The fact that the Beneteau company intends to break out of the shackles of the Great Recession and is moving in full sail towards a brighter future can be clearly seen from the example of the fact that for the exhibition season 2010-2011. the company presented not one, but two yachts from its new line of Sense cruising sailing yachts.
Sailing yacht Sense 43 does not boast the same number of additional features as her big sister, the recently launched Sense 50, but she also demonstrates the fact that the design concept of Sense yachts can be successfully implemented in smaller vessels.
Sense 43 design
The construction of the vessel is very convenient. The body is made of fiberglass and polyester resin. The deck is of a sandwich construction with balsa and is securely bolted and glued to the hull. Falsekil is cast from cast iron. The quality of the finishing does not differ from the majority of modern yachts delivered to mass production.
Deck Sense 43
All that separates the unusually wide cockpit from the saloon are three low steps. The companionway is very wide, so guests can freely go inside without interfering with each other in the cockpit. Two helm stations are located aft (here you will also find a lifting transom platform that belays you if you accidentally stumble next to an open transom when you move away from the helm), so there will be more than enough communication space on this yacht. …
Attention is drawn to a folding table at the starboard side, along the perimeter of which there is a sofa that can be transformed into a solarium.
All running rigging from the mast and boom goes aft to backup winches at the front and rear of the cockpit, where they are easy to reach. The mainsheet is not here, but instead the mainsail is attached to blocks on a large arch located above the cockpit and the saloon entrance.
This fastening is quite reliable, but personally I lacked the usual work with sheets when the shoulder strap is installed in the cockpit itself. The running rigging is hidden under two small special panels on the coamings, and it is simply impossible to make them somehow separated from each other.
Perhaps the best part of the cockpit is the two huge lockers located on each side. They can easily accommodate fuel cans, sails, deflated and rolled rubber boats and outboard motors – in short, for active travelers they will be extremely useful.
If necessary, it is quite convenient to sit on a berth in the aisle – for convenience, the locker at the left side is equipped with a hinged hole under the hatch cover, which allows air to pass through.
Sense 43 interior
With these new yachts, the design teams Beneteau and Berret Racoupeau have boldly abandoned what has long been considered the guiding principle of cruising yacht design. Rather than expanding the passenger cabin and bow space by literally squeezing all the amenities underneath the cockpit, the designers focused on expanding the main space in the common areas – the saloon and cockpit – and bringing them closer together.
From the cockpit, you can easily go to the salon with excellent visibility of the entire space, which is sometimes very reminiscent of a catamaran.
On the yacht Sense 43, the cockpit and saloon occupy 2/3 of the entire space of the vessel to the stern, and all the “bedrooms” and one toilet are located at the bow. The salon is very spacious and open, with excellent visibility and distribution of all space in all directions, which can be found on catamarans.
Large windows look towards the starboard and port sides, and also go to the stern, to the cockpit. There are also small bulkhead portholes in front, which provide a view of the rest of the space below deck.
The galley is located on the port side, just behind the islet that separates the center of the saloon, and seems very spacious. The two sinks are not too large or deep, but there is plenty of useful storage space and two excellent work surfaces on either side of the stove.
The saloon and perimeter sofa are located just opposite the galley and look comfortable and spacious. For evening relaxation, a large flat-screen TV is installed in the cabin, which drives out on an electric platform from an island in the center of the cabin, just in front of the seats.
The navigator’s table, located along the part of the seating area that is closer to the stern, with a good view through the window directly into the cockpit, is one of the best that I have seen on a regular yacht of this size.
The work table is quite long, and you will definitely have enough room to lay out all the cards and papers on it. Much can be accommodated in wall-mounted glass cabinets – they are well suited for installing additional electronic equipment.
The two cabins located in the bow seem to be extraordinarily functional and contain spacious double beds inside. A guest cabin on the port side, it seems to me, would be more suitable for two single beds, which would open up more free floor space, and with this layout, this yacht would be the ideal vessel for a married couple with two children.
Sense 43 under sail
Like her older sister, the Sense 43 sailing yacht shows excellent performance. Sharp hull cheekbones and two rudders provide the yacht with incredible stability when heading, even when the boat is heavily heeled. By changing the sails, you can choose the one you want for a light or moderate sail. The yacht we tested was sailing with a short keel and was equipped with a mainsail with a twist into the mast, a staysail and a twist gennaker, which is located just behind the forestay.
With a real wind of 10-12 knots in the Miami Beach area, we were able to maintain a sailing speed of the yacht at 5.7-6 knots on a steep sidewind in calm water and at a 40 degree angle to the wind. Moving away from the coast and turning the gennaker, we reached a speed of 7.6 knots. In shallow water, the speed dropped to 6.7 knots. At full hauled and in 135 degree winds up to 4.7 knots.
I found the steering wheel to roll smoothly and well balanced. While sailing in a steep sidewind with the sails properly set, I could not touch the rudder at all for up to 10 minutes, until the boat began to gradually go off course. With a steep side-haul under a gennaker with a wind of 15 knots, there was a tendency for the vessel to be driven to the wind. The steering wheel remained in neutral at full hauled.
Sense controls 43
Sailing yacht Sense 43, unlike her big sister, cannot be ordered with Beneteau’s new Dock & Go control system, although this model now comes with the now traditional bow thruster.
During our testing, the yacht’s 54 hp engine navigated calm water at 6.5 knots and 1,800 rpm, and full power at 9 knots and 3,000 rpm. The two rudders provided good control when reversing, as long as the rudder deflection angle remained relatively small.
Unfortunately, access to the engine is not doing very well. If you need to quickly get to the engine, the non-steep companionway steps are raised in the usual way, but the engine itself is not installed as close as you would like, making it difficult to access it.
You can get to the engine from the sides through removable panels on the cockpit lockers. If you store a large number of gear in these lockers, then you will have to pull all this stuff out, and only then pull out the dipstick and check the oil.
The Sense 43 is sure to appeal to those looking for a catamaran-style monohull-style passenger space on their yacht that delivers excellent cruising performance and is easy to navigate. Couples or families with children will find it comfortable to travel for a fairly long period of time. Thanks to her spacious cockpit, Sense 43 sailing yacht can accommodate noisy company of your friends during the trip.
Interior layout of Sense 43 sailing yacht
Our Sense 43 rating
– Bright and spacious interior
– Large, spacious cockpit
– Good stability on the course and excellent sailing characteristics of the vessel
– Attractive design
– Inconvenient approach to the engine
– No carriage for the boom sheet.
By Charles J. Doane
Source: Sail Magazine, January 2012