I've just returned from an 11 day delivery
of a Oceanis
461 from Long Island Sound
to Tortola. What a great opportunity to answer my own questions about the characteristics of the Beneteau's I have been considering as a live aboard cruiser. First, I must say that it was a very tough boat. We had several days of challenging wind
and seas, getting smacked by several breaking waves. The winds were 30 to 40 knots, peaking at 62 knots.
This was (and is
) a beautiful boat. Very well cared for, with a gorgeous salon
and woodwork. The cockpit
was huge, with nary a D-ring. Many comforts of home.
The reasons why I will not continue looking at this series of Beneteau for my needs:
The in line galley
on the port side was absolutely useless. The sinks were so small, that on a starboard tack, water
from the faucet didn't even hit the sink. There was no place to lock in while preparing meals
, and I found my self working back and forth over a 9 foot area to pull the meal together.
The vessel gave up a tremendous amount of leeway. At the height of the storm we were fore-reaching and at times were losing 30 degrees to leeward. The boat absolutely would not track. At one point we attempted to heave to, but became concerned about the pressure on the carbon fiber rudder
, and the motion was less comfortable than when fore-reaching, so we plugged on. The boat seems fast, but in reality, your course over ground is 3 knots less.
The motion - the hull shape definitely caused us to pound and to skip across the top of the waves (which may have actually defused the force of the waves). A very uncomfortable boat when down below during a blow. When broad reaching and running, the motion was better.
The in-mast furling
main was basically impotent. We had the main mostly furled whenever the wind
was more than 120 degrees aft. The furling gear
appeared to be very stout, and I think it is a workable system, if you could just figure out how to get a bit of roach in the main.
We would have given a few precious body parts
for a staysail. We were very concerned about the forestay, even when the head
sail was reefed to the size of a hand kerchief.
As mentioned, the cockpit
huge and in my view dangerous in a storm. There were few places to harness - which could be remedied to some extent with the addition of D-rings.
Now, this will be the perfect boat in the BVI, going from anchorage to anchorage. It willl be a gorgeous party platform for socializing, snorkeling and local gunkholing.
I still believe the Idylle series and the First 456 may be what I am looking for. They have a much different hul shape, and a beefier rig, including staysails. Anybody need one delivered offshore