Saturday, February 20, 2010

Halifax boat show

As is usual, Michelle and I attended the Halifax boat show. The weather actually cooperated with us on the drive over. For the previous couple of trips, we had hit bad weather, which was a good reminder of the joys of summer.

From a sailing point of view, the show was somewhat disappointing. There was only one sailboat brought into the show. There was a Beneteau 34 on display, which was, of course, our first destination. Naturally, we used our Benetau First 305 as a point of comparison to this new boat.

The extra four feet, of course, make quite a difference. The beam is an extra three feet, making it quite a bit more comfortable below deck. The biggest advantage, at least from a cruising point of view, is the much larger head. On Obsession, the head is very cramped. Although our Beneteau is equipped for showers, we have never taken advantage of this equipment, as it would be very cramped and difficult to move around in the head. With the Beneteau 34, it is compatatively luxurious, and seems to me to be a bit larger than average for a mid-30 foot boat.

Another feature that was interesting is how the double sink is laid out in the galley. The two sinks are parallel to the length of the boat. This seems to give a bit more counter space when you are standing in the galley itself.

In Obsession, the chart table has its own seat, facing forward. In the Beneteau 34, you sit on the end of the settee, facing back to use the chart table. Here, Michelle and I have different opinions. She like the forwardfacing table, such as in our current boat. I like to have a bit extra length to the settee, possibly because my length doesn't quite fit on our settee now when I lay down.

A disappointing feature is the lack of handholds below decks. In rough weather, moving around would be an added challenge. I think I would actually add some overhead rails to hang onto.

Three years ago when we bought Obsession, we visited a lot of different boats, and in the end set our sights on a Beneteau. We always felt that the brand was a good compromise between cruising comfort and sailing performance. Although the newer models seem to put more of a premium on looks and neglect some aspects such as the rails, they are still a very good looking boat, and we would strongly consider staying with the brand