By Katherine Stone
There is nothing more that I enjoy than being with friends and messing about in boats. Messing about in brand-new boats on a champagne sailing day on Lake Ontario at the beginning of the summer doesn’t get any better. To have the new owner, Helmuth Strobel and Anchor Yachts dealer Pancho Jimenez aboard made it even more special, as they can also speak to what they truly enjoy about the boat. We keep our own boat in a harbour that has a long waiting list for boats over 35 feet, so this little gem would definitely fit the bill and feels like a much bigger boat. True to the spirit of the 7th generation Oceanis line, the 34.1 is built in Poland and replaces the 35.1. It is 1,000 lbs lighter, 14 cm narrower and has 29% more sail area.
What I will never forget about this boat is the ease of sailing it. We set out for the morning with 12-15 knots of apparent breeze and a small chop. True to its word, the boat provides a safe cruising experience that is easy to handle, no matter who is onboard, either sailing double-handed or sailing with a novice crew. Slipping through the water averaging 6+ knots on an upwind course, I never touched the helm for five minutes. The boat was able to track along this course on its bow to stern hard chine and double rudders. Even in the puffs, the boat leaned into its chine and held her course without a hand on the wheel! Naval designer Marc Lombard spent a great deal of time optimizing the hull shape with a wider front section. The total effects of all these new design features mean better balance, less pitching upwind and less wetted surface area which all lead to better performance in light air – which the Great Lakes are known for in the summer.
A striking feature that is a definite bonus is the Flat Deck furler that uses webbing rather than line to go through the furler, creating more performance out of the self-tacking headsail and a smaller drum. The upgraded rigging packs include a bow sprit for an optional Code 0 or asymmetrical spinnaker. For longer cruises, a 26m2 furling genoa can also be added. Keep in mind that having tight halyards on the front sails when furling them is a must. With either the standard (Easy Sail) or Upgraded rigging package with extra winches, the square-topped main is available. An optional in-mast furler may be of great interest to newer sailors. The Selden rig has double aft-swept spreaders and a rigid vang. Another option is to have lazy jacks for the main. When moving about the boat, the uncluttered deck plan, with the mainsheet traveller located on the coach roof, provides great safety and maximum comfort. Our model did not have a bow thruster, which is highly advisable if manoeuvring in tight harbour conditions.
The cockpit is uncluttered and without a backstay, there is easy access to the nice manually-operated aft swim platform. The drop-leaf cockpit table has a hinged top that reveals a great storage area for your car keys and phone. Four to six adults can comfortably dine alfresco for dinner. As with all newer models, all lines conveniently lead to the helm, making it easy to sail double-handed. When entering the boat from the back, the aft seats fold up for cleaner boarding between the twin wheels which are integrated into the cockpit coaming. There are three options for the keel from standard to shallow to a swing keel ranging in draft from 4’11” to 8’4”. A nice added feature are the rings at the bottom of each stanchion for the fenders.
NAUTA Design worked with Marc Lombard to produce unique designs and great use of space for either a two or three cabin layout. With more space in the bow than its predecessor, the owner’s cabin is expanded. With the doors to the owner’s v-berth cabin opened up, and light coming in from the overhead hatch and hull windows, the boat truly has the feel of a much larger vessel. The port head is light and airy with a separate enclosed shower (on the two-cabin model) and an additional exit door that leads to the port stern locker, so you can go in and out of the cockpit – a great treat for the kids. The starboard L-shaped galley has plenty of storage in the cabinets that all have preventor bars so items won’t fall out when the doors are opened. The top-loading fridge has a wonderful rack that moves back and forth so that you have greater access to the lower level. The galley is complete with a double burner stove, oven and double trash bins.
With a choice of white oak or walnut, the salon has wide settees with four deck hatches and four hull port holes providing ample natural light and great ventilation throughout the cabin. This is complimented with beautiful fabric selections and optional seat upholstery that can really make the area very elegant and modern. The port aft-facing navigation table folds up and the nav seat folds down to cleverly give you a full sofa berth. There is plenty of storage space in the dining table that can easily seat eight people. Some added bonuses are the two folding arms where your wine bottles can be stored. More grab rails below would definitely be a great safety feature to add. Seanapps, the boat monitoring system for maintenance and security allows you to see the battery charges, fuel/water levels, GeoFencing and maintenance scheduling, all from your phone. Another brilliant standard feature from Beneteau.
With 35 years in the business, the classic Beneteau design gives you a great cruising boat, with excellent sailing performance, graceful proportions, great use of space and stunning good looks. The flared-hull design provides greater interior space and the long chine running from bow to stern gives you a fabulous ride. Beneteau promises that design will meet delight. “Life on board with family and friends new to sailing is the essence of all new Oceanis designs.”
Come check out the family-friendly cruiser with a budget-friendly price at your Canadian dealers.
The landed base price in Toronto is $ 210,000 USD, with a well-equipped, in-water, ‘sail away’ price of $273,000 USD for a spring 2024 delivery.
Canadian Dealers: Grand Yachts (Vancouver, BC) and Anchor Yachts (Mississauga, ON)
LENGTH OVERALL 35’4’’ 10.77 M
HULL LENGTH 32’8” 9.96 m
BEAM OVERALL 11’9’’ 3.57 M
LIGHT DISPLACEMENT 12,046 LBS 5 470 KG
DEEP RAFT 6’7” 15.57 M
SHALLOW DRAFT 4’11’’ 1.5 M
LIFTING KEEL DrAFT 8’4’’ 2.55 M
FUEL CAPACITY 34 US GAL 130 L
WATER CAPACITY 61 US GAL 231 L
MAX. ENGINE POWER 30 HP 30 CV
CABIN NUMBER 2 / 3