Often, when discussing the merits of a yacht, noting certain inconveniences inside, one can hear mild objections: this is a yacht, not an apartment …
In the Mediterranean resort of Les Ambier, as if saturated with the spring scent of freshly blossomed gardens, I got acquainted with the new yachts of the Beneteau company. So, the first thought that came to me when I boarded the next new item was something like this: “Wow! So this is a whole APARTMENT! “
The engineers who conceived the concept of the new line of “benet” sailboats, proceeded from considerations of maximum comfort of being aboard a family boat “Midsize European” 43 feet and moved in solving these problems to a new level.
It would seem that a certain “consensus” has long been reached in the arrangement of the main elements and interior layouts, when sailing yachts of the same architectural type differ from each other only in details. New items that define style very rarely take root.
And not because of maritime conservatism, but because, it seems, everything has been tried and tested for a long time … All that remains is that which has simply passed the test of time and practicality of the “prudent” European consumer.
Often, new aesthetic ideas brought from related fields, and, first of all, land-based architectural finds and fashionable lines of interior design, in the “marine” theme become real incidents. Take, for example, the recent craze for the IKEA style, which is characterized not only by the equalization of the light colors of the panels, but also by the thoughtlessly traumatic sharp edges and corners of furniture.
In this case, the approach to the introduction of new ideas turned out to be somewhat different. We set the task in a purely systemic way, which is somewhat strange for the French, but solved it in French, mathematically, in the style of Lagrange or Poincaré, as you like … Physical and psychological factors influencing the feeling of comfort of the yacht’s inhabitants were clarified.
At the same time, the experience of arranging not only single-hull sailboats, but also catamarans and motor yachts of all types was taken into account. Then, of course, the extreme values were identified and set – from the “punishment cells” of the transators with the “M650” to the saloons of the size of a football field of yachts of the “Pelorus” type. The factors of intermediate values were systematized and reduced to absolute values, the solutions of which gave specific recommendations.
I will not bore them with a listing, I will name only a couple of the most characteristic ones. For example, a great deal of discomfort on board a family cruiser is caused by the difference in the levels of the cockpit deck and saloon floor. Or: one of the maximum factors of psychological discomfort is due to the lack of free side view from the passenger compartment. In this case, the Beneteau team had to “step on the throat of their own song” – a favorite set of small standard windows in the central saloon, as if taken from the lower deck of the Titanic.
As a result, the desire to implement the obtained solutions for comfort led to the creation of not only a new interior, but also an appearance. This is what I saw on a test drive conducted by Beneteau in March 2011 especially for the yacht magazine staff. Three family sailboats were presented, but I will only talk about the Sense 43 model.
Externally, the deck line was returned to the legendary “First 50”, which was successful not only aesthetically, but also practically: the smooth transition of the deck to the wheelhouse on the tank has too many advantages to sacrifice some loss of height in the bow cabin.
The cockpit coamings have solid glazing, but the power elements are hidden behind the tinted panels. The boom-sheet is brought out to the power frame of the “dodger”, or “spray-hood”, and therefore the cockpit deck is completely free of any ends and practical things.
The cockpit itself is a hymn to intelligent asymmetry. Wide, with a sofa on the starboard side and, accordingly, a table moved to the side, freeing the passage to the salon. The level of the cockpit deck smoothes as much as possible the difference with the level of the saloon slates and a very low entrance coaming, sacrificing category “A”. Instead of a firebrand shield – sliding acrylic doors like folding doors. And, finally, absolutely identical helm posts with instruments and plotters on each board.
The cockpit ends with a transom transom, where spring-loaded panels and bridge deck parts easily transfer it from the “marina-rest” position with the most free access to the crinoline and further to the shore to the “sea-trip” position with large transverse seats and a raised transom bulkhead that closes the exit on the crinoline.
Inside, a competent accounting of subtle factors led to a feeling of comfort in a very limited space. It’s hard to describe, easy to feel. Believe me, the results of labor are respected. Completely replaced fittings and style of execution of parts, from doors to bulkheads and internal (!) Windows.
Leather-covered handrails and vertical pillers. If you can find fault with the quality of the outer board and surfaces, if you wish, then the interior is impeccable. Light, light, thought out to the smallest detail, not traumatic and very friendly. Allows you to feel good both in the marina and at sea.
By the way, at one of the exits a good “six” was blowing, with a wave of up to two meters, and I caught myself thinking that, moving back and forth through the cabin, and getting to the bow “master cabin”, I never cursed. And this happens rarely on a ship at sea.
On the move, “Sense 43” did not bring any big surprises and behaved quite “benetically”. Note that the steering wheels are connected to the stockers (there are two feathers on the yacht) by lever mechanics, which are rather tight, and therefore the steering wheels are not very informative. However, under Genoa (110%), I managed to “choke” on flat water to 48 degrees to the true wind without a noticeable drop in speed, which is very commendable for a family cruiser with a serial mainsail.
The boat easily carries “Code 0” at twist, which works as if instead of a light top genoa and in moderate wind allows you to go up to 60 degrees to the wind, but too small distance between this sail and the headstock forces you to turn, making a “cow overstag”. All running rigging is held on the cockpit coamings so that the free ends lie in the boxes molded in them. On the one hand, it is very convenient, as nothing dangles underfoot or in the aisle.
But … one big “BUT” for a family cruiser is that, having dropped, for example, the main halyard from the winches and stoppers, it is impossible to wait for the desired fall of the sail into the lazy jack. Numerous kinks of the halyards on the way from the mast to the cozy boxes make you run to the mast and forcefully strip the sail, which is not good at all, especially in the wind. The rest of the boat on the move without serious comments.
The nasal wave is normal, there is no stern wave at all up to a roll of 15-17 degrees, germination on the wave is normal, no hits with a “spoon” at a two-meter wave were noticed. I will say that under the engine, despite the two feathers, the maneuverability is excellent, only the diesel exhaust is noisy, but I think that this is not a drawback of the boat, but of the motor.
Not being afraid to repeat myself, I will note once again: Sense 43 is not just another change in the Beneteau model range, but, of course, a real step forward, with which I would like to congratulate the French shipbuilders.
Length, m: 13.20
Width, m: 4.28
Draft, m: 2.00
Displacement, t: 10
Fuel capacity, l: 440
Water supply, l: 675
Engine power, HP: 54
Sail area: Mainsail + Genoa, m2: 86.5
Author: Dmitry Sherkov
Source: Magazine Captain-Club №3 (68) ‘2011