Value for money is not something that's easy to find...

Value for money is not something that?s easy to find in the marine industry.

The cost of boating equipment often appears to be disproportionate when compared to similar items in other industries. And spare parts and engineering services sometimes seem to be distressingly expensive compared to the automotive industry. Understandably, the cost-conscious motorboater often feels that he?s being fleeced just because he chooses to spend his leisure time and disposable income on something that is perceived to be a rich man?s hobby.

But there is value for money to be found in boating, and this month we?ve got several good examples. The two boats we?ve tested this month, the Cranchi Endurance 41 and the Bénéteau Swift Trawler 42 , are very different to each other but both represent superb value for money. Both offer great performance and build quality at prices significantly below most of their competitors. Yes, you can buy better. And yes, you can buy cheaper. But you won?t find anything this size that?s better and cheaper. So hats off to Cranchi and Bénéteau.

We?ve also taken a look at the UKHO/RYA?s new PC-based chart plotter system. Several years in development, the plotting software comes with a massive folio of charts and retails for £40 per year. Compared to dedicated plotters and their folios, this is exceptional value for money. Okay, the system uses raster charts rather than the preferred vector charts, but for entry-level electronic navigation this is a great package to get started with. Now, if someone could produce a ruggedised laptop for sensible money we?d all be happy ? we?ll be testing MapTech?s ?semi-ruggedised? laptop in a subsequent issue.

And so to Motor Boat & Yachting. You may have noticed that the cover price has gone up 10p this month. Obviously we don?t want to put the price up, but commercial considerations (the spiralling cost of paper and such like) make this a necessity. However, at around 4p per editorial page for the best and most authoritative motor boat journalism around, I hope you?ll agree that MBY still represents excellent value for money.