Beneteau Oceanis 48
This latest offering in Beneteau’s revitalized Oceanis line of family cruising boats was introduced at the Miami International Boat Show in February. Like the new Oceanis 45, which received a 2012 European Boat of the Year Award, the 48 immediately won some accolades and was tapped for a National Marine Manufacturers Association Innovation Award soon after the show opened.
Like the 45, the 48 combines some cutting-edge design elements from Beneteau’s new Sense line with a more traditional range of accommodation plans. In this larger footprint, the result is an exceedingly open, airy living space on a boat that is comfortable and easy to sail.
The hull is a solid fiberglass laminate set in polyester resin, while the deck—also fiberglass—is injection-molded and cored with end-grain balsa. The hull-deck joint is bonded with adhesive and fastened with screws. The hull is stiffened with a monolithic inner structural molding that is bonded in place. The keel, with cast-iron ballast, is bolted on with stainless steel fasteners and backing plates. The stock for the single spade rudder is fiberglass. The slightly fractional rig features an aluminum mast with double spreaders and discontinuous stainless steel standing rigging.
The 48’s marquee deck feature, as on the 45, is the full-width motorized fold-down transom, which, when deployed, effectively transforms the back of the boat into a vast teak-covered beach. This makes it very easy to board and disembark from tenders and also, of course, serves as a fabulous swim platform.
In all other respects, the deck and cockpit layout is clean and functional. The cockpit is exceedingly wide, with plenty of room for two comfortable helm stations to port and starboard, a very large fixed cockpit table (equipped with an internal deck fridge on our test boat), and two long bench seats backed by reasonably high coamings. Forward of the cockpit, looming high over the back of the coach roof, is a large arch to which the single-line mainsheet is led. On our test boat, the arch also served as a foundation for a full-length cockpit bimini. This provided fantastic shelter from the sun, but thoroughly obstructed our view of the sails, as the viewing windows aft were far too small to be useful.
Moving forward I found that the recessed grabrails in the coach roof were perhaps a little too subtle, which might make them hard for crew to grab in a panic. Nor do they run the full length of the cabinhouse. On the bow there is a vast amount of storage space, both inside the dedicated sail locker and in the huge anchor well just forward of it.
Our test boat had a spacious three-stateroom layout, with an absolutely enormous master stateroom forward. The most startling feature here was the entirely transparent segregated shower stall set off in one corner, which affords those lounging on the island double berth an excellent view of anyone showering. The segregated ensuite toilet compartment directly opposite, thankfully, is entirely private. Between the two is a large sink and vanity.
The twin staterooms located aft under the cockpit are superbly executed, with lots of ambient light pouring in through both hull and bulkhead ports. Two small opening hatches provide ventilation, and the large double berth has plenty of vertical clearance with no horizontal bites taken out for the engine space.
On our boat the galley was aft to port with a separate island for the sinks set off near the centerline, right by the companionway. There are generous amounts of counter space, particularly near the stove, and the front-loading fridge and dishwasher on our test boat had doors incorporated into the joinery that lent the entire space a sleek, minimalist look.
Three other accommodation plans, two with full-length galley saloons, are available. One of these is a two-stateroom layout; the other two boast four staterooms.
I sailed the 48 in moderate wind on Biscayne Bay and was impressed by its performance. In spite of having a poorly shaped in-mast mainsail with no vertical battens and a very hollow leech, the boat was fast and reasonably close-winded. In 13 knots of apparent wind we carried 8 knots of boatspeed at a 40 degree apparent wind angle. Cracking off to a 65 degree angle, our speed jumped to over 9 knots.
Turning off the wind, however, our speed dropped quickly. We made 5.8 knots in 8 knots of apparent at a 90 degree angle and 5.2 knots at a 130 degree angle.
The helm, though not too light, was responsive with good feedback. Though it is super-wide and carries just one rudder, the boat, with its hard-chined hull, showed no tendency to spin out in gusts. In comparison, while test-sailing the Oceanis 45 in a bit more wind in the fall, flying a much more efficient vertically-battened sail, the rudder did once lose its grip. I wonder, therefore, if a battenless mainsail might actually work better on these boats.
Our test boat carried a 75hp Yanmar diesel engine, but was not equipped with the optional Dock & Go maneuvering system. Motoring in flat water we made 8.4 knots at a cruising rpm of 2,100. Flat out at 3,200 rpm, our speed increased to 9.4 knots. Throwing the engine into full reverse, I stopped the boat in about one and a half boatlengths. Turning hard at speed, we pirouetted 360 degrees in just one boatlength. The boat handled very predictably backing down, with good helm response.
Engine access below, through the shallow flip-up companionway stairs and through the sides of the engine compartment via the aft staterooms, was very good.
The many deck hatches and cabin and bulkhead ports on this boat give its interior an exceptionally airy ambiance. Couple this with multiple layout options, some sleeping as many as 10 people, and you have a floating home that promises to keep you comfortable in style. The easy access to the water through the fold-down transom and the boat’s superior sailing performance make it an excellent choice for a large cruising family on the go.
HEADROOM 6ft 6in
BERTHS 6ft 10in x 5ft 1in (fwd); 6ft 9in x 5ft 1in (aft)
LOA 47ft 11in // LWL 45ft 7in // BEAM 15ft 7in
DRAFT 7ft // DISPLACEMENT 29,321lb
BALLAST 7,826lb // SAIL AREA 1,215ft2
FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 52/87/17
ENGINE 75hp Yanmar diesel (saildrive)
ELECTRICAL 110AH (engine); 2 x 140AH (house)
DESIGNER Berret-Racoupeau/Nauta Design
BUILDER Beneteau USA, Marion, SC, 843-629-5300
PRICE $313,000 base