By Duart Snow

The first example of Beneteau’s Swift Trawler 52 on North America’s west coast is berthed just off the seafront walkway in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour. Her shippy good looks – a clean, contemporary take on traditional passagemaker lines – invite passers-by to dream of smooth passages and far-off destinations.

But her pride of place is also just about the tightest spot in the marina, and extracting her for a test ride is complicated by the pair of brand-new Oceanis sailboats tight against her starboard hip, her smaller sister, the ST 34, moored off her starboard bow, and a float with a sharp corner to port. Does this sound like a boat-handling challenge to you?

No problem, assures Adam Thomson, our driver for the day. He has confidence – plus twin engines and thrusters bow and stern. And sure enough, he makes it look…well, maybe not easy but definitely dignified. With a series of taps forward on the starboard engine and the occasional tap aft on the port, he nudges us ahead and swings the bow to port. The image from the standard stern-mounted video camera, displayed on-screen at the helm, tells him where the stern is in relation to those sailboats. When he has room to swing, a burst on the thrusters pivots the boat in this cramped space and swings the bow into the fairway. And we’re outta here…

Today, Thomson has Westerly Yacht Sales staff JP Cardinal and James Ritchie spotting the corners for him. But given the propulsion mod-cons and near 270-degree visibility from the bridge, it’s clear that a cruising couple with a little training and experience could handle this boat comfortably in most dockside situations. And that’s just the first clue that despite its size, the flagship of Beneteau’s trawler line is particularly well-suited to a couple with serious cruising plans.

Can a 52-footer really be a couple’s boat? Once, we might have scoffed. But our expectations of space and comfort have kept pace with advances in technology that make handling boats of this size easier than ever. Further, the 52’s layout flows smoothly through all three levels of accommodation so, despite generous proportions, including a 16’ 1” beam, it feels more compact and, well, cozy, than one would expect. In fact, the layout would suit a couple who plans to cruise regularly with family or friends, but values time on their own as well.

The ST 52 also exemplifies the firm shift in the world of passagemaking powerboats away from the 10-knot displacement trawler to address buyers who value speed and leisure time over fuel-sipping performance and long range. With its semi-displacement hull and generous power (twin Cummins QSC 600-horsepower diesels in our test boat; twin Volvo D9 575-horsepower engines optional), the ST 52 cruises comfortably at 18 or 19 knots and tops out at 25. Truth is, it’s more “swift” than “trawler” – and, says Cardinal, Beneteau is about to drop the “trawler” moniker from this line altogether to emphasize its performance capabilities.

On Deck
On deck the ST 52 feels substantial and safe. Deep bulwarks enclose the aft cockpit and side decks which are covered Europa-style by the upper deck. Two doors close off the side alleyways to protect the cockpit from wind and spray. A Portuguese bridge provides a secure walkway across the front of the house. A generous settee with storage underneath is set into the forward wall of this bridge; it overlooks a wide foredeck that’s uncluttered except for a hatch to the guest cabin and a Lofrans Falkon windlass. The glued hardwood deck is a very good facsimile of bleached teak.

Entry to the aft cockpit is via a large transom door; midships doors provide access on each side of the vessel. A hatch in the cockpit floor opens to provide ladder access to a large lazarette, which holds a standard Cummins Onan 11 kW genset (13.5 kW optional). This space also opens forward to the engine room and aft to a crew berth, which in our test vessel was fitted with washer and dryer. The engine room is a crouching space but the hull’s generous beam allows plenty of room for service access between and around the power plants.

From the cockpit, a two-leaved sliding door in a substantial stainless frame opens into the salon. From here the layout invites the visitor throughout the accommodation: through the salon, past the U-shaped galley to port and up four steps onto the bridge. From the bridge, staircases curve down to the sleeping cabins and up to starboard onto the flying bridge. It all connects and feels very liveable.

The salon has a U-shaped settee to port with storage underneath, wrapped around a folding, electrically adjustable dinette table. An entertainment centre flanked by two movable armchairs lines the starboard wall of the salon. With aft doors open, this space reaches out into the cockpit to accommodate crew and guests particularly well during extended stays at anchor, says Cardinal.

The galley is open to the salon over a wooden shelf at bar height, and is fitted with an electric cooktop, a convection oven, and a cast resin countertop that feels absolutely bulletproof. There are cupboards above and below the appliances and the sink, while a dishwasher is tucked under the after counter. A clever feature here is a trash bin under the counter: drop rubbish through a round lid in the counter and remove full bags via a door from the alleyway outside. A fridge, freezer and icemaker are located across the passageway from the galley.

The interior is finished throughout in Alpi-laminated wood veneers, a material that is less expensive and more efficient in its use of wood than pure hardwood while providing consistent colour and grain, even when cabinetry is added after manufacturing. The test boat was finished in a mahogany stain with a gloss coating; lighter and darker stains and a matte finish are also available. Floors throughout are hard-wearing matte-finished wood laminate with optional snap-in carpets. With stainless steel and glass accents and beige vinyl headliners, the overall look is more “bright contemporary condo” than traditional yacht interior.

The bridge is another social space, with the helm to starboard and a raised settee and table aft to port. The crew can keep the helmsman company and enjoy lunch or the view underway; this would also be a delightful spot for dinner for two with a view of a sunset or an anchorage outside.

The helmsman can tailor the fit of a power-adjustable Besenzoni helm chair, while engine and thruster controls cluster close to his right hand. The dashboard holds includes a pair of Raymarine E120 multi-function displays as well as engine instruments. A full chart table with chart storage underneath is located on the port side of the bridge. The staircase down to the staterooms cuts through the centre of the bridge forward. To starboard in this passage a door provides outstanding access to instruments and wiring inside the helm dashboard, while the electrical panel is behind a door to port.

The guest stateroom forward and the owners’ stateroom under the bridge take full advantage of the boat’s generous beam; both are fitted with island queen berths. A pair of heads is located side-by-side: one for guest or day use is entered at the bottom of the stairs while the other is a dedicated owners’ ensuite.

Thanks to large oval-shaped windows in each side of the hull a foot or so above the waterline, the master stateroom is a truly spectacular space. The windows admit lots of natural light and offer super views of surroundings or weather outside without leaving the comfort of bed! And the dressing table/desk to starboard would make a wonderful workspace – if you could get anything done while admiring the view.

In our test boat’s three-stateroom layout, a small cabin to port between the guest and owner staterooms holds upper and lower bunks; in the two-stateroom version this space becomes a dressing area for the owners.

The flying bridge offers yet another gathering space. The central helm station is fitted with a second Besenzoni pilot chair, while a U-shaped dinette curves around aft to port. A worktop with sink and hot and cold water is located to starboard aft, with space for storage and an optional refrigerator and electric grill. Our test boat had an impressive enclosure by local supplier La Fabrica, with a robust welded stainless frame and canvas laced into place.

There is generous deck space behind the flybridge for a tender, with a molded pedestal for a crane to port. Boats delivered locally can be fitted with cranes from Langley, BC manufacturer Seawise.

Designed by Beneteau Power and naval architects Joubert-Nivelt, the ST 52’s hull blends traditional trawler lines with features of planing hulls. A relatively deep forefoot extends into a shallow keel that terminates about two-thirds of the way aft. Hard chines, spray rails and vee sections aft complete the semi-displacement form.

On our run in Vancouver Harbour, the 52 climbed smoothly onto a plane and up to its top speed of about 25 knots at 3100 RPM, where it charged along without fuss. You might not run all day at this speed but a short dash to beat weather or catch a tide is at your fingertips.

Cruising speed is more like 18 to 19 knots at about 2600 RPM. It’s quieter (sound in the pilothouse is well below normal conversation level) and feels more like an “all-day” pace at a fuel burn of about 19 Imperial gallons an hour, for a range of about 375 miles with twin 2000-litre (440-Imperial gallon) tanks. (Beneteau states that the twin Volvo package is more fuel-efficient at all speeds.) And if you plain prefer the unruffled progress of a traditional trawler, both engine packages will cruise comfortably at 10 knots, burning about 10 gallons per hour.

Beneteau has significant competition in this niche from some very well-established brands. But the ST 52 stands out as a fresh, attractive take on the semi-displacement power cruiser, with lots of comfort for a couple or a crowd, and the performance to get you where you want to go at just about any speed you like.

LOA    55’ 9”/17 m
Beam    16’ 1”/4.9 m
Light Displacement    44,080 lb./20,000 kg
Draft    4’ 3”/1.3 m
Fuel Capacity    880 gal./4000 l
Water Capacity    176 gal./800 l
Base Price    $1,215,000 CAD
As Tested    $1,450,000 CAD

Engines: Twin Cummins QSC 600-hp diesels, inline 6-cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, 4-stroke diesel engines, 8.3 L/505 ci, high pressure common rail injection, turbocharged and aftercooled.
RPM    Speed (knots)
800    4.5
1000    6.3
1200    7.3
1400    8.3
1800    10
2200    13
2400    15
2600    18*
3000    23.5
3100    25
* Cruising Speed
Test boat provided and price quoted by Westerly Yacht Sales
Performance data provided by Beneteau

Photo Captions:
Photo 1 - The flagship of Beneteau’s trawler line delivers comfort for a couple or a crowd and performance to spare.
Photo 2 - The helmsman can tailor the fit of a power adjustable Besenzoni helm chair, while engine and thruster controls are close to his right hand. The dashboard holds a pair of Raymarine E120 multi-function displays as well as engine instruments.
Photo 3 - The salon has a U-shaped settee to port with storage underneath, wrapped around a folding, electrically adjustable dinette table.
Photo 4 - The galley is open to the salon over a wooden shelf at bar height, and is fitted with an electric cooktop, a convection oven, and a cast resin countertop that feels absolutely bulletproof.
  • MJM 50z with Triple Volvo Penta IPS 600 Engines
  • The Azores Islands with Distant Shores and Canadian Yachting
  • CY's Galley Guys cook Asparagus and enjoy it with  Whitehaven wine
  • 2016 Azimut 55 S Yacht Sea Trial with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Neptunus 650 Express Tour with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • Yacht Controller Founder Gerald Burton Describes This Precision Docking Innovation
  • Explore the new Cruisers 60 Cantius with Andy Adams and Canadian Yachting
  • Beneteau GT40 Sneak Peek with Canadian Yachting's John Armstrong
  • Galley Guys at Krates Marina in Keswick, Ontario
  • Executive Yacht at Toronto Outer Harbour with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • Diane Reid - Clipper Round the World Race - The Countdown is On
  • Port Credit Spring In-Water Boat Show with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • 2016 Neptunus 62 Launch with Canadian Yachting
  • Enjo Outdoor Cleaning Kit - Chemical Free Cleaning Solutions for your Boat
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part III - Water Separators - Ask the Experts
  • Launch Day 2015, Midland Bay Sailing Club with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part II - Filters - Ask the Experts
  • Mystic Seaport Museum with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Marine Museum of the Great Lakes with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Kingston’s Pumphouse Steam Museum with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Antique Boat Museum Clayton NY with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Shrink Wrapping a 16 ft Glastron Bowrider for Winter Storage
  • Flare Disposal with CPS-ECP's John Gullick and Canadian Yachting
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part I: Biocide  - CY's Ask the Experts


  • Prev
We had been out on the ocean for 17 days, just the two of us, keeping watch around the clock. One ...
We’re leaving the dock early in the morning in order to catch the incoming tide that will carry us ...
The sunny sky suddenly turned black as we waited on the blue line for our turn to enter the mammoth ...
Morning. Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Fourteen nautical miles out of Thunder Bay. Perfect ...
Cruising on Canada’s East Coast, at least for those who have never been there, can conjure up ...
We are taking off from Antigua and are tightly belted into our twin-engine, seven-seater ...
We were cruising for two weeks in Gwaii Haanas. Spread out among three boats, (a Campion, a ...
Glancing down into the water as I prepared to furl in the genoa for the approach to the Tobago ...
Boaters visiting historic Gig Harbor will be rewarded with one of the most extensive and sheltered ...
Saturday, July 18th, 2015  the Port of Newcastle invites you to their 21st Annual Wooden Boat ...

Exploring Lake Superior
Story By Mark Stevens • Photographs by Sharon Matthews-Stevens

Morning. Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Fourteen nautical miles out of Thunder Bay.

Perfect weather.

This begins on Day Two because we cast off yesterday and conditions precluded time spent below deck with my nose buried in “Frodo’s” logbook: co-operative winds, scenery that could make a politician cry, waves decorating cobalt waters that glittered like jewels in a crown.

Read more about Exploring Lake Superior...


Beneteau GT 35Andy Adams

Great performance in a versatile, modern design

For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.

The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.

Read more: Beneteau GT 35...


  • Prev
In the heart of the Huronia wilderness, the Jesuits established the first French outpost outside of ...
It is always an interesting dilemma when crossing into another country; what exactly should one say ...
Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used ...
Bermuda is the host country for the 35th America’s Cup, set to take place in 2017, a competition ...
In 1791, a 36 foot sailboat from Spain, captained by Don Jose Maria Narvaez anchored off Point Grey ...
Mark Mattson is a man of gentle demeanor but don’t be fooled by his calm, cool collectedness. This ...
We hear about the plastic problem in our oceans all the time. Scientists on the media talk to us ...
Thick beef stew you can make in any galley, over a campfire or at home.  Good eaten from a bowl or ...
As summer becomes a distant memory, see if you can close your eyes and recall those glorious days ...
The Halifax Harbour is well known not only to mariners and historians, but also to most Canadians ...

Cobourg Yacht Club - 2015 Sailing instructorsKatherine Stone

Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used to be heard from kids piled into a toboggan on wheels that went hurtling down a wooden slide into the harbour. Above it all was the bustling din from the waterfront of ship’s whistles, train engines, foghorns and thundering coal cars. It is now a rather serene place for the locals and visitors to enjoy various watercraft. Fortunately, the beautiful beach that lines the waterfront is still a star attraction for the town.

Located 95 kilometres east of Toronto and 62 kilometres east of Oshawa on the north edge of Lake Ontario, United Empire Loyalists first starting arriving in the area as early as the 1780s. The first settlement in 1798 was called Buckville, later renamed Amherst, then called Hamilton (after the township) and also nicknamed Hardscrabble. It wasn’t until 1819 that they finally settled on the name of Cobourg, which was incorporated as a town in 1837. In the late 1820s large schooners with passengers and cargo had to anchor well off shore, as there was only a landing wharf. A group of Toronto businessmen formed the Cobourg Harbour Company which built the wooden Eastern Pier from tolls charged for the use of the harbour.

Read more: Cobourg Yacht Club...

Galley Guys - a toast!

Katherine Stone

Oh sure…boaters love to go boating, but some also like to, you guessed it: stroll. One of the great things about boating the north shore of Lake Ontario is pulling into Cobourg Harbour to tie up for a visit and walk about town in a leisurely or idle manner. Boat strollers are easily picked out around town, sporting Sperry Top-Siders that are a little worn out, sunglasses held on by a Croakie or duct tape, burgee embroidered canvas tote bags, clothes that are a little crumpled and a displaying a few days’ worth of facial hair.

Read more: Galley Guys Cobourg...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Informed estimates are that barely 10% of Canadian pleasure craft have underwater lighting but in ...
Comfort and convenience are important factors both to keep boaters enjoying boating as well as to ...
Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...
Boaters who prefer to be on the hook, such as ourselves in our Islander 36 sailboat Holole’a, ...
Will traditional paper charts soon be a thing of the past? And what will that mean for recreational ...
With built in functions for radar, weather, chart plotters, engine data, and radio controls, boat ...
Understanding how systems really work – and degrade over the winter – can help you prepare your ...
The Interlux® Boat Paint Guide has gone digital with the launch of a free app for Apple® IOS and ...
Convenient, Cool and Low-cost!From simple organizational Apps for your smart phone to complete ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
The day before it revealed its 16-camera Odyssey rig at Google I/O last year, GoPro announced it ...
Cutting-edge technology and effortless style were on display at Coal Harbour Marina, as M&P ...
Leading marine power generation manufacturer Northern Lights has introduced the Tough Series ...
For all intents and purposes, the Mercedes S-Class Convertible is the perfect car for a seaside ...
VMG Marine, Canadian distributor for NASA Marine Instruments UK, is pleased to announce a new ...
On 25 February, the 100th Lagoon 620 left the shipyard with great ceremony. All those who ...
Jarrett Bay 54 refit featuring Aqualuma Generation 4 18 Series LEDs
Life today demands a 24/7 connection, but reception on the water is notoriously uneven. Dropped ...
The Early Detection & Rapid Response (EDRR) Network Ontario project, co-delivered by the ISC ...
It may finally be the end of the “Big fish story” with today’s announcement from GoFree, ...