by Jessica Watson

French yacht manufacturer, Beneteau, has added a decimal point to its popular Oceanis 41 giving us the 41.1. The Finot-Conq designed hull is largely unchanged, but this updated yacht has been lightened and features a number of improvements based on owner feedback.

The Oceanis 41.1 has Beneteau’s iconic chined lines, but the most noticeable feature of this boat has to be the generous cockpit, which Beneteau claims to be the largest for any boat of this size. Like other yachts in Beneteau’s Oceanis range, the 41.1 is primarily designed for coastal cruising.

What you get

Beneteau offers four different layout options; option one offers a large master cabin in the bow, a guest cabin at the stern and a large lazarette storage area. The second option is much like the first except that a fair amount of space in the forward cabin is taken up with an ensuite. The third option see’s the lazarette replaced with a third cabin and the fourth again has three cabins with the main cabin again gaining an ensuite.

The single bathroom, three-cabin layout on the test boat is likely to be the most popular and also reflects the way the Oceanis 41.1 is mostly likely to be used. There’s enough room for friends or a family to stay overnight and the large lazarette isn’t essential for the bay and twilight sailing that is likely to be its most common use.

But whichever layout is chosen, the open plan cabin of the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 is a world away from the dark, snug cabins of older yachts. The abundance of natural light comes from the usual array of opening hatches, the cabin top windows, as well as the large hull windows that have been made even bigger on this updated version. These hull windows also provided a lovely view of Port Philip Bay, again not something you would get on an older yacht, on the test day.

The single level floor throughout the salon and all cabins adds to the spacious feel. On the test boat they used light oak timber with linen upholstery but there are a number of colour options available.

Up at the bow in the master bedroom, the double bed is a regular rectangular shape rather than being angled along the side of the hull as it would be most competitors of this size.

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oceanis 41.1-20They were able to do this by making the anchor locker bigger, which also gives you the added advantage of more storage space as there is limited deck storage in this layout option. The forward cabin is well ventilated with three opening hatches, and the double opening cabin doors are a nice touch, which also add to the openness of this room.

The nav station, positioned at the end of a couch on the forward salon wall is small but adequate considering how little use it is likely to see. Although the boat I sailed only had one head it was a good size and also had a separate shower.

The L-shaped galley features a gimbaled stove, a deep practical single sink and a fridge that can be accessed from both the top and side. I was happy to see that the clasp on the side door of the fridge was secure and sturdy enough to prevent cold drinks emptying across the cabin.

On the subject of drinks, opening a few doors and investigating the salon table I found three separate wine storage racks and pulling up a floor board revealed further convenient bottle storage. Very French and another indication of how this boat is intended to be enjoyed!

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oceanis 41.1-15Back on deck, the large cockpit is also perfect for entertaining. The cockpit table is large when folded out, but the hero of the cockpit is the electric opening transom. Retracting with the push of a bottom the transom becomes a swim platform or a very convenient way to board from a tender or the dock. Another update to this version is helm seats that fold out of the way, giving clear access to the open transom.

If boarding at the stern isn’t convenient, the boarding gates on the sides are nice and big making for another easy access point onto the boat. This updated version of the Oceanis 41.1 also features a moulded toe rail that felt very safe, lowering the risk of anyone or thing going over the side.

Power

While bow thrusters are not an uncommon option on new boats of this size range, they are still a welcome luxury making it a simple boat to maneuver. The generous power of the 45hp Yanmar diesel also helps. The engine has new digitally controlled Common-Rail, technology that helps to reduce emissions and noise while improving efficiency. Putting the throttle right down I was happy to see our speed climb over 8 knots, not a speed that’s braking any records but a respectable one.

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oceanis 41.1-27Pulling up the companionway stairs in one neat motion I was happy to see the engine compartment laid out in a logical way that provided easy access to anything that might require attention. For those who want to spend the absolute minimum amount of time maintaining their yacht there’s a lot to be said for a new production boat like this. Not all boats take off the shelf spares, and replacement parts and Beneteau has been able to refine the different systems on board its boats over the years.

On the water

Sadly, Port Phillip Bay didn’t give us a lot of wind on the day of the test sail, but the boat did feel light, moving in just a few knots of wind and hitting 6 knots at a close reach when the wind rose to 8 knots. With the deck-stepped mast moved back the boat is well balanced, and the slight overlap on the Genoa made tacking very easy.

The boat comes standard with a fully battened mainsail and furling genoa by Elvstrom. If intended for racing the performance option offers laminate performance sails and a German mainsheet system that can be sheeted from both sides of the cockpit. A pole for an asymmetric kite or code zero are also options.
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oceanis 41.1-13Hoisting the mainsail couldn’t have been any easier with lazy jacks, a large sail bag and an electric cabin top winch. Electric winches are also an option for the primary, a real luxury on a yacht this size. The Oceanis 41.1 is clearly designed to be simple to sail, and I find it hard to imagine how she could be any easier to handle short-handed in protected waters. The boat is a great size and would be very easily managed by a couple or family.

As well as increasing the interior volume the hull chines at the stern help keep the boat at a respectable degree of heel, which I’m told makes for comfortable sailing in conditions a little breezier than those I experienced.

The test boat had a standard 2.19m deep draft keel, but Beneteau also offers a shallow draft option with just 1.68 meters of draft. Large spade rudders are positioned right at the stern, and the helm felt very responsive.

B&G touchscreens offering a choice of chart plotter or data displays are located at each helm station. A chart plotter isn’t offered down below, but as the boat is fitted with Wifi, it’s possible to bring up the B&G data from a smart phone or iPad and control the boat from anywhere.

Overview

While the Oceanis 41.1 offers the convenience of a production boat, like all boats in the Oceanis range, you also have the ability to personalize and make it your own, which is a nice touch.

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oceanis 41.1-17This is a yacht for those who enjoy easy cruising, not that anything is stopping you from entering your local races, as many of these boats are. It’s a boat that’s designed for ease of use, comfort and style. For the majority of sailors who enjoy harbor cruising, twilight racing or island hopping the Oceanis 41.1 is a great option. If you are into more serious racing it is probably not the right option for you.

It’s a good size for a couple or family but thanks to the large cockpit and open cabin there’s plenty of room (and wine storage) to entertain friends.

Positives

Well priced
Large cockpit and stern that opens to form swimming or boarding platform
Open plan cabin with great natural light
Very easy and stable to sail

Negativesbeneteau-41-1-8

Limited deck storage in two of the four cabin layout options

Numbers That Matter

Price (from): $340,000
Length overall: 12.43m
Beam: 4.2m
Draft: Deep 2.19m or Shallow 1.68
Displacement: Deep draft 2300kg or Shallow 2500kg
Ballast: Deep draft 2300kg or Shallow 2500kg
Main Sail Area: 40sqm
Genoa Sail Area: 42sqm
Mast Height Above Water: 18.86m

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  • Eugene Danilov

    Based on dims, to transport her overland will cost apprx $9000, here you can see pictures how Seven Seas Yacht Transport did this with Beneteau Oceanis 40 from Miami,FL to Duluth,MN: http://www.sevenseasus.com/photo-gallery