SEVEN HEAVEN

Sea Angler (UK) - - SEAANGLER CONTENTS -

The Beneteau Bar­racuda 7 on test.

Space-sav­ing and in­no­va­tive fea­tures mark out the Beneteau Bar­racuda 7 as a su­perb an­gling boat

The Bar­racuda 7 is the prod­uct of Beneteau’s vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the de­vel­op­ment of per­for­mance seago­ing hulls. Quick to plane and sta­ble to drive, she is pri­mar­ily a fish­ing boat, but her de­sign makes her well suited to fam­ily-day cruis­ing. Her light, airy and spa­cious pi­lot­house fea­tures two side doors that open on to the port and star­board walk­ways, mak­ing move­ment on board eas­ier. Rear ac­cess is pro­vided through full length, three-leaf glass, slid­ing pa­tio-type doors.

A space-sav­ing fea­ture of note is the wheel­house ta­ble that slides up and down on a pole, keep­ing it out of the way be­neath the wheel­house ceil­ing when not in use. For­ward of the pi­lot­house is a huge stowage space/cabin that can be con­verted into a dou­ble berth, in­clud­ing space for a toi­let.

The helms­man ben­e­fits from ex­cel­lent all-round vis­i­bil­ity cour­tesy of large win­dows. The ac­tual helm/con­sole lay­out is ideal to in­stall a full in­ven­tory of ma­rine elec­tron­ics. A small, but ser­vice­able gal­ley is in­cluded. Ad­di­tional light and ven­ti­la­tion can be pro­vided by a sky light fit­ted within the cabin roof, an op­tional ex­tra cer­tainly worth con­sid­er­ing.

There is also a range of op­tions for var­i­ous seat­ing lay­outs within the cabin; more de­tails of which can be found at the Beneteau on­line brochure link.

STA­BIL­ITY AND SAFETY

The spa­cious aft cock­pit in­cludes sev­eral key an­gling fea­tures such as an aer­ated live­bait well, along with the usual rod-rests and stowage racks. There is space to fish ei­ther side of the wheel­house and at the bow, mak­ing this an ideal boat for fish­ing both on the drift or at an­chor.

One par­tic­u­larly in­no­va­tive fea­ture I like is a slid­ing stowage box/seat that ei­ther sits against the tran­som at the aft end of the fish­ing cock­pit, or can be repo­si­tioned for­ward. Other stowage is plen­ti­ful and in­cludes a large locker amid­ships be­neath the cock­pit floor, plus two fish/gen­eral holds. The tran­som in­cludes a use­ful bait prepa­ra­tion sta­tion. The deck is self-drain­ing and fea­tures a durable and very ef­fec­tive moulded, non-slip fin­ish

A sub­stan­tial in­board free­board is per­fect for an­gling in choppy seas, and a de­cent gun­nel height pro­vides com­fort, sta­bil­ity and, of course, safety. A spa­cious an­chor locker at the bow has been de­signed to in­cor­po­rate a

wind­lass, an­other op­tional ex­tra, which is a huge bonus for many an­glers.

The Beneteau Bar­racuda 7 has an over­all length of 24ft 3in, with the hull mea­sur­ing 21ft 3in, while sport­ing a 7ft 10in beam. She dis­places 3,092lb, has a max­i­mum draft of 2ft 11in and has been clas­si­fied as CE Cat­e­gory C for car­ry­ing up to six per­sons, although I would say she is ideal to fish two or three, pos­si­bly four un­der suit­able con­di­tions when the bow area could be fully utilised. Fuel is stored in a 200-litre (44 gal­lon) tank, and fresh­wa­ter in a 50-litre tank.

Beneteau of­fers the en­tire Bar­racuda range in a va­ri­ety of fi­nal fit-out op­tions start­ing with what they call ba­sic, but even that in­ven­tory of the Bar­racuda 7 is ex­tremely com­pre­hen­sive and in­cludes al­most ev­ery­thing most an­glers will re­quire, cer­tainly in terms of deck hard­ware.

Ad­di­tional fac­tory-fit­ted ex­tras, op­tional to those al­ready men­tioned, in­clude a wind­lass, fridge, toi­let, hy­draulic steer­ing, a pump for the live­bait well, deck wash, cush­ions, cock­pi­ten­clos­ing can­vas, ad­di­tional deck hard­ware such as rod-rests, along with var­i­ous fac­tory-fit­ted elec­tron­ics op­tions.

ON THE WA­TER

Sea con­di­tions dur­ing my sea tri­als off the French coast were much too good to get an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of ex­actly what she would per­form like un­der more de­mand­ing con­di­tions. Dur­ing my sea trial there was ev­ery in­di­ca­tion that the Bar­racuda 7 would per­form as well in choppy seas, just like ev­ery other Beneteau boat I have ever tried over the years.

The ad­van­tage of such fine con­di­tions was that they were ideal for as­sess­ing her top-end per­for­mance and fuel con­sump­tion. The test boat was fit­ted with a Suzuki DF200 APX, the max­i­mum rec­om­mend size for this boat. With three per­sons aboard and ap­prox­i­mately half a tank of fuel, the fol­low­ing fig­ures were ob­tained:

■ 1000rpm pro­duced 4.1 knots while burn­ing 2.7 litres per hour.

■ 2000rpm pro­duced 6.4 knots while burn­ing 7.3 litres per hour.

■ 3000rpm pro­duced 8.2 knots while burn­ing 15.4 litres per hour.

■ 4000rpm pro­duced 20.5 knots while burn­ing 27.1litres per hour.

■ 5000rpm pro­duced 28.2 knots while burn­ing 45.5 litres per hour.

■ 5900rpm pro­duced 35 knots while burn­ing 70.7 litres per hour.

Re­sponse to the throt­tle was fast, with the hull ris­ing swiftly up on to the plane. Thrown into a series of tight turns at var­i­ous speeds, the Bar­racuda 7 tracked around beau­ti­fully with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any lat­eral slip, ex­ces­sive list­ing or cav­i­ta­tion, she re­ally was a lot of fun to han­dle. Even within the tight con­fines of the ma­rina, which was heav­ily over­loaded with in ex­cess of 60 Beneteau boats com­pet­ing in the Bar­racuda tour, she han­dled im­pec­ca­bly.

Suit­able for trai­ler­ing and reg­u­larly launch­ing and re­triev­ing, with a suit­able trailer and, of course, ve­hi­cle, the Beneteau Bar­racuda 7 is a boat that would meet all of my off­shore sea an­gling re­quire­ments. ■

Be­low left: The Suzuki DF200 APX out­board

Left: The Bar­racuda has a 7ft 10in beam Be­low: Slid­ing door ac­cess to the cabin

The an­chor chain locker

The slid­ing box/seat

For­ward of the helm is a large stowage/cabin area

An­other of the plen­ti­ful and spa­cious stowage ar­eas

The handy bait prepa­ra­tion area fit­ted at the tran­som

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