Beneteau Oceanis 40.1

A lot of Boat Packed Into 40 Feet

By Zuzana Prochazka

Sailing seems to have become about size. More and more couples are buying big, perhaps thinking they can’t cruise on anything under 50 feet and I’ve seen relative newbies plunking down cash for a 60-footer. I have no idea what they will do with the boat in a blow, or even with all that space at the dock. In my mind, a perfect couple’s cruiser is right around 40 feet and if it happens to feel bigger and have more gear aboard, well that’s just terrific.

Beneteau has caught onto this idea of smaller may be better. They just introduced another model in their Oceanis line, a potentially ideal couple’s cruiser that follows in the design footsteps of the 46.1. For me, the new Oceanis 40.1 is like Goldilocks finding her perfectly sized chair. It has everything two people, or a small family need, but it still sails and looks like a boat that is ten feet longer.

This Marc Lombard design fills out the “.1” line that Beneteau started with the 51.1. The solid fiberglass hull is flared forward and topped by a low coachroof up top. The bow and transom are plumb. A composite sprit extends a couple of feet forward, integrating the bow roller that tucks the anchor neatly below. The side decks are fairly narrow and all lines are led aft. Below the waterline, you will find twin rudders and your choice of keel draft: 5’6” or 7’ 1”.

Seating and CargoAbove: Generous chair-height seats and the expanse of flat cockpit floor accommodate both passengers and cargo. Notice the very wide side decks.

The 9/10s fractional rig consists of a deck-stepped, Z-Spar aluminum mast with an air draft of 60’2”. Twin spreaders angle sharply aft and there’s a split backstay. The standard sail area is 751 square feet split between a self-tacking jib and a large furling mainsail, but you can add another 658 square feet with the Code 0 that can be used comfortably even on a beam reach. A rigid vang is standard and as has become normal on Beneteau boats, there is no traveller.

The A-shaped cockpit is huge for a boat of this size. Settees run along either side with a proper cruising table in between. It is topped with teak, has drop-down leaves and provides stowage space for a life raft below. Sheet bags flank the companionway entry and do a relatively decent job of keeping the spaghetti contained.

Aft, twin wheels are set on low pedestals with B&G electronics including a Zeus chartplotter, instruments and an autopilot interface. There is an option to spec a second plotter at the port helm which is what our test boat had and which I’d say is well worth it.

The TransomThe transom creates a substantial swim platform that extends the social area and provides excellent access to the water.

Footholds are integrated into the teak cockpit floor to help keep the driver upright when heeling. Winches for the jib sheets are within easy reach of each wheel and short genoa tracks are incorporated even if that 105% sail isn’t spec’d. In the version we sailed, the port bench lifted to provide access to the stowage space/workshop below. This ample garage can hold lines, fenders, water toys and even a deflated dinghy.

The drop-down transom provides a nice bit of extra space. It is great for lounging on at the waterline, getting the kids ready to snorkel or climbing aboard from a dinghy. It is a good size to be truly useful and it’s clearly not just an afterthought.

Once below, it is hard to believe you’re aboard a 40-foot boat. She feels long, spacious and airy. Our test boat had what I would consider to be the ideal layout with the master suite forward and a guest cabin aft to starboard with its own door to the single head and separate shower stall. The portside cabin was set up as a workshop and stowage area, which is great for distance cruising.

Dedicated Nav DeskFew boats today have a dedicated nav desk, but the Oceanis 40.1 included one which shares the seat with the end of the settee.

There are other layout options, of course. In fact, the 40.1 is available with four accommodation plans including three or four cabins and one or two heads. I’m not a fan of crowded spaces and the fourth cabin, which is an over/under bunk bed style, really just encroaches on the master suite as does the second head if it’s spec’d. I would rather sleep in the cockpit than be cramped below and I think even charter versions will forego this choice. When the master suite is left in its original design, it is inviting and all you can see are the rails (that hold the additional bulkheads) pre-moulded into the headliner.

Regardless of the number of cabins or heads, the center of the boat always stays the same. There is a settee to port which forms the seat to a small aft-facing nav desk and a sliding bench opposite. Even with the wide bench seat however, only four adults can be accommodated for dinner comfortably. No worries though, there is more room in the cockpit and besides, four is about all I’d want to feed anyway.

The Master StateroomThe master stateroom is a posh affair. If you leave out the optional forward head, there’s plenty of room to get dressed or lounge about.

The galley is straight-ish, (although Beneteau calls it C-shaped) and to starboard. It has a two-burner Eno stove, a top and side-loading fridge, a double sink and some stowage space.

Beneteau 40.1 Interior







Beneteau kept the spaces open and the surfaces light so this boat seems much bigger than its 40 feet suggest.

This area is my only gripe below. There will be no cooking or dishwashing happening underway on a starboard tack as there is nothing to brace yourself on. Furthermore, there is an awkward empty space between the compression post and the sink. It seems they could have added a cabinet that would both expand the storage and provide a bracing point.

Overhead in the saloon is a large hatch with two small opening wing hatches on either side. Fixed hull ports also add light. Two finishes are available – walnut or white oak and the interior styling is by Italian Nauta Design. It is contemporary Euro styling which we’ve come to expect on Beneteau’s designs.

With a D/L ratio of 138, the Oceanis 40.1 is a light displacement design. The standard SA/D ratio is 18.78 but you can upgrade that to 20.12 with the performance package that adds 17 inches to the mast and four inches to the deep keel.

Integrated BowspritThe integrated bowsprit keeps the anchor neatly tucked below to keep mud and seaweed from ending up on deck.

Our test boat was outfi tted with a shoal keel and the “Comfort” pack which includes a teak swim platform, electric windlass and Incidence sails with a furling mainsail and a self-tacking jib. Presumably, approximately 99% of customers opt for this pack. Our test boat was customized beyond this level and had options like electric winches, a genset and a few other goodies that add weight. Nevertheless, in 10-12 knots of true breeze, we sailed 7.5 knots at 60 degrees apparent wind angle. The real fun came when we unfurled the Technique Voile Code 0. In 14 knots of true, we were doing 8.2 knots on fl at water. It was pure joy.

Personally, I liked the twin rudders because they dig in when heeling. Besides, on a boat with a nearly 14-foot beam, there is really no other way to do it.

Beneteau offers this design in a fairly comprehensive entry level package. Although the base price is $251,000 USD, our loaded boat, which included a Mastervolt 2000-watt inverter, a Code 0, extra electronics and other features, came in at $375,000 USD. For a forty-footer that feels like forty-fi ve, that’s not bad. She packs in a whole complement of cruising necessities and does it all on a hull that will still fi t a reasonably- priced slip at the marina. A couple with occasional guests can cruise this boat in the Great Lakes, down the Eastern Seaboard, or around the Caribbean and never lack for much.

ENGINE: Yanmar 45 hp
BEAM: 13’9”
DRAFT: 5’6”, 7’1”
SAIL AREA: 751 sq. ft.
AIR DRAFT: 60’ 2”
AIR DRAFT: 60’ 2”
DESIGNER: Marc Lombard
BUILDER: Beneteau

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