Comfortable and stylish belowdecks and well organized topsides, the Beneteau 40 showed light-air performance on the waters off Annapolis last fall that hinted at good handling in a stiffer breeze and convinced the BOTY judges that this boat was a standout among the Midsize Cruisers.
The 40 is the latest in a line of new production cruisers from Beneteau. Its hull is straight from the drawing boards of Berret Racoupeau and features a fine entry, what BOTY judge Steve Callahan described as broad shoulders, and a fairly beamy transom under a wide cockpit and twin wheels.
Below, the straight-lined, modern interior comes from Nauta, the interior designer for the Beneteau range, which currently starts at 37 feet and includes a 43-footer, a 46-footer, and the 49-foot model that was a BOTY winner in 2007.
The boat the judges sailed in Annapolis was a two-cabin model with roomy aft and V-berth queen bunks, a head with separate shower to starboard at the foot of the companionway, and a compact, functional galley to port. Several opening ports and hatches provide ample ventilation and light, and the luster of the moabi mahogany woodwork is accented by off-white upholstery and panels throughout the saloon, making for airy and cheery surroundings throughout.
A roller-furling headsail and standard in-mast furling main make setting and dousing sails a simple task. Twin wheels provide good visibility of the rig on either tack.
The judges also took note of the positives found in the boat's all-glass hull and Plexus-bonded bulkheads while agreeing that such construction details as the iron keel and stainless-steel keel bolts helped the builder to reach the boat's value-oriented price tag of $180,000-all in all, lots of boat for the buck.