The optional bowsprit makes room for a furling asymmetric. A tack outhaul would be advantageous. A 40-foot family cruiser is a must-have in the inventory of every production boat builder. They fall perfectly into the 12m price limit found in many Mediterranean marinas, making them less expensive to moor. It’s a Goldilocks boat for most people, neither too big nor too little, just suitable for two adults and a few youngsters. The hull length is restricted, but the beam is not.
If you jumped on Beneteau’s new mid-range cruiser, you may assume she’s 3ft longer than she is – not just the numbers on the hull. The Beneteau Oceanis 40 replaces the Beneteau Oceanis 45, which had a 1cm shorter hull length. Space is essential for family cruisers and charterers, and the cockpit and saloon are two locations where the 40.1 demonstrates her length-defying ability. The cockpit is spacious and broad, and the helm has a high pushpit to keep them from going off the transom – standing further forward and remaining on board would be difficult without it. However, with 39ft of the boat ahead of you, this gives you a dominating feeling at the helm.
Below, Beneteau has increased the beam to 4.18m (13ft 9in), 30cm (1ft) greater than the Oceanis 40, while the hull is 2cm smaller than the previous 41.1 model, and the cabin is bigger.
What Kind of Witchcraft Is Beneteau Employing?
Big things aren’t known for their agility or speed, but the good news is that all this room hasn’t come at the price of her performance or handling. Her dual rudders provided a lot of grip on the water. Even when she was well-heeled, she remained in command and attentive to the helm, which is precisely what you want from a coastal cruiser.
This boat came standard with an in-mast furling mainsail, optional genoa and tracks, and a self-tacking jib. She was flawlessly behaved with full sails and 20 mph over the deck, though we would have reefed if the wind had been any more significant. Twin stainless-steel wheels are standard; the helm was nicely balanced, light, and comfortable; however, more lightweight composite wheels would have further enhanced the experience. She didn’t look bad in the wind, given her mainsail was batten-free with typical Dacron in-mast furling sails. However, she could have shined if she had been the sportier First Line variant with a higher rig, deeper keel, and performance slab-reefed sails.
Exploring The Beneteau Oceanis 40’s Helm
The Marc Lombard-designed hull’s strong freeboard and full-length chine keep her decks dry. As a result, it didn’t feel dangerous or alarming when she was pushed because no waves or water were marching down the deck. However, her beam has given her vast submerged front portions, which have taken a few slaps from passing shipping’s wake.
The steering wheels are just 59 cm (1ft 11in) from the transom, and there is a tiny flip-up seat attached to the pushpit, but I found that standing or sitting on the side deck was more comfortable. Even though the wheels are so far aft, the high pushpit keeps you from feeling walled in or unsafe, and the split backstay is only noticeable when seated well outboard. There are lift-up foot blocks with stainless-steel supports available. When you elevate the sole high enough, the support hangs down, and lowering it will send the bar one way or the other, depending on the angle of the heel; to either support or stow the footrest.
The gasoline and water filler caps are carefully hidden behind the foot blocks. A big lazaretto locker (and gas locker) between the wheels and two sole-depth cockpit lockers provide enough deck stowage. While crossing the sprayhood, the deck narrows to 25cm (10in) – a small price to pay for the sensation of vastness within. The optional bowsprit protrudes far forward at the bow. The final fitting is a 70cm (2ft 4in) stretch from the furling genoa, which is already 40cm (1ft 4in) forward of the pulpit. The forestay is linked to the stem, and there is a single bow roller to the port that feeds the windlass directly.
There’s a fair drop for the chain into the large anchor locker, and a convenient rail by the lid indicates it’s also meant for fender storage. One of the two companionway winches is connected to the conventional self-tacking jib sheet.
We had a larger furling genoa, tracks, extra clutches, and two Harken 46ST winches situated ahead of the helm, which is a substantial size and function well. They are far back for the crew but conveniently accessible to the helm. The mainsheet is routed from a harness ahead of the sprayhood to the Harken 40ST companionway winch. Although the genoa sheets run along the coaming top, it’s essential to keep this region finger-free, especially for the youngest members of the crew.