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Beneteau Oceanis 51.1

2018 May 1

New flagship for the Oceanis line has speed and comfort in a stylish package

The Oceanis 51.1 is the new queen of the Beneteau Oceanis series. The design is by Berret-Racoupeau Yacht Design with deck and interior by Nauta Design. This is a big boat and it comes with enough options in the rig, keel and interior to suit just about every style of sailing and use whether it be the charter trade or family racing. The look of the boat is punctuated by large fixed  deadlights, although I’m more inclined to call them “windows” in the topsides.


The hull is what we have come to expect today, i.e. almost no overhangs, medium-light displacement, wide beam and lots of beam aft. In fact, the transom of this design is huge. I would guess it’s about 14 feet across the top of the transom. There is a chine aft. You can choose from three keels: shoal at 6 feet 1 inch, deep at 7 feet 7 inches and performance at 9 feet 2 inches. The shoal and deep keels are cast iron. The performance keel is lead and cast iron. The profile shows the performance keel with a bulb and exaggerated fillets at both the leading and trailing edges. I would think the fillets are there so that all three keel options can use the same “footprint” and keel bolt pattern. This way hulls can be molded before the factory knows which keel it will be installing. Twin rudders makes sure that one will be in the water at high angles of heel. The D/L based on “light displacement” is 127. That’s pretty low for this type of boat so I’d take it with a grain of salt. The L/B is 3.12.

It’s hard to know where to start with these interiors. Basically the four options offered in the promo material are all about how many people want to sleep on board. You can also have a four-head, three-head or two-head layout.  

The saloon and galley remain constant with these options. For charter I would think the four-stateroom, four-head model would be favored. For a family boat I’d guess the three-stateroom version with two heads would be my favorite. The aft cabins both have large double berths. You can even get one layout with four double staterooms and a small “sleeping hole” with upper and lower berths where the fourth head would be. 

With all this beam, the saloon can be tricky to design, but I like what the designers have done. The galley to port is large and inboard of the galley is a settee that would work for seating at the dining table when you have a crowd aboard. There is a small writing desk forward of the L-shaped settee to port. The nav station is aft and to starboard in the saloon. You give up the nav station if you go with the five-stateroom layout. If you go with two heads you can have shower stalls. Are you still with me? My complaint about the multi-stateroom layouts is the paucity of generous hanging lockers. But if you are going to live in your bathing suit I guess this doesn’t matter. In the Pacific Northwest we live in our foul weather gear and hanging lockers are important.

This deck design is all about cockpit space and keeping the decks clean of gear. There is even an option for an arch over the cockpit like the Najad, so you can get the mainsheet and traveler out of the cockpit. If you don’t like the arch you can go with a “German style” mainsheet system with a midboom bridle coming off the cabintop and leading aft both port and starboard so you can trim the main from either side. There is a large center console in the cockpit that is the base for a drop-leaf table. There are four Harken electric winches in the cockpit that take care of all the lines coming aft under the deck to the banks of clutches port and starboard just forward of the wheels. Deck cleats are the folding type to further clean the deck up. The transom is open to the cockpit sole and folds down to make a swim platform that appears to be almost 8 feet wide.

There are several rig options. You can have a short, easy-to-handle rig with a V-type boom for easy furling. Or you can have a tall rig with Dyneema running rigging and a textile hydraulic backstay. It’s interesting to note the backstay is split, leaving the center of the stern wide open. If I go with the “classic” mainsail and the 105% genoa the SA/D is 21.42. The specs mention a roller-furling boom. There is a short bowsprit for the tack of the asymmetrical chute.      

For most of us this would be an ultimate boat. You can take your friends and accommodate them in great comfort. Just think of lounging around in that big saloon, writing pithy little notes to yourself at the writing desk and looking out the windows.

LOA 51’1”; LWL 52’6”; Beam 16’3”; Draft performance 9’2”, deep 7’7”, shallow 6’3”, very shallow 5’1” ; Displ. light 37,258 lbs.; Ballast deep 9,326 lbs., shallow 10,053 lbs., very shallow 10,703 lbs.; Sail area 1,313 sq. ft.; SA/D 21.42; D/L 127; L/B 3.12; Auxiliary 80-hp; Fuel 106 gal.; Water 183 gal.

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $555,000 

Beneteau America

105 Eastern Ave. Ste. 201

Annapolis, MD 21403