Home . Articles . Boats . Perry on Design . Beneteau 473

Beneteau 473

2001 January 6

Family cruiserr

I saw this boat at the Annapolis boat show. I couldn't walk by without thinking what a great looking boat it was. One of my cronies said he couldn't walk by without thinking how ugly it was. There you have it, different tastes. I thought the boat had a strong, masculine look and while not on the pretty side, was aesthetically well integrated and well done. It certainly has a look of its own and not just a "unique" look bordering on plain weird like some novel efforts. The designer of this boat is Groupe Finot. In profile this boat reminds me of one of my own older designs, the Norseman 447.

The hull form is French all the way. The ends have been truncated and the stern is about as wide as you would dare go on a conventional hull. The overall beam is not as wide as the smaller French models. L/B for the 473 is moderate at 3.31.

The bow is quite full in plan view, but this is just an effort to push the forward accommodations as far into the bow as possible. The D/L of the 473 is 144. Standard draft is 5 feet, 6 inches, and there is an option for 6 feet, 11 inches of draft with 882 pounds less ballast.

Note the unusually flattened fore-and-aft rocker to the canoe body. I'm not sure if this is a design feature or just a function of the less-than-sensitively drawn profile that I have.

The sailplan shows a modest SA/D of 16.22. This would be an ideal rig for a breezy area like our winter months in the BVI. Summer in Puget Sound would find this rig gasping for breath, but easy to handle.

There are two layouts. The three-cabin layout has mirror image double quarter berths that look huge. The compromise in this three-cabin layout is that the starboard quarter cabin intrudes into the area of the galley, forcing the range up against the bulkhead. You are left with virtually no lazarette and limited counter space. I like to see counter space on each side of the range when possible. In both galleys the reefer space looks minimal.

There are two heads and the forward head has a shower stall. The nav station looks generous. The saloon has one of those center island seats that I don't care for in boats of this size. They seem to break up the saloon area too much for my taste. On the plus side they do allow for six people to squeeze into the dinette for some real cozy dining. The forward stateroom is quite spacious with its own access to the forward head.

Despite the compromise to the galley, the three-stateroom layout would be close to ideal for family cruising with two kids. A three-couple charter would also work. Given the size of those quarter doubles I would think two kids could easily share each berth. I would miss that lazarette though. Ventilation is provided by 10 opening hatches, including the companionway. There are eight opening hull ports.

The deck plan is distinguished by an immense cockpit, as you might expect when the stern is this wide. There are two wheels and plenty of room to walk between them. The primary sheet winches are located aft where the helmsman can easily reach them. There is a removable drop-leaf table in the forward part of the cockpit. There is a recessed windlass well in the foredeck.

Its distinctly handsome looks alone would be enough to give this boat a closer look.