Beneteau Sense 57

A lux­u­ri­ous French cruiser that makes more sense than ever

SAIL - - New Boats - By Zuzana Proc­hazka

Cruis­ers who spend pro­longed pe­ri­ods away from the dock, ei­ther un­der sail and at an­chor, will ap­pre­ci­ate the practical as well as the aes­thetic changes that have been made to the newly re­vamped Beneteau Sense 57. The orig­i­nal Sense line was in­tro­duced in 2010 to great ac­claim. Thanks to a num­ber of up­grades, it looks to have an equally strong fu­ture.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

Ber­ret-Ra­cou­peau’s orig­i­nal de­sign is still very much in ev­i­dence with re­spect to the Sense 57’s ex­te­rior. In fact, the hull, un­der­body and rig re­main mostly the same. The wide cock­pit, which launched the term “mono­maran” seven years ago, due to its width and re­sem­blance to the cock­pit on a cata­ma­ran, is also sim­i­lar, al­though some up­dates make it more us­able.

The old helm seats that lifted up and out at the stern, for ex­am­ple, have been re­placed with two fixed seats and an elec­tri­cally ac­ti­vated hy­draulic tran­som. Safety sur­faced as an owner con­cern, and this new tran­som pro­vides a back­stop for things like pets and small kids.

When low­ered, the tran­som forms a teak beach that ex­tends the cock­pit and pro­vides nice ac­cess to the wa­ter or a dock. It’s also the place to stand while cook­ing at the out­door gal­ley mod­ule nes­tled in­side the seats. To star­board is an elec­tric Eno grill; to port is a sink and prep-sta­tion area. One of the nice things about this ar­range­ment is that the chef can min­gle with the party dur­ing meal prepa­ra­tion. The heat and smells of cook­ing also stay out of the in­te­rior.

ON DECK In an­other nice touch, an op­tional com­pos­ite hard­top ex­tends from the trade­mark Beneteau arch aft to the twin helm sta­tions. The sides of this top are rigid, but the mid­dle sec­tion is can­vas, and opens and closes like an ac­cor­dion sun­roof. The aft cor­ners have also been an­gled in­ward, leav­ing the port and star­board ends rel­a­tively open with room for the crew to toss lines ashore, while the stain­less steel in­board sup­ports make ex­cel­lent hand­holds. This top will run you $13,000 ex­tra, but it’s well worth it given the pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments and all the steady­ing grab rails it pro­vides. It looks pretty good too.

The rig is by Seldén with double spread­ers, a split back­stay and a rigid boom vang. The stan­dard up­wind sail area with main­sail and genoa is roughly 1,600ft 2. The head­sail is on a Fac­nor furler, at­tached along­side a shapely in­te­grated sprit. This ap­pendage blends nicely with the hull, holds twin an­chors and also serves as an at­tach­ment point for a Code 0.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS

Rev­o­lu­tion­ary in its de­sign when in­tro­duced, the Sense in­te­rior is based on

the idea that the liv­ing quar­ters should be sep­a­rated from the noise and vi­bra­tion of ma­chin­ery, most of which re­sides aft un­der the cock­pit sole. The three cab­ins in the stan­dard lay­out are there­fore clus­tered for­ward and are less sep­a­rate (and there­fore less pri­vate) than aboard a yacht with a more tra­di­tional lay­out. The mas­ter cabin is in the bow with an en­suite head and plen­ti­ful stowage op­tions.

Beneteau’s new Ital­ian head of prod­uct plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment, Gian­guido Girotti, has re­cently added some ex­tra stylish lux­ury to all the com­pany’s yachts, es­pe­cially to those above 50ft, and the 57 is no ex­cep­tion. On the Sense 57, the open con­cept sa­loon and gal­ley lay­out re­main the same as be­fore. But the fin­ishes have been changed up through­out, and now in­clude the op­tion of a richer wal­nut color of Alpi wood paired with a deeper tone of trim paint.

The cab­i­netry is also more el­e­gantly fin­ished at the edges, and the locker faces are ei­ther lac­quered or wood grain. Plen­ti­ful ports, hatches and fixed win­dows admit a tremen­dous amount of light. In many ways it’s more like that of a power cruiser than a tra­di­tional sail­boat, with no feel­ing of be­ing buried in­side. The sa­loon blends into the gal­ley and is sep­a­rated by a panel that holds a pop-up flatscreen TV, evok­ing feel­ings of how we live and en­ter­tain at home.

UN­DER SAIL

De­spite its size, the Sense 57 is in­cred­i­bly well-man­nered and eas­ily sailed by a cruis­ing cou­ple. The wide helm con­soles are styled like those aboard a su­pery­acht and are nicely laid out with 12in B&G dis­plays and wind in­stru­ments at both wheels. (Elec­tron­ics are priced in packs or com­bi­na­tions, so it’s easy to spec ex­actly what you need.)

The Harken pri­mary winches are a bit of a reach if you’re stand­ing be­hind the wheel. But with a boat of this size, it makes sense to up­grade to the elec­tric op­tion, which in turn, places the con­trol but­tons aft of the winch and closer to the driver. A choice of two drafts (6ft 10in or 7ft 10in) is avail­able. Al­though nei­ther is par­tic­u­larly skinny-wa­ter friendly, both keep the boat on her feet in a blow. Twin rud­ders en­sure a firm grip in a se­away or at more dra­matic heel an­gles.

Our test was out on Mi­ami’s Bis­cayne Bay, where the wa­ter was flat and the breeze was 12-14 knots true—an ideal day for the Sense 57’s slip­pery hull—and we eas­ily made a good 8.8 knots on a beam reach. Eas­ing off to a 125-de­gree ap­par­ent wind an­gle, our speed dropped to 6.7 knots, which is still re­spectable con­sid­er­ing the boat’s nearly 42,000lb light ship dis­place­ment.

Over­all the Sense 57 has a calm and easy feel, which builds con­fi­dence even when sail­ing short­handed. Noth­ing hap­pens too quickly or er­rat­i­cally, mak­ing for a civ­i­lized ex­pe­ri­ence afloat: whether from the safety of the helm area aft or when mov­ing for­ward along the side decks along­side the re­fresh­ingly tall life­lines.

UN­DER POWER The Sense 57 of­fers a choice of two en­gines: an 80hp Yan­mar diesel with saildrive, or a 110hp Yan­mar with a straight shaft. At wide-open throt­tle on flat wa­ter, our boat­speed with the 80hp pow­er­plant reached 9.5 knots at 3,200 rpm. With an eye to­ward fuel preser­va­tion, a 2,200 rpm cruise speed would be more rea­son­able and still gen­er­ated 8.1 knots.

Fuel ca­pac­ity is 110 gal, but it can be dou­bled by adding an ex­tra tank, which will be well worth it if you plan to cruise long dis­tances to re­mote des­ti­na­tions. Wa­ter tank­age is quite good at 169 gal, with the op­tion of a wa­ter­maker to make the boat even more self-suf­fi­cient.

CON­CLU­SION

The Sense line started with the launch of the 50 and even­tu­ally grew to four mod­els, in­clud­ing a 55-, 46- and 43-footer. Beneteau has since dis­con­tin­ued the smaller ves­sels in the line and mor­phed the 50 into the 51 and the 55 into the 57.

In the re­vamp, Beneteau fo­cused on en­hanced func­tion­al­ity with owner feed­back driv­ing much of the makeover. A safer tran­som, a sprit for eas­ier down­wind sail­ing, a larger but more fuel-ef­fi­cient en­gine, an en­ter­tainer’s out­door gal­ley and a func­tional hard­top all work to­gether to im­prove us­abil­ity and com­fort at an­chor and un­der­way. As a re­sult, at the risk of mak­ing yet an­other pun at the ex­pense of the boat’s name, the Sense now makes more sense than ever. s

COM­POS­ITE HARD­TOP SE­CURE COCK­PIT FIXED SPRIT

Three easy steps lead from the cock­pit down to the sa­loon

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