The Mission of the Beneteau Oceanis 41
From bow to stern, the Oceanis 41 has been carefully designed to appeal to a wide range of boaters. And, like most Beneteau sailboats, she has been designed for easy sail handling by a couple or even single-handed. By offering a layout option with three cabins and two heads she should appeal to families, couples, singles and even to entrepreneurs who want to put a boat into the charter trade.
Oceanis 41 Overview
On deck the maximum beam of the Oceanis 41 practically extends from midship to stern. This design allows the 41 to have a huge cockpit and also two good-sized cabins in the stern quarters as well as an engine room and a head.
Her sloop rig has the mast moved aft in what Americans call a "cutter rig." This means that her mast is nearly in the middle of the fore and aft plane of the boat. There are several advantages to this rig: 1) It makes it easy to balance the sail plan and, indeed, the main sail is 449 sq. ft. (41.7 m2) and the 104% genoa is 453 sq. ft. (42.10 m2). 2) By moving the mast back the designers have also moved the center of effort of the sail plan farther aft which makes the boat easier to steer because smaller corrections are needed. 3) By moving the center of effort aft – where the boat has greater beam – form stability can play a greater role in reducing her angle of heel.
Bottom Shape and Keel Options.
The Oceanis 41's bottom shape makes her easy to push and at the same time allows the bottom to give the vessel a great amount of form stability. Her 7'2" (2.18 m) optional deep keel allows her to point and her bottom shape makes her fast off the wind. Her shoal-draft keel (both are cast iron) is 5'7" (1.70 m) and of course it is heavier at 5,527 lbs. (2,507 kgs.) than the deep-draft keel at 5,071 lbs. (2,300 kgs.).
Cockpit A Go-Go
This is a 41' boat with a cockpit about the size of some 60-footers. It is not only the focal point for steering the boat and pulling the strings, but also the place for entertaining and the organizing of watersports from the platform. The boat has a maximum beam of 13'9" (4.20 m) which is at the stern, not amidships. The result is that it is nearly 11" (3.35 m) wide and 10' (3.04 m) fore and aft. That's 110 square feet (10.21 sq. m) which is large enough for a square dance if there were not two wheels, binnacles, seats and a table in the way.
Beach is standard.
Across the transom is a long slatted-wood bench seat with enough room to seat a large family so all can enjoy steering and skippering the vessel at the same time. When at anchor and it is time for swimming, a push of a button and the transom seat and part of the transom fold down forming a 9’4’’ x 2’6’’beach. Water toys and even scuba gear can be stowed in a port locker (with the two-cabin layout), so the owner needs only drop the hook in the right place.
A small roll-up tender can also be kept in the locker and filled with an electric air pump, for those who do not want to tow a tender. There is an outboard bracket on the port quarter life rail to hold a 9.9-hp engine that will serve most peoples' needs. On the centerline of the cockpit there is a polyester table with two leaves that becomes quite large and can handle 6 people for al fresco dining. Behind the table are the twin wheels with binnacles so the skipper can sit to leeward or windward at a whim.
The Oceanis 41 is set up for easy sailing. The headsail is roller furling and the sheets run back to turning blocks that allow the skipper to lean over and grind the winch on the cockpit coaming, if need be. (With the optional power self-tailing winch he need only touch a button.) All halyards and other controls, except for the topping lift, are run through "organizers" under the deck and back to 7 jam cleats on the coach roof. There are port and starboard secondary self-tailing winches for handling the lines.
By making three different accommodation layouts available Beneteau is allowing the Oceanis 41 to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.
is what we would call a pretty conventional layout. Here the port quarter is taken up by a sail locker, something that most people will not need. This space can be used to store water toys and scuba equipment, for example. Headroom in the aft starboard cabin is 6'7" (1.89 m). The berth is 6'7" long, by 5'3" at the head and 4'2" at the foot (2.00 m x 1.60 m x 1.28 m). It has a private entrance to the head with separate shower stall albeit on the small side. Traditionally, this is the owner's stateroom.
The galley, dinette and bench seat are the same in all three layouts.
The forward cabin has a bed that is 6'7" long, 6'2" wide at the head, and 1'8" at the foot (2.00 m x 1.88 m x .51 m).
takes advantage of the "sail locker" to install another double berth. In this cabin the bed is slightly narrower . It is 6'7" long by 4'8" at the head by 3.7" at the foot (2.00 m x 1.43 m x 1.10 m). The rest of the boat is the same as layout #1.What has become of the sail locker? There is none, and on this boat one is really not needed. The headsail is roller furling and the mainsail lives in the lazy bag on the boom. If someone wanted an asymmetrical headsail, it can be stowed under one of the berths.
is the same as #2 with the exception of the second wet head, which has been fitted into the starboard side of the cabin replacing the desk and stool and a hanging locker. This layout has its appeal because it can handle two couples in privacy on a cruise. Large families might also prefer it.
Performance and Handling
Test day was challenging because the wind was very light and inconsistent in both velocity and direction. There is also a considerable amount of current in this area, and the speeds we recorded were “Over the Bottom” instead of through the water. But when testing boats we have to do the best we can with the conditions we have, rather the ones we'd like to have.
This was my first time on the boat, I was sailing alone (the cameraman doesn't count), and sail shape was pretty much what I got out of the box without much tweaking. A few more hours of sailing, and an able hand to help with sail trim, and we should have been able to do a little better.
During our sail I recorded readings periodically. For example, one reading taken on the wind, with 12.7 knots of true wind speed, and the apparent angle at 35-degrees and we were traveling 6.4 knots, for a respectable Vmg of 6.18 knots. The boat could consistently travel in the 6-knot range in these conditions.Most of the day we had wind around 6 to 8 knots. At one point in 6.4 knots of true wind and an apparent wind angle of 34-degrees we had a boat speed of 4.8 knots and a Vmg of 4.1 knots, which wasn't bad for the fluky conditions.
Off the wind, doing more or less a beam reach, in 11.5 knots of true wind, we had an apparent wind angle of 76-degrees and a boat speed of 6.5 knots. We cracked off further to an apparent wind angle of 102-degrees in the same wind and slowed slightly to 5.4 knots. From all of this, I conclude that the boat really likes from 12 to 18 knots of true wind speed.
Thoughts on the Cockpit
Cockpit in a Seaway.
The cockpit offers a lot of room, yet the sail controls are easy to reach for single-handed sailing. Moving from port to starboard winches and wheels is a smooth process because the cockpit is open and uncluttered. A big cockpit sometimes feels too wide-open and unsafe when the boat is moving around in a seaway, but I didn't feel that way about this boat.Because of the decks outboard of the cockpit coamings are wide, the seat backs are well angled, the table is solid, and the steering wheel binnacles are strong, there is plenty to hold onto and brace against. Further, this boat is designed not to heel more than 15-degrees -- if she does there is too much sail up.
The deck arrangement is good -- all lines are in the open, nothing is hidden and the lines don’t make too many turns. This minimizes friction and enables proper maintenance and repair. The electronic chart display, in the center of the cockpit, is not easy to see when sitting outboard while steering. The only solution I can think of is to put it on a swivel base, or better yet simply have remote readouts by each wheel.
I like the huge cockpit and open transom/swim platform design, and I would love to charter this boat in the Caribbean or Bahamas. I also like the shallow companionway stairway angle. It should make it much easier to use the stairs while the boat is heeled. This is an important consideration for older sailors.
The Oceanis 41 with the "Dock & Go" joystick has an MSRP in the mid 200s, depending on equipment and where she is located in the world. This includes the sails, self-tailing winches, 40-hp Yanmar diesel, plus the other standard items mentioned in this report.
We think the beauty of the Oceanis 41 is to offer a practical way of sailing for a lot of people to do the kind of sailing that they want to do, keeping operating costs low, and enjoyment high. The Oceanis 41 might very well be the perfect cruiser for families, as she will meet their needs and their budget.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Oceanis 41 (2014-) is 7.4 Knots.
- Tested power is 1 x 40-hp Yanmar diesel.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!