On June 27, 1898 Joshua Slocum (age 54) became the first person to sail around the world singlehanded. He did it in the wooden sloop "Spray" which was just 36'9" (11.2 m) long with 14'2" (2.40 m) beam. Perhaps that puts the new Beneteau Sense 46 in some perspective. In fact, a 46' sailboat is generally considered to be a more than adequate size for ocean-going sailing. While most sailors never go to Bermuda much less, TA or around the world, it is always nice to know one's vessel could do it if she was called upon to do so. The Sense 46 is designed to be such a boat, and moreover to do it easily by a couple and in a surprising degree of comfort.
“Dock & Go” joystick
Standard mast 9/10 electro-polished aluminum installed on the deck, 2 levels of angled spreaders - MDS roller slides
This picture says it all: who wouldn't want to anchor in gin-clear waters nearly anywhere in the world? With a boat as easy to handle as the Sense 46 and an autopilot, a couple can sail most anywhere.
Beneteau does not mince words when it comes to what the Sense 46 has been designed to do. She is to provide a sense of "well-being second to none on a sailing monohull with which you can sail around the world." She is designed to be "simple and seaworthy at the same time," and in fact the two usually travel in tandem when it comes to sailing. Finally, says Beneteau, by bringing control of the boat aft to the helm "you can always sail the Sense 46 with a limited crew."
The transom is the most distinguishing feature of the Sense 46. Note that the helm seats swing up out of the way to maximize access to the boat's teak beach. A transom board pulls up to raise the stern freeboard should it be necessary in a following sea. Most of the time it is not needed.
The Sense 46 is not the first vessel Beneteau has built with her configuration. She is the fourth boat in the Sense series, the others being 43, 50, and 55. To a great degree all four of these boats are similar which means that the 46 design concept has already been tested all over the world in different sizes. (For an in-depth Captain's Report on the Sense 55, click here.)
Hull Shape. The hull shape of the Sense 46 has been inspired by the current generation of fast offshore racers which have battled each other in some of the most arduous sailing conditions in the world. These designs which the Sense 46 emulates are known for being downwind flyers and remarkably able to windward.
The Sense 46 has a shallow bottom, a creased chine in her topsides aft, and a beam that is carried right to her transom, giving her an immense amount of form stability. (Ironically, much the same could be said of Slocum's Spray.)
The Sense 46 is shown here sailing slightly overpowered. Her lines call for her to sail with only a 10-to-12-degree heeling angle. It might take sailors used to conventional sailboats time to get used to this comfortable heeling angle -- just watch the speedo! Note that the mainsheet runs through two blocks on the arch. This is a major innovation of the Sense series and makes boat handling easier and safer.
Low Heel Angle. Going along with her hull shape and broad beam (14'6"/4.43 m) is the fact that she is designed to sail with only a 10-to-12-degree angle of heel. Heeling her more just slows her down and makes her uncomfortable for family and friends. This is the "genius" aspect of the Sense 46 -- keeping her comfortable means she is sailing on her lines and going as fast as she can. Indeed, it is not unusual for a powerboat to roll 20 degrees or more in a seaway. Sailboats are nearly always more comfortable offshore when the going gets sloppy.
Few things are more fun or thrilling than sailing offshore at night. Here the cockpit is lit for the photo, but the Sense 46 has screens to darken the cockpit when sailing at night. Red and blue lights in the arch and elsewhere are used so as not to disturb the skipper's night vision.
Light Displacement. She displaces 27,116 lbs (12,303 kgs.) dry, in her lightweight, deep (7'1"/2.15 m) keel mode. In that configuration she has a ballast/displacement ratio of just 28%, something made possible because of her form stability. With her shallow keel (6'1"/1.86 m) she carries 8,552 lbs. (3,880 kgs.) of cast iron in her keel for a dry ballast/displacement ratio of about 30%. This light displacement makes her easier to push on most points of sail which means she can go faster in light breezes. Downwind, in a fresh breeze, she can go very fast, indeed.
Twin Rudders. By having twin rudders at a V angle, the helmsman is assured to have control even in conditions when the boat is overpowered. This also makes the boat easier to steer down wind and under power.
This is more like it -- a comfortable heeling angle that allows everyone in the cockpit to feel secure without holding on with a death grip. Moving around becomes easier which means fewer bumps and bruises.
Not only is the cockpit large enough for a family or two couples, but a charter party will also enjoy it.
Large Cockpit. In a sailboat all hands live on deck and in the Sense 46 everyone will have a comfortable place to sit securely in the cockpit. With a U-shaped dinette to starboard and a bench seat to port, eight people can comfortably sit in the cockpit area and four more can sit on the twin helm seats. This is as much seating as in most 70' conventionally-designed sailboats.
Easy to Sail. Everything about the Sense 46 has been designed to make her easy to sail. All of the sail controls for both the headsail and the main (except the topping lift) have been brought back to the cockpit where they are stopped by cam cleats forward of the boat's two secondary winches. A roller furling headsail and a fully-battened main with lazy jacks and a lazy bag make sail-handling quick and easy. Roller furling main is an option. Add the optional power winches and even small children can control the sails.
The Sense 46 saloon and galley could not be brighter. Light Alpi Wood tones on the deck and bulkheads reflect light making the space seem even larger.
The "island" on the galley side provides support for the cook on port tack and more counter space. Inside there is a fold-out seat that allows two more people to sit at the dining table and room for a pop-up TV.
Large, Bright Saloon and Galley. With portlights, skylights and windows on five sides of the main inside living area, ambient light makes the saloon a cheery place to be. The galley runs along the entire port side of this space making it easy for two people to work there at the same time and provides lots of much-needed counter space. A thoughtful "island" provides the cook support on a port tack and also contains fold-out seating at the dining table.
Pod Drive Power. The Sense 46 is equipped with a Yanmar 75-hp sail drive engine with pod and three-blade prop. This engine provides a lot of power and when coupled with the optional "Dock-and-Go" joystick system with bow thruster, docking becomes a non-issue.
The master stateroom is in the bow and has a double bed and an en suite head with separate shower stall. The guest stateroom is to port and has a double bed which takes up the full width of the cabin. It has a large wash basin and separate shower. Its toilet is across the passage way and serves double duty as the day head. This is a clever use of space and function.
We would ask Beneteau if it is possible to fit two bunks in this cabin, rather than the double. While it may not be popular for the charter crowd its versatility in more appropriately handling guests is obvious.
The master stateroom is forward and has a diamond-shaped double bed.
The guest stateroom is on the port side and this bed is designed to have its head in the foreground not at the bulkhead where the pillows are for this photo. Note the location of the reading lights.
Beneteau’s expertise for more than one hundred and thirty years has been in the manufacturing of very well designed and built sail and power boats that have well above average handling characteristics at an affordable price. Since most boaters sail relatively close to home in coastal areas, we feel the Sense series is a perfectly suited and well equipped for this mission.
Beneteau Sense 46 (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Beneteau Sense 46 (2013-) Warranty
Beneteau Sense 46 (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Beneteau Sense 46 (2013-) Price
Beneteau Sense 46 (2013-) Price
Base Price (MSRP)
Price as Tested
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
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