Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Test Sail: Beneteau 323


Kris and I are going to take this little beauty out on Saturday. She's not the world cruiser we expect to head for blue water in, but we are thinking a couple of years of river sailing in something like this, might be the best next step as we build our skills.

I think that future boat is going to be an Island Packet. Those boats really speak to me.

Anyway, this one is affordable for now, in great shape, and possesses the important things that Kris looks for in a boat: built-in wine racks.

9 comments:

David said...

Hey, I've sailed on one of those. My best sailing buddy's father-in-law owns one. I'll direct him over here to leave you some comments . . .

Dean, comment here:

Smilicus said...

Great yacht and she's fast to. Hope the test sail leaves you wanting more

Dean Fulton said...

Lots of room below, full featured, good price. Maybe not the most durable boat and not enough lead in the keel for SF Bay - but maybe okay for Portland. We have to reef at about 12 knots. The roller furled main would make reefing a snap, though not make for the most shapely looking sail. My father-in-law is very happy with his purchase, though he's seriously thinking about getting some lead added.

Greg and Kris said...

Thanks, Dean (and David). We may go up to the San Juans at some point, which would require crossing the Columbia Bar and a day offshore each way, but it'll mostly be up and down the Columbia with the occasional jaunt to Downtown PDX for a weekend at the marina. Sounds like your father-in-law's assessment fits our needs of something to use in the river for the next 2-3 years.

We'll report back on the weekend.

JP said...

It looks like a lovely yacht, good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

I own a 323. I don't have to reef at 12 knots. And mine has a 5'11" keel. Maybe at 22+ knots. Haven't had any problem under that with both main and genoa entirely out. Great freshwater boat. Very comfortable. Very well organized. Don't intend to go to Cape Horn in it or across the Pacific. Leaving that to the larger keel boats.

Anonymous said...

I'm Don, Dean's father-in-law. I've sailed my 323 for 5 years, and it's still my choice of sailboats. On adding keel weight - don't! Beneteau's keel bolts are implanted from the top (what you see in the 323 bilge is the head of the bolt), not the usual nut of the keel bolts embedded in the keel. If your local water has strong winds, reduce the headsail to 90 or 95%. Better yet, have it made out of 3DL, 3Dr or D4 for stiffer sailing in strong winds of 15 to 30 knots. But my 90% dacron headsail suffices in San Francisco Bay's strong summer puffs. The 323's standard main reefs easily, and allows it to sail in a variety of conditions. Try to reef prior to big winds. Contrary to its promotion, the 323 is not an off-shore sailboat, at least not in Northern California. But it is a great boat for the money. When I was exploring adding keel weight, a noted designer asked me, "I have lots of clients trying to take off weight. You have a fast boat. Why not keep it that way?" Our 323 is fun to sail, and because of its modest dimensions I am able to sail it in my 70s while many friends have switched to power. I haven't found a boat its size with a comparable size aft berth. My wife likes it's low freeboard. I call it a one stepper to the dock.

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