Just Launched: Little Big Boat

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Peter Nielsen looks at Beneteau’s latest entry-level boat and a new cruiser from Tartan

Group Beneteau’s commitment to entry-level boats has been reaffirmed over the last year with the assimilation of the sporty Seascape line of pocket cruisers and the introduction of Jeanneau’s zippy little 319 (reviewed in the February issue). The just-announced Oceanis 30.1 is the latest example of this trend.

If you like the modern production-boat design aesthetic, with its high topsides, squared-off ends and protuberant sprit, you’ll find this a pretty boat—but she’s not for the traditionalists. Design features like twin rudders, hull chines and a generous beam that maxes out just aft of amidships and is carried back to a fat stern are par for the performance-cruiser course these days. Nevertheless, this Finot-Conq design is a much more mainstream boat than her recently discontinued predecessor, the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed First 30, and she promises to have plenty of horsepower too. Hull shapes like this love to get up and go on a reach.

The fractional rig has no backstay and carries a big square-topped main and a small self-tacking jib (in-mast furling and 105 percent genoa are options); for light air and offwind work you’ll want to fly an A-sail or Code 0 tacked down to the tip of the fiberglass sprit. To maximize the boat’s appeal Beneteau offers a choice of four keels—two variations on the centerboard/swing keel theme, and deep- or shoal-draft fin keels. This is one of the smallest boats yet to come standard with twin helms, although the tiller option will probably win its share of fans.

Belowdecks, the boat is the proverbial quart in a pint jar; headroom is an impressive 6ft 6in amidships and over 6ft everywhere else, and there is a large double cabin at each end. The large heads/shower and L-shaped galley look well laid out, and there’s even a small nav desk. This looks to me like another winner for Groupe B.

First shown at the Newport, Rhode Island boat show last September, the Tartan 395 is one of the first new models from the Ohio builder in several years. Though it bears a strong family resemblance to the long-lived Tartan 4000, a glance at the spec sheet reveals that this new boat is slimmer and lighter.

Designer Tim Jackett’s stamp is unmistakable; since the mid-2000s most new Tartans have shared the same overall aesthetic along with a host of commonsense features like the Park Avenue boom and double headsail rig (aka Cruise Control Rig), and a choice of three keel options. This is a sailor’s boat, with the deck and cockpit layouts owing nothing to styling fads and everything to safe, efficient ergonomics. You don’t get the huge cockpit seen in some other boats of this size, but you’ll feel secure in all weathers.

The accommodations are finished in light maple, which makes for a cheerful, airy feel. Jackett resisted the temptation to cram in two heads, which are overkill on a boat this size, instead of devoting space to stowage and a forward-facing chart table. There are two large staterooms and the saloon settees can also be used for sleeping. Tartan reported a half-dozen units sold immediately after the fall shows, a good start for a new model in this day and age. 

CONTACTS

Beneteau beneteau.com

Tartan Yachts tartanyachts.com

March 2019

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