Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofBeneteau’s new Swift Trawler 30, which will debut in the U.S. at the “Yachts Miami Beach” boat show on Collins Avenue from February 11 to 15, follows up on the remarkable success of the builder’s 34 which was introduced several years ago. The new Swift Trawler 30 has the same general layout and mission of the Swift Trawler 34, but in a reduced envelope. She is designed for a couple who have always wanted to enjoy the cruising lifestyle in a new boat, but could never quite afford it. Starting under $300k, the new Swift Trawler 30 should make a lot of peoples’ dreams come true.
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.
Contents of Report
The Swift Trawler 30 has Beneteau’s take on the trawler concept in terms of over-all profile styling and functionality, but she is a smaller version with a displacement that is 3,000-lbs. (1,361 kg) less than the highly successful Swift Trawler 34. Her mission is to be widely affordable to boaters who would like to move up from a sportboat or center console, but were put off by the price tag and operational costs of larger, much more expensive conventional trawlers.
Most important, this boat is designed for long-distance cruising, for example, up the Inside Passage to Alaska, through the Bahamas, or up to Maine, just to name a few. She is not intended for long range work; nor, to go out in near-gale conditions, something that no one intentionally does no matter what they own.
Speed and Fuel Economy. Like the name implies – “Swift” – the new 30 is designed for people who want a good turn of speed, rather than the snail’s pace of a sailboat. With her 370-hp single diesel, we reached a top speed of 26.4 mph. Now that speed comes at a cost -- we were burning fuel at a rate of 20.5 gph giving us a range of 220 sm. But dialed back to best economy, we were at 19.2 mph with a 13 gph fuel burn. That opened up the range to 253 sm, making this a distance cruiser with budgets in mind.
Beneteau recognizes that there are a huge number of baby boomers retiring each year who have worked a lifetime to follow their cruising dream. In addition, there are also younger boaters who simply like the idea of owning a salty-looking, low-maintenance cruiser rather than a “plastic fantastic” sportboat or express cruiser, but who don’t need a vessel that can go around Cape Horn. For these boaters, the Swift Trawler 30 may fill the bill.
• Compact Size. There are very few trawler-type boats this size on the market. With a folding radar mast and the standard collapsible flying bridge helm, her bridge clearance can be reduced significantly, making her an attractive “Great Loop” boat.
• Ample Beam. At 11’7” (3.53 m), the Swift Trawler 30 has over a foot more beam than some of her competition, something that pays off both in room and in added stability.
• Draft and Keel. With a 3’5” (1.04 m) draft and a keel extending below the prop, the Swift Trawler 30 should have directional stability and some protection for the prop during accidental groundings. Something not unheard of in the ever-shifting shoals of inland waters.
• Fully-Opening Transom. This design is carried over from Beneteau’s sailboat line and is unusual while providing remarkable utility. With the transom opened (and its bulwarks folded back to port and starboard) the boat is ready for watersports, sunning, or any number of other activities.
• High Radar Mast. All too often we see radar domes located low and at about the height of the captain’s head and those of the guests. This is not recommended, and we are happy to see that the Swift Trawler 30 has the radar high. This not only provides more range but much more safety.
• Asymmetrical Deck. By pushing the main cabin to port, Beneteau’s designers have maximized interior salon and galley space yet have made a wide side deck to starboard for line handling and getting to the bow.
Dinette. The Swift Trawler 30 follows the tried and proved salon layout design used in the Swift Trawler 34. The removable table seats two and small folding chairs or stools can be slipped inboard to seat four. There is dedicated storage for the table under the settee.
The advantage of this design over a more conventional booth-with-table, is that with the table removed there is much more open space in which to walk around. Further, the backrest simply folds down to make part of the bed cushion rather than having to lower the table and insert a cushion on top.
Galley. The galley is to port and by necessity is small. Like virtually all Beneteau boats, there are two sinks. A small refrigerator is standard, along with a microwave below the counter. Forward there is a two-burner, propane gas stovetop. There is storage for pots, pans, plates and stemware, but owners will have to choose their gear carefully.
Helm Station. To starboard is the helm which has a bench seat for two, something that is appropriate for a boat intended for a cruising couple. The windshield mullions are particularly narrow for a boat with a flying bridge and this maximizes visibility. We like the fact that the vessel can be operated either seated or standing with good vertical visibility around the vessel.
Side Door. Outboard of the helm seat is a sliding side door which is something we sometimes don’t see on trawler-type boats costing four times as much. This door makes single-handing quite easy as one need only slide open the door and tie up when docking.
Aft Sliding Door. There is a two-panel sliding door which nestles together on the starboard side, thus opening up the salon to the cockpit to a great degree – certainly much more than a single door would afford. By sliding the doors to starboard they are under the ladder to the flying bridge.
The cockpit of the Swift Trawler 30 is versatile thanks to the two fold down jump seats in the transom – and the fact that two large sections of the transom fully open. This opens up 65 sq. ft. (6.04 sq. m) of deck space to the water, according to Beneteau. An optional swim platform extension is available which extends aft another 3’ (.91 m), and we recommend it because of the added utility it provides.
Tender Thoughts. While a Weaver-type dinghy launching device can be affixed outboard of the transom on the standard hull, we recommend the optional swim platform. Not only can it create the room necessary to squeeze behind the transom and dinghy for launching, but once the tender is launched, the platform creates a large area that can be used for all sorts of things. For example, foldable deck chairs can be set out for sunning or just enjoying the view and anchorage. It also makes an ideal staging area for scuba diving. Shore power connections, an optional shower wand, and other connections are ensconced in the port and starboard stern quarters.
Side Decks. The side deck to starboard on this asymmetrical layout is reasonably wide. We like the high bulwarks as well as the side door in the hull which makes boarding easy from a floating dock. Because of the layout, the boat will always be docked starboard side to. There are two steps up to the bow of the boat.
To port, there are two steps up to a minimal-width side deck. This deck is wide enough for most people to transit when needed, primarily to set fenders, or to affix mooring lines. Here we find safety rails the full length of the side deck, going to the bow.
We think a flying bridge adds lots of utility to any boat and the Swift Trawler 30 is no exception. Access is by a ladder from the cockpit. The helm is to starboard, the same side as the lower helm because that will be the side of the boat almost always put along the dock. There is room for only one seat looking forward at the helm, but the wrap-around settee is close by for a companion and guests.
Seating for Six. There is seating in a crescent-shaped settee on the port side for five people and the sixth seat is at the helm. A round table that swivels to suit the needs of the moment is on a side mounted pedestal.
Boat Deck. There is empty space on the port side that, on a larger boat, we would normally call the “boat deck”. This is where the tender is placed on the Swift Trawler 34, but of course the area available is much smaller on 30. Can a dinghy be placed here? It is up to the owner and it might require some modification to the rails, plus installing a davit or crane for launching. At this size, we think Beneteau’s optional dinghy davits that tuck away in the transom are a better bet for dinghy storage.
The Swift Trawler 34 has a conventional mast and boom on the centerline for launching the dinghy. The Swift Trawler 30 has no mast and she is probably too small for one. A hydraulic davit is heavy and will intrude below so it is probably also impractical. The space does seem well-suited for deck chairs or lounges that can be brought out as desired though.
The standard layout has a single stateroom below which is surprisingly large for a 30-footer. It has full standing headroom at 6’5” (1.95 m) in the entry. There is a step up to either side to aid getting into the raised island berth. This is actually an amenity that the larger Swift Trawler 34 does not have, and will be much appreciated by a cruising couple.
Storage. There are port and starboard hanging lockers and minimal storage shelves outboard. Couples making a long cruise will have to carefully strategize their gear, storing some items below the bed in that cavernous compartment.
The Head. In the standard arrangement, the toilet and wash basin are to starboard and a huge shower stall with bench seat is to port. These are both accessed from the short passageway at the foot of the companionway steps so that the facilities can also be used as a day head for guests.
Optional Second Cabin. Beneteau broke the code in designing a second, full standing headroom cabin on its larger boats and has been able to continue the concept – amazingly – in this 30-footer. It is able to do this because of several factors – the asymmetrical deck layout, the high side deck to port, and the 11’7” (3.53 m) beam. This second cabin version is available in markets outside North America.
A Pullman berth allows guests to sleep here. When there is only one guest, the Pullman can be stowed, which opens up the cabin. There is minimal storage, but that is a small compromise to have the luxury of this extra berth. When a couple is cruising alone, this space will undoubtedly be used for storing gear. Nevertheless, when children and grandchildren are aboard, this little vessel can sleep six in remarkable comfort, utilizing the settee in the main cabin and the berth below.
The Beneteau Swift Trawler 30 has a LOA of 34’1” (10.39 m), a beam of 11’7” (3.53 m), and a draft of 3’5” (1.04 m). With an empty weight of 13,244 lbs. (5,998 kg), full fuel and three people onboard, we estimated our test weight at 14,969 lbs. (6,790 kg).
With a single 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 26.4 mph at 3640 rpm. Best cruise seemed to come in at 3000 rpm and 19.2 mph. At that speed, we measured a 13 gph fuel burn that translated into a range of 253 miles. However, being a trawler first and foremost, we’d be remiss if we didn’t report a displacement speed. So, at 1250 rpm, she was running at 6.9 mph with a 1.4 gph fuel burn and could keep that up for 843 miles. All of this while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 190 gallon (719 L) total fuel capacity.
This is a really fun boat to drive. She handles so well and is so easy to drive that her comfort level puts anyone at ease. She has the interior look, feel, and aura of a much larger boat, but her handling is still a 34’ (10.39 m) bow cruiser that is easily managed. While she’s squarely marked as a coastal cruiser, she’s probably well-suited for limited offshore work as well, although our calm test day couldn’t validate that. But the fact remains, she’s still a Swift, and they all take whatever is dished out quite nicely. What we did find was a boat that responds well to the helm, even at low speed, so she can be operated as if she has a large rudder. Turns are brisk and sporty, so getting heavy handed could possibly get uncomfortable for guests, but for when the going gets rough, the aggressive response will come in handy, especially when tracking down a following sea.
She’ll have minor steering in reverse, which any single engine handler will tell, is a valuable tool. Line her up, back her down into a slip with the wheel hard over, and a shot of forward with a little bow thrust will have her walking sideways right up to the dock.
Beneteau says that the price of the standard boat will be “under $300,000 U.S.”. In addition to building this boat in Europe, the company also plans on building it in its Marion, South Carolina facility where it has built other models for over 30 years. By doing so, it eliminates the cost of transatlantic shipping which would be a significant percentage of the boat’s overall cost, not to mention the benefit to Canadian buyers who save on duty when importing boats for use in the far North.
While most of us would like to sail into the sunset in an 85’ (26 m) something or other, unfortunately few will be able to afford that. But with the advent of the Swift Trawler 30, Boomers can still live their life-long cruising dreams – or at least most of them. As Malcom Forbes once said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” For many retired or near-retirement couples, these days it is now or never.
For Couples. It is primarily for couples that Beneteau has designed and built the Swift Trawler 30. A couple can coastal cruise and island hop in her for months on end. And when children and grandchildren come to visit, she can accommodate six on a long weekend of adventure and fun close to home. Because she has a single diesel engine, propane gas for the stovetop, and is only 31’ (9.45 m) long, operating costs are minimal. Drive the boat at 8 knots, not 15, and greatly extend her range at even lower expense. After all that is what trawlers were initially designed to do. We have often said that dollar-for-dollar the best values in boating are small boats, and certainly the Swift Trawler 30 makes the point.
Test Result Highlights
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
Pricing Range: $284,800.00Prices, 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.