Beneteau Ocea­nis 46.1

This new launch com­bines cruis­ing el­e­ments with a racy hull

Soundings - - Dispatches - BY DEN­NIS CAPRIO

To stand next to Beneteau’s Ocea­nis 46.1 at the dock is to be struck by the ex­panse of free­board and the broad beam in the af­ter third of the hull. The beam pro­vides what seems like an acre of sur­face on which the Ocea­nis will surf the face of waves on a broad reach. The Code 0 head­sail is full of wind-driven horse­power. This boat shares char­ac­ter­is­tics with the blind­ingly fast Volvo Open 70s and Volvo Ocean 65s.

Pas­cal Conq, who did the naval ar­chi­tec­ture for the 46.1, in­cor­po­rated a mod­i­fied ver­sion of an­other race-de­rived trend: chines. Rules for the Volvo Ocean Race es­tab­lished a max­i­mum beam to en­hance the boat’s abil­ity to right it­self from a 180de­gree knock­down. To get as much beam at the wa­ter­line as they wanted, but with­out ex­ceed­ing the limit of over­all beam, de­sign­ers sim­ply cut off the flare that would re­sult from con­tin­u­ing the bot­tom’s arc to its log­i­cal ter­mi­nus at deck level. Wide boats with a sin­gle, deep rud­der and fixed keel re­lied on the sub­merged chines up­wind to help bal­ance the helm at big an­gles of heel.

Conq drew chines on the Ocea­nis 46.1 for an­other rea­son. Twin rud­ders well out­board of the boat’s cen­ter­line elim­i­nate the change in bal­ance as the boat heels. The main pur­pose of chines on the Ocea­nis 46.1 is to re­duce wet­ted sur­face area when the boat is un­der power or sail­ing dead down­wind, al­low­ing eco­nom­i­cal mo­tor­ing plus the abil­ity to ghost along nicely un­der sail in light air.

When Beneteau de­cided to re­new the Ocea­nis range, the goal was to strike a good com­pro­mise be­tween a com­fort­able cruis­ing boat and the racier First se­ries. The hull on the 46.1 widens above the chines, giv­ing the in­te­rior lots of vol­ume for the ac­com­mo­da­tions but not at the ex­pense of per­for­mance.

Un­der power, the Ocea­nis 46.1 was re­mark­ably quiet as we ac­cel­er­ated to hull speed, just shy of 9 knots. In-mast furl­ing, such as the type on this 46.1, has for many years com­pro­mised the shape of many a main. This main­sail, how­ever, set beau­ti­fully. It’s made from North Sails’ 3Di Nor­dac, which com­bines com­pos­ite molded-sail tech­nol­ogy with polyester fabric. Bat­tens help the roach keep its shape. The self-tend­ing jib eases short tacks up a nar­row road­stead. With the Code 0 set in a true wind speed of 9.2 knots and an­gle of 122 de­grees, the 46.1 showed 7.6 knots through the wa­ter.

While the beam en­hances the boat’s max­i­mum speed, it also cre­ates great cruis­ing fea­tures, both be­low the wa­ter­line and in the ac­com­mo­da­tions. Sub­stan­tial beam aft al­lows ex­tra vol­ume for stowage, ma­chin­ery and, in the Ocea­nis 46.1, two dou­ble- berth state­rooms. The cock­pit is rel­a­tively large for the boat’s LOA. In ad­di­tion to twin helms, it has a dropleaf ta­ble on cen­ter­line. With the leaves de­ployed, the ta­ble seats eight adults on built-in set­tees.

Beneteau of­fers a va­ri­ety of in­te­rior ar­range­ments, which all show an in­tel­li­gent use of space. Hatches and port lights, and the use of blond cab­i­netry, keep the in­te­rior bright and wel­com­ing.

The Ocea­nis 46.1 sup­plies lots of in­te­rior com­fort and good per­for­mance.

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