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