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Old 02-08-2009, 04:27 PM   #1
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Hi from Southern Brazil,

We´re a couple of almost-there (that is, hoping to retire soon to the sea) sailors in training, and we´re looking to a future acquisition of a sailboat to cruise round the world for a few years (or as long as we can handle it, who knows!).

Looking around, it seems to us that the Benéteau 46 would be the kind of boat we are seeking - spacious yet easy to handle by two people, and above all surdy enough to withstand storms. But is it? We would VERY MUCH appreciate sailors with actual experience in sailing this boat in blue water and for long periods giving us their unbiased opinions. Also, suggestions of other craft in the same category of size that would fit into our 3 key requirements (space, easiness of sailing and above all sturdiness/safety to cruise - we DON´t much care about speed as long as it´s resistant to heavy seas) will be much welcome.

Thank you all in advance,

José & Nalu
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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I have never owned a Beneteau, but have sailed a chartered one in the Med.

For me, they are not strong enough for a world cruise (a 57 footer pulled its cleat off in the marina where I am wintering this year - the only boat to sustain damage during a storm)

Look at the weight of yahts of similar length - most of that will be hull/deck weight and if the maker is reputable, weight = strength

My steel 53 footer (Bruce Roberts 53) weighs 24 tons and so do good grp yachts of that length.

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Old 02-11-2009, 11:30 PM   #3
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Hi Jose and Nalu,

Jee. You're starting something now......

We've a 46 foot Hanse which is not unlike the Beneteau in being relatively light weight / fin keel faster type design and with respect to steelfan - I'm more than happy to take my yacht anywhere around the globe. We've covered 25,000 miles in ours over 4 years.

Ask your kind of question and you will always get a variety of opinions from a variety of boat owners - but long ago I worked out that 99% of the places we'd want to sail to have very light to medium breezes. Hence my decision to buy a boat that sailed best in the majority of conditions I'd experience.

Plus I know we can always slow down a fast boat, and cannot speed up a slow one. So when and if bad weather approaches - I'd prefer to be on the fastest one to get out of the way safely, rather than having to beat it out.

Then when you then add in that sailing is only one (and it's usually a minor) part of cruising, and realise that living on the boat at anchor or in a berth is something equally needing some thought, you'll soon see why so many others pick the open airier and more comfortable yachts than the older styled narrow and usually enclosed vessels.

I fully appreciate no one with a heavy slow yacht is going to agree with the those who share my views - but all you need do is trot off to a marina overseas and see just how many Beneteaus have carried their occupants around the globe safely.

So, IMHO, no worries going cruising on one.

(Now ducking for cover).

Sail free

JOHN
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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Friends,

Many thanks for your diverging but certainly - at least to us crude beginners - very informative replies.

I have first raised the question on a Benetéau exactly because I´ve seen these boats (usually smaller than the 46) sporting European or American flags in marinas all over the world, and apparently in good shape and with happy owners, so I reckoned it wouldn´t be a really bad choice. I confess that I was impressed by the living space assuming we would need it to stay half sane for a few years tucked in there , but in the end our choice will have to do with safety at sea. If both of you and someone else would care to ellaborate on this, are there particular features of the Benéteaus that one should be wary of regarding breaks at wrong times or that would need modification to become stronger/safer?

Again, many thanks and great appreciation for you taking the time to reply in the first place.

!

J&N
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:36 AM   #5
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Hi J & N,

Sorry - I've not the hands on experience to even begin to answer this but suggest you do some more research into the model and year you are considering before asking this question again.

As I'm sure you'll appreciate not all Beneteau models will have the same features and therefore same good / bad points.

If it helps - suggest the Oceanis range is maybe a good place for you to start.........

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
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Beneteau's here are referred to (in the racing community) as "bendytoys". They are a fast fun boat, easy to handle, and relatively well rigged. Having said that they are quite soft in their feel and very flexible shallow craft. I am not sure I would want to take one around the world. I have sailed a couple up and down the coast and they are fine for that. They are popular boats and finding parts are not difficult although you may need that because they seem to break readily. So they have their good points and bad points.

All in all I would say that an equivalent Bavaria would give you a better buy if you were cruising long distance. Overall, however, I'm not a fan of modern production yachts, I'm happiest with my big heavy dutch built steel hulled craft from the 80s, with all of its deficiencies (performance wise) because it just feels like a safer boat and I know there's nothing on it I can't fix myself.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swagman View Post
.....

Plus I know we can always slow down a fast boat, and cannot speed up a slow one. So when and if bad weather approaches - I'd prefer to be on the fastest one to get out of the way safely, rather than having to beat it out.

....

Then when you then add in that sailing in only one (and it's usually a minor) part of cruising, and realise that living on the boat at anchor or in a berth is something equally needing some thought, you'll soon see why so many others pick the open airier and more comfortable yachts than the older styled narrow and usually enclosed vessels.

.....

I fully appreciate no one with a heavy slow yacht is going to agree with the those who share my views -
I agree with Swagman 100% that optimizing your boat for your intended use is important. Speed is important. Space to live in is important. However, not having the open space to go flying across the boat in heavy weather is also important. Our boat is very old but was built by a cruising man who knew well that he would spend more time at anchor than at sea--so it is very open and spacious inside. We have recently purchased a couple cargo nets to put in in key places to break up, among other things, the 14' fall (that one could easily have in heavy weather) from port to starboard side across the main saloon. We can put up the nets when passage making but take them down with ease.

Speed relates to hull shape and waterline length. Heavy vs light isn't the whole story--that is a very simplistic view. The new (light) fat boats (with lots of interior room) may not be as fast as a similarly sized, HEAVY, narrow boats of past years--it depends on much more than heavy/light. Reduce wetted surface and increase speed--you can do it any multitude of ways...

Further, most cruisers spend most time sailing in light winds and typically follow the prevailing winds--meaning you'll not be beating into the wind most times, but rather you'll be on a reach to a run. Given that--look at rig selection very closely. Speed also relates to the rig you've got--the more sail you can keep up there the better. Most split rigs (ketch, schooner) allow short-handed crews to manage keeping more sail aloft safely. A powerful high-aspect sloop or cutter rig is fun in the harbor races but can be unduly stressful to manage in heavy weather and might not keep up at all with a well balanced ketch or schooner rig when not beating into the wind. And contrary to popular belief, the ability to beat windward isn't just rig related...its very much hull-related too. But that's a whole 'nuther can of worms to get into. Lets not.

Things on boats fail with a facinating fequency--much faster than you can imagine. Being able to get parts worldwide is good. Having simple parts that you or someone in a 3rd world country can fix or fabricate easily is better. Having heavy-duty equipment that doen't break as often is best. Combining all three of these traits in your boat systems equipment is ideal.

You might wish to pick up some of Nigel Caulder's books to better understand what to look for in your ideal cruising boat and its systems.

People cruise all the time in boats that weren't intended for cruising. If you select a boat based on cost, availablity, whatever reason...you will find a way to cruise successfully on that boat. That's why here on Cruiser Log you'll find so many varied opinions about what is best. It is really up to you.

I can say that if you really look into your choices of cruising boats that would compare in cost to the 46 you're thinking about--you'll find an amazing and good variety of older vessels to choose from. And many of those will be better all-round cruisers. Once you've educated yourselves a bit on what to look for in a cruising boat (read Nigel's stuff) and have seen a few to figure out what YOU like or don't like, you'll be set to purchase the perfect vessel for your own voyaging of the worlds oceans.

Best of luck!

Brenda
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:18 PM   #8
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Personally not a big fan of the Beneteau, jeanneau, bavaria type production boats... I've been on quite a few of these (including two atlantic crossings) and as delatbabel said, they are bendy toys... most have serious keel bedding issues because of the flex in the hull... All of them except one that I have been on took in water through the keel bolts to one degree or another... the one that didn't had recently had the keel rebedded for a rather hefty price and I imagine that the fix was only temporary... ... most of the owners were unconcerned about this since their bilge pump was automatic and kept the bilges pretty dry but the problem is that water on the inside of a boat is where you will start damaging your hull the fastest.. the outside has a nice gel coat and paint and all that... a lot of these production boats don't even have the bilges painted so any water on the inside has direct access to your fiberglass... having wet bilges is just asking for big problems if you plan to keep a boat...

As for speed and space... a boat like the Tayana Mariner has a great layout also, and is about as fast (since most are cutter or ketch rigged and loft more sail), but are dry (encapsulated keel) and have a better capsize ration, motion comfort ratio, and angle of vanishing stability... oh and they are comparably priced!

In short, yes, a beneteau will probably take you around the world safely... ... I just don't like the word "probably"!
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #9
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Thanks very much again! We´re learning!

In a recent bar discussion (not unlike here but with alcohol added ) I was told the Oyster 46 is a better choice in this size category as regards the balance safety/comfort/speed...

An entire new world of making informed choices, but in the end taking our chances on our own decision regarding craft AND our ability to sail it. I like the sound of it.

Cheers,

José & Nalu
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:46 PM   #10
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Oysters definitely a good boat... if you've got the $$$!
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:14 AM   #11
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Oysters definitely a good boat... if you've got the $$$!
Yup.

Superb yacht - possibly my dream boat.

But 46 to 46, slower than the Beneteau.

And in the UK, three times the price.

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Old 04-26-2009, 03:41 AM   #12
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Hello, i am a hapy csy 44 owner, and in my opinion , all the beneteaus , jeaneaus,and some french junk are candidates for world cruising ,, but

for me , just candidates.

I have the oportunity this year to deliver a brand new catamaran lagoon 380 premiun from Sables dólone to Caribbean in january, me and my

wife, and we take the oportunity to visit the beneteau factory and see how this boats are made, the conclusion ,,,, HORRIBLE,,

i cant believe this boats come with a EC certfication A , no backing plates under the deck , laminates like smoking paper, tons of sikaflex anywhere,

bad quality stainles steel , booms and mast made for zspar the cheaper one, etc...

After a biscay crossing with the lagoon in force 7 sw in the first part of the crossing , running a strong gale close to Oporto Portugal , and

a windy atlantic crossing to Martinique, all the structure in the boat is out of place, no doors closing properly, 2 cracks close to starboard cleats ,

all the rigging out off tune due the flexings, etc.... Conclusion , arrival in Martinique , explain the problems to the owner ,Response for the Owner------

----- I know ,i know , is ok , is just for charter , dont worry... ??? jeje funny french machines .
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Old 04-26-2009, 05:12 AM   #13
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There are many French boats that have been built that are excellent offshore cruising boats.

Henri Wauquiez's boats for example, before he sold to Beneteau have proved themselves in all the world's oceans.

However, boats that are built in some mass production facilities have suffered - the "Beancounters" hand in the purchasing department have meant inferior materials and equipment.

The industry is now suffering see this recent report Here
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Old 04-27-2009, 04:34 PM   #14
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There are many French boats that have been built that are excellent offshore cruising boats.

Henri Wauquiez's boats for example, before he sold to Beneteau have proved themselves in all the world's oceans.
Yes they are! I can tell as a very content owner of a '72 built Centurion 32, the most successful boat of Wauquiez. Well, it is far away from 46 ft but later on Wauquiez built bigger boats (see list under http://www.wauquiez.com/old_production_uk.php ), it might be worth taking a closer look at it.

And the CE- certification is not neccesarily the proof of a well built seaworthy boat. It just states that it meets some construction criteria made up by the EU for the defined sea areas (A to D). Insurance companies like that.

But in the line production today's manufacturers decrease the material input to the lowest possible strength to stay competitive. And that might be okay as long as the average owner doesn't ask for more and does not inted to do more than occasional (offshore)-cruising and does not expect that the boat lasts for 20 years...

So, if there are so many Beneteaus and Bavarias in the yacht harbours of the world, it is just a sign that these big ship yards have built many, many boats of reasonable price.

It is better to look into the cruising sites and see what they (I mean WE) are sailing.

Uwe

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