I sailed an Oceanis 321 (v.similar) for a couple of weeks in the BVIs last year; the boat was OK on the mooring but found it a bit tender at sea and needed early reefing (in mast - jammed three times - never bother with it). Didn't point too closely. However the fit out was good with lots of equipment and spacious layout.
However - I'm buying a Bavaria at the moment - much better sail for less money and equally good layout. Quality of fittings tends to be better 'cos they use top quality stuff sized for the boat compared to the Oceanis whih I found had undersized winches for example.
No comparison in my book. I have sailed several Beneteau's and one Bavaria (I think it was about a 38') as bareboat charters. The Bavaria gave every impression of a better quality of build and of equipment - also seemed less tender under sail. Don't know what the price difference is, but I'd certainly take a closer look at the Bavaria. Are you buying new or second hand?
Buying (well bought - get it on Friday next week) a new 34. Got an excellent deal at the boat show because of the euro rate - 220 other people also thought it was a good deal and placed deposits although Opal were expecting to convert around half that to real orders. Hence the leadtime has been 5-6 months for a new one. Should be less at the moment because the peak from the boat show is almost over. Haven't seen that many of the recent models on the second hand market yet.
The Oceanis is an OK boat - I've done deliveries in the Med and Canaries on the larger ones but I've found them to be slightly overpriced compared to equivalent boats from e.g. Dufour or Jeanneau. Probably geared slightly more towards day sailing and stopping in a marina - which may be fine if thats what you want to do! There was a headline article about 18 months ago on the front of one of the mags (YM?) questioning whether the 40' Oceanis was unsafe for ocean crossing - kind of makes you think that the smaller ones would be worse.
Quite agree - basics like an anchor are extras; but at least I get the choice so there is a flip side benefit. Be prepared to spend a few grand on things most of us would consider essentials (fenders, warps, safety equipment, jackstays, sprayhood, radio, radio etc.).
I too am picking up a new Bav 31 later this month, it is my first purchase after sailing the charter boats. I agree with the other replies, I looked at both used and new, French (several), Uk (Moody), and Scandinavian. Had to rule out the last two, pocket not deep enough. Chose the Bavaria after a boat owning friend with good engineering skills crawled around a 34 for a very long time at the Boat Show and ended with a thumbs up. I like the quality of the kit and dumped the idea of in-mast reefing after having experiencing problems on another boat.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
We looked at both 18 months ago as well as other models and ended up with a Jeanneau. Pricewise this was the best for us, but we were able to save on delivery on a Jeanneau (or Beneteau) by collecting from St Malo, as we live in Jersey. Looking at the basic price, the Bavaria appeared the cheapest, but once you added on the extras, the Jeanneau was a much better deal for us, so much so that we ended up with a 34 rather than a 32. A further saving was due to buying in French Francs, which put the risk of a fluctuation in the exchange rate into our pockets rather than the dealer's, but meant a lower price for us. We are generally pleased with the boat, although have a few niggles, as I expect every new boat gets.
Just completed a Beneteau Regatta, sailing a Bav. 34. There were two Bavs. a 31 and a 34. We both seemed to be well ahead of lots of Bens. some with significantly lengthier waterlines! There was one 311 which was sailing well, very experienced crew, but it was still behind the 31. At the end of the day, as always, it's your choice.
Ours is deep keel, as we have the Med. in mind, but both keels are cat. A. A bit worried when a friend of ours with a 311, lift keel was told by the dealer that if he increased the sail area the boat would drop to C cat. Not sure if Ben. would agree with this advice though!
I will criticise my new Bav42 in one major respect
In that it is fitted not only with a gas guzzling Volvo but that it is also conn ected to a saildrive.
On the delivery trip a Bav50 fitted with a lovely Yanmar 50hp used 3.3ltrs/hr whereas our 40hp Volvo couldn't do better than 5.5 and was up to 7ltrs/hr at some times!.
As to the saildrive, I cannot come to terms with having an aluminium gearbox of barely adequate proportions permanently submerged in seawater and only protected by a rubber lip seal.
Otherwise I will agree that the general quality of the Bavaria is superior to that of Beneteaus. I come to that oppinion having spent seven years moored in the midst of Ancaster's hand-over area on the Hamble where close inspection showed several flaws on some models but also a general "underspec" of fittings as others have said. We were also in company with a French owned Beneteau 36CC in the Gulf of Corinth which although probably perfectly suited to a hedonistic living style off the Cote d'Azure, might not be best suited to the Western Isles of Scotland. Must admit though that the beneteau was rather stylish.
Re: I will criticise my new Bav42 in one major respect
Steve, I'd not contributed to this one, as it was about 31 footers. But as you mentioned the 36CC.. Admittedly, I haven't been in more than a consistent force 7 (a few times) with mine but I wouldn't call it dire. So whilst I think it has it's limits, I wouldn't use "hedonistic lifestyle off the Cote d'Azure" as the benchmark. True about general fittings. Sails too. I observed that at the boat show in January. Aside from a couple of fundamentals, the general build quality is high. Or certainly expertly productionised. What has happened though, is that Bavaria seemed to have given Beneteau a bit of a hammering price wise, for what a lot of people consider to be higher spec'd boats. At the time I bought mine, Beneteau and their group companies had 51% of the world market. (It was reported). I'd be interested to know the figure now, with more Bav's in the charter market. Whatever, it does show the Brits to be missing the plot somewhat. Other thing I note though, is that there seem to be a lot of late Bav's on the second hand market.
Re: I will criticise my new Bav42 in one major respect
Steve, amazed to read of your experience with the gas guzzling Volvo. I have a Bav 40 with the 50hp Volvo. I get almost exactly the consumption you mentioned for the Yamaha: 3.75 litres/hour with power settings at 2100 rpm (approx. 8 knots) . Maybe there is another reason yours is so thirsty? No idea what that could be, mind you, but thought I would confirm to you that your consumption looks wrong in my experience.
Hope all is going well in the Med. Are you coming back to our shores at all?