I came across this thread today, addressing the question of whether "production" boats, specifically Jenes, Benes, and Bavarias are blue-water-worthy. There are only 7 million threads out with people being know-it-alls about this question, but this one had a really decent and informative discussion.
Jack Tyler's response, in particular, was very thought-provoking:
A multi-year Circle is a very ambitious project that is going to seriously test any boat (and not just in structural terms), so I'd suggest you look at it differently. I'd suggest you start with a Q like: "I have $60K to spend on a used boat (with my other $20K set aside for repairs/upgrades/outfitting and the like, before setting off). What boat will best meet my needs for that $60K?"
... You need to zero in on the essential, functional demands of a boat doing extended cruising and, from those, identifying what your criteria will be. ... Consider using no more than one or two primary references that intentionally attempt to discriminate between the essential and the rest, and do your work. (My #1 rec would be Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook. Pay attention to her 'low budget' generic boat & crew that she repeatedly describes when discussing various boat characteristics).
If you do your work, you'll end up with a much easier time of it in selecting the boat. Some examples: You'll come to realize that fresh water tankage may need to be much more emphasized than you'd imagined simply because your budget may not support the initial & upkeep cost of a water maker, even a cheap one since it could cost you perhaps 20% of your prep budget. You'll put significant (and functional) storage capacity on your list. You'll come to understand the central importance of a beefy anchor roller set-up (along with the boat's ability to handle much weight up forward). You'll learn that the repeated shock-loading of the deck & rigging hardware far exceeds what most boats see in more typical uses. And with these kind of criteria in hand, you'll look at all boats through a fresh lens and it will be much easier to weed out 'your' boat from the flock.
You'll begin to appreciate how many boat builders these days (to include most of the models built by the mfgrs you mentioned) push their interiors 'out' in order to make the boat appear bigger and more 'open', with the inevitable loss of accessible storage compartments. You will notice that the bow roller assemblies are often cantilevered and built of 5mm/6mm stainless plate and bends are with tight radiuses. You'll begin to look at how beefy the deck hardware is, how its built and how its attached to the boat. You'll look at the tankage and scratch your head about how that could possibly work. And overarching all of this will be the inevitable ratcheting down of the size of the vessel you can realistically purchase, which will just make matching all your criteria that much more challenging.Wow. Why can't all internet-posters be this clear, articulate, and to-the-point? The discussion goes on for or several hundred more posts, during which Jack goes on to say:
[H]igh production-volume builders that build down to a price a) miss things when building many boats each day (Bavaria was producing 2,000 boats each year as of five years ago...and they were expanding production), b) getting cost out of a boat inevitably forces compromises (which of course is true of every boat), but that c) the odds incrementally add up against you with these compromises because it becomes harder and harder for the builder to properly test & evaluate these, and to adequately inspect every hull being finished. ...
So what to do? With research, you'll find some models of these builders, for some periods of time, are simply better engineered and more easily/reliably built than others. I saw a Jeanneau 41 out in the Frisian Islands of Germany that had been doing the offshore run up the Jutland Peninsula to Norway every year for 17 years. This can be a very tough run. I thought it was first rate and wouldn't hesitate to take it south of the Great Capes. But when built, the owner could ask for modifications such as additional high-tech (kevlar, as I recall) build-up in high-stress areas, and this owner had done that. The trick is to find out which of the many models being built over many years are less prone to major failures (since every boat will have its issues), and zero in on those for your shopping.I do think Jack has a conclusion in mind here, and I'm not certain I agree with it, but it certainly is nicely put, and I certainly will be getting the book he recommends.