Andy Adams and John Armstrong
All around overachiever
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.
The overall length is 27 feet on a 9’10” beam and will likely weigh in at somewhere around 12,000 lbs ready to cruise. This great new family cruiser seems like such a bargain at way under $200,000 with all the options as-tested in U.S. dollars.
The wide symmetrical side deck and side door are great features. So are the removable table and sliding glass three-section cabin bulkhead.
A young couple could finance this at a pretty reasonable monthly number. Then, just choose a marina or yacht club in a location where you want to be (it’s too beamy to trailer without a permit) and there is your floating summer vacation home for years to come. Such an easy-to-handle cruiser would also appeal to a couple moving into power from sail or frankly, any cruisers who want lots of accommodation with great performance at a reasonable price.
Hard to believe there is such a spacious private wet head in a 27 footer!
The Antares 27 gives you a cleverly-designed and versatile cockpit, a cabin with a galley and a dinette for four, an interior helm with forward-facing companion seating, a forward cabin with a double berth and an aft cabin with a double berth. All this and more in just 27 feet!
One of the great features in this cruiser is the aft seat that is on a track and can slide forward, enabling the engines to tilt clear of the water when not in use, or slide back for more cockpit floor space when you are onboard.
There is an available bimini sun shade over the cockpit and cruisers can also select full aft canvas for more room in inclement weather. There is an L-shaped bench seat that can be a sun lounge as well as three drink holders and two rod holders on the side decks. A great feature is the large underfloor locker with a gas assist hatch where you can stow larger items like folding bikes.
On the test boat there is a starboard side propane locker and a rope locker on the port side is by the aft glass bulkhead. A big-boat feature is the three-section sliding glass door that allows you to open up almost the full cabin to the cockpit. Another nice touch is the real teak decking. It’s as attractive as it is practical and you can leave it silver or finish it bright.
The boat is CE certified for 10 people and the 9’10” beam helps to add that comfortable, spacious feeling. LED floor lighting makes the cockpit safer at night and adds an elegant touch to evening entertaining.
Swim Platform and Decks
There are port and starboard side platforms and the four-step ladder on the starboard side is open to be deployed from the water – a feature I believe is very important. Beneteau has also given the Antares 27 a small stainless steel handrail to help you out of the water.
There are stainless steel handrails integrated into the cabin sides and, of course, there’s a bow rail all around. Another great design feature is the asymmetrical layout that has a much wider starboard side deck to help in docking. The Antares 27 also has the great feature of a sliding side door at the helm – unusual in this size of cruiser. We found it delightful to have open when running in the 90-degree summer weather. The port side decks are still usable as well so you can get all around at dockside.
For maximum versatility, the aft bench seat slides fore and aft to accommodate the engines tilting out of the water, or to make room in the cockpit for more seating. Cushions even convert this area into a sun lounge.
Forward, the decking is largely covered by a pair of sun lounge pads making it a pleasant area for relaxing at anchor. The deck flares out to add area, there is an anchor and chute and an anchor locker with windlass for easy mooring out.
The starboard side galley is bright and comfortable, being on the main deck level.
As you step into the salon, you will be struck by how bright it is. Two roof skylights plus an optional sliding sunroof combine with the huge curved windshield to bring in loads of light. Side glass slides open and the test boat has curtains for privacy at night. The convertible dinette on the port side can accommodate four for dinner. The forward seat back converts to be a forward-facing companion seat and the aft seat also faces forward so everyone can see where you are going; a popular family feature.
Opposite is the galley. The 60-litre refrigerator is under the helm seat and the galley is covered so you can use the surface for other things, or lift the lid to act as a backsplash for the sink and two-burner propane stove. There is a drawer and storage cupboard with waste bin and a bottle holder that will come in handy!
The forward berth is a generous size for comfort; hull side glazing adds light and visual interest.
Throughout the cabin and wheelhouse area is 6’4” of headroom. The helm seat has a flip up bolster. In any position, we found the outward vision was excellent.
Down a few steps, the forward cabin in the bow has a spacious berth under a glass hatch and with two deck skylights plus a sweep of hull side glazing, it’s very bright and spacious feeling.
There is a hanging locker and storage space that should be ample for weekend cruising.
Under the helm is a private, wet head compartment with MSD, shower, sink in a vanity that offers under counter storage, an opening port hole, and hull-side glazing.
The helm is compact but complete and offers excellent outward vision. Again – love the side door!
Then there is an aft cabin with 5’10” headroom in the entry and 2’5” sitting height over the berth. There is storage in the side panel and an opening port hole for ventilation. Should you have even more overnight guests, the salon dinette folds down to be a berth, so you could have as many as six sleeping onboard. That’s impressive for 27 feet!
Huge areas of glass keep things bright and give a spacious feeling.
At the helm, a compass is dead ahead of the wheel and a Garmin MFD will come with future Antares 27s. Our test boat had a Mercury Vessel View system screen, throttle controls on the binnacle and Lenco trim tabs with lighted indicators to make driving even easier. A bow thruster is available too. The twin engines are actually mounted fairly close together making more swim platform space, but limiting leverage from the two props.
Huge thrust from the new V6-design twin Mercury 200s delivers acceleration from zero to plane in about five to six seconds. That is plenty of power for a big load of family or friends. The Beneteau air-stepped hull seems to really enhance performance across the board and especially for the great acceleration when pulling a skier, tuber, or wakeboarder. While the cruiser was not designed for this, the power and performance are there.
Top speed is a breath taking 40.5 miles per hour, so it really flies across the water; yet the Antares 27 proved easy to trim and high-speed turns were sure-footed and secure, heeling over hard but hanging on. The ride was solid and absorbed the waves in a comfortable way. Tracking was straight and true and the helm position gives good outward visibility all around, except in the stern quarters where the cabin trunk blocks a little rearward vision. Overall, this is a very satisfying boat to run.
The Antares 27 is an interesting and impressive combination of sporty performance and easy driving with a big boat feel and family accommodation. It could be the start of a lifetime of exploring Canada’s many waterways in affordable comfort.
Engines: Twin Mercury V6 200 DTS – dual overhead cam 4 valve per cylinder V6 engines with EFI and 3.4 litre / 209 ci displacement, 200 hp each. Digital throttle and shift.
Max 5,700 40.5
Length overall: 8.23 m / 27’
Maximum beam: 2.99 m / 9’10”
Light displacement without engines: 3,695 kg / 8,144 pounds
Fuel capacity: 2×200 L / 2×53 gal
Water capacity: 160 L / 42 gal
Holding tank capacity: ??
Maximum engine power – 2×200 hp
Price as tested: $185,000 USD
Boat and pricing supplied by Beneteau. Visit beneteau.com