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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    656

    Default 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    It's well documented (on here especially) that many people feel that a Westerly, Moody or other UK built boats were/are of a higher build quality than others.

    Is that really the case, or just a bit of brand loyalty and National pride?

    If one had a smaller budget than a UK built boat would allow is, for example, a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40 hugely inferior to a Moody 40? Is a Sunshine 38, half as good as a Westerly Typhoon 37 (which is about twice the price in today's market? Obviously I'm talking about like for like in terms of fit out and condition.

    I'm just interested as thinking of moving up a size and although I love the solid feeling of my Westerly (which has been well used throughout her 32 years) would I get not get that confidence and quality from a mid eighties Beneteau or Jeanneau?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,866

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    I don't know about all of them, but the Dufours of the period seem quite robust and probably more so that later ones, judging from a 38 that we went on that had been round the world.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Well we bought our British boat in the 80s.

    Just weren't impressed with the apparent quality of the French ones on offer at the time.

    Be interested to be proved wrong but still happy with what we did.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Can't claim much direct expertise but wasn't Laura Decker's boat a Sun Fizz?

    I sailed a Sun Magic 44 on charter in 1988...plenty of them are still going strong.

    I might also point out that a higher proportion of French boats spent more time in the Med, which can account for why they often look more weathered, sunbeaten - but raises no concern structurally.

    And you have to account for the owner factor. I know a couple who have had a First 38 for many years, 4 of which circumnavigating and living aboard. They are just off again...and the boat seems to be terrific both structurally and cosmetically. Would it be fair to assume that the heavier-built cruisers you cite have enjoyed different styles of ownership than the more cruiser-racer French counterparts?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    We also got used to seeking tired looking French boats in N. French marinas.

    I think at the time there were a lot of boats there in club or other multiple ownership, hence the lack of care. All added up to an impression that French boats were toys, built to have fun with, rather than the more solid virtues of British boats.

    Just the way the brands on offer seemed at the time. No doubt at all that they sailed well though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    14,382

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Let me stick out my old and fragile neck...
    My present boat - French - used to be marketed as a 'cruiser-racer'. It is a Wauquiez Centurion 32, was built in 1973 and is still going strong. Without any qualms I would say, objectively, that the build quality and the level of finish is far superior to the Westerly Centaur that I had for fourteen years and was built in 1976.
    I have no personal experience of owning a Benneteau or Jeanneau but my impression is that these were built down to a price whereas the Wauquiez were built up to a standard.
    Here is small example. This is an inspection cover from the sole...
    Last edited by PuffTheMagicDragon; 05-09-19 at 19:43.
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    1,426

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Never looked at a Wauquiez.

    Probably well out of budget compared to Moody, Westerly, or the Sadler we bought.

    The French boats I recall looking at were Beneteau and Feeling.

    My sense at the time was that the people getting the best value out of them were the importers. They weren't that much cheaper than the British boats.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,192

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    I think in the 80s, the 'value' was in OD racing in Sigmas, Impalas, Snots?
    Other people will value different things in a boat.
    No point in knocking other people's taste in boats.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    14,382

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Quote Originally Posted by James_Calvert View Post

    The French boats I recall looking at were Beneteau and Feeling.

    My sense at the time was that the people getting the best value out of them were the importers. They weren't that much cheaper than the British boats.
    I would put it slightly differently.
    The buyers were certainly getting 'More bang for their Buck'. On the other hand they (many of them, I think) learned to look at their boats as 'disposable' unless they were religiously cared for and most were put on the market after five or six years... before the expected troubles (perceived or not) materialised.
    Of course one should never generalise about boats - and most things for that matter.
    Should we paint what is on a face, what is inside it, or what is behind it?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Boat (now back in) the Clyde
    Posts
    5,646

    Default Re: 80's French boats vs their English counterparts

    Generalisations about entire nations’ boat production for a decade are probably meaningless.
    So many good, bad and indifferent boats from U.K. and France.

    But talking specifics, the First 345 was a superb boat, fast, spacious and strong. Lovely boat for the era.
    One has been cruised to Artic (and Antiartic?) waters for decades.

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