By Capt. Steve
While handling the 49, it quickly became apparent that everything about the way this boat handled was different -- and for the better! By that I mean not pounding into a wave, but rather cutting through it, not slamming down in re-entry after catching air, and no over-wide turns at full speed as often occurs with pod drives. It seems clear to me that the design of the hull matched to the IPS pods really comes together in the 49 Fly. The first difference you'll likely notice is in the acceleration curve. Our 30,000 lbs. (13,420 kgs.) Gran Turismo 49 reached 20 mph in only 6.9 seconds. That is remarkable for a boat this long and heavy. While a fast time to plane is not in itself particularly useful in a boat of this type, it does dramatically illustrate that something fundamentally different is going on under this boat. With the twin 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 engines and IPS600 pods, we reached a top speed of 26.7 knots at 3450 rpm. At that speed we were burning 43.3 gph or 163.9 lph for a range of 191 nautical miles. Best cruise was found at 3300 rpm and 24.9 knots. Now we had a fuel burn of 38.30 gph or 144.98 lph for a range of 201 nautical miles.
Handling the 49
There was also a marked difference in the way the 49 handles. She seemed to have a much quicker response to the helm than I've come to expect. Twin pod drives had us cranking around in a very tight turn radius, but it did so with a gentle roll into the turn so neither I, nor the people onboard felt the need to hold on in order to prevent being tossed out of our seats. Likewise, none of the contents of the cupboards down below found their way to the deck.More importantly, the main benefit was in how the 49 handled waves. While it's true we had a relatively calm day on the Mediterranean, we did have a substantial amount of yacht traffic due to the breaking down of the Cannes international boat show. This provided me with more than my fair share of wakes to experiment with.
Powering straight into a 2' (.6 m) wake had me bracing for an impact that never came. We sliced through cleanly and effortlessly and continued on our merry way. Approaching from the backside of the wave had similar results, with no tendency to stuff the bow or push the stern off course. As a matter of fact, I did everything I could to try and get spray on the windshield and failed. The simple fact is, the more I drove this boat…the more I liked the way it handled. She doesn't pound, and when we came down after launching off some small waves the re-entry was cushioned.
Features a Walkthrough Flybridge
So now that we've determined that we have an exceptionally good handling boat, let's take a look at the features from the top down. The optional flybridge is well laid out for entertaining with a roomy L-shaped settee aft. There's a solid wood table that will transform the aft settee into a sun pad. In the folded position the table reveals a grab handle that serves double duty of supporting the table in the extended position.There is a hatch over the companionway that will allow you to lock out access to the flybridge when not onboard, and provide safety for younger occupants while underway. A safety rail surrounds the companionway as well.
The helm is forward and center-mounted with double bucket seats that swivel and slide. To the left is a Raymarine navigation display, and while it faces the captain, its location in front of the observer allows another person to take part in the navigation. The Volvo Penta engine controls are mounted nearly on the vertical, so if you activate any of the multiple options on the control module buttons, which are facing the deck, they will be difficult to see. Pulling up on the controls rather than pushing them forward is awkward.The entire starboard side of the flybridge is all seating that extends from the aft settee fully forward. The forward section culminates in a chaise lounge and a refrigerated drawer is located underneath the seat right next to the helm.
Side Decks and Bow Features
Accessing the side decks is a simple affair thanks to the grab handle at the aft end of the hardtop. Once on deck, a second grab handle runs along the hardtop, and by the time that rail ends, the side rails are at 30" (76.2 cm) high, which exceeds ABYC standards. There is a raised toe rail that does a very good job of keeping your feet in the center of the deck. At the working end of the bow, the deck slopes downward just a bit, while the rail stays level. This has the effect of increasing the rail height to 35" (89 cm) once you reach the ground tackle. I have to take my hat off to the designers for insisting on these high safety rails. Too many builders keep them low to make the boat look "cool." Unfortunately, they are not as safe.Fully forward there are two hatches that lead you to the optional windlass, and you are able to reach under the windlass through a hatch to manage any tangles that may occur. A nice touch is the foredeck that is covered in teak. A double-wide sun pad lies over the cabin, and it is in a fixed position. There are two rails to the sides and drink holders. Standing on the cabin roof showed a solid deck with no flexing or oil canning, even when I jumped up and down on it (for reference, I'm 180 lbs./81.6 kgs.).
Cockpit and Swim Platform
The cockpit measures 8'10" (2.69 m) x 7'4" (2.24 m) and features teak decking and a solid wood table that is on an electrically actuated lift that raises it to dining position, and lowers to sun pad level. A settee seats 6 and there's room for two deck chairs for two to three more. An optional entertainment center with sink, grill and icemaker is forward and to port. In the deck is a hatch leading to the engine compartment. Under the seats is storage that holds two life rafts. The swim platform can either be fixed or hydraulically lowered to form a beach or accommodate a PWC. The tender garage is standard and is big enough to accommodate an 8' (2.4 m) RIB with the outboard attached.
The salon features C-shaped seating on a raised platform. A table offers versatility in that it rises to buffet height, or lowers to dining height at the push of a button. It also slides in and out to allow for an easier time getting behind the table to sit. You can even stand behind the table and after sitting, slide it into dining position...very convenient. And naturally it folds up and expands as desired. To starboard is a credenza with storage cabinets below, and a retractable 32" (81.3 cm) optional flatscreen above.
The lower helm really has it all, and for those who opt to not get the flybridge version, you'll be just as happy operating from this station as from the upper. The ergonomics are spot on perfect as far as I'm concerned, with everything falling right to the hand in a natural position. It was almost as if Beneteau had me positioned in the mock-up and used my hands to place the wheel and controls. Beneteau has taken non-glare panels to another level with a leather and suede panel housing the electronics packages. The look is outstanding. The opening side windows were a blessing on test day, allowing air to flow across the cabin.
The galley is centrally located in the accommodations deck and is well laid out, and even has some innovations. Under the sink are the trash bins (plural) which shows Beneteau's thoughts on recycling. Just to the left is a clever storage area that consists of wire shelving. When you pull one out, another falls into place, in effect doubling your storage capacity. There is a full sized refrigerator/freezer behind wood paneled doors, and just next to the fridge is a narrow set of cabinets with pull out storage that recesses into the cabinet housing. This makes for a galley with as much storage as much larger yachts I've tested. Our test boat was even fitted with an optional dishwasher, just under the silverware drawer.
Across from the galley is the sofa, and this is where the optional third stateroom would be located. Since there's plenty of seating on the helm deck and the aft cockpit, few would argue against the merits of losing the lower seating in favor of a twin berth stateroom. However, in our test configuration, we had a comfortable sofa and table. There's roomy storage above behind cabinet doors, and just below to either side of an opening portlight. There's storage under the companionway stairs, and this space will accommodate the combo washer/dryer. This is also the location of the air conditioning pumps, which makes more sense than putting them under a berth where they'll keep everyone awake.
The forward stateroom has an island queen berth, with storage all around. There's natural light coming in from elongated hull side windows with opening portlights just abaft. An overhead hatch adds to the natural light. On the starboard side there's access to the head, and from the stateroom you would enter through the shower. A second access allows this head to double as a day head. Interestingly enough, this head has more storage capacity than most staterooms I've seen.
The aft stateroom is clearly the master. It's full beam with good headroom to the port side at 5'11" (1.8 m). A lounger is to port with a wonderful view out the hull side windows and it's on an elevated platform 10" (2.4 cm) above the deck. Above that step the headroom increases to 6'3" (1.9 m). As you come around to the front and starboard side, the headroom drops to 4'3" (1.3 m) and that's where I'd like to see a padded overhead as, yes… I did smack my noggin on it, but rest assured it only happens once. Considering the geometry of the deck above, and the fact that I'm not exactly going to be having a dance contest in this stateroom, I'm comfortable with ducking. The master has an ensuite head with very high ceilings at 7'10" (2.39 m). There's a separate shower stall with a seat, and Beneteau added the sinks to the top of the counter rather than recessed into the counters. It just provides more space for storage below and it is the stylish way of doing it these days.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 49 Fly (2013-) is 30.8 mph (49.6 kph), burning 43.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 163.89 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 49 Fly (2013-) is 28.7 mph (46.2 kph), and the boat gets 0.75 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.32 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 232 miles (373.37 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS600.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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