As you may have read in the previous article on the Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 Performance (read it here) I did got the chance to dive deeper into the world of Beneteau-Yachts during the annual international dealer meeting on French Ile des Embiez last weekend. I found it intriguing to get myself involved with Beneteau as I until now never really had the chance to go into details with the market leader of production boats. The Oceanis 38.1 could in a way live up to my expectations – in another way the yacht could re-define the way I see Beneteau. It was so different from what I´ve expected.
Mooring at the jetty on Ile des Embiez was therefore another sailing yacht I was really keen on seeing thoroughly. The flagship. The big sister. The Oceanis Yacht 62. She is the current pinnacle of the line of yachts build by Beneteau and should therefore set the tone for all smaller models. Again, although I did have an appointment for sailing the boat, I didn´t get the chance for the wind conditions worsened during my stay on the island and due to safety reasons the skippers didn´t leave port unfortunately. So I´ll have to quote people I spoke to who were fortunate to be underway with the Oceanis Yacht. Let´s have a look at Beneteau´s flagship then.
Meet the Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 62
First of all: She is big. With some 20 meters length over all, some 5.30 meters width and a standing height including mast of staggering 28 meters the Oceanis Yacht makes an impressive appearance wherever she may arrive. Launched in June 2016 the boat is a pretty new one both in terms of construction and design and no wonder, the Oceanis Yacht 62 has been awarded European Yacht of the Year Award 2017. Hull #2 was painted in greyish-metallic-like brown-brassy tone. Water was reflecting on her ship´s sides, especially during dawn and sunset the mirroring of light and water and the colours on the hull was as theatrical as it can get.
Beneteau has a very easy recognizable line of products: The First-line are smaller, easy to sail, fast and fun boats for the sportive and fun-loving sailors, Oceanis is the cruiser-line. Oceanis is among the most impressive boats of the world as this line lives throught it´s seventh generation now and is currently re-designed by Gianguido Girotti, Product Designer and Head of Marketing of Beneteau Yachts, which will be interesting to see during the coming two years. Then there is the Sense-line – bigger, more luxurious cruisers and above all, the Oceanis Yacht currently consisting of the single 62 feet boat. And this yacht is literally breaking down all the rules previously set – this is in fact, what the boat is telling us in every angle we may take a look at her. As if she wants to say: “This is a new kind of Beneteau!”
Her transom may be the most impressive feature of this aspect: It´s edgy, full of rims. And above all – it bears a never seen new fresh approach to yacht design. I would compare the transom to the old tall ship´s design of the 17th century, the Caravel of the great Discoverers. Also, the trim strip is a thing of the past, with the Oceanis Yacht 62 this is a new dimension: A big wide black strip covering nearly all the ship´s length. There are large porthole windows all over the place from fore cabin to the stern. The voluptuous hull is a big statement, I love the concave sheer and the stark rising sheerline to the bow. Because the hull is that bulky the superstructure of the cabin can remain comparatively shallow thus creating the impression on a sleek construction.
The deck is – which is of no discussion in this ship size – completely flush. There aren´t any lines visible, everything is clean and nicely done. The ship´s width of 5.30 meters is for the most part achieved from the middle of the boat´s length thus creating very large volumes of space for the internal part and of course the cockpit: This shouldn´t be called “cockpit” anymore for this is just huge! There is cushion virtually everywhere. It seems that you will be able to place some 50 people here easily for a cocktail-party. What I liked most: Guest-area and crew-area are not well separated. This is often the case with luxurious yachts of this size where it seems the professional crews (servants?) are separated from owners and their guests. This is not the case with Beneteau.
Speaking of the crew: Standing behind the large steering wheel I´ve got an impression what “push button sailing” might be really like: You can control virtually everything from behind the large chart plotter here. The relevant winches are easily reachable from here too just in case. I am so sad of not having had the chance to sail with her because, as one of my buddies who went out with her told me: “She was going so gently up and down – yet at the same time speeding up considerably. This was a new feeling for me as the biggest yachts I know are +45 feet. But this is a totally different feeling of sailing.” Let´s go down then.
A Mixture between New York Hipster Café and Airbnb-Loft
I must fairly admit that my impression of Beneteau has always been a mixed one. Although I did acknowledge their market leading position I found their yachts odd, never really took into consideration to have a thorough look. That changed a bit during my Atlantic Ocean cruise some weeks ago when a +45 foot Oceanis made back in 2005 was mooring next to our yacht. And I began to admire her lines. When I roamed her interior I was stunned by the shiplike-appearance and the high quality of the fittings. Same with the current Oceanis 38.1 – that was an eye opener in the first place.
This is not a yacht as one might expect it. Beneteau doesn´t want to be nice. They break the rules, bent the known to achieve something new. That´s best played out aboard the Oceanis Yacht 62, the flagship. Beneteau wants to be different, this is what this boat is screaming at you from every angle – and it succeeds for sure! Inside, “modern” gets a new meaning. This boat´s interior is not resembling a ship, it´s more like being on a city-trip to Barcelona, like a Loft book via Airbnb. It´s like you compare classic Star Trek to J.J. Abram´s Reboot. Simply sexy. Unconventional. Exciting.
The large saloon welcomes the visitor with tones of ocher, muted shades of grey and brown, this is the main theme of hull #2. Of course, there are a load of colour schemes available but I liked the approach made here. A lot of interesting contrasts, of combinations of colours – like I said: That´s not shiplike, this is modern urban living. But the design won´t overrun the owners, it´s more like the contrasts and the play of the colours create this feeling of being home. Adding the tactile sensation of the different materials, leather, cushion fabric, wooden fittings and stainless steel – just excitingly new!
But not too modern. This is not a revolution for sure. The layout of the whole boat is rather classic. The saloon features a large longitudinal galley, the lounge-area has a big cosy L-sofa and a smaller settee vis-à-vis. A large dining table can be moved hydraulically. Designer Pierangelo Andreani made a marvellous job in creating the interior that appeals by classic layout but rearranges the known with a multitude of smaller changes which add up to a whole new sensation. You instantly recognize the Italian design-school of Pininfarina, the scholar of Andreani. It´s the combination of form and colour but moreover the tactile sensations that was most fascinating here. But everything is where you would guess it, they won´t overturn the known completely. Very clever.
A re-definition of the Navigation Station
You know that I put a great emphasis on seamanship and therefore – when it comes to interior design – on the nav station. I dislike the current trend in yachting to rely solely on big chart plotters and most of the yards are thus reducing the chart tables to small slats, saving space for even more room. Not so with Beneteau: I noticed very positively the comparably big chart table on the Oceanis 38.1 and the 62 will therefore set a completely new standard: This nav station is a skipper´s dream!
It features a large L-formed table made of black lacquered wood. A nice navigator´s seat is cosy yet offers a nice position to do chartwork or bend over latest weather forecasts. Best thing: This nav station is not parted from the rest of the saloon. The Navigator is not hidden behind bulkheads or large panels, he is integrated into the “living room”-situation of the boat which I really love. For me, this nav station is the highlight of this yacht´s saloon.
Same with the galley: Again, Beneteau didn´t revolutionize boatbuilding here. They are taking the proven and re-define the design and tactile sensations to create the impression of something very new, very fresh. That´s clever because it will attract clients and owners without demanding too much of a great deal of getting accustomed to the yacht. The galley makes an impression of a nice lofty flat in Barcelona or New York City. Large porthole windows create a light suffused arena, there´s a continuous worktop and of course a lot of stowage. A nice set up of kitchen equipment, large heavy bolted handrails and of course a nice wine-fridge.
The saloon of the Oceanis Yacht 62 meets the highest expectations of clients who can afford to buy a boat of this size for sure. More so, it will set new standards by the way the “maritime” sensations are defined. We all loved the large cosy cushion on the settees: You do not want to get up anytime soon once you´ve seated. In particular, I liked the mast-stand fairing made of wood with a large, nice integrated bookshelf. You cannot not be touched by this interior design.
Cabins aboard the Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 62
Of course I do not have to convince you that the cabins aboard the Beneteau 62 are spacious. That´s obvious. The Oceanis Yacht basically has just one layout (yet). That´s three cabins plus skipper cabin in the fore peak. There´s an option – virtually the one and only option – to convert the starboard side large bathroom into a pullman-cabin to accommodate two more crew or guests. The boat is rated Cat A with 12 persons, maximum berths available is 9. The master cabin is so huge that the lenses of my camera couldn´t grasp it´s sheer size.
Best thing about the master cabin: The entrance door won´t open along the longitudinal axis of the yacht but to the left-hand side. So that upon entering or leaving the room there´s no chance I getting a sight into the cabin which is good for privacy. It also cleans the forward bulkhead of any doors which adds to the clean atmosphere. Inside there´s a large King-Size Island-Bed, lots of stowage, a large bathroom with a proper shower. I love the porthole windows near the water line which create a lot of light for this cabin and are a marvellous sight onto the waves when the boat is underway.
Again, the two aft cabins offer a similar sensation. Both are equipped with porthole windows as well. Lots of stowage and the size of the bunks is considerable. Almost everything is veneered and covered with wooden fittings or panels. There aren´t too many rounded edges nor any bent shapes here – Beneteau 62 is an edgy boat and owners of this yacht will have to appreciate this fact.
Sailing Qualities of the Oceanis Yacht 62
As mentioned, wind conditions during my visit to Ile des Embiez hardened and the skippers decided not to leave the marina for sea trials and as I´ve had the appointments set for exactly this day I was a bit disappointed for not having got the chance to get underway with neither the Oceanis nor the big flagship. Anyway, a friend of mine was indeed sailing the boat and he assured me that the hull is quite a nice sailor indeed! Some 1.900 square feet (that´s some 180 square metres) of upwind sails area will propel the boat significantly. Even with engine the 160 horsepower Yanmar will speed up the boat considerably.
“What was compelling was her gentle, slow motion in the waves”, my friend told me: “Although waves had been building up and the wind was quite aggressive and gusty.” That´s the joy of sailing a large boat I would say. The yacht of course features a double rudder configuration. There are two keels available (shallow L-keel with 2.38 metres draft and a bulb keel with 2.98 metres draft) – that´s a lot of stability and righting moment.
In the end my impression is that the Oceanis Yacht 62 is more than a boat. It is a modern loft, a New York City-Hipster Café in the best sense. You can imagine a fixed race bike leaning at the jetty and the skipper´s a full-bearded T-Shirt guy. Sure, this boat can make a circumnavigation to the remotest areas with ease, but I can best imagine her parading the nightly waterfronts of the world, mooring in New York, Barcelona or Tokyo – where the myriads of lights of the skyscrapers are reflected and refracted by the shiny edgy hull.
Interesting articles related to this topic:
Interview with Magnus Rassy on the new Hallberg-Rassy HR 44
Meet the Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 Performance
Umberto Felci on Designing the Dufour Exclusive 63