Boat Review: Beneteau Oceanis 41.1

Author:
Updated:
Original:
Beneteau Oceanis 41.1

Owner feedback helps make for smart changes in a popular cruiser

What’s better than something that works? Something that works even better. With this in mind, Beneteau reviewed its Oceanis 41—a model at a very popular length—and with owner feedback and some clever engineering, launched the new and improved Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 at this year’s Miami Boat Show. The result is better performance and a more ergonomic interior, not to mention fun sailing, even in light winds.

Design & Construction

The Finot-Conq-designed hull remains mostly the same. The bow is still blunt, and the 13ft 9in beam is carried well aft, while hard chines in the stern sections continue to both increase interior volume and reduce heel—keeping it 5 degrees less than on competitive models in her size range, according to Beneteau engineers. The flat bottom, single spade rudder and a keel that is available in either a 7ft 2in deep or 5ft 6in shoal-draft version are also all elements we’ve seen before.

Lest anyone think there are no changes to this design, however, Beneteau has also slimmed the boat down by an impressive 1,200lb. The savings came about by reducing the amount of interior wood trim and changing up the transom, which still drops down to form a swim platform, but no longer sports the full-width lip that previously served as a seat. Instead, there are now a couple of lightweight seats at the twin wheels that hinge up and out of the way when not in use. Not only does this make the whole transom section lighter, it also opens up the aft deck with a clearer path to the water when the seats are not in use.

The Z-Spars mast was also moved aft, freeing up additional space down below and opening up the foretriangle. The boat’s standard rig includes a 95 percent self-tacking jib on a Facnor furler that sheets to a track just ahead of the mast. Larger headsails can be led to a pair of tracks just outboard of the cabintrunk.

On Deck

The Beneteau Ocenais 41.1 is all about the cockpit. Two seats are separated by a massive drop-leaf table with an optional fridge in one end and Beneteau’s signature removable cockpit light in the other. When only one guest cabin is chosen below, the port cockpit settee opens up to reveal cavernous storage space for everything from fenders and lines to a place for optional equipment installations.

Twin helms, with optional carbon wheels, allow for outboard steering and clear sightlines forward. Engine controls are on the port side only, but B&G multifunction displays can be mounted on both sides. The German mainsheet system has an attachment point on the integrated arch, which also provides good handholds when moving forward.

The lifelines are low, as they tend to be on production boats, but there are two nice, long side gates to make loading gear from the dock or a dinghy much easier. The mooring cleats are satisfyingly beefy and will hold a 1in line without any problem. The bow pulpit is open, while a sprit to attach a downwind sail and a double bow roller is available as options, as is in-mast mainsail furling.

Space (and wine storage) abounds in the the saloon

Space (and wine storage) abounds in the the saloon

Layout & Accommodations

There are four layout options in which only the fore and aft ends change while the saloon, galley and head remain the same. The greatest improvement over the Oceanis 41 was made in the master stateroom forward, which gained space as the mast moved aft with the compression post now cutting through the saloon table. Double doors provide privacy to the cabin; however, if a couple is aboard alone, the doors can be kept open, making the boat feel longer and more spacious.

The island berth is either on the centerline, which makes it easy to get into, or angled to starboard if a private head is added. Personally, I think a 40-footer doesn’t really need two heads, especially aboard the Beneteau 41.1, since without the added bulkheads the stateroom enjoys that much better ventilation with three overhead hatches—a welcome detail in hotter climates. The whole cabin seems to have grown into itself with room for lockers and a place to dress even with the doors closed. I expect the centerline berth to be the most popular for U.S.-based couples.

A small forward-facing desk was added in the saloon aft of the master stateroom bulkhead. Some may not see much use in it, but I like having a dedicated desk in which to keep cruising guides, handheld radios, ship’s keys and so forth. To starboard is a U-shaped settee and a large drop-leaf table that connects the two sides of the boat for dining. True to form on a French boat, there are three bottle storage areas aboard, two of which are housed in this table.

The galley is L-shaped and to port with a two-burner Eno stove, Vitrifrigo top and side-loading refrigeration, a single sink and soft-close drawers for plenty of storage. Across is a small cabinet topped by a mirror, both of which are attached to the bulkhead that encloses the aft head with separate shower stall. Again, two cabins aft are an option, or you can leave the guests to starboard, reserving the entire port side for the aforementioned storage, which would be my preference.

Under Sail

The best way to test a boat is in either a lot of wind or nearly none, and we got the latter on Biscayne Bay, with a very light breeze of 6 to 8 knots. This is a speed at which boats either prove to be nimble or falter, and I’m happy to report that the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 did just fine.

With the upgraded Elvstrøm laminate sails, we glided along at 6.9 knots in 8 knots of true wind at 75 degrees. The boat accelerated noticeably to 7.5 knots in a 10-knot puff as we fell off to a beam reach. That speed decreased to 3.7 knots as we ran off at 150 degrees, and we wished we had a Code 0. But since this was only hull #3, the entire suite of sails was not yet available. At the end, despite the light conditions, there were smiles all around as the entire crew agreed that the 41.1 was the most enjoyable test sail we had done all day.

Under Power

With just under 18,000lb of displacement, the boat’s 45hp Yanmar with saildrive has plenty of power. On flat water in a light breeze, we maxed out at 3,000 rpm going 8.5 knots. A fast cruise would be more like 7.4 knots at 2,200 rpm. While 53 gallons of fuel is not a lot by oceangoing standards, it provides a range of nearly 600 nautical miles at 5.5 knots if the engine burns a half a gallon per hour at that speed.

Conclusion

I like the whole new Oceanis line, which includes models from 38ft to 60ft, but a 41-footer really hits the spot for many couples. Previously, sailors were forced to step up to the 45 if they wanted a liveable master stateroom with an island berth. However, for many that was too much boat for too much money. That’s why Beneteau’s revamp of this model is so welcome. Again, they’ve taken something that already worked and made it that much better. 

Sailplan: Beneteau Oceanis 41.1

Sailplan: Beneteau Oceanis 41.1

 beneteauusa.com

For more SAIL Boat Reviews, click here.

August 2016

Related

VendeePromo

2020-21 Vendée Timeline

As a spectator event, France’s Vendée Globe never disappoints, and the 2020-21 edition of the quadrennial round-the-world race was no exception. From equipment failures to climactic rescues, heartbreaking abandonments and a breathtakingly close finish, this edition, which ...read more

valleytrunk3

BVI Chartering in the Pandemic

The week before I flew out to the British Virgin Islands for a bareboat charter, I was having a few second thoughts. The islands had broken out of their Covid-enforced tourism hiatus in December, but the conditions of entry seemed a little stringent: a negative Covid test within ...read more

01-LEAD-windfarm

Sailing Amid Offshore Wind Farms

Here in Europe, the general feeling about green energy from offshore wind turbines has moved on after an initial surge of general skepticism. Concerns raised over cost, threats to seabirds, wind interference and the rest have to some extent been answered, and it’s hard to argue ...read more

LunaRossaPrada

VIDEO: Luna Rossa Wins the Prada Cup

The show has gone on despite last week's Covid panic in Auckland, and the "underdog" Italians are victorious. After being bested by INEOS Team UK in the round robin section, they seemed to have an uphill battle ahead of them going into the finals. However, the Italians have been ...read more

FB-BHM-Cuffe-2048x

Sail Black History Month Series: Paul Cuffe

Paul Cuffe was born on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, in 1759. His mother was a Native American woman named Ruth Moses, and his father was Kofi Slocum, a formerly enslaved man from the Ashanti Empire, located in modern-day Ghana. They had 10 children including Paul. His ...read more

Ryan-Finn

Point of SAIL: Ryan Finn on Solo-sailing a Proa Round Cape Horn

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with solo-sailor Ryan Finn, a veteran bluewater passagemaker looking to re-create the famed New York-to-San Francisco clipper aboard the 36ft proa, Jzerro. Although Finn was forced to abandon his first attempt ...read more

NewZealand

ACE Postpones Prada Cup

New covid cases in New Zealand have slammed the brakes on the selection series for the America’s Cup, forcing the postponement of Prada Cup racing and calling into question the remainder of the series. The America’s Cup Event (ACE) has put out a statement on their position as ...read more

LunaRossaLeads

VIDEO: Italians Lead in Prada Cup

After a dramatic first weekend of Prada Cup racing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli leads INEOS Team UK four wins to none. The magic number here seven: two more good days for the Italians or four nearly perfect days for the Brits. The Italians went into this series as the underdogs ...read more