Boat Review

April 2008 Issue

Beneteau 46

New line of ‘designer’ Beneteaus emphasizes style without losing sight of performance and comfort.

At last winter’s Paris Boat Show, Beneteau Groupe debuted a four-boat line intended to capitalize on its “design advantage.” Light and space were emphasized. “Ease of handling” and “intimacy with the elements” were buzzwords. The Beneteau 46 is a performance cruiser—long, low, and streamlined. Although it may look too racy to be a cruising boat, it is unique, attractive, and easy to handle. Its lowered center of gravity and elevated freeboard give it more initial stability than previous designs, and its mega-beam and firm bilges give it the power to carry sail well up the wind range. The 46 couples the naval architecture of Jean Berret and Olivier Racoupeau with an interior designed by Massimo Gino and Mario Pedol of Milan’s Nauto Yachts. Pros on deck include wide sidedecks, twin wheels that provide good visibility from the helm, adequate ventilation for warm climates, and a divided anchor locker. At sea with 10 knots of breeze, testers found that the Beneteau 46 helm remained light and the boat tacked through 90 degrees with minimal fuss. They noted a balanced helm and easy steering under both sail and power.

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