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Beneteau Oceanis 45

2012 January 2

Here is Beneteau's newest offering for the cruising sailor. It's a 45-footer designed by Finot-Conq. When I was young I was a real fan of Finot's designs. They were always slightly different than the typical boat and they were always successful on the race course. This latest design makes an interesting comparison to the Hanse 385. Interesting because the two boats are so similar in their approach to hull form and priorities.

The stern of the 45 is proportionately even broader than that of the Hanse. Without just maintaining beam max all the way to the stern I can't imagine how you would have a broader transom. I know this is a very successful shape on some radical, ultralight ocean racing boats, but this 45-footer is not ultralight. The D/L of the 45 is 119.6. That is certainly not heavy by any standard but it's far from ultralight. Again, the specs give me an LOA and a "hull length." In this case I can see a protruding anchor roller fitting that would account for the 14 inches difference in these two dimensions so I'll go with the hull length for my calculations. There is less than 18 inches of total overhang on this design, resulting again in a very square looking hull. There is a subtle chine about 40% of the way up the freeboard: It's all about volume, folks. The L/B for this boat is 3.08.

There are four interior options. You can have two staterooms with two heads. You can have three staterooms with two heads. You can go galley aft or in-line type galley amidships. You can even have four staterooms if you go with the in-line galley with two heads aft. I'm sure the four-stateroom layout is for charter service. I'd go for the two-stateroom layout in order to gain the large cockpit stowage area to port. You can never have too much stowage volume. I'm not wild about the in-line galley because it means seating is confined to the U-shaped dinette with the centerline bench seat. With the aft galley you get a "love seat" to port so you can spread your guests out a bit.

The rig is big on this 45. The SA/D is 21.1. The spreaders are swept 25 degrees with the chainplates out near the rail. The main is sheeted to a bridle on top of the arch. This gets the mainsheet out of the cockpit while allowing almost end-boom sheeting. This is good. The arch looks fine to me.

When you have a fanny as broad as this one there is plenty of room for the cockpit. In this case the cockpit seats are so far apart that the centerline permanent cockpit table can double as a foot brace when heeled. The twin wheels leave the middle of the cockpit open to a fold-down transom for unrestricted access to the transom-cum-swim platform. This is a great cruising cockpit. If you cruise with dogs they would love this cockpit.

To my eye the Oceanis 45 looks fine. It's not pretty by conventional aesthetic standards, but it has been carefully styled and has a handsome and crisp chiseled look to it. We just have to get used to adjusting our parameters for "good looks" to keep up with the industry's quest for volume.