By Zuzana Prochazka
Beneteau Oceanis 48: Slick Sailing with a Trick Transom
This newly-launched sistership completes the 40-foot range for Beneteau.
Beneteau has filled out its Oceanis line with a third forty-something footer, the Oceanis 48. The new Berret-Racoupeau designed cruising sloop builds on the elements of her 41 and 45 sisterships, while optimizing her appeal for both living aboard and sailing.
The Oceanis 48 has a number of characteristics that I noticed as I walked through the boat at the Miami boat show. First, the electric transom transforms the aft bench seat into a full-width swim platform at the push of a button. This opens up the award-winning cockpit design with a clean flow from the companionway, past the dual helms, all the way aft and into the water. It has good feng shui for anyone wanting to enhance their fun at anchor.
Sheet boxes are built into the coaming ahead of each wheel. There’s also a centreline drop-leaf table with built-in, self-draining ice boxes, and a swivel mount for a multi-function display that will face either of the helms. It’s a cockpit that will be comfortable at anchor and workable under sail.
The 48 also has a large arch over the cockpit which serves as the attachment point for the dodger and lifts the mainsheet up and out of the cockpit, but still provides the enhanced control of end-boom sheeting. There is no traveler as the mainsheet connects directly to the arch, something this model shares with her two sisters.
Like many of the recent Beneteau designs, the 48 is powered by a Yanmar with a saildrive and has the option of pod-like control. Two years ago, the Sense 50 demonstrated its agility at the Annapolis boat show by using its Dock-n-Go joystick control to spin in its own length against a 20-knot breeze. This feature is a five figure add-on, but the control and confidence this kind of driving brings to both new and experienced boaters is setting Beneteau apart and potentially even keeping people sailing longer into their twilight years.
Finally, there is the plumb bow and the hard chine of the hull that started with the smaller models in the series. These new boats carry their beam well aft, which provides more volume below but also provides a flatter bottom than traditional designs. This should make the three 40-footers less tender and potentially better mannered in wind gusts.
The Oceanis 48 is very versatile in its layout. The standard accommodations include two or three cabins with two heads but you can also get what Beneteau calls the “family version,” with up to four cabins and four heads.
In the standard layout, you come down the companionway steps to the saloon with a dinette to starboard and a settee to port. That settee does triple duty due to the “sliding table” that can move forward or aft, reconfiguring that area into an aft-facing nav station, or double seats with a cocktail table or an end table. One better would be if it could go up and down in any of those positions to create a sea berth as well.
The galley is to port and L-shaped, with twin sinks on the centreline next to the companionway. (In the family version, the dinette moves to port and the galley becomes a straight-line area opposite.) The guest accommodations and head are aft with either one cabin and a very large stowage/work area, or two cabins. The master stateroom forward separates the head to port, the sink in the open middle of the cabin, and the all-acrylic shower to starboard. There is an applique available for the crystal clear stall walls in case you’d rather not share your shower with anyone else.
There’s nothing small about the Oceanis 48 and you can’t argue with the room it provides both topsides and below. The concept of the enormous cockpit seems to have been borrowed from the Sense series and with the wide transom it creates an ideal patio at anchor. The living space below was enhanced by moving the mast farther aft to open up the master stateroom.
But the 48 can be a little intimidating with a 70’ mast, 16’ beam, 30,000-pound displacement and a waterline that is only a foot shorter than the length overall. The sail area, with the 105% overlapping genoa, is a significant 1,200 square feet and it’s a big, powerful boat in every aspect.
With the hard chine, however, the 48 will sail flatter and faster, and the in-mast furling and electric primary winches will make it easier to manage even with a small crew. New technology in gear and advancements in design and engineering now make it possible for a couple to have comfortable living space as well as control—the best of both worlds.
For more information, visit Beneteau.
Editor’s Note: The Beneteau Sense 55 was one of nine yachts in the spotlight at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.
- Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.