Should I Buy a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1?

Hi! I retired recently and having just spent a month and half living aboard my current boat, I realize that I'm at an age and time in my life that I want a cruising boat with more space, accommodations and cruising amenities. (Don't laugh- it'll happen to you one day, too.)

There are lot of knowledgeable sailors on these forums so I am inviting/requesting commentary on this potential choice. Please let me explain why I am targeting this specific design and builder.

Since 2009, I have owned one of the (only) three Archambault 35s in the western hemisphere, and frankly have looked at the Pogo 36 as my dream fast cruiser. I require a boat that minimally offers decent performance. Of course the Pogo 36, displacing only 10,000 pounds, is a rocket ship and it checks the "amenities" box reasonably well. Problem is- the waiting time to build one is more than 2 years. I could be dead by then! :) I'd like to take delivery next year. Beneteau builds the Oceanis 38.1 at its main factory in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, in Brittainy. If I order the boat in the next 60 days, delivery would be in the spring of '23- so minimal waiting time, which is a huge plus. I just examined a brand new 38.1 this week and the quality of build seems reasonably decent for a mass-produced product.

The Oceanis 38.1 is the same designer as the Pogo 36 (Finot-Conq), and if you compare hull shapes, the similarities are obvious. Of course the 38.1 has a lot more displacement and is obviously not intended to emphasize performance over cruising comforts. Still, it seems to me that with the following configuration and gear, a 38.1 should be able to sail with decent performance: Traditional hoisted mainsail (not the horrid-looking mast-furled mainsail); North 3DI sails; taller rig; substitute factory halyards and running rigging with top-notch cordage...add the factory bowsprit for a Code 0, A1.5 and A2 spinnakers....and I reckon the boat should sail semi-decently.

I really like the layout of the 38.1, and for me, the LOA is perfect from a cost and boat-handling aspect, as I am always sailing shorthanded or solo, so this size is absolutely perfect for me. I am favoring the 2-cabin, L-shaped galley, one head, storage locker (not separate shower) configuration, with the 40 hp diesel option in lieu of the standard 30 hp diesel.

I am considering taking delivery in the south of France and commissioning the boat there, to spend a summer or two exploring the Med. I am informed that not only will this save in transportation costs (I am located in the Bay Area), but if the boat is kept out of the U.S. for over 18 months, I can avoid California sales tax, too, for a combined savings of >$50K, according to the Beneteau broker. Then, across the Atlantic (bucket list item) to the Caribbean for a season, then up the east coast for a summer in Newport/Nantucket/Maine/Nova Scotia (another bucket list item), back to the Caribbean, then to Panama, then.....across the Pond via the Galapagos? Or to Mexico's choicest cruising grounds? Decisions, decisions!

OK cruising anarchists: Please sound off. Don't hold back! Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions, ideas and observations.

Cheers!

The Rude Dog
 

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
2,936
1,671
coastal NC
Loved my old 1980s Oceanis 350, built in the Brittany factory, and felt like the hull was strong. But cross an ocean in it? No. Granted a smaller boat, different designer than a 38.1, but IMO they aren't built or rigged for serious offshore.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
6,378
1,271
worldwide
Looks OK

french boats are typically a good value..that boat looks like it can handle the trade wind transatlantic just fine

the big question is how much does the boat cost. ?
…fully fit out for an ocean passage

with the strong dollar a bigger late model brokerage boat might be a better value
 

wully

New member
I’d never buy new...I’d never buy a recent mass produced twin wheeled boat either, but that’s just me.

If it was me though, I’d look for a very recent 38.1 , use the money and time saved sailing it then equipping it with the kit I want/need.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
6,378
1,271
worldwide
If you plan on sailing transatlantic consider

fuel, motoring range,
water capacity
storage space
energy ..batteries, alternator
downwind ability

downwind means a poled out high clew headsail , a modest displacement boat with enough sail power to make good speed when sailing 150awa

any factory options that solve these issues..for instance larger fuel tank , a portable water bladder , high output alternator , first class autopilot, extra long carbon spi pole … are well worth purchasing

asymmetric sails, spinnakers are impractical for long downwind passages and a small crew ..they eat autopilots
 

Matagi

Ambassador of the Republic of R'lyeh
if you compare hull shapes, the similarities are obvious.
Porsche
Screenshot_20220729-075431_Chrome.jpg

Also a Porsche
Screenshot_20220729-075615_Chrome.jpg


You see what I mean?
 

Matagi

Ambassador of the Republic of R'lyeh
Ok, in more earnest now:
General advice: do not buy anything for yourself that was designed for the mass charter market. Especially not for entering waters it was never intended for.

As said above, buying 2nd hand might be a good option. If I were you, I would then look at Wauquiez 40s or 39, or the JPK 38, esp. if speed is of interest to you.
 

Tender

Member
147
44
Norway
Still, it seems to me that with the following configuration and gear, a 38.1 should be able to sail with decent performance: Traditional hoisted mainsail (not the horrid-looking mast-furled mainsail); North 3DI sails; taller rig; substitute factory halyards and running rigging with top-notch cordage...add the factory bowsprit for a Code 0, A1.5 and A2 spinnakers....and I reckon the boat should sail semi-decently.
You don’t need any of this for passage making.
 

ChrisJD

Member
255
172
Boston, MA
This feels like, "I really like my older Porsche, I'd like to buy a new one but there's an 18-month wait, so should I buy a Camry instead?" YMMV but if it were me and I had your experience of boat ownership, no, I would not. Spring 2023 is already a year away, so a one-year wait for a boat that's the complete opposite of the Pogo, vs. a two-year wait for the Pogo, seems like a strange choice. If you can't find one used in less time, then I'd charter for next summer while you wait for your new construction. But I'd also try to find one used, and I'd also look for J's, or perhaps more on-point, a Malango 1088.

 

Israel Hands

Super Anarchist
2,936
1,671
coastal NC
General advice: do not buy anything for yourself that was designed for the mass charter market. Especially not for entering waters it was never intended for.
^ Yes on the last sentence. You may be fine, with no bad weather on your crossing. But if not, you'll wish you weren't in that boat.
 

Big E.Z.

New member
I've never replied to any of these forums but when I read this I had to. I too was interested in the Pogo. Big Fan of Finot Conq. The two year wait put me off and this was before COVID. I knew the 38.1 was a Finot Conq design. They are just not going to design a boat that doesn't sail well. Even for a production cruiser. Mine was delivered in August 2020. I ordered the performance package which includes the tall rig, deep keel and adjustable backstay. I bought my own performance sails and kept the ones that came with the boat. I opted out of the arch which I find unattractive and useless. I have owned a Beneteau First 36.7 as well as, more recently, a J105. I was absolutely blown away by the performance of the 38.1. So was my crew that sailed with me on the 105. I have teak decks that I let go grey and I painted the mast black. My sails are black (grey). My boat turns heads everywhere I go. You will not be disappointed in this boat. I do agree that there are better options for extended ocean passages but there is always a better option. This boat will do just fine for the way you want to use it. I will do a walk through video and post it here. Rude Dog, I don't know if there is a way for you to message me here, I'm not in tune to that, but you should if you can. We should talk and you should come to New York (or Charleston SC over the winter) and sail on my boat before you buy one.

90970181-2021+IHYC+Gearbuster_MAFisher+photo-094 1.JPG


90970183-2021+IHYC+Gearbuster_MAFisher+photo-098 3.JPG
 

danstanford

Anarchist
676
178
Lake Ontario
Once you have owned a fast boat you don't want to be saddled with something slow. The question is real and in most cases you cannot test drive one of these boats and almost never in varying conditions so I get the conundrum for sure.
Not sure what forum he wrote it in but JackDaw wrote a post a few years ago lamenting the lack of sporty and fast boats from (as I remember) North American manufacturers. I think the question goes to the production builders as well but the new First 36 can give us hope!
 

efrank

Member
318
158
I've never replied to any of these forums but when I read this I had to. I too was interested in the Pogo. Big Fan of Finot Conq. The two year wait put me off and this was before COVID. I knew the 38.1 was a Finot Conq design. They are just not going to design a boat that doesn't sail well. Even for a production cruiser. Mine was delivered in August 2020. I ordered the performance package which includes the tall rig, deep keel and adjustable backstay. I bought my own performance sails and kept the ones that came with the boat. I opted out of the arch which I find unattractive and useless. I have owned a Beneteau First 36.7 as well as, more recently, a J105. I was absolutely blown away by the performance of the 38.1. So was my crew that sailed with me on the 105. I have teak decks that I let go grey and I painted the mast black. My sails are black (grey). My boat turns heads everywhere I go. You will not be disappointed in this boat. I do agree that there are better options for extended ocean passages but there is always a better option. This boat will do just fine for the way you want to use it. I will do a walk through video and post it here. Rude Dog, I don't know if there is a way for you to message me here, I'm not in tune to that, but you should if you can. We should talk and you should come to New York (or Charleston SC over the winter) and sail on my boat before you buy one.

View attachment 531124

View attachment 531125
Sir, we only speculate here. Please keep actual experience out of the equation.
 
Looks OK

french boats are typically a good value..that boat looks like it can handle the trade wind transatlantic just fine

the big question is how much does the boat cost. ?
…fully fit out for an ocean passage

with the strong dollar a bigger late model brokerage boat might be a better value
Thanks for the comments. To answer your question ("How much....?"),,,outfitted with the gear I describe, you'd be looking at roughly $350K, all in.
 
I’d never buy new...I’d never buy a recent mass produced twin wheeled boat either, but that’s just me.

If it was me though, I’d look for a very recent 38.1 , use the money and time saved sailing it then equipping it with the kit I want/need.
I tend to agree with you. If I can find a used 38.1 with the specs I like, I'd go for it instead of a new one.
 
If you plan on sailing transatlantic consider

fuel, motoring range,
water capacity
storage space
energy ..batteries, alternator
downwind ability

downwind means a poled out high clew headsail , a modest displacement boat with enough sail power to make good speed when sailing 150awa

any factory options that solve these issues..for instance larger fuel tank , a portable water bladder , high output alternator , first class autopilot, extra long carbon spi pole … are well worth purchasing

asymmetric sails, spinnakers are impractical for long downwind passages and a small crew ..they eat autopilots
Good observations! Definitely would have a carbon spi pole for sailing wing & wing, when deep angle is needed. I will have a hydrogenerator (keeping the one I have); Have sailed many long passages so no probs on the other technical items you mention. Thanks!
 




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