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Beneteau Oceanis 38

2013 November 1

This month we are looking at three European production cruising boats that run from normal to radical. It's an interesting spread of boats. First up is the new Beneteau Oceanis 38 designed by Finot-Conq with the interior by Nauta Design. This model comes in five different versions ranging from a double berth daysailer to a three-cabin, three-double-berth cruiser. This is a versatile design.

The first thing that jumps out at me when I look at these drawings is the way that max beam has been carried aft to the extra broad transom. There is a slight amount of taper to the plan view as it goes aft but I'd guess it's less than 2 inches per side. The small taper gives the hull a very wedgelike look. To deal with all that beam aft there are twin rudders. As the boat heels one rudder will always be immersed.

I see a chine that runs almost full length of the hull, about 16 inches off the DWL aft, 6 inches above the DWL amidships and fairing out in the bow about 15 inches above the DWL. There is no question in my mind that this chine is there to increase usable interior volume.

The D/L of this boat is 138.5 using the light displacement of 14,172 pounds. Light displacement figures are, of course, light, but there is no way a designer can tell how an individual owner will load his boat.

The L/B is 2.89 indicating, as you can plainly see, a very beamy boat. You can pick from a deep-draft T-bulb keel drawing 6 feet 9 inches or a shoal keel drawing 5 feet 3 inches. I don't have a DWL measurement but I am estimating 35 feet 9 inches for the waterline length. It's a very blocky looking, high-freeboard hull, but these days that's a pretty normal design technique used to increase interior volume and make room for accommodations.

There is one daysailer layout, two weekender layouts and two cruiser layouts. I'll use the three-cabin layout for this review. It's an interesting layout with the galley stretched down the starboard side of the saloon and a U-shaped settee to port that looks as if four people would fit in this dinette.

There are twin quarter cabins with big double berths, and there is one head. Forward there is a V-berth double. If you give up the starboard quarter cabin you gain a big cockpit locker. There is also an additional head in the two-cabin layout. The weekender interiors feature a larger saloon and no standing space at all for the forward double berth. It looks to me like the forward double berth opens to the saloon. The weekender models have a very small galley to starboard with a short settee forward of that.

The fractional rig has a SA/D of 20.4. There is a bridle-type mainsheet spanning the companionway. There is a lot of sweep to the spreaders.

Two deck configurations are available. If you go with the daysailer model you get a slightly longer cockpit. The other versions have a longer cabintrunk that is artfully chamfered on the aft corners to help movement forward while providing headroom in the quarter cabins. The twin wheels are well aft in the cockpit separated by an opening in the transom for boarding. There is a large centerline dining table in the cockpit.

The overall look of this design is very Euro and contemporary. With five layouts to choose from I think the target market for this boat is very wide. I like the boat.