Beneteau 42CC
Oct 20, 2020 > Sailboats
I’ll never buy another Beneteau
Don't buy a boat whose maker is out of business
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Product review Beneteau Yachts
Rating
REVIEWED BY Alan Jacobson
Reviewer did not receive an incentive to post this review.
29 reviews, 1 follower
Beneteau 40CC Imagine
My Beneteau is my third boat. I’ll never buy another one. My first boat was a Tartan. Tartan is a fine company, and my Tartan 30 pointed high and tracked beautifully. But I’ll never buy another Tartan. My second boat was a Cal 33. It was roomy down below and very fast for its LWL. But I’ll never buy another Cal. Nor will I ever buy a Hunter, Herreshoff, Hanse or Hinckley. Because my Beneteau 40CC is perfect for me. It’s my last boat. It’s my forever boat. So I’ll never buy another boat. Period. ◉ Tap to add a comment or post a review I couldn’t single-hand a bigger boat. And a smaller boat would not be as livable. But it’s not its size alone that has me sold on my Beneteau. It’s the boat itself and the company that stands behind it. My boat is a bit of an odd duck: a center cockpit model. To the best of my knowledge, Beneteau made the the center cockpit models for only a short while – from the mid-’90s to the early 2000s. They ranged in length from 36 feet to 44 feet. Only 291 40CCs were made. I’d buy a new one if Beneteau made one. But they don’t make ’em the way they used to. The new Beneteaus are more performance-oriented. They perform better in the light winds we have in summer on the East Coast of the U.S. In contrast, my boat needs 12 knots of wind to get up and go, and you rarely see that kind of wind in summer. My boat was built for comfort, not for speed. I could sail my Tartan or my Cal in 5 knots of wind – which is often all you get in July and August – but I wouldn’t want to spend 24/7/365 on either one. Or any other boat, for that matter. I’m embarrassed to admit what first attracted me to Beneteau. It wasn’t the reputation or resale value, both of which are excellent. It wasn’t the looks or performance, or the fine woodwork down below you can see in the photo, below:
The galley of a Beneteau 40CC.
It was the heads. Seriously. I thought Beneteau had the best heads. I can sum up their design in two words: 100% plastic.
Forward head on left; Aft head on right.
The head is where you do your dirtiest business. It’s also where you go to get clean after doing all the dirty jobs on a boat. So keeping it clean is difficult, but essential, for a sweet life as a liveaboard – a sweet-smelling life, that is. The heads on a Beneteau are virtually a single, seamless piece of plastic. So no nooks or crannies to catch the…well, you know. And no wood to trap odors. You can hose down every surface or spray it daily with bathroom cleaner to keep it April fresh. My boat has two heads. The forward head is wood-free. The aft head has one post and one handle made of wood, but otherwise it was wood-free – with one exception: the teak grate over the shower drain. As this teak grate became a magnet for odors, I had a local plastic fabricator replicate it out of Starboard, including the beveled bottom and rounded corners on the drain holes.
Original teak grate on left; fabricated Starboard grate on right.
But the most amazing thing about my Beneteau is not the boat itself. It’s the people at Beneteau who stand behind it. My boat was built in France in 1999, more than 20 years ago. But that doesn’t stop the folks at the factory in Marion, South Carolina, from delivering world-class customer service and technical support. Another company might say, “Your boat is more than 20 years old and has been out of product for two decades. It was built in another country 5,000 miles away. You can’t expect us to support you.” Even the folks at Apple’s Genius Bar – known for outstanding customer service – turn up their noses at my 10-year-old MacBookPro. But my experience with the folks in Marion impresses me every time. When I call, they answer on the second ring, if not the first. I’ll post a separate story detailing how far Ward Richardson has gone to help me with technical issues. It’s remarkable how much he knows about a boat built so long ago and far away from the Palmetto State. But for this story, I’ll focus on the parts I’ve ordered from Terry Richardson and Debbie Thomas. As my boat has been out of production for a long time, I expected it to be difficult-to-get parts. And I expected them to be expensive. Anyone who has a Volvo engine knows what I’m talking about. However, Terry has never failed to find and deliver each and every part I’ve ask for – and I’ve sought out some pretty obscure parts! For instance, I thought the lid of my holding tank was leaking. It requires a big o-ring – 6 inches in diameter. What are the chances that Terry could find a new, 6-inch o-ring for a holding tank that is no longer on production for a 20-year-old boat? Two days after I called, I had the o-ring in my hot little hand.
Six-inch o-ring for holding tank lid of discontinued holding tank.
And the prices! I have ordered original equipment Beneteau parts for as little as 24 cents. What factory that manufactures anything sells parts for $0.24? As far as I know, only Beneteau.
Flat-sided stop for nav station desk lid and vanity lid in the aft cabin cost 24 cents.
Some might think it silly to track down this original equipment part – which serves as rest for nav station desk lid and vanity lid in the aft cabin – when a wood screw would serve the same purpose. But I don't want my boat to become of hodgepodge of cobbled together missing parts. Instead, I want it to stay as close to factory new as I can; I can’t afford a new boat, but I can afford some new parts. But if Beneteau sold “New Boat Smell” in a bottle, I would buy it. My boat was built in France, so most of the parts are metric. And in America, you always pay more for metric. Which makes it even more amazing how little these parts cost. Even if you could find similar parts at Home Depot, they probably won’t be metric, so they probably won’t fit. And they certainly won’t match the rest of the boat. For instance, I had to replace the plastic slide for a galley drawer. Because this part is for a boat, it’s smaller than similar slides you can find at Home Depot. Would you rather go on a scavenger hunt to find a comparable replacement – which might require modification to fit – or pay Beneteau $2.51 for a direct replacement? Even if you could find the slide elsewhere, chances are it would be no cheaper.
Plastic slide for a galley drawer cost $2.51.
The same is true for clips that support the mirrors in the forward head and aft cabin, for a measly $1.42 each.
Mirror clips cost $1.42.
Or this cabinet push-lock mechanism for $2.98
Corroded cabinet push-lock mechanism on left; plastic replacement on right cost $2.98.
Not only does Beneteau have these parts at amazing low prices, it offers a website with detailed drawings of all of their boats, including descriptions and photos of all the parts. And if you order from the website, Beneteau gives you a 15% discount. But before you decide on a used Beneteau because every part is a bargain, here's a reality check: I paid $500 for two replacement water tank sending units - that's half the cost of an entire daysailer on Craigslist. But let's be real about this. Consider a European car – such as a BMW or even a VW. Any electrical replacement part for these cars will be pricey. But to Beneteau’s credit, I don’t think their marine-grade parts are any more expensive than European automotive parts. However, in some cases, it’s not about the price. It’s about the availability. In the case of that holding tank o-ring, I would have paid anything. So I’m grateful for the amazingly low prices on some parts, but even more grateful for the availability of virtually all parts.
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