EURO REPORT 404 - Group Therapy
All the latest news, views, boats and scuttlebutt from Europe
In Trade-a-Boat issue 403, we brought you news of Beneteau’s new venture, Monte Carlo Yachts. But the design work, it seems, hasn’t stopped there. Indeed, while the Beneteau Group may have scaled back production in the uncertain economic climate of the last couple of years, it certainly hasn’t stopped its extensive development programme.
Currently on the boards and due for imminent launch at this autumn’s boat shows are a number of new models covering all areas of the motorboat spectrum.
First up is the Antares 32, which will become the first twin-engined flybridge yacht in the Beneteau range, offering performance figures of up to 26kts from the twin 200hp Nanni diesel option. With the engines mounted fairly far forward, there is good stowage under the cockpit sole, while lower-deck accommodation is given over to a large owners cabin complete with island berth. The saloon features U-shaped seating that converts into a second double. The Antares 32 is due to make its debut at the Genoa show in October.
Meanwhile, the Swift Trawler range is getting a new model in the form of the ST44, which is effectively a replacement for the ST42, but also offers several redesigned elements to create more space for guests. Among the tweaks are a modified windscreen angle helping to create a wheelhouse area that is one metre longer than the old model, while a new ‘asymmetric deck’ offers 42cm more beam below, leading to a larger forward cabin. A further guest cabin below and an enlarged, convertible saloon afford space for more guests, the yacht also gets a U-shaped galley with a heap of storage space. On deck, the bathing platform has been lengthened, while the flybridge also benefits from an extra metre of length, allowing for a well-equipped helm station forward and space aft to carry a 3.2m tender. The ST44 will debut at the Paris boat show in December.
Finally, the Flyer range is not only getting an outboard-powered, 7.2m day cruiser in the form of the 750 Cabrio, Beneteau is also launching an entirely new fleet under the brand Flyer Gran Turismo. Designed around the Group’s Air Step hull, the first model will be the Gran Turismo 38, which will pack a number of innovative features into its 11.74m length. Among these are a highly ergonomic, centrally positioned helm station, with a one-piece windscreen for improved visibility, a new anti-reflection finish, and a sterndrive joystick for fingertip handling control. The interior layout, which Beneteau describes as "extraordinarily spacious" draws inspiration from Italian design using new fabrics and wood finishes alongside oversize ports and light wells. Two double cabins are joined by a convertible saloon to offer accommodation for six, while on deck there are plenty of options for taking in the sun. There is a sunpad on the foredeck, but if walking those few metres seems like a little too much work, then a flick of the switch will retract the electric hardtop turning the cockpit into a suntrap. Power will come from twin engines offering up to 300hp each; the GT38 will debut at the Cannes boat show, and Beneteau are due to announce a slightly smaller GT34 model by the end of the year.
As if all that wasn’t enough, word comes to me from a friend who runs his own design studio in Milan, and who does design work for the Group, that Beneteau has a further heap of new models planned for launch later this year and in 2011, covering both power and sail. Watch this space… — Tim Thomas
Photos: Beneteau’s new babies — Swift Trawler 44 side profile; Swift Trawler 44 overhead; Flyer Gran Turismo 38; Flyer GT 38 helm; Antares 32; Flyer 750 Cabrio; Flyer 750 Cabrio stern view.
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