New boat: Beneteau Oceanis 41
Sometimes sailboat buyers need to look to the top of a manufacturer's line to get all the best gadgets and latest design features. But Beneteau has incorporated all of the best features of the boats at the top end of its line into a moderately sized model in its popular Oceanis line in the Oceanis 41.
A spacious cockpit is the hallmark of the design that is possible even on a moderately sized boat thanks to the mainsheet arch, first seen in Beneteau's line on the 50 last year. By putting the mainsheet up, access through the cockpit is unencumbered. Twin steering wheels and a large table make this a perfect spot for entertaining and the helmsman's bench that spans the width of the transom folds out of the way for easy access to the transom. Perhaps the most surprising feature to find on this 41-footer is the fold-down transom swim platform, something once only seen on superyachts.
The rest of the exterior look is typical sleek Beneteau design. The coachroof has a low profile with long windows and a chine extends almost the entire length of the hull, which should serve to maximize performance with moderate heel.
The mast is almost in the middle of the boat allowing virtually non-overlapping headsails and chainplates that run to the rail, rather than the middle of the deck.
Since the Oceanis 41 is optimized for cruising, it's no surprise that the interior is more than a little comfortable, and that's obvious from the moment you step down below thanks to an easy angle on the companionway. There are two interior layouts to choose from: a two-cabin, one-head option or a three-cabin, two-head option. Both feature an L-shaped galley to port and a head to starboard. A U-shaped settee and a loveseat that doubles as a seat for the nav desk round out the main part of the interior. Double bunks are found forward and aft. In the two-head version, the second head is found forward.
All of these features will make for a beautifully sailing boat that is also comfortable to live on for a weekend or months at a time. And the optional Dock & Go system, which uses a joystick and bow thruster to make anyone look like a pro at docking will make coming back to the dock as stress free as the time away from the dock.