Our magazine Kapitan-Club already wrote about the drive test of the new “benet” line of sailing ships “Sense” in №3 / 2011, but then I only stopped at the younger boat Sense 43, in which the main ideas of the philosophy of sailing family cruisers of the Sense brand were implemented. I cannot ignore the heavy interest of readers in new boats, and therefore I will tell you about the next model in the line – Sense 50.
Both boats share a common, easily recognizable architectural style. The “fiftieth” has the same deck line, the same smooth transition from the deck to the wheelhouse on the tank. In the same way, the coamings of the wheelhouse have solid glazing and the wheelhouse itself has a characteristic, for Sense, gikashkot shoulder strap on the power frame of the Dodger. However, while maintaining the ergonomic characteristics of the exterior on a larger boat, the architects created the overall look, in my opinion, more harmonious.
If, for example, on the Sense 43 the wheelhouse height, following the new philosophy, should provide complete screening of the person sitting at the bulkhead in the cockpit from the oncoming air flow, then on the Sense 50 it, the wheelhouse height is the same, but the boat is larger and the wheelhouse fits into the overall silhouette more harmoniously. The cockpit on the Sense 50, due to its size and proportions, is like a bridge on a catamaran. So spacious and seems to be wider than long.
The helm posts are naturally spaced along the sides and, like on the Sense 43, provide for the installation of navigation screens of plotters and displays of sail-motor indicators. At the right post, next to the throttle / reverse handle, I find a joystick, as I later found out, of the new Dock & Go system. This system deserves a separate publication, and I will only briefly describe its operation when mooring below.
The cockpit is asymmetrical, as is the entrance to the central saloon. Almost along the axis of the cockpit, in front of the gangway down there is a universal handrail-box-folding table made of translucent plastic reinforced with stainless profiles. The main cockpit table, with a solid wooden tabletop, is shifted to the starboard side, in the center of the teak-covered cans.
Thus, the plastic transformer handrail, as it were, divides the cockpit into two zones, in one of which a sailor with sails can work quietly on the move, without causing the slightest inconvenience to the relaxing-drinking-sleeping-sunbathing inhabitants of the boat.
The longitudinal coamings of the cockpit are equipped with “fashionably” closed boxes for sheets leaving the winches and all banks, naturally with traditional lockers. The transom part of the Sense 50 cockpit, in accordance with the main philosophical line of Sense, is a transformer, but already with a richer set of combinations for the positions “marina-rest” and “sea-trip”.
Innovative design work is visible in every detail of the cockpit. And not for the sake of novelty, as such, but only for a more rational use of the space obtained and getting rid of the behavioral stereotypes of life in the cockpit of a sailing cruiser, which very often do not even allow (especially in the morning) to really assess which boat you woke up on ?!
As a former driver, I was pleased with the very touching wooden footrests near the helmsman’s deck areas instead of bent pipes. It can be seen by the “benetics”, just as I was already sick of getting into such tubular “foot breakers” by topsiders, and finally (!!!) I see a steering zone worthy of a gentleman, sorry monsieur captain …
The deck fittings, as follows in the tradition of Beneto – Harken, with new generation winches – lightweight, with a reduced coefficient of friction. In general, life in the cockpit is good!
Inside, a similar feeling to Sense 43 apartments with stylish layouts and space arrangements. And in the little things like light switches on the ceiling and in radical solutions like the glass-transparent part of the bulkhead in the shower … The interior is light, stylish and unusual.
The cockpit coamings are covered from the inside with false panels with enough space for free fabric-like curtains in houses that protect the salon from the exhausting Mediterranean sun. Lots of tempered glass details and mirrored panels, visually increasing the space and relieving the urge to claustrophobia.
The furniture has no sharp corners, the vertical handrails are covered with leather. New generation fittings, LED lighting, navigator’s seat – back to movement. But this does not spoil the impression of working with the plotter at all, even though it is Raymarin. The navigational table and the vertical dashboard in front of it, as on a very large steamer.
The boat, as expected, is produced in various interior options, with a different number of cabins and bathrooms, and in any combination, the overall atmosphere of a light and stylish interior is preserved.
On the run
Sense 50 did not expect anything special from the driving performance. It so happened that before this boat I had already done my best in the drive test on the Sense 43 in medium wind. It so happened that I got the Sense 50 for the test in the last few days, when the line of journalists had already run out and the weather was not particularly conducive to walking. On the first day in the morning a strong “six” blew, with an increase after 3 in the afternoon. Such weather already required the first reef and staysail No. 1 to tack from the boat. The three of us were on the boat. We left the marina cleanly under the grotto, which was placed right next to the boom.
Until we reached the exit buoy, it seemed that on relatively flat water it would be possible to completely spin the staysail. But when we approached the exit from the bay, a wind wave started, plus the swell from the recent storm and the boat began to literally pull at the headquarters. Then the skipper rolled the jib and set something like jib No. 3, but with a jib angle and the nature of the movement changed.
Surprisingly, when reinforced, the boat was not brought, but only pressed against the water with its cheekbone and accelerated. Of the experimenters on board, I was the only one and therefore received complete freedom from the skipper, not supported by a line from those who wanted to turn the steering wheels. Well, like all decent Benetos, the boat was well balanced. Slightly, as in the Sense 43, the small information content of the steering wheels strained.
But I must say that this frictional stiffness of the rudders did not increase either from speed or from rolls with squally gusts. I tried to portray “Chichester” and do everything on the boat alone. I was able to easily remove the jib and spin the staysail into gulfwind. Turns at 10 knots from Gulfwind to Gulfwind through the overstag were no problem either.
The boat rolled away without critical rolls and somehow monotonously passed the leventic, allowing calmly, only by pressing the “turn” button of the autopilot, to walk from the winch to the winch. But I could not make out the reef alone on the full course without problems. Having given the reef, the halyard even got too tight with an electric winch, and no matter how hard I tried to hold the boom, the autopilot could not hold the boat with the claps. It took “manual control”.
On account of the fresh wind, I was not allowed to work with the Code 0 gennaker. But together we easily coped and blew up the boat for planing. Tacking the tack alone was pretty good. the sheet from C0 was easily carried to the winch next to the steering console.
True, I had to grunt and sweat a lot, since Code 0 was far from ideal and the effort on the sheet is therefore fair. Despite the fact that the front panel of the dodger was absent on our boat, the spray practically did not fly into the cockpit either in the sidewind or half a wind.
A comparison with a catamaran constantly came to mind, but not because of the running properties, but because of the unusual, immense width of the cockpit. Nevertheless, I managed to enjoy the Sense 50 in a fresh breeze.
The boat brought a real surprise when mooring. Approaching the marina, the three of us removed the sails and the captain said – “moor.” I, out of habit, put the circulation in front of the pier and immediately got into place “in grinding”. The captain says – and now, if you please monsieur, turn around, with your nose to the exit.
I cursed – I could not tell right away, and holding the stern with a mooring loop, I began to look for the steering wheel button. Then the captain showed me a large poster opposite the boat on the wall, which read: Is the Dock & Go system being tested here – comprenedez – vous? * The look on my face made him stand up, kick off the loop and grab the joystick. The boat hummed with its bow thruster and motor and moved sideways from the wall !!!
It turned out that the Dock & GO system with which our Sense 50 was equipped is nothing more than the combination of a thruster and an axial drive of the SailDrive type with one control stick, i.e. joystick. The axial drive allowed the SailDrive column to rotate around a vertical axis 360 degrees, creating, together with the bow thruster, the desired thrust vector. The apotheosis, the curtain … So Sense 50 drew a line under my unforgettable impressions.
* – are you thinking? (fr.)
Author: D. Sherkov