Beneteau Sense 50 BOTY Winner
When they debated about the boats in the category of Best Full-Size Cruiser, 50 to 59 Feet, the judges kept coming back to the boat that attracted so much buzz at the show, but for reasons that were much more substantial than merely crowd appeal. In introducing the Sense 50, Beneteau took a bold step away from its First and Oceanis lines to create a sailboat packed with innovative technology and fresh ideas that together form a cohesive whole. The 50 illustrates that good things can happen when designers and builders think outside the box.
It was apparent to the judges as soon as they stepped aboard that no other monohull in this year’s fleet was even remotely similar to this new concept from Beneteau. They liked the wide cockpit that sits low in the hull, enabling the sensation of speed they enjoyed at the wheel while under sail. And the cockpit’s wide open stern—made even more so by helm seats that hinge up and out of the way—would be a great place to hang out at anchor.
The judges found that the smooth transition through the large companionway into the main saloon worked well. They loved the sense of space in the galley and saloon.
As the judges moved forward through the interior, they saw the boat’s two cabins with en suite heads as perfect for a couple and guests, and they quickly warmed to the idea that the boat has an “office” cabin.
Sealing the decision, the judges agreed that Beneteau’s optional Dock & Go system, which features joystick control of the boat’s rotating saildrive and bow thruster, provides pinpoint close-quarters control that could revolutionize maneuvering when the space gets tight.
- The Dock & Go system worked well and provided all the control under power that the builder promised.
- The Sense has nearly the interior space of a catamaran and the sailing performance of a monohull.
- The transition between the cockpit and the interior is excellent.