Beneteau 44.7-A Refined Thoroughbred | Sailing World

13 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Beneteau Flyer 500

Beneteau 44.7-A Refined Thoroughbred

Beneteau, one of the world’s biggest

boatbuilders, and Farr Yacht Design, one of the world’s most successful

racing design offices, make a formidable team. Their latest

collaboration, the Beneteau First 44.7, is a prime example of what two

such powerhouses can produce. Using feedback from owners of the First

40.7 and not bound in any way by the IMS rule, the 44.7 will speak to

those who appreciate how well Beneteau can build a boat and Farr can

design. Those who have sailed or owned a Beneteau will feel right at

home on the First 44.7, as will those who have experience sailing Farr

designs. The boat is comfortable to the point of opulence below, and

the sailing qualities are exemplary. With three versions

of the First 44.7 available (Standard, with a two-spreader aluminum rig

and wire rigging; Race 1, a tapered rig with three spreaders and Dyform

rigging, and Race 2; a three-spreader carbon rig with rod rigging), it

should be no problem choosing the right setup for your needs. The 44.7

is, pound-for-pound, more powerful and stiffer than the 40.7 and

provides plenty of grunt in all three configurations, even in the light

stuff we sailed in off Annapolis. Unlike the 40.7, the 44.7

has an enclosed transom, but under the shaped helmsman’s seat is the

well-thought-out stowage for liferafts. The large diameter Lewmar

Y-spoke wheel is sunk into the deck and placed so that nearly every

position the helmsman might use is accommodated. Surrounding the

cockpit are aluminum Lewmar winches; the latest in lightweight

technology. The mainsheet is led, grand-prix style, along the decks and

back to the trimmer, whose position is close to both winches and

helmsman. The traveler runs across the cockpit immediately forward of

the wheel, in as unobtrusive a place as possible, and the sheet lead

from the boom is exactly perpendicular to the traveler, something we

didn’t see on all the boats we sailed. Any objections about

buying a performance sailboat and sacrificing comfort will be laid to

rest at first glance below. Thanks to the long, low deckhouse, there’s

headroom aplenty, topping out at an impressive 6’9 in the aft head and

6’8 in the main cabin. Two staterooms sit port and starboard under the

cockpit, and immediately forward of the port stateroom is a head, which

is across from the L-shaped galley. The nav station is located to port

at the center of the boat, across from a C-shaped couch/settee. The nav

station couldn’t be in a better place for offshore racing; away from

wind and water, close to the center of effort, and facing the only

direction a nav station should face: forward. There’s plenty of room

for nav displays and even a storage area with cubbyholes for books,

signal flags, and binoculars. The use of light-colored wood

throughout makes the interior of the 44.7 seem even larger than it is,

and even if the weather is terrible outside, it’ll be no hardship to

spend time down below. The majority of the keelbolts and the lowest

part of the bilge are directly underneath a settee bench that faces the

large dinette table and sits on centerline. Keelbolt and bilge

inspections are easily done by lifting the lever-action seat and moving

it to port. All fuel and water tanks are on centerline, and all

Beneteau 650 boat

bulkheads bonded 360 degrees to hull and deck for structural strength.

An available option we thought was a great idea for some sailors was an

empty forepeak, which will reduce weight in the bow and be ideal for

sail stowage. It’s easy to tell that the 44.7 was designed

with input from owners of previous Beneteaus; access to the engine was

among the best we’ve ever seen. Two gas pistons lift the companionway

stairs assembly and reveal an engine with a large shroud covering belts

and other moving parts. The water pump faces forward, which allows for

the impeller to be changed out without removing the entire unit. Access

to all the engine filters is also excellent. The standard engine is a

40 hp. Volvo 2040 powering a sail drive unit; the optional engine is a

55 hp. Volvo D255. Engine noise below was negligible, which means that

the off watch will be able to sleep even during battery-charging

sessions. The 44.7’s hull is solid fiberglass with a

laminated structural hull liner for load bearing and distribution. The

deck is fiberglass sandwich with a balsa core and unidirectional weave.

The overall quality of the wood and glasswork below is excellent,

reflecting the experience of the boatbuilders in Beneteau’s assembly

plant in France, where the 44.7 will be built exclusively. Meade

Gougeon, our epoxy expert, was impressed that the ends of all wood

floorboards and panels were sealed, which means they won’t absorb

water, swell, and not fit where they belong. We sailed the

44.7 in a light but steady breeze with a total of six crew. In 8 knots

of breeze, we sailed an easy 7.4 knots upwind with two-fingers on the

wheel. The cockpit was easy to work in, with the pitman’s position

especially well set up. The main has a large roach, and but a quick

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