Quick Look: Beneteau 46

Andrew Burton reviews the Beneteau 46 for the 2007 Cruising World Sailboat Show

Beneteau

From the moment you climb aboard the Beneteau 46, you notice innovations that make operating the boat easier. Standing on the transom swim platform, you'll see an insert with a locking hatch sized for a six-man life raft. Remove the insert to install a small generator under the cockpit sole. Twin wheels flank a seat that folds out of the way when boarding. The long cockpit overlooks a cambered, raised deckhouse. Water that makes it past the dodger will be channeled to the deck from the wide dashboard.

Below, the saloon is broad and airy. It lacks storage space for a long cruise, but it's still very comfortable. Window blinds disappear inside a lightweight deck liner, but I'm concerned that the cook will mistakenly grab the liner for a handhold in a seaway. The galley is well laid out with a centerline sink and an aft-opening refrigerator that's usable on either tack. The freezer is outboard and accessed through a well-insulated lid. In the forward cabin are a teardrop-shaped double berth and a head with a clever separate shower stall.

In the two-cabin layout, the aft cabin has a huge double berth angled 45 degrees from the aft bulkhead. A vanity with a seat is opposite, and six opening ports and hatches provide great light and ventilation. Because of a scheduling problem, I didn't sail the boat, but I'd surmise that its modern underbody and powerful sail plan would make it a brisk performer, as is its near sister, the Beneteau 49, a BOTY winner. Comfort below and winning styling combined with an attractive price should make it a brisk seller, too.

Beneteau 46 Specs

LOA: 46' 3"
LWL: 40' 8"
Beam: 14' 1"
Draft (standard): 5' 7"
Sail Area: 879 sq. ft.
Displacement: 22,046 lb.
Water: 150 gal.
Fuel: 63 gal.
Engine: 54-hp. Yanmar
Designer: Berret Racoupeau
Price: $240,000
Beneteau USA, (843) 629-5300

To read more Cruising World reviews of Beneteau sailboats, click here. To visit Beneteau America's website, click here.