Your Brilliant Traveling Companion

Darned clever those Beneteau people! Rather than just showing their Swift 34 at boat shows or in ads, the company rigged out a boat, named it “The Greatest Loop” and sent it on a 5,137 nautical mile journey of nearly four months traveling the circumnavigation of the Eastern U.S. and Canada commonly referred to as the “Great Loop”.

This was no vacation though.

According to Laurent Fabre, president of Beneteau in North America, “The success of The Greatest Loop’s adventure is quite remarkable especially given her achievement of such an ambitious schedule which began on May 15, 2012 and successfully concluded on September 6, 2012. When we first consulted experts about our planned journey on the Great Loop, we were cautioned our schedule might be somewhat unrealistic, but we were fortunate no significant hurdles impaired our travel plans.”

Beneteau’s The Greatest Loop boat stopped in the Toronto area during the Great Loop trip, and our Canadian Yachting magazine team jumped on board and ran the boat all around the Port Credit area, taking notes and shooting video...and getting a pretty good feel for a now well used Swift 34!

In all, twelve different crews had come onboard to run the boat through various segments of the Great Loop trip, so the boat had experienced many drivers, many dockings, had been run a long distance at an aggressive pace and had accommodated many people in its short life to that point. But, apart from having “things” stuffed in every nook and cranny and an over-the-top inventory of accessories and equipment, the boat ran like brand new, showed no sign of wear and was clearly ready for the next leg of the trip.

She was outfitted with equipment and products supplied by Beneteau partners Cummins, Cummins Onan, Raymarine, Dometic Group, Interlux, DeLorme and Zodiac. Other industry partners lending support for the journey included ValvTect, SGB Finance, BoatUS, Weems & Plath, America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, Marina Life, Trawler Fest, Dozier’s Waterway Guide, T2H Advertising and Annapolis Yacht Sales in addition to other Beneteau dealers around the country.

Overall, the Swift 34 is actually almost 37 feet long on a 13 foot beam and with a full and spacious flying bridge, so there is a lot of living space in a comparatively short length. That’s desirable so you can more easily find a slip when traveling, or at your home marina for that matter.

This is a modern “ fast trawler” design so it has the accommodation and seakeeping qualities of a traditional trawler yacht but instead of a top speed of 10 or 12 knots, the Swift 34 tops at about 24 mph and cruises very economically at about 17 mph.

That’s how you race through the 5,137 nautical mile Great Loop in under 4 months!

The boat is powered by a single Cummins QSB 5.9 diesel engine of 425 hp with common rail fuel injection, electronic controls and it delivers effortless and quiet performance at all times. In fact, you can barely hear it from the flying bridge helm. That’s where I’d run the boat almost all the time, but there is a full lower helm in the saloon to drive through inclement weather or scorching heat in comfort.

The upper helm includes a single helm seat that adjusts and swivels, so that you can turn around to join your friends at the dining table. The port side of the bridge has built-in seating for 4 or 5 people and we would guess that most people will have their meals up top in the breeze where there’s a nice view. The reverse flow venturi windshield does a good job of deflecting the winds up and over the passengers. The helm has MerCruiser SmartCraft controls, Lenco trim tabs, MaxPower bow thruster, Raymarine multifunction display and autopilot. The test boat also was equipped with FLIR night vision, a Raymarine VHF radio and a Plastimo compass.

The flying bridge covers the whole cabin top and carries all the way back to the transom providing a tremendously spacious upper level. The boat included a mast arrangement with Newmar and Harkin winches and hardware so that you could lift the Zodiac dinghy right up to the top. Incidentally, the Zodiac was equipped with a Torqueedo electric motor with lithium-ion batteries.

The hull design is a vee-shape with a partial keel so it can handle surprisingly rough conditions and tracks well over a long leg. The same features cause it to lean out a little on tight fast turns or steer itself down steep waves but that’s how these boats run so relax, engage the autopilot and sit back in comfort. The Raymarine nav suite will guide you to your destination and the big bridge with a Bimini top is the place to ride.

If the sun is still too much, move to the cockpit sheltered by the bridge overhang. Once moored, this is the best spot to be. We liked the liberal use of teak surfaces and there’s a big hatch leading to the lazarette for storage and service access. There’s also a large aft bench seat accommodating up to perhaps 5 people.

The swim platform is generous and the teak surfaces are smooth and usually offer safe footing. There is a great folding ladder but it’s secured where a man overboard could not reach it. That’s a little thing we don’t like on most new boats. I’d like to see emergency MOB ladders  on every boat. The transom door has a spring-loaded latch which struck us as a very secure mechanism and there is a transom shower plus a serious manual bilge pump there too.

The three-section glass cabin door opens wide and latches open for safety. Opening screened side glass and a cabin side door to the starboard walkway lets the breezes flow through the cabin. The starboard side deck is protected under an overhang and there is a hull side gate which is sometimes the better way onboard, depending on the docks.

The lower helm features a double wide sliding helm seat, a wooden ship’s wheel another set of SmartCraft controls, Raymarine Hybrid Touch MFD, Raymarine autopilot and controls for the Cummins Onan generator. The boat was air conditioned too.

In the saloon, having the galley up is a nice feature and the cook gets double stainless steel sinks that are deep and big enough for dinner plates and pots - great! We also liked the ENO stove which is propane and has a glass cover that becomes a backsplash when you’re cooking - clever! Also there’s an oven so you could bake a cake or even cookies.

The cutlery and utensil drawers are appreciated and pot bin even more so. There is a garbage container with an automatic lid and ample counter space but we noticed there was no built-in for the microwave. Perhaps the Greatest Loop boat had lost some counter space when it was outfitted.

There are window blinds for privacy but the cabin is very airy and open. The Greatest Loop boat had sisal fiber mat that snaps down to protect the floor.

We really liked the clever dining table that slides open with a center leaf that slides out. It’s a high low table and the top tilts so it stays out of the way when you’re going in and out.

Moving forward, it’s four steps down to the staterooms with the quarter berth to the port side.  That has two singles, a mirrored locker door and two opening port holes.

The master has a shaped queen berth and an opening overhead hatch. The berth lifts up to reveal a major storage area underneath. There are two side bins, a starboard side locker and the portside hanging locker. We especially liked the storage bin underneath the dressing seat.

In the head there is a Jabsco Rule MSD with level indicators for the holding tank as well as gray water tank. We felt there was plenty of storage available under the vanity for towels, toilet paper and more. The head is set up with a curtain and a hand-held shower which results in a pretty large area and there is a side porthole as well as a deck hatch to help dry things out after use.

The mirror is positioned nicely for shaving or doing makeup and there is an access hatch for plumbing under the dashboard instruments.


SPECIFICATIONS

Test boat engine: Single Cummins QSB 5.9 diesel, 5.9 liter / 359 ci four stroke diesel, electronic fuel injection, turbocharged and aftercooled, 425 hp with ZF transmission.

ENGINE RPM    SPEED MPH
Idle 600 4.2
1000 6.2
1250 7.9
1500 8.2
1750 8.9
2000 9.1
2350 15.1
2500 16.9
2750 20.1
3000 23.2
3100 23.8

CRUISING SPEED rpm / mph
2500 / 16.9

SPECIFICATIONS:
OVERALL LENGTH: 36’7” / 11.14 m
BEAM: 13’1” / 4 m
WEIGHT: 16,356 lbs / 7,471 kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 211 gals / 800 L
WATER CAPACITY: 85 gals / 320 L
PRICE AS TESTED: $423,998 USD

Test boat, Performance data and specifications by: Beneteau Groupe - www.beneteau.com

Price quoted by: Anchor Yacht Sales, www.anchoryachtsales.com

By Andy Adams

Related Articles
Power
  • 06 December 2018
  • By Ethan

Chris-Craft Launch 38

It’s hard to imagine a more elegant way to spend a day on the water than being aboard the Chris-Craft Launch 38. Everywhere you look - materials, hardware, fit, finish - all show impressive...

Power
  • 06 December 2018
  • By Ethan

Beneteau Antares 27

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

Destinations

  • Prev
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...

Mediterranean Shakedown: A Summer Cruise in Spain

Mediterranean ShakedownBy Sheryl and Paul Shard

This summer my husband, Paul, and I bought our fourth offshore cruising boat, a new Southerly 480 built by Discovery Yachts in the UK. It’s a unique boat with a retractable variable-draft swing keel giving you the option of sailing with a deep draft of 3.1 metres when the keel is down or just less than a metre with the keel fully retracted. Southerly Yachts are great for bluewater sailing and also for gunkholing in shallow creeks and inland waterways. You can even dry them out at low tide so they are is the perfect boat for the type of exploring we like to do. Our new boat, Distant Shores III, is the third Southerly Yacht that we’ve owned over 29 years of international cruising to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle East, UK, Scandinavia and South America. This boat we plan to sail to the South Pacific.

Read more about the Shards' cruise in Spain...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...
Readers give us a bit of feedback on the 60th anniversary of the Shark 24
We are home for Christmas this year. Soon we will be heading back to Adamant 1 for another winter ...
This past October we drove to Telegraph Cove with friends and spent a day of wonder cruising the ...
We have kept our subscription to Canadian Yacht Onboard as we have traveled the South Pacific over ...
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...

Beneteau Antares 27

Beneteau Antares 27By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

This is a brand new express cruiser design. With twin Mercury 200 V6 outboards, it delivers impressive performance, a reassuring and comfortable ride, and a level of versatility that will enable this boat to be your vacation partner for all sorts of adventures.

Read more about the Antares 27...

 

 

 

 

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read More about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew: Electrical Installations – Part 1: Electrical Connections - basics and how-to’s

Electrical InstallationsBy Andrew McDonald

Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is aboard, areas of improvement and ways to upgrade.

One of the most common jobs that I’m asked to look at are electrical installations and upgrades. Surprisingly, the majority of these types of jobs are to ‘clean up’ the wiring of years past – when electrical standards were more fluid, and jury-rigged upgrades have been added and adapted over multiple owners and contractors.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
While the basics of boat hull design hasn’t changed that much over the years, the same cannot be ...
Yamaha targets the Canadian big-water market with its high-torque 425 horsepower V8 XTO outboard, ...
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System