Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Impression: Beneteau 49

This spring, I helped a new client sail their new Beneteau 49 from Burnham Harbor in Chicago, north to their new boat slip at North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor. The Beneteau 49 is another Berret/Racoupeau design which means it is well laid out, easy to manage, and best of all a great boat to sail. We left the harbor in a moderate westerly breeze, turning left at the sea wall at the southern end of Northerly Island and headed north toward the harbor entrance to North Point Marina. 12-18 knots true wind speed dominated most of the trip north, with tight reaching, and event beating windward at one point for about 20 minutes. We even got the brand new cruising spinnaker up for over half an hour and were topping boat speeds approaching 10 knots. I wasn't surprised at how easy the boat handled in those conditions, as all Beneteaus are well managed by a minimum of crew. There were three of us aboard, plus the family dog, and we all had smiles on our faces for the entire trip!

The Beneteau 49 cockpit is very roomy with the 14'9" beam being drawn almost all the way back to the dual helm wheels. It has a large cockpit table with ice box and two drop leaf fiberglass table leaves. The aft end of the cockpit table has a swiveling chart plotter/radar holder with Raymarines new E-120 system. I like the swiveling plotter because you can set it up whether you are steering from the port or starboard side. It is easily seen in bright sunlight, and it has differing back lighting options for night time use. The middle helm seat easily folds up and allows for unhindered access to the teak covered swim platform. This is great as you can go from the water to the inside of the boat fairly quickly if you needed a towel!

All the lines are led aft to four winches in and around the cockpit. The main primary winches are located in reach of the helm, so the driver can easily adjust the genoa sheets and drive at the same time. We also had an electric Lewmar main sheet and halyard winch on the cabin house which made for easy furling and unfurling of the sails. When we were getting close to our destination, we started the 76hp turbo Yanmar diesel, furled in the sails, and motored at about 8 knots till we were inside the harbor. Then, once we figured out which dock slip was ours, we used the bow thruster to help us back in. There were plenty of "helpers" waiting to lend a hand as we backed in, but I think they just all wanted a free tour of the new Beneteau 49. A truly great sail. We made the 38 mile trip in about 5 1/2 hours on the water, dock to dock.

This particular boat is the two cabin version, with large owners stateroom aft and guest stateroom forward. The customer also had us install a convertible dinnete table to add another double berth for more guests. The 49 has a beautiful varnished interior, with the new Alpi wood that the Beneteau wood shop in France is supplying for all their new models. The boats interior space is designed by Nauta Design Group, well known for their interior design on some of Europe's most significant Mega Yachts. The open design is well thought out, spacious, and allows for plenty of storage. The 49 even has recessed "mood lighting" in the main saloon, which I also think is very nice. The Beneteau 49 was a winner in these client's hearts and can capture yours as well.
Call Karma Yacht Sales to find out more or to schedule an appointment to see one first hand. 877-Karma-Y-S.