- Published on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 18:48
For all that the marine industry has gone through, the next few years are going to be ones of innovation and new designs. If rumours in the field are true, upwards of 20+ new sailboats will hit the docks this fall in Newport and Annapolis. New technologies, lighter materials and easier boat handling will no doubt be the drivers.
Beneteau's recent announcements about the new Sense platform and Уdock and goФ caught our eye. I use the term platform as I sense [pardon the pun] that this new design will be the foundation of more to come. The naval architects at Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design and their colleagues who worked the inside magic at Nauta Design are to be congratulated for such a new style and feel. The Уdock and goФ technology is a neat feature that will help simplify the sport and probably keep more people sailing longer.
This boat looked so intriguing that we decided to preview it now. Its leading edge, contemporary design boasts tons of well thought out features; its innovation will no doubt help drive the sailboat market forward.
While we can be blamed for not doing a sea test (to follow in a later issue), we already know the Beneteau brand is designed by some of the brightest in the business; this line will definitely perform well. From reviewing preliminary sea tests, we have learned that the Sense hull is very stable with a unique hull shape that reduces sailing angles resulting in enhanced performance; it actually delivers maximum performance at a 15º heeling angle instead of the normal 20º. For cruising sailors everywhere, moving around the boat is wonderful and sailing is easier for all involved. The wide glass area and openings on both sides of the companionway just enhance the feeling of openness.
The design incorporates three main living areas – a concept we're more used to seeing in the power segment: 1) the first living area utilizes a large exterior living space that boasts a wider than normal cockpit, a huge bathing platform andan isolated helm; 2) a wonderful external saloon and galley and interior and 3) elegance in life below forward.
For those of you that follow my reviews, I always start with the cockpit; this one does not disappoint. It's so wide, welcoming and uncluttered with twin-wheel steering and a neat settee configuration to starboard. The accommodations on deck for a lack of a better word are amazing and accentuated by the semi-open transom design. What allows this to happen is the designer's concept of pushing all the accommodations and living space below forward leaving the nerve center, technical, engine and other systems in a neat easily accessed space. This УpushФ generates a wonderfully low cockpit with a Уterrace likeФ feel. The lifting aft seats that bridge the cockpit allow for open access to the swim platform or dock.
But what's wonderful is the openness and the transition between the terraced deck/cockpit and salon. For a sneak peek, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXgPAiPoP8s&feature=related
The innovative deck plan has the control lines and winches located aft of the ″relaxing″ cockpit area. The mainsheet is led back to a fixed arch that opens up the companionway perfectly. The raised arch is, in itself, a neat touch as its integrated into the deck and cabin top perfectly.
The below cockpit space is accessed by a small ladder and it can easily house an additional berth or other equipment such as a washer/dryer or perhaps a generator.
Moving forward, the wide decks give a reassuring feeling. Cruising and sailing will be a treat and our initial research proves excellent visibility looking forward.
Below decks the boat sings with its wonderful layout options. Berths are forward in several configurations are complemented perfectly by wonderful ventilation characteristics and generous streams of light throughout. The two configurations include two-cabins, two-heads with a choice of a 3rd sleeping cabin or an office – available according to each owner's preference.
Cabinetry and furniture have an Alpi fruitwood finish complemented by a bleached oak laminated cabin sole; the neat functionality of some furniture allows certain items like the TV, stovetop and seating to be folded away when not in use. Clean and precise are words that come to mind. Its welcoming and functional , stylish and neat .
Looking ahead, Beneteau has offered up some super options including hybrid engines, the new Уdock and goФ system as well as motorized companionway and blinds.
This boats is designed for life aboard and easy performance sailing. It's a must see during this fall's shows.
By John Kerr
To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!