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Beneteau Oceanis 50

9th May 2008

50 Feet of Sheer Class

Afloat's 2006 test programme was completed with our correspondent Graham Smith taking Beneteau's Oceanis 50 for a spin around Dublin Bay.



To paraphrase a well-known advertisement, ‘Mr Beneteau makes exceedingly good boats’ and the new Oceanis 50 is no exception, being the latest in a long line of striking looking cruisers.

While the glossy brochure gushes about a ‘prestigious yacht that heralds a new era in the history of blue water cruising yachts’, there is no doubt that the Oceanis 50 has a real, head-turning presence.

Hull and deck plans are the work of the Berret Racoupeau design office whose brief was to create an aesthetically powerful and attractive yacht with outstanding sea-going qualities. The interior design by Nauta Design of ‘super yacht’ fame gives the 50 its own very special personality.

First Impressions

The promotional brochure describes the 50 as having ‘a truly striking presence at anchor’ and while the sun-kissed waters of the Mediterranean are probably its more natural habitat, even a dull day in Dún Laoghaire cannot minimise the visual effect.

For a change, we met the test boat at sea rather than on a marina, and the immediate impression is one of power and elegance, with a contemporary hull shape (with three hull ports on each side) allied to an ultra-modern coachroof treatment that gives it a distinctive racy profile.

Our test boat was the first to be sold by Beneteau’s Irish distributors BJ Marine and there are about three more sales in the pipeline. As this report will show, it is hardly surprising. If you can afford it – it starts around E264,000 – you are gaining 50 feet of sheer class, with remarkable attention to detail.

On Top

Boarding the 50 from a moving RIB in fresh conditions certainly underlines the sheer size and power of the boat. With a 4.5m beam, a spacious cockpit (even allowing for the fixed table) and positively acres of deck, this is a big craft in every sense.

The blue sprayhood is probably its least attractive feature as it detracts from the flowing lines of the coachroof, although it is a highly useful and practical addition if the crew need protection from the elements. Personally, I would opt for the grey pearl coloured sprayhood instead of the blue as it would blend better with the boat’s attractive lines.

The classic, 9/10 fractional rig has a deck-stepped mast with twin aft-swept spreaders. With all the lines neatly led back to electric winches in the cockpit, the foredeck and side-decks are clear and uncluttered.

There is also easy access to the bathing platform with a pivoting gate incorporated into the aft seating layout between the two helming positions. 

Down Below 

If the Oceanis is impressive on deck, it is just amazing below. This is luxury par excellence. The companionway leads to saloon that looks like it should be in an interiors magazine, with soft lighting, plush upholstery, and oodles of natural light through numerous hatches and ports.

Stainless steel handrails on the saloon roof at the foot of the companionway that extend to the centre of the saloon give an added
sense of security. To port is a U-shaped galley that is particularly well-equipped and behind it, one of the two more-than-ample aft
double cabins. The other one is next to the head compartment, complete with separate
shower and double-folding shower

The saloon features a two-seater settee with fold-away central armrest to starboard, while to port is a U-shaped 6-8 seater settee and table that provides real comfort at

The owner’s cabin forward is vast – it has an island double-berth, giving access on three sides (which you don’t usually see on a boat!), loads of storage space and then a separate shower en-suite. If you own this boat, you deserve these little luxuries.


Under Sail

With a 14.75m hull length and over 116 sq.m of sail area on the fractional rig, the Oceanis 50 can shift and accelerates well for a big, heavy boat.

In a south-easterly Force 4 in Scotsman’s Bay, she was tramping along upwind at over 7 knots without being put under any real pressure and she glided effortlessly downwind.

If there was any disappointment, it was perhaps the handling which seemed a little stiff and unresponsive, but then you don’t buy a boat like this for out-and-out performance – it’s much more than that.

Under Power

There is absolutely no shortage of power on the Oceanis. A Yanmar 110hp diesel engine with drive shaft transmission comes as standard, as does the fixed 3-blade propeller, and that’s more than enough oomph for anyone.

That means ease of access to a berth or moorings and the ability to cover a lot of ground if conditions require extensive motoring. A well-soundproofed engine compartment is accessed under the companionway steps with a gas-strut supported opening.

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