sail-beneteau_first_10r-largeBy John Kerr

I first saw a 10R in Annapolis and then again in Toronto at the recent ABYC one design regatta. It's a boat that catches the eye, especially with the likes of Jamie Kidd at the helm. Kidd has won more world championships than most and is probably one of the top talented sailors that never made our Olympic team. He is knowledgeable and competitive. Top sailors in Canada and around the world are flocking to this boat because it does not compromise in performance, look or style. The local Toronto results are a Canadian testament to the solid racing characteristics of this boat.

It's not the most decked out boat we've reviewed, but it's far from being just an all out racing machine either. It's clear this boat is new from its look to its unique T-shaped keel design.

On reflection, that's an easy take when the boats designer Bruce Farr has a role in its development. The goal of a fast, fun and unique one-design racer was accomplished brilliantly with the 10R. 'First' impressions are a big, wide cockpit with sleek lines and a huge-looking, powerful sail plan. In the powerboat world, they have there own neat descriptors for models and/or themes of boats and the moniker Sport Boat best fits the 10R. It offers solid performance characteristics, sailing DNA-abundant and a practical, comfortable liveaboard lifestyle for any family. What's great about this boat, too, is that when you are cruising, you'll certainly get to your destination quickly.

But this boat's story is as much about itself as it is the technology that has contributed to its wonderful performance.

Typical of all the Beneteau boats, the steering is direct and the feel for the helm perfect; the steering allows for quick easy turns and solid maneuverability in any tight scenario. It's built for speed and clearly the T-shaped keel configuration and the rudder position help this. The boat is stable and very powerful.

Acceleration out of the tacks was brilliant, but it was easy to sense this boat. In a building breeze, it was performing and tracking very well upwind; one could easily see how the moniker sport boat had found its place here. On the auxiliary engine, the 20 HP Yanmar pushes the boat along effortlessly and runs surprisingly quite. It's easy to access and service as well.

The fractional rig design boasts Hall Spars latest composite mast and boom complete with wonderfully engineered dual sweptback spreaders and masthead crane. The masthead asymmetrical spinnaker relies on a neat carbon fiber bowsprit that retracts into the forward compartment. It's done so well no space is compromised below.

Forward, the 10R uses the Harken Carbo Racing Foil head sail system that facilitates easy sail changes. Harken is used extensively on the 10R which contributes to the boats excellent running rigging systems that can be counted on in any weather conditions.

Benefiting from its great team of R&D gurus and designers, this boat clearly demonstrates how Beneteau is melding its production technologies (infused hull and injected deck methods) with considerable attention to weight distributions. The new production process, INFUJECTION, as named by Beneteau is – simply put – the hull and structural grid have been injected while the deck has been manufactured by injection. This provides optimum weight distribution and stiffness. The basic concept is a two-part mould where the laminates and core are laid in dry and the resin simply injected in one shot so that the supporting inside grid is moulded at the same time and there is no need for secondary bonding.

Below deck, the obvious benefit is a smooth headliner that is, in fact, the result of the production process. No headliners, less weight.

The hull and decks are balsa-cored with well-positioned glass reinforcements where needed. The deck hull joint is also unique– using a special bonding polyurethane adhesive compounded exclusively for Beneteau – with toe rail fasteners and a watertight finishing joint.

As mentioned earlier, the massive cockpit and huge 63 inch wheel is the centerpiece of this boat. There's a ton of room for crew while racing or family and friends while entertaining. The traveller location is in a perfect place and easily divides the cockpit. The winches and deck hardware are well done and names like Harken (as noted previously) and Lewmar are evident. What's nice is that not one fitting location seems forced; it's all well laid out and efficient. Just ahead of the wonderful open transom (weight savings in the ends) is a large floor locker that could easily stow a life raft. The way the hatch fits and its ease of access are also testament to the new production process.

The low profile teak toe rail is well done and is partnered with double lifelines and wonderful tapered stanchions. The non-skid deck has great traction.

The wonderfully done and beautifully executed keel-stepped mast – also by Hall Spars – and boom are perfect complements to this boat with its dual sweptback spreaders, neat mast crane and fractional rig configuration. Hall Spars' reputation is well known and close examination of the work they do reinforces why. The rig is supported by rod rigging and has a very efficient backstay adjuster lead either side of the cockpit.

Saving weight forward is accomplished by the use of carbon fibre again for the retractable sprit that is well engineered so that use of valuable interior space is minimized.

Beneteau and Farr have managed to lay this boat out perfectly below with a head well forward giving the impression of a much larger interior. Fit and function to the max is evident everywhere with a unique, well-designed, removable table for when you are racing. The European style is also apparent, with of lots of white below contrasting with the nice wood laminates throughout.

For the liveaboard necessities, the boat boasts two cabins located aft; one is private. A large and bright head forward also allows the pit man to sit comfortably while taking down the asymmetrical spinnaker.

The nav station and galley are well done and have not been sacrificed in any aspect. The storage is more than adequate with its icebox and stove. The main cabin table is neatly engineered around the mast and can easily seat six and benefits in size with the head forward configuration.

The Beneteau team has also done a great job designing and packaging options for this boat. For the cruiser, the so-called comfort package includes additional batteries, hot water and refrigeration options complementing the solid base package. Performance and regatta packages are also available.

If performance is what you want, combined with the ability to race or cruise happily, then the 10R is your boat.

 

 

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