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Ugly or what?

Is this the dream boat that you would hire?

  • Yes, beautiful.

    Votes: 14 21.5%
  • No, Ugly

    Votes: 32 49.2%
  • As long as it sails I don't care

    Votes: 19 29.2%

  • Total voters
    65

Elessar

Well-known member
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
8,307
Location
River Itchen, Southampton
Mass production can achieve far higher consistent quality than a bloke with a plane. The extra cost of hand crafting pays for inefficiency, not quality.
Having had a boat business a few years back where we blasted boat hulls, I can confidently say the Bavaria quality hits the Rassey out of the park. For the reasons you just stated.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
41,224
Location
UK East Coast
I've bought two new Bavarias in the last 4 years (don't ask). Both have modern interiors which are machined in a factory. I;ve been out to Giebelstadt and seen teh production lines. Anyway - as pvb suggests, it's bare marine ply where it's out of sight, veneeered marine ply for cabinets, and solid wood edges and doorframes. Teak in boat 1, walnut in boat 2. Mass produced for sure, doesn't have the hand tooled feel of an oyster or an HR but it's very serviceable, fits properly, and is no doubt much cheaper.
And no MDF! ;)
 

KompetentKrew

Active member
Joined
27 May 2018
Messages
726
Which raises an interesting question: where do Sunsail clients get their aesthetic of boats from? In other words, what makes them think that one is "modern looking"?
Beneteau ads and the reviews in the sailing magazines, surely?
 

KompetentKrew

Active member
Joined
27 May 2018
Messages
726
Mass production can achieve far higher consistent quality than a bloke with a plane. The extra cost of hand crafting pays for inefficiency, not quality.
In 2018 I did a mile-builder, Southampton to Malta in a Beneteau First 40.7. We had big seas a couple of times off the coast of Spain, 35+ knots of wind, and cabinet doors had to be held closed with tape because the latches were cheap plastic. There was water an inch deep in the shelves in the forecabin because of a leak in the deck, sloshing onto the mattress every time we went off a wave, and the top literally tore off one cabinet (the closet, again in the forecabin) when I lost my balance, wedged against it getting dressed. You could see it was ply or MDF held together with pins or little staples.

I accept that these boats are perfectly adequate for what they're designed for, weekending or charters, but they're made to a price so your statement depends on your definition of "quality".

A charter company will buy a brand new boat and run it for 4 or 5 years, a private buyer for 8 or 10 years before it's time to "upgrade". My theory is that these are built to a price that they serve the first buyer perfectly fine, and that all the little weaknesses and compromises will become apparent to the second owner.
 

Carib

Active member
Joined
30 Mar 2011
Messages
330
Location
Southampton
I chartered a Bavaria 36 with some friends maybe 10 years ago. My mate, who admittedly is a big chap (very tall), broke the companionway step - by standing on it. It looked like veneered chipboard and was attached by screws into the edge. Notable because it seemed an inherently weak way of attaching it. Just my experience.
 
Last edited:

Little Grebe

Well-known member
Joined
9 Jun 2009
Messages
6,838
Location
From the Needles to the Nab, from Cowes to St Cath
In 2018 I did a mile-builder, Southampton to Malta in a Beneteau First 40.7. We had big seas a couple of times off the coast of Spain, 35+ knots of wind, and cabinet doors had to be held closed with tape because the latches were cheap plastic. There was water an inch deep in the shelves in the forecabin because of a leak in the deck, sloshing onto the mattress every time we went off a wave, and the top literally tore off one cabinet (the closet, again in the forecabin) when I lost my balance, wedged against it getting dressed. You could see it was ply or MDF held together with pins or little staples.

I accept that these boats are perfectly adequate for what they're designed for, weekending or charters, but they're made to a price so your statement depends on your definition of "quality".

A charter company will buy a brand new boat and run it for 4 or 5 years, a private buyer for 8 or 10 years before it's time to "upgrade". My theory is that these are built to a price that they serve the first buyer perfectly fine, and that all the little weaknesses and compromises will become apparent to the second owner.
That boat could have been 20 years old by then, presumably being heavily used.
 

doug748

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2002
Messages
9,839
Location
Plymouth
.........

I accept that these boats are perfectly adequate for what they're designed for, weekending or charters, but they're made to a price so your statement depends on your definition of "quality".

...............

They are adequate as you say, if we are harshly honest, most people only go boating rather than serious sailing. Nothing wrong with that and I am sure these designs fit the bill.

At a certain point objects of desire make the transition to consumer durables and for this to happen they have to be cheap, fit for the role and attractive to the widest possible market. The romance may be gone and even if they do fit a bit like a Burton suit, people get on the water who otherwise might not.

Taking the long view is probably not the issue, nobody buys a fridge today wondering how it will stand up in 2050.

.
 

Elessar

Well-known member
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
8,307
Location
River Itchen, Southampton
In 2018 I did a mile-builder, Southampton to Malta in a Beneteau First 40.7. We had big seas a couple of times off the coast of Spain, 35+ knots of wind, and cabinet doors had to be held closed with tape because the latches were cheap plastic. There was water an inch deep in the shelves in the forecabin because of a leak in the deck, sloshing onto the mattress every time we went off a wave, and the top literally tore off one cabinet (the closet, again in the forecabin) when I lost my balance, wedged against it getting dressed. You could see it was ply or MDF held together with pins or little staples.

I accept that these boats are perfectly adequate for what they're designed for, weekending or charters, but they're made to a price so your statement depends on your definition of "quality".

A charter company will buy a brand new boat and run it for 4 or 5 years, a private buyer for 8 or 10 years before it's time to "upgrade". My theory is that these are built to a price that they serve the first buyer perfectly fine, and that all the little weaknesses and compromises will become apparent to the second owner.
A good measure of quality is consistency. Getting what you expect every time.
And your fit for purpose point of course.

Most people would call a rolls Royce a quality car.
But it would slip on a wet field more than a panda 4x4.

If we want to talk one off anecdotes, I once blasted a rassey for its first owner.

He didn’t order a bowthruster. They had already glassed in the tube so they blocked the ends. Badly. And antifouled over it before selling him his brand new “quality” boat.

The tunnel was full of water.
 

KompetentKrew

Active member
Joined
27 May 2018
Messages
726
That boat could have been 20 years old by then, presumably being heavily used.
I find it was 10 years old at that time - it was very clean when my mate got it, only a year or so before, like the first owner had barely used it.

I don't see how age affects 2/3 of the things I mentioned.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
Most people would call a rolls Royce a quality car.
Old (pre-BMW) Rolls-Royces had all sorts of horrible bodges. For example, when they bought rights to the Citroën hydraulic system they turned down the Citroën brake valve - a remarkably complicated and utterly reliable device which distributes braking force according to suspension loading - and tried to build their own. They never managed to stop them leaking, so all their cars had a baby's nappy below the valve to catch the drips. Changing the car's nappy was a service item.
 

Concerto

Well-known member
Joined
16 Jul 2014
Messages
2,668
Location
Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
Talk about thread drift from ugly to build quality. Well I would like to add a few comments. When I returned to sailing after a break of 20 years, I could have bought a new 32ft yacht with all the mod cons fitted, but instead I chose a Westerly Fulmar. This is the first time I had ever bought a secondhand boat and my previous ones and the family's boats going back to the mid 1960's have all been new.

I found the interiors of the modern boats were designed as floating caravans with very poor thought given to being below in rough weather. There was a lack of handholds, berths were unlikely to be able to be used at sea as none had lee boards. Toilet compartments by the companionway seem good, but there is more movement than one closer to the centre of effort near the mast. Much of the woodwork did seem flimsy and had sharp corners, not nice to fall against. Having been onboard a number in the water at the Southampton Boat Show on a windy day, all the modern boats seemed to sit on the water rather than in the water and moved a considerable amount - one so much that my daughter had to go back on the pontoon as she felt nauseous. The fashion of a very low transom does make waves slap underneath a lot noisier that older designs. There is a distict lack of storage space for sailing essentials like an inflatable dinghy, outboard motor, fuel cans, fenders, fender plank, spare anchor and warp, etc., etc. I even carry a collapsible ladder, some spare sails, numerous tools and tins of paint.

The gentleman who took my avatar photo was a Dutchman with a 1990's Bavaria 36. He came aboard later the same day to exchange photos. He had done a lot of work to his boat and the big change was to remove the veneered teak 6mm thick deck panels, fill the recesses and non slip paint the decks. When below on Concerto he commented very favourably about my wood interior compared to his bland finish. His boat was only about 15 years newer than mine, so not a modern boat. He was very surprised at how fast my Fulmar sailed. I was sailing from Cowes to Eastbourne and had to motor until past Selsey Bill. He passed me under engine and was at one time about a mile ahead. Well he became a dot on the horizon when I rounded Beachy Head. He used a polled out genoa and was hand steering whereas I was singlehanded under autopilot with the spinnaker up. I am still working on the video of this day and when finished it will be put on YouTube as proof of what I am saying.

I chose my boat for it's sailing ability and not for the accomodation. I go sailing for the sailing part as that is our sport. I dislike the way the design of the hull shape has changed over the past 50 to 60 years. Yes, modern boats can sail fast but I remember frequently getting a 1970's Nicholson 30 on the plane. That was quite difficult to do as it did not have a wide flat run aft. The trend for wider and wider transoms has resulted in a central rudder becoming less efficient when heeled, so this has been solved by twin rudders. Sail drives you either love them or hate them, personally I dislike them due to generally the propeller being too close to the centre of effort of the boat and along with twin rudders, you cannot use prop wash as effectively in close quarters. The height of the freeboard has risen considerably making it very difficult to get on or off the boat whilst moored alongside. Most now have access through an opening transom, which is fine if you can always berth stern to. A few years ago I had to assist a couple with their lines on a new boat, I think it was a Bavaria about 45ft long, to come alongside the pontoon off the Folly Inn on the Medina. They had to get a step ladder out to get onto the pontoon the freeboard was so high. I have also seen how the wind can catch modern boats with the excessive windage at relatively slow speeds coming into a marina. Personally nothing has changed for the better with hull design for sailing and handling under power over the past 40 years.

The value modern boats offer is great when compared to similar boats of older designs. The efficiency of mass factory production has meant 40ft yachts are the equivalent to the cost of 30ft yachts 40 to 50 years ago allowing for inflation. This has come with many drawbacks, one that is rarely mentioned is how many marinas cannot accept some of the larger boats, either in their berths or being able to lift them. The larger the yacht also restricts many of the harbours you can visit due to their draft. OK, I am an East Coast sailor and we have plenty of shallow harbours, but who always wants to only visit a limited number of places. Even with my Fulmar, there are quaint places I would find a challenge to enter.

Most yachts are now built and self certified to fit basic uses according to the Recreational Craft Directive. Does this make them safer? I do not think they are, because the guidelines are so simple that virtually anything can be self certified without independant verification. It will still never stop someone using a boat in an unsuitable way or trying to make the ride more comfortable in rough weather. Everything is designed to stay just within the parameters of the directive, but then items are added above the centre of effort like aft gantries, davits, liferafts on the coachroof, and these are never allowed for in the righting performance every boat must have. Too much now relies on form stability rather than keel weight. Gone are the days of 50% ballast ratios and now you can get down to around the 25% mark. If a wide boat inverts in rough weather, then it will be less likely to be self righting due to the volume of the wider beam. I would love to see a test in real life oof the righting moment from mast touching the water in a modern boat compared to a more moderate older design of the early IOR race designs when wider beam was encouraged through this rule.

I could go on, but please note I have not critised modern building materials or methods.
 

Scala

Well-known member
Joined
21 Feb 2004
Messages
3,876
Location
Home: Saffron Walden. Boat: Swanwick
Very well argued @Concerto :) But I don't believe that the Jeanneau designers have these needs in mind. And of course yachts that meet your needs are still produced albeit in small volume today, so you could buy a new one; it will cost you 3-4x the Jeanneau and be fitted with similar or identical bought-in components eg engine, mast, rig, nav gear, heads, etc. So the extra money is lost in small volume inefficiencies of procurement and production. And doubtless some of the fitout will be much more expensive to produce.

It's horses for courses. I'm never voluntarily going to undertake a night passage; or sail in poor conditions (or at all if Mrs Scala is with me); or want small accommodation, or hard-to-reverse manoeuvring. Or whatever. Boats like that Jeanneau, or the Bavaria Vision 42 that I bought, are ideal for my needs (and pocket).

So I think there's room for all.
 

Elessar

Well-known member
Joined
10 Jul 2003
Messages
8,307
Location
River Itchen, Southampton
Very well argued @Concerto :) But I don't believe that the Jeanneau designers have these needs in mind. And of course yachts that meet your needs are still produced albeit in small volume today, so you could buy a new one; it will cost you 3-4x the Jeanneau and be fitted with similar or identical bought-in components eg engine, mast, rig, nav gear, heads, etc. So the extra money is lost in small volume inefficiencies of procurement and production. And doubtless some of the fitout will be much more expensive to produce.

It's horses for courses. I'm never voluntarily going to undertake a night passage; or sail in poor conditions (or at all if Mrs Scala is with me); or want small accommodation, or hard-to-reverse manoeuvring. Or whatever. Boats like that Jeanneau, or the Bavaria Vision 42 that I bought, are ideal for my needs (and pocket).

So I think there's room for all.
You are a wise sailor Scala.

Boats fall somewhere on the “best in extreme conditions” - “best to live on/live with” scale

Many modern boats are nearer the live with end. Because that’s how most people use them.

Many who buy the boats capable of extreme sailing do so as they imagine that’s what they will do. They end up sailing less, as friends and partners don’t like the compromise.

And even modern, comfortable boats can sail the Atlantic. Not as well as a long keeler but even globe trotters spend more time at anchor than sailing.

So compromising the sailing bit for comfort is a wise choice for most people.
 

Stemar

Well-known member
Joined
12 Sep 2001
Messages
13,935
Location
Home - Southampton, Boat - Gosport
I found the interiors of the modern boats were designed as floating caravans with very poor thought given to being below in rough weather. There was a lack of handholds, berths were unlikely to be able to be used at sea as none had lee boards. Toilet compartments by the companionway seem good, but there is more movement than one closer to the centre of effort near the mast. Much of the woodwork did seem flimsy and had sharp corners, not nice to fall against. Having been onboard a number in the water at the Southampton Boat Show on a windy day, all the modern boats seemed to sit on the water rather than in the water and moved a considerable amount - one so much that my daughter had to go back on the pontoon as she felt nauseous. The fashion of a very low transom does make waves slap underneath a lot noisier that older designs. There is a distict lack of storage space for sailing essentials like an inflatable dinghy, outboard motor, fuel cans, fenders, fender plank, spare anchor and warp, etc., etc. I even carry a collapsible ladder, some spare sails, numerous tools and tins of paint.
It's horses for courses. I can't provide figures, but my impression is that most boats sail from marina to marina, rarely overnighting or being out in bad weather. A big comfy shower and lots of bedrooms are more important than storage and hand holds. I've no doubt that my late friend's Dufour 385 would do the ARC quite safely, but it wouldn't be my first choice by any means.

Here's an interesting discussion on the subject


Now that's a boat to cross oceans with, and row-away factor by the bucketfull! Probably not my first choice to squeeze into an awkward marina berth with an unhelpful tide, nor to try and get line honours on the RTI, but Yummm!
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
21,905
Location
SW Scotland
I found the interiors of the modern boats were designed as floating caravans with very poor thought given to being below in rough weather.
I think this reflects a change in use patterns with boats. In Ye Olde Days (up to the late 80s where I am, your mileage may vary) marinas were few and far between and harbours were by and large inhospitable places for yachts. As a result, boats were designed to spend most of their time under way, with an assumption that time in harbour would be brief and for restocking or sheltering from really nasty weather.

Nowadays marinas about and are pleasant places to go, so the assumption is that people will spend an awful lot of time at rest, with occasional hops to the next marina in fine weather only. Hence the sort of cabin design you describe - not at all comfortable in poor conditions but never intended for use in poor conditions.

I'm not knocking the marina-hopping lifestyle, by the way. It's not what I do, but if it gives people fun, why not?
 

Scala

Well-known member
Joined
21 Feb 2004
Messages
3,876
Location
Home: Saffron Walden. Boat: Swanwick
Nic 43, dark blue hull, varnished coach roof … nothing more beautiful on the water!
1969 Nicholson 43 Sail New and Used Boats for Sale - www.yachtworld.co.uk
In a nutshell that epitiomises everything I don't like about old yachts (granted it's good to look at from a distance). And I expect it sails well. But ... cockpit and interior are extraordinarily cramped for a 43' boat, and look manky to boot. I'm a marina hopper as JD put it. My wife wouldn't spend more than 2 minutes on there in the best marina in the world.

Others' views will differ :)
 
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