Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
According to Beneteau, the intent of the Barracuda 9 is to create a boat that can be used by avid anglers late into the season and in all kinds of weather. She's also a boat that can be a very capable cruiser for two people on a weekend retreat because she can go over 40 mph. A cruising couple can cruise long distances quickly and sleep aboard or ashore for an exciting nautical vacation. Her sea keeping qualities, great flexibility, and optimization of space make this boat truly unique.
The Barracuda 9 has several distinguishing features. Let’s go over some of them--•
Air Step hull.
We've seen this in our tests of other Beneteau models and found it to be an unqualified success. Air is injected under the hull from the topside (the only design that I know of that does that) reducing the drag of surface friction as the boat goes through the water. The Barracuda 9 pulls air from topside into two tubes that direct it to the keel where it is sucked by a vacuum under the boat. See our full video on Air Step here.
Forward tilting transom seating.
The cockpit is carried far back, almost to the engines. At first glance, it appears that this design will prevent the engines from being tilted of out the water, but the aft bench tilts forward into the cockpit and the engines then have room to come up. This allows maximum space in the cockpit when using the boat.•
Fully enclosed pilothouse.
Again, with a boat in this class and size range we would expect to see an open helm deck and t-top. The Barracuda 9 design allows for a fully enclosed wheelhouse/salon with glass everywhere.•
Opening doors both port and starboard.
Another feature usually seen only on much larger boats but without a doubt equally convenient here. I think this is a remarkable concept for this size boat and it makes single-handed docking on either side a snap for the skipper, to say nothing about working both sides of the boat when offshore fishing. When it is warm, simply open both doors for a cooling breeze. There are 12'' of clearance on each side of the pilothouse.•
We can think of no other boat on the market in North America in this class and size that can be adopted to so many different purposes. The Barracuda 9's advantages for fishermen (and fisherwomen) are obvious. What may not be so apparent is her ability to be a high-speed cruising boat for a couple. She draws only 2' (.62 m).
Optional flying bridge.
It's a small flying bridge to be sure but it is there nonetheless. Access is from a vertical ladder on the port cabin side. Bench seating for two provides a commanding view. It reminds me a bit of the first flying bridge that Ernest Hemingway put on Pilar -- it was simply a wheel, engine controls and a chair on the roof of the cabin. This serves the same purpose, but it is done more artfully.•
Foldaway salon tables.
The salon can be used as a comfortable gathering area or quickly converted into a dining area for four. The arrangement reminds me of what you might see in a small private jet.
With an empty weight of 7,584 lbs (3,440 kg), 3/4 fuel, twin Yamaha four-strokes 225-hp engines and 5 people on board we had a test weight of 9,691 lbs (4,396 kg). The Yamahas were driving 19 x 15 propellers and we reached a top speed at 5200 rpm of 47.9 mph. At that speed we were burning 44.15 gph for range of 103 miles. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 30.1 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 17.55 gph which our test boat was able to maintain for five hours 24 min. and 163 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
Clearly a major component of the design feature was to provide speed to the fishing grounds but we found ourselves asking if she was slightly overpowered. The Barracuda 9 seems to handle the mid range of the power curve much better and that was where I found my hand settling more often than not. At full throttle the trim tabs start to become a major factor in her cruising attitude as well. I would certainly like to test this boat with smaller engines to see if my gut feeling is confirmed.
The Barracuda 9 was designed for either single or twin outboard engine installations. Customers can choose from various brand and power configurations, but Beneteau recommends the following: single 300- or 350-hp; twin 150-, 200- or 225-hp.From a maneuverability standpoint, the twin installation seems to have the engines mounted fairly close together which lends itself more towards power than maneuverability in close quarters. However, my experience operating various models with the outboards just as close together showed that a practiced hand can still maneuver with precision and that holds true here. I had no problem maneuvering in the close confines of our dock and when the wind got a little too strong I did find myself giving a shot or two of bow thruster. Those boaters lacking the experience to competently maneuver around the dock with precision may want to opt for the addition of a bow thruster.
She comes with a roomy cockpit.
Cockpit size matters and in this case it measures 8'2" by 1'3" (1.63 m x 2.5 m) for a total of 10.2 sq ft (.95 sq m). There are 4 rod holders and the gunwales can be ordered in plain or with solid wood covering boards.
For seating, there is a large triple-wide aft bench seat measuring 8'2" by 1'3" (2.5 m x .38 m) that tilts forward with the aid of gas struts to allow for the engines to tilt forward.
Options: more seats, a sink and rigging station, or storage?
At the forward end of the cockpit buyers can choose between three options. The standard configuration calls for a foldaway PVC cockpit bench seat, and this makes a great place to sit. The aft bench seat has an optional cockpit table that can reside in between the fore and aft facing bench seats for dining al fresco, cocktails and snacks.
A second choice allows for a console with sink and work surface mounted against the wheelhouse. This can be a bait prep counter, a place to clean fish, or maybe place to put out drinks and snacks when entertaining aboard. Put a charcoal grill in one of the rod holders and make burgers on the counter.
The third choice is a requirement for those opting for the generator, which is concealed in a cabinet with flat surface and drink holders.
The bow features a bench seat forward of the pilothouse and two options are available that might be high on the list for anyone purchasing the Barracuda 9 for cruising. First is a foredeck Bimini that quickly deploys over the entire bow. Second is a foredeck sunbathing kit, basically a hammock-style lounge, running from the bench seat to the bow.Clearly the bow area with its 30"-high (75 cm) bulwarks is a comfortable place to do some casting. Families with small children will like it because of the safety aspects. And the forward-facing bench seat is a thrilling place to sit when speeding along so long as the water is not too rough.
Easily manage ground tackle.
Fully forward the emphasis is on safety while handling the ground tackle. An optional windlass is secured to a teak platform with two stainless safety rails to either side. Further outboard are two hatches that lead to the rode storage locker. This space is large enough to hold two or three fenders. At the caprails are two stainless cleats, the first of six including two midship cleats, but missing from the equation is an additional cleat mounted forward of the windlass for securing the deployed anchor. Currently, this job will be left to the anchor windlass, which Beneteau says is a better solution and is much stronger than a cleat.
I think Beneteau did a good job of creating an excellent pilothouse while still allowing room for symmetrical side decks to both port and starboard. Let's start by taking a look at the aft bench seat where there is storage underneath. In the center is a 44.4 quart (42 L) optional refrigerator, and flip up tables to either side will turn the area into an impromptu dining area. The pilothouse lends itself well to accommodating four people, even while dining, with the captain and observer seats swiveled aft, and lowered, to face the tables. The pilothouse is surprisingly well finished out.
Looking forward to the helm and observer's position.
As we face forward in this enclosed cabin some additional features come into play. First are the two opening side doors to port and starboard. While this is a feature that is typically seen on much larger boats it is, without a doubt, a very convenient detail here. The starboard mounted helm has outstanding visibility.
An air of comfort.
There's little concern for greenhouse effect thanks to the benefit of the two opening side doors, and the opening overhead sunroof. Air conditioning is an option.
A well laid out helm station.
The helm station of the Barracuda 9 certainly has more high points going for it than low. In the high points category is the lack of clutter thanks to the dual (with twin engine installation) SmartCraft gauges to either side of the optional Lowrance 10”(25.4 cm) display. The engine controls are located on a molded quadrant to the starboard side and while the controls are mounted at a high angle, because they're digital their movement is smooth enough to still remain comfortable. I'm always happy to see the empty space above the helm being utilized for items that are only used occasionally such as the VHF, stereo, and control for the optional remote spotlight. There is a wood foot rest.For low points, all I can come up with is the fact that the electrical rocker switches cannot be seen easily from the standing position, but this is certainly not a deal breaker in my opinion.
Flying Bridge or Hardtop
The Barracuda 9 comes in two versions, one with a basic hardtop, and one with a flying bridge. This sort of flexibility is the hallmark of Beneteau and one of the many reasons why its boats are so popular.The flying bridge is accessed from a vertical ladder secured to the port side cabin bulkhead. (This reduces side deck clearance to 9'' (22.7 cm). It is a small flying bridge, but the fact that it exists at all is a qualified positive for the Barracuda 9. There is a double wide helm seat, and indeed two people are all that this flying bridge will accommodate both from a size, and load bearing standpoints. But do not let the size fool you. This upper helm station is as equally well equipped as the lower helm station with a separate Lowrance navigation display, digital engine controls, SmartCraft gauges, and trim tab controls.At first this small aft flying bridge might seem odd because its not commonly seen in boats of this type of boat in many parts of the world. But they are seen in Scandinavia and in arctic regions. Because it is so far aft it is dryer in sloppy conditions than it would be further forward. And remember -- the immortal Bertram 30 has a flying bridge that would only seat two people!
The forward cabin in the Barracuda 9 has much the same features as a basic cuddy-cabin style boat. While the cabin’s size does not lend itself to extended voyages it’s comfortable enough for a couple to spend the weekend away from home.
Headroom ranges from 5'10" (1.77 m) at the entry to 3'1" (.94 m) moving forward. The berth measures 6'3" (1.9 m) long. There is storage both under the berth and in the forepeak and an opening porthole is on the portside bulkhead.The enclosed wet-head is completely fiberglass lined and has 5'5" (1.65 m) of headroom. The toilet's holding tank has a capacity of 21 gallons (80 L) and an opening portlight allows for ventilation.
Beneteau has asked us not to publish the price of the Barracuda 9 since rigging and engine configurations greatly vary in price, and encourages boaters to contact their dealer. However, I can tell you that if you are familiar with the cost of a well-built 30' CC you will be delighted with her price.
The Barracuda 9 is, I think, a remarkable boat. In one respect she is like a big, offshore center console with a pilothouse. So if you've ever been caught out in the driving rain, or cancelled a fishing trip on the water because it was too cold, then you'll understand the advantages of this boat. I like her because she extends the boating season no matter where on earth she is used.
But how about the tropics and other places?
Because of her sun roof and two side doors she can generate a breeze in the cabin. Add a small generator and air condition the pilothouse and now you have a boat that is equally at home in the tropics. Truth be told, in places like the Med, in both the spring and fall a cabin boat is the only way to go boating in anything resembling comfort. Avid sportfishermen will want to add a fish box or two, a livewell, and rod storage as well as have the optional bait-prep station with sink. Tackle boxes can be stowed underneath. There is plenty of room on the hardtop to mount taco riggers and bolsters in the cockpit would also be a welcomed option.The Barracuda 9 reminds me a lot of the old cabin cruisers that were popular in the late 1940s and '50s, but of course up-dated for 21st century. Our granddads' boats didn't have a bow thruster, flying bridge, fold-down seats, high bulwarks in the bow or many of the other features that this vessel has, but they did have a cabin, a head and much of the utility of the Barracuda 9. For that reason, I think she is going to find wide acceptance for many purposes.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Barracuda 9 (2012-) is 47.9 mph (77.1 kph), burning 44.15 gallons per hour (gph) or 167.11 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Barracuda 9 (2012-) is 30.1 mph (48.4 kph), and the boat gets 1.71 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.73 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 163 miles (262.32 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 225-hp Yamaha 4-strokes.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!