Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofThe Beneteau Barracuda 9, is an entirely new boat for the North American market -- but it is not a new concept. Boats like her are all over Scandinavia and Greenland and islands in between. She is aimed at providing a unique blend of safe offshore seaworthiness coupled with all of the basic creature comforts for day boating with the occasional overnight stay. Built around the patented Air Step hull, the Barracuda 9 was designed to be both fuel efficient and be able handle snotty conditions. Commuters in the northern latitude Archipelagos never know what is going to be blowing in from the North Sea or the Arctic, and this design will get them back safely and comfortably.
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.
According to Beneteau, the intent of the Barracuda 9 is to create a boat that can be used by boaters 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. She also makes a good daily cruising boat for a family with seats outside both forward of the cabin and in the cockpit aft -- as well as inside for five people.
The Barracuda 9 has several distinguishing features. Let’s go over some of them--•
Fully Enclosed Pilothouse.
As mentioned above, this is not a new concept, simply a new one in North America. It makes sense because there is plenty of space outside, but when it gets rainy or cold the pilothouse becomes a welcome retreat. When it is hot and sunny, simply open up the side doors and windows and let the air blast through -- and either way the skipper is in the shade. The Barracuda also has the option of running air conditioning in the pilothouse while underway for those hot and muggy summer days. •
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 we 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 naturally occurring 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 out of the water, but the aft bench seat 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 -- over 32 sq. ft. (2.97 sq. m.).•
Opening Doors Both Port and Starboard.
Another feature usually seen only on much larger boats but without a doubt equally convenient here. It makes single-handed docking on either side a snap for the skipper. When it is warm, simply open both doors for a cooling breeze. There is 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. She draws only 2' (.62 m) so she can go most anywhere. Her optional flying bridge gives the skipper the height to read the water and enjoy the breeze and sun. Her interior will be welcome by the whole family when nature calls or simply to take a nap or warm up.
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. •
Foldaway Pilothouse Tables.
Abaft the helm, the pilothouse can be used as a comfortable gathering area or quickly converted into a dining area for four. The arrangement reminds us of what might be seen in a small private jet.
With an empty weight of 7,584 lbs. (3,440 kg), full fuel, twin Yamaha 4-stroke 225-hp engines and 2 people on board we had a test weight of 8,590 lbs. (3,896 kg). The Yamahas were driving Saltwater Series Two-15 3/4 X 15 3 blade stainless propellers and we reached a top speed at 5800 rpm of 46.6 mph. At that speed we were burning 42.1 gph for a range of 105 miles.
came in at 3000 rpm and 23.8 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 12.1 gph for a range of 188 miles.
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. At full throttle the trim tabs start to become a major factor in her cruising attitude.
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.
In the twin installation the engines are mounted fairly close together which -- theoretically -- lends itself more towards power than maneuverability in close quarters. However, a practiced hand can still maneuver with precision. We had no problem maneuvering in the close confines of our dock. When the wind got a little too strong we did give a shot or two of the 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 4'0" creating 32.6 sq. ft. (2.48 m x 1.21 m = 3.0 sq. m.).
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. When the seat is tilted forward there is a clearance of 1'3" (.38 m).
Cockpit Options: Option #1:
At the forward end of the cockpit the standard configuration calls for a foldaway PVC bench seat facing aft. The aft bench seat faces forward and in between the two bench seats there is room for an optional cockpit table. Here family or friends can have lunch or cocktails.
A second choice allows for a console with sink and work surface mounted against the wheelhouse. This can be a food prep counter or maybe a 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 small 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 hang out. 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.
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 -- airliner style. 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 given the utilitarian nature of the boat.
View from the Helm.
The starboard mounted helm has outstanding visibility. There's little concern for greenhouse effect thanks to the benefit of the two opening side doors, opening rear window, and the opening overhead sunroof. Air conditioning is an option.
The Control Station.
The helm station of the Barracuda 9 has more high points going for it than low ones. In the high points category is the lack of clutter thanks to the dual (with twin engine installation) digital 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. The boat has automotive fuses instead of breakers, located under the bench seat aft, next to the battery switches.
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. This upper helm station is as equally well equipped as the lower helm station with a separate Lowrance navigation display, digital engine controls, gauges, and trim tab controls.
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 night in a pinch. It is also good for an afternoon nap.
Headroom ranges from 5'7" (1.70 m) at the entry to 3'1" (.94 m) moving forward. The berth measures 6'3" (1.9 m) long by 4' (1.21 m). 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 5'6" (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.
In one respect the Barracuda 9 is like a big, offshore center console with a pilothouse. For those skippers who have had family members complain about a little rain, or wind, or spray, or sun, or say that they are too cold, or have to go to the bathroom, then the advantages of this boat become apparent. We like her because she extends the boating season no matter where on earth she is used, but also because she makes boating more comfortable for the loyal family members who are trying to be supportive of the skipper.
We've mentioned Greenland and Scandinavia, but how about the tropics? Because of her sunroof and two side doors she can generate a breeze in the cabin. Add a small generator and air conditioner in the pilothouse and now she is equally at home in the tropics. Truth be told, in places like the Mediterranean, in both the spring and fall a cabin boat is the only way to go boating in anything resembling comfort. And how about the "Christmas winds" (and waves) in the Bahamas and the Windward Islands?
Back to the Future.
The Barracuda 9 reminds us 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, we think she is going to find wide acceptance for many purposes.
Test Result Highlights
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Pricing Range: $151,880.00-$199,000.00Prices, 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.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.