Beneteau 42

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Beneteau 42

Beneteau 42

October 2002 By Robert H. Perry Boats and Gear

Bluewater cruiser r

New French-built cruiser with a distinctly American look.


Here’s an interesting design from Group Finot for Beneteau. I find interesting the fact that this design is not especially Euro in its styling. In fact, it’s sort of American looking and good looking too. So, let’s examine this profile in detail.

The transom is traditionally raked as opposed to reversed. This eliminates the standard swim step we see so often. But Beneteau has countered this with a drop-down platform that extends about a foot beyond the transom. This platform is raised and lowered by block and tackle. A sliding flush-deck hatch covers the steps when they are not in use. This is an elaborate and very well thought out transom detail that will allow you to bring your dinghy up next to the boat without threatening the gelcoat on the transom edge.

This traditionally raked transom really drives the look of this boat. It certainly affects the character of the sheer. I would have liked to see a bolder sweep to this sheer, but it’s fine as is. Note how the tip of the transom is at the waterline. This, combined with the short bow overhang, produces a long sailing length. I think the designers have done a good job of blending the deck structures with the hull.

The D/L of this design is 183. L/B is 3.38, making this a moderately beamy boat on the lighter side of medium displacement if we choose 200 to be the middle of current D/Ls for cruising boats. The keel is a bulbed fin giving 5 feet, 11 inches of draft. Note the deep forefoot on this design and the straight line to the canoe body profile. All in all this is a handsome and moderate hull.

The interior shows a two-head, two-stateroom layout with the galley in the passageway to the aft cabin. The galley is spread out fore and aft, but it looks to me like there is still plenty of working room. The aft cabin has a large double berth and symmetrically arranged lockers and settees. Why settees? Well, they look good and occupy volume that is not much good for anything else due to the shape of the hull.

Beneteau 42

There is a head with shower stall adjoining the aft cabin. The saloon has a dinette, which to my eye looks on the minimal side. I suppose you could seat four for dinner if you had to, but it would be a tight squeeze. The forward stateroom has a double berth with the toe end cut away to make room for the forward head. I’m not sure how this berth would work for a couple. Obviously, the biggest advantage to center-cockpit boats is the separation of the sleeping accommodations. There is space below the cockpit for the engine room.

Putting the cockpit in the middle of the boat allows the designer to place the mainsheet traveler at the end of the boom and place the traveler where it will not interfere with the cockpit layout. This rig is well forward and shows swept spreaders with forward lower shrouds. Unfortunately, the sailplan we have is not carefully drafted so it doesn’t do much for the look of the boat. The photos also show a staysail. This is a very nice looking boat.

The windshield is fixed and, while obtrusive in the drawing, looks just fine in the photos. I’m not too keen on the wheel position. It is a bulkhead-mounted wheel offset to starboard, much like we see on cruising catamarans. This means you will sit in one position at the wheel without the benefit of being able to turn 90 degrees or change sides.

This wheel arrangement does free up the rest of the cockpit and puts the helmsman securely under the dodger. A teak-capped bulwark adds a rich look to the deck.

Beneteau’s boats always deserve a close look. The company obviously puts a lot of market research into its new models. In this case the company has given us a well-designed boat with some unusual features. This is one boat I’ll definitely board at Annapolis.

Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42
Beneteau 42

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