oceans´ biodiversity from ourselves - not looking good right now.

José
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Old 09-23-2009, 03:07 PM   #18
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hi, mine is a 46ft (12ft beam) Joe Adams design know as a "fat Adams" in Australia, Joe Adams' fast cruiser design. It was designed in the early 80's, is Aluminium construction, weighs 12 tons, is very roomy (2 full double cabins and room for a 3rd but used for storage), intergral keel with drop centreboard, keeps up with many of the Saturday racers on a reach and run and is a great bluewater boat. Older design and heavier does not necessarily mean slower and cramped. I personally prefer the added security of a metal hull, acknowledging the added maintenance required compared to fibreglass or epoxy hulls. Of course nothing replaces good seamanship in the first instance irrespective of the vessel sailed. There are a number of excellent other aluminium designs including production lines such as Van de Stadt and Alubat.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:33 AM   #19
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My comments are regarding our Jeanneau 39i. I know its not a Beneteau, but they are the same parent company, and I suspect with similar ideas about building a large number of boats to a price.

We had our traveller give way, and when we investigated a replacement, found Jeaneau had used the size down from that recommended for our boat specifications.

Had a look at the winches. Again , they had used the size smaller than recommended, making it hard for me to grind on the genoa on a windy day.

The halyards were cheap rope and stretched every time. We had to replace the brand new halyards.

Its all about price and volume to them.

If they skimp on those sorts of items we found out about, where else have they tried to save a dollar in production costs???

We were fine with coastal skips, but wouldn't have considered blue water cruising in ours (now sold).

Think carefully - you get what you pay for.

Dee
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:24 AM   #20
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Benateau is a good boat. What have you sailed on? What did you like and dislike? The boat is the lesser important

factor. Good skippers and dedicated crews make boats go where they want them to. I have met cruisers over the world

whom have sailed boats that I would not consider.

My reco, sail with as many skippers as you can and on as many boats as you can.

Determine what you like and want. Then make up your mind.
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:30 AM   #21
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In 14 months time my family (my wife, 12-year-old daughter, cat, dog and me) will begin a minimum of 24 months cruising the Mediterranean. At the end of that time we'll renegotiate with each other and either carry on sailing or do whatever it takes to meet each other's (mainly my daughter's) needs. We have been working towards this plan for the last 12 years now and whilst most parts of the scheme seem to be coming together easily, the financial part it is proving much less predictable.

One of the challenges of planning a cruise from South Africa is that it depends heavily on the South African Rand and whilst South Africa is truly a land of opportunity for entrepreneurs and hard workers, you have to earn lots and lots and lots of Rands in order to buy even a few pounds or euros! the world economy of the last 18 months has not helped either.

So instead of going to sea in 162' boat complete with submarine and crew, we've downscaled our dream to a 44' - 46' boat with a minimum of three cabins, plenty of light and air, decent boat speed and with a big emphasis on safety. Given that our cruise comprises two years in the Mediterranean and possibly some more time after that beyond it and across to the Americas or further, maybe you can help me think through the sort of boat to look at.

Jeanneau and Benneteau both can fit inside our budget of around €115,000 (very second hand) but I am cautious of the sort of scepticism around these boats being voiced in this thread. The boat we buy now does not necessarily have to take us across the Atlantic or down south back to Africa. If the family renegotiation says that we can continue sailing, and if the boat we've sailed with for the two years is not a dyed in the wool ocean-crossing machine, there is an option to sell it and buy something with more blue water capability. But it may be that there is an affordable boat that I should be looking at from the outset and within our price range. One that meets our needs for an ideal Med cruiser and that also has the strength and guts to poke its nose out beyond Gibraltar and into the rest of the world without too much fear of things falling off.

Thanks

James
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #22
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bear with me, here. My ramblings do have a point.

First, we set out cruising in 1986 on a 39' Jeanneau Sun Fizz. It had 3 cabins - forward v-berth and two aft cabins that were the perfect place to sleep on passages. It was plenty big enough for the two of us. We cruised the east coast of the US, the Eastern Caribbean including Tobago and Venezuela, Central and a bit of S. America (but only as far south as Ecuador, which we loved). Across the S. Pacific by way of Easter and Pitcairn Islands, across and around the S. China Sea, and we sold the boat in Singapore in 2003. I loved sv Watermelon, and loved passages on her - the longer we were out at sea, the happier I was. We sailed her hard, and she never let us down. We cared for her well, and though things broke, she was always a safe boat to voyage in.

Husband Peter wanted a powerboat then - due to our soon-to-be senior citizens age, our return to the east coast of the US with no plans of crossing oceans anymore. We looked at a lot of boats, and downsized to a 34' power catamaran. Everything we looked at above 40 feet was, in my opinion, like driving a house. We wanted a boat, not a house, and the PDQ MV34 is good for us.

I hear that the newer Beneteaus and Jeanneaus aren't as well built as our sv Watermelon, but that's hearsay since I don't have any experience with the newer boats. The older Jeanneaus were SOLID boats with a few shortcomings (don't all boats have some shortcomings?), and Watermelon was a fine example of that. What it didn't have was fancy joinerwork - the interior could have disposed of wood entirely and Peter and I would have been very happy and it would probably have looked a lot better, certainly brighter. The Goiot hatches were great - when we sold Watermelon in 2003 she was 21 years old, and none of the hatches ever leaked. Ever. I realize that UK surveyors judge French boats harshly, but the French are, in my opinion, some of the best sailors in the world, and their design of the Sun Fizz was great. Smart lazarette covers, recognition that water comes on board a boat no matter how it is used and thus everything is designed to keep things safe and dry. No sharp edges, and one of the nicest companionways on a boat that size.

Things break and go bad on a boat no matter how much you pay for it. The salt environment is hard on everything.

One suggestion would be to get yourself a marine catalog, and make a list of the stuff you must have on your boat ("must have" is different for everyone, so this is something only you can do). This would include pumps, fresh water and salt. It could include Refrigerator, chart plotter, hand-held GPS, radar, VHF radios (one helm station, one hand-held), binoculars (get the best you can afford of 7 X 50). Price it all. That will probably be what you will have to pay in addition to the cost of the boat. If you do it as a spreadsheet, you can use it as a checklist as you look at used boats to (possibly) reduce your start-up costs. Be realistic in your expectations that anything on a used boat will work for longer than 6 months after you buy it - saves a lot of pain and anger later on.

The bigger the boat, the more work - sails are bigger - the mainsail becomes heavier to haul up the mast, replacement sails become much more expensive (something to SERIOUSLY inspect when buying a used boat). Regular inspection and maintenance is what keeps a boat safe. An hour a day has to be dedicated to the care of the boat, and it can't wait several months before the tasks are addressed. In a way, I think that's a great education in discipline for your daughter, so consider that when buying the boat - how big is too big to maintain? Consider where you will be cruising. The cockpit was our back porch and entertainment center. Living in the tropics, we were below as little as possible, so the boat was bigger than her 39'.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:26 PM   #23
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Jeanne, I love your posting, so much of what gets written or said about yachts comes from the perspective of people with very fixed ideas; perhaps the most reliable voices are those of people who've actually sailed, lived aboard various types of boat. Until recently we were looking at catamarans and there again, some of the most fixed and adamant anti-catamaran commentators seem to be people who have not got too many catamaran sea miles under their belts.

We are so looking forward to changing our lifestyle soon. Thanks for taking the time to answer!

James
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