Beneteau BarracudaBy John Armstrong and Andy Adams

The new Beneteau Barracuda 9 is set to devour old-fashioned competitors as it redefines the design and performance realities for power boats under 30 feet.

Parts of the Beneteau Barracuda 9 may seem familiar, but we can’t recall seeing all these features rolled into one boat. It’s just a wild combination and it’s sure to send other designers scrambling back to their drawing boards.

The Beneteau Barracuda 9 is a 29’3” pilot house outboard boat with a 9’9” beam and both an amazing list of clever design features as well as an option list to enable buyers to further customize or personalize their Barracuda for their particular tastes. Here’s a fast “laundry list” of design features; deep-vee “Air Step” hull, high flared bow with sharp entry, high sides with recessed side decks, large aft cockpit, single or twin outboard power options, pilot house with interior helm, but also flying bridge helm station, cabin seating that converts to a dinette, enclosed head, compact galley and even an optional generator and air conditioning!

First, let’s explain that the hull is a deep-vee design but with the addition of the Beneteau “Air Step” hull feature. There are air intakes mounted up on the cabin sides that are exhausted into the keel area under the boat, reducing drag to plane off faster, cruise with a lower fuel burn and to deliver higher top speeds. It’s a unique and successful innovation.
Beneteau Barracuda Interior
Taking significant advantage from the light weight and compact mounting opportunities that the latest four-stroke outboards allow, the Beneteau Barracuda 9 is offered with single or twin outboard engines up to twin 225 horsepower each for a maximum of 450. Outboards free up interior space for other amenities and allow the cockpit to be carried almost to the transom for maximum exterior space. A clever hinged transom section still let
s you tilt the engines clear of the water when moored.

The cockpit can be left open for fishing but an aft bench seat and available folding seat on the aft end of the cabin can provide family-sized seating. Removable side sections over the step-in areas increase seating again. The transom design includes a boarding ladder and teak-trimmed swim platforms. The test boat had teak hardwood flooring and gunwhale tops with two rod holders per side, deck hawes to inboard-mounted cleats and there’s an optional side net roller to bring crab pots aboard!

If you order the optional Fischer-Panda generator, it is installed in an enclosure outside the aft cabin wall. It takes up some cockpit space but it can also double as a seat or a spot to spread out tackle.
 
Our test boat was loaded including the generator, air conditioning, full suite of electronics and more.

You might expect a 29 foot outboard boat to be a centre console or dual console design, so seeing the pilot house cabin is unexpected but it looks good to our eyes and offers surprising accommodation.

To easily get around a pilot house boat, you need side decks and these are recessed below the sweeping sheerline, offering both secure footing and greater freeboard in big water. There are stainless steel handrails on the cabin roof and sliding cabin side doors port and starboard for fresh air and docking convenience.

The fore deck features a forward facing bench seat and two neat options are a Bimini sun shade and an optional hammock-like sun lounge too! Unbelievable versatility and space utilization. The flared bow reduces spray and also results in more flat deck. You can enter and exit by the bow. The Barracuda also has a Lewmar electric windlass, big anchor and chain rode.

But, perhaps the most amazing thing about the boat is that it has an optional flying bridge!

This is such a clever design. The port-side ladder to the bridge has teak steps. The bridge is comfortable for two people, puts you way up in the fresh air and yet the design has you sitting like you’re in a sports car; very appropriate for the performance level!

This would be a tremendous design for British Columbia where you might be looking for logs or debris in the water. The test boat had a stainless steel mount ready to install a radar system too; great for foggy coastal areas!

I had the pleasure of sea trialing the Barracuda 9 with Patrick Hopkins of Annapolis Yacht Sales. We left the tranquility of their yacht basin and headed out to the Chesapeake where we encountered some light chop. The acceleration was phenomenal (about four seconds to plane off) and the ride was exceptional. We initially stayed at the lower station but then transitioned to the flying bridge and put the Barracuda through her paces. The boat tracks very well in all phases of running, and we pushed the better part of 50 miles per hour as we raced towards the Annapolis Yacht Club. This is a fun, functional boat that will serve her owners well; Beneteau has done it again!

The pilot house cabin interior is equally versatile. Entering through either sliding side door, the helm is to starboard with a non-reflective gray binnacle, well-located controls and the helm has a flip up seat bolster and a nice sport wheel. The test boat was equipped with a Lowrance HDS 10 multifunction display for most functions and Yamaha LCD displays for the twin Yamaha 4.2 Litre F225 Offshore 225 hp engines. To port, there’s a chart table over the entrance to the lower cabin area.

The vertical glass design reduces greenhouse effects on sunny days, has an overhang for shade and rain and offers very good outward vision, plus two big wipers to clear rain and spray.  Then, a large glass roof panel is included and it slides and lifts for fresh air, has a screen and a sunshade too.

Beneteau also gave the Barracuda 9 an aft cabin window like a pickup truck that can slide open and being vertical, you get air circulation yet you would probably not get rain in, even when you’re running. Another smart feature is that the entire cabin is curtained all the way around for privacy in the evening.

All the interior seats do double-duty. The helm pedestal seats are adjustable, comfortable and they swivel around to be dining chairs. There’s a fold-down table on each of the port and starboard sides and a bench seat across the back making a dinette for up to four people. There’s very limited galley space for provisions and a small refrigerator is installed under that seat. There’s also underfloor storage and storage beneath the bench seat. A removable BBQ is your best cooking option.

There is a port side passageway to the forward berth and enclosed head. The area is not big but could work for a couple spending a night on board. The head had a Jabsco MSD and a hand-held shower. You can stand or sit but get in and out with care - the panel over the door is low.

And actually, that’s my most serious complaint with the Beneteau Barracuda 9. Otherwise, it is a simply amazing collection of great ideas and versatility wrapped up in a blazing fast package.


SPECIFICATIONS

Engines: Twin Yamaha F225 Offshore outboards, four stroke V6 engines displacing
4.2 litres / 254.4 ci with dual overhead cam, 24 valve direct action with variable camshaft timing (VCT) and multi-point electronic fuel injection, producing 225 hp each. Stainless steel props.

ENGINE RPM    SPEED MPH
Idle 3.5
1000 5.9
1500 8.0
2000 9.5
2500 12.4
3000 23.6
3500 30.1
4000 35.6
4500 39.9
5000 45.5
5200 max 47.9

CRUISING SPEED rpm / mph
3500 / 30.1

SPECIFICATIONS:
LENGTH: 28' 10'' / 8.78 m
BEAM: 9' 9'' / 2.98 m
WEIGHT: 7,584 lbs / 3,441 kg with engines
FUEL CAPACITY: 106 gals / 400 L
WATER CAPACITY: 26 gals /100 L
PRICE: $199,000 USD as equipped plus duty

Test boat provided by and price and performance data supplied by: Annapolis Yacht Sales - www.annapolisyachtsales.com. Visit: www.beneteau.com 

Photo Captions:
Photo 1 - This is the Barracuda at its best, flying up the coast or out to the fishing grounds.
Photo 2 - Great outward vision and added light from the sunroof make the pilot house cabin bright for driving as well as dining.

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Gulf Island Marine ParkStory and photos by Catherine Dook

One summer I sold ice cream and knick-knacks at Montague Harbour Marina. I was standing behind the counter one day, when the phone rang. “There’s a boat at anchor in the middle of the bay that’s been playing loud music for three hours,” complained an irate-sounding male voice. “Can you make them stop?”

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