Sunday, 18 September 2005

Boat Show

Good show this year... Weather was kind... about 20degrees and no rain... It took us about 3 hrs to drive down, and much anticipation on teh way... So when we got there, we charged over and in a matter of 2 hours had viewed the 4 boats that we had eventually targetted..... just a quickish peek around each of them, and then we sat down, had some lunch and discussed, and agreed which two to view a bit more carefully.... So our initial reactions? Well.... we were looking for somethign very much a cruiser, and with a few features...- We want 3 cabins... with two kids that will be teenagers and young adults in the time that we intend to own this boat, and one of each gender, we really need 3 cabins...- Second, while we want 3 cabins, we don't want to be overly penalised in the cockpit locker space- Its got to be light and airy... with plenty of space..- Lots of locker space... you just can't have enough of it!- Decent height coamings.... too many boats we have been on have daft 6 to 8 inch high coamings that do OK keeping the water out, but offer no back support when seated- A large enough wheel that the kids can stand on the helm or side seats and still steer... if they don't stand on the seats, then they can't see over the coachroof- Good engine access- A fridge the SWMBO can reach the bottom of. She's not that tal, and on some boats (Maggie included) struggles to reach things right in the bottom of the compartment- Decent sized chart table - with space for sufficient instrumentsSo we looked at the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35, the Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 343, the Hanse 342 and the Bavaria 37.... all of a similar price... Over lunch we discussed, and quite frankly, there was one stand out boat.... it was the Bavaria. The Beneteau was very drak below in our opinion, but that is being fixed with a much lighter wood option. We had a peek at the 373 on display, which had the lighter wood, and it was much better. I think that if we were looking at a 2 cabin boat, then this would be a serious contender, but the layout in our opinion didn't work well for 3 cabins with the heads at the rear. They become VERYsmall, and the lockers are tiny.... shame as the 2 cabin version is a very nice boat The Jeanneau was the most expensive of the 4 boats, and was also very nice, but again, the 3 cabin layout felt like a bit of an afterthought.... its biggest failing against our list was the lack of storage space in the 3 cabin version... one of the largest lockers below vanished in the 3 cabin version... The Hanse was very appealling to me for its performance, and also the ease of sailing that comes with a self tacking jib.... Our immediate reactino was of suprise. While it was a very nice boata again, it felt quite a bit smaller than the Beneteau, and unsuprisingly, a lot smaller than the 3 foot longer Bavaria. The quality of the interior woodwork was excellent, but it s very dark colour was too much of a contrast with the white bulkheads for our taste. We also loved the HUGE cockpit locker, but this disappeared with the 3 cabin version, leaving two very small lockers. The Bavaria stood out for a number of reasons. Its layout made it feel simply enormous down below with massive headroom. The 3 cabin version still retained 2 decent sized cockpit lockers. There was storage everywhere, and this was the 3 cabin version on display. The engine access was superb. besides the nowadays seemingly standard lifting companionway steps, there were large removable panels on both sides, meanin near 360 deg access to the whole engine. It had an enormous cockpit with high coamings meaning a safe and comfortable environment, with a generous cockpit table. The wheel was big, so good for the kids to use. There were a few things we didn't like... the lockers in the cabins have a silly little plastic strap to prevent them openeing too far.... can't see them lasting 5 minutes, but they would be easily replaced with a bit of cord. Silly, but the shower in the heads didn't have a wall fixing, so needed to be held by hand... again easily fixed with a small pipe clip... but seems a bit daft... So.... it looks like we are going to get a bit more serious about the Bavaria.... we'll contact the local agent after the boat show to arrange a test sail.... and then... well.... assuming two things...1] that we get enough of a deposit together, 2], they'll either part-ex Maggie, or we can sell her quickly.... looks like we'll be buying a new boat! Anyone want to buy a much loved Carter 3/4 tonner? plenty of work done on her.... just read the blog!

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