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Thread: Beneteau 323

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    37

    Default Beneteau 323

    I am thinking of buying a Beneteau 323 and would appreciate feedback from anyone that has experience of owning/sailing one.Bearing in mind they are fairly light displacement how would they perform if caught out in bad weather ?
    Also is there anything in particular I should look out for when viewing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Home: North West, Boat: The Clyde
    Posts
    3,456

    Default Re: Beneteau 323

    I don't know the 323 very well but have no reason to doubt the Beneteau brand. I've had a 361 and now have a 41.

    The brochure shows 3 keel options; deep, shallow and lifting. My preference would always be the deep draft keel.

    It carries an RCD B rating so I imagine that it would behave similar to any other B rated vessel if caught out in bad weather. My experience is that in marginal conditions, crew capability comes in question long before that of the boat.

    When buying a second hand boat, normal rules apply. Gather as much factual/documented information as possible from the broker and/or owner regarding number of owners, use, periodic maintenance, upgrades etc and inspect every aspect of the boat and its systems before making an offer and committing to funding a haul-out and survey.

    It may also be worthwhile posting on the Beneteau Owners website.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Beneteau 323

    I have sailed a 323 for a couple of weeks on flotillas in Greece—unfortunately this was before I gained much other experience in yachts. A group of three beginners (my experience at that point being exclusively in dinghies and smallish keelboats on inland waterways) managed to handle one, probably incompetently, for a week, and come out hale and hearty. I should caution my thoughts by saying that these were hard-worked charter boats and not representative of the typical owners' boat in terms of sail condition etc, but I do recall a sizeable amount of weather helm when a small group of us ventured out on one keen person's vessel for a blast about in relative shelter in ~F6. Equally, it was quite manageable and it may be that the skipper of this boat was too late in reefing further; my recollection was of being on the helm and being urged to fight my dinghy-sailor's instinct of rounding up in the gusts! It certainly felt quite speedy at the time, and I think that, with a decent set of sails (ideally not with in-mast furling) they'd go nicely. They seemed very popular in the Greek charter system too, so I suspect they are reasonably robust. Not bad looking externally either.

    If buying one from 2002-2006 or so, be careful about the condition of the interior woodwork. Beneteau had some issues in that period, in which a deficient lacquering process caused the lacquer to peel off. If caught early enough they would remediate under warranty, but I suspect probably not 10+ years after manufacture... A Google will probably find some examples. Perhaps not a deal breaker, but you might be surprised at the labour costs to redo it completely!

    Regards
    William

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    Posts
    1,151

    Default Re: Beneteau 323

    Like weustace we have sailed a number of 323s on flotillas in Greece. Sailing Holidays has fleets of them. I guess the ones that we’ve had have been the shallow fin keeled ones.

    Bluntly: I like them. Lovely boat and suit the flotilla/Greece application very well. The only issues I’ve encountered on the rental boats were star cracking around the babystay into the foredeck and also being frustrated at not having a proper mainsail (they have furling mainsails). Oh, and when standing to helm the bimini is right in front of my eyes.

    The most we sailed in was 30 knots when we needed a few rolls in both sails. Still handled well and I can only think that the OP’s issue with weather helm was because of excessive heel. Maybe a time for another reef.

    My only concern was on a breezy day when we hadn’t reefed enough and had a long beat on port tack. Well heeled for a few hours, I needed to answer the call of nature, walked down the companionway and found loads of water sloshing about over the floors. Yes, water had been coming up into the heads sink and over the edge. Soon pumped out and when we mentioned to the flotilla skipper, he suggested we close the seacock in future. Actually having that pee was funny/grim, depending our your sense of humour…

    Would I buy one for my sort of sailing in the Solent and cross channel? Yes, but I’d go for the deepest fin keel available. Would I take one further out into the pond? Yes, it’d be fine but they aren’t really designed for it with a large cockpit. Still a nice boat though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: Beneteau 323

    Quote Originally Posted by langstonelayabout View Post
    The most we sailed in was 30 knots when we needed a few rolls in both sails. Still handled well and I can only think that the OP’s issue with weather helm was because of excessive heel. Maybe a time for another reef.
    Could well be the case—this was during my first few days aboard a proper yacht of any description, and what feels normal now was very much less so then. Also not sure whether the skipper had reefed adequately or not—we certainly flew along, but this was in relatively flat sea, and since the outing was short and for those of enthusiastic nature, he probably felt it acceptable to drive the boat hard...

    I would agree that I'd be very happy to cruise one round the Channel; as I say, they are generally easy to handle, and this probably continues up with wind strength provided you tuck in the appropriate reefs. At the risk of starting the age old dispute on traditional vs contemporary hull forms, I have always found this sort of boat to slam more to windward than narrower forefoot vessels, but they are generally up to taking it, and give you a lot more accommodation for the same or better speed in a given size of yacht.

    OP asks "how would they perform if caught out in bad weather ?"—I suppose the question is, how bad? langstonelayabout has taken one out in F7 and had no trouble; they are 'specified' as a RCD Cat B boat to take F8 minimum. Probably wouldn't be my first choice for riding out a gale, but I think you'd be unfortunate to come to any harm, given some sea room. Where are you thinking of cruising, and how aggressive are you in sticking to schedule...?

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