Beneteau Cyclades 43 August 2005 Boat News, Review & Advice

16 Фев 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Benetti 40 Colvic boat

Beneteau Cyclades 43 (August 2005)

Beneteau has branched off in a new direction with an oh-so-simple and cost-effective entry into large keelboat cruising. Geoff Middleton went to check it out and came back smiling

Things are not always what they seem in boating. One can step onto a boat expecting to find one thing and instead find the exact opposite.

Take Beneteau’s new Cyclades 43 as an example. I first saw this boat in Europe last year when it was released at the Paris Boat Show. What we saw there bore scant resemblance to what we expected from an all-new yacht range from Beneteau.

We climbed aboard and found a complete departure from what we have come to expect from the French manufacturing giant. Gone were the luxury appointments and timber trimmings of the Oceanis range. Gone also were the go-fast rigs and racing accoutrements of the First Series.

In their place was a new, clean-look, low-maintenance boat with an emphasis on ease of sailing and ease of care.

I suppose it’s a reflection of the times we live in. There’s a certain reluctance to potter these days, a recalcitrant trend to live for the moment rather than sit on the boat at the marina and do the required maintenance to be ready for the next week’s sailing.

I’m guilty. I’d rather go sailing than do maintenance on my boat. Many’s the time my wife has reminded me of a few jobs that need to be done on the boat, but where am I? Out on a race or gone for a cruise.

If you’re guilty as well and looking for a big-volume boat to entertain friends or family, without the fuss of maintenance, then the Cyclades could well be for you.

The Cyclades was designed with a couple of markets in mind. First, there is the entry-level, easy-care, easy-to-sail market above, then there is the lucrative charter market, which also requires an easy-to-keep boat that’s robust and also simple to operate. The Cyclades is all of these.


Stepping aboard the Cyclades, whether via the broad swim platform or from the opening in the lifelines amidships, the immediate impression is of volume. The cockpit is expansive and easy to move around thanks to the twin wheels and walk-around folding table. The cockpit is also uncluttered with no traveller to deal with and a main sheet mounted on the cabin top.

The sidedecks are very wide and provide a virtual highway forward with no shrouds in the way thanks to the outboard chainplates.

The foredeck is also expansive and sports a vertical 1000W electric windlass and twin stainless-steel bowrollers with plenty of stowage for anchors and chain.

The Z Spars mast is a two-spreader affair with two sets of fold-up steps for access to the top of the main when it’s in its lazy jacks and bag. All the lines lead aft to the jam cleats on the cabin top leaving a clean deck. The headsail is controlled by a Profurl furler.

For berthing, there are six impressive 400mm aluminium horn cleats that look like they could hold a boat twice the size. They are fed by equally-substantial fairleads that look like they’ll be there for the duration as well.

There’s not much wood to worry about and the feeling is of space and simplicity.


Access below is through two louvred hinged doors rather than washboards. The louvres are closed against water ingress, except for the top two which are open to allow for ventilation.

Down the stairs lies a vast saloon with laminated timber flooring and white headlining. The room is light and spacious but needed some finishing touches, like a plasma screen on the forward bulkhead, some kind of non-slip floor covering and perhaps even some curtains to give it a homier feel.

Headroom of a smidge more than two metres is great all the way through. There are grab handles along the bottom of the cabin coaming, just under the opening ports, however due to the broad beam, I’d like to see an overhead handrail as well.

The saloon is dominated by a big U-shaped lounge in white leatherette with a further central bench seat which is on a pantograph mechanism for stowage.

The port side of the main saloon is all galley. There’s a gimballed two-burner gas hob with oven next to a 170lt top-opening fridge. A second front-opening fridge is aft and a great inclusion. Above the fridge, a cupboard holds a microwave. The laminated work surfaces feature a substantial fiddle rail that we’re told doubles as a grabrail. Storage space abounds and the cupboards are deep.

On starboard is the nav station which, like the rest of the boat is not short on space. There is a cupboard under the chart table for storage, a panel for your plotter and other instruments, and an underseat locker for tools.

The Cyclades 43 has a three-cabin layout with three heads, each with hot and cold shower. The forward cabin has a vee-berth, small lounge seat, hanging locker and enclosed head. This all can be separated from the rest of the boat for privacy.

The double aft cabins also have ensuites and privacy doors. Storage space is ample with hanging lockers, shelves along the hull sides and extra storage under the double beds.

The portside head has a second door to the saloon and would be used as the dayhead. This head is fitted with a holding tank. The other heads can have tanks fitted as an option.

The cabins have opening ports and hatches for ventilation.


The Cyclades is balsa-sandwich construction in the hull and deck. There is a built-in inner moulding which is bonded and laminated to the hull. This is a structural part of the boat that takes the stresses of the keel and rudder and spreads the load throughout the boat. The inner mouldings allow for some more storage under the cabin sole and, according to Beneteau, make cleaning easier.

There are solid reinforcement points under the deck fittings including cleats, chainplates, winches and tracks.

The hull and deck are joined at the aluminium toerail and the area is raised and moulded to form a small bulwark for safety.

The cast iron keel is given epoxy-based, corrosion-treatment coatings at the factory.


Lurking under the companionway is a healthy Yanmar 4JH4E four-cylinder diesel that puts out 54hp. It has its own dedicated starting battery and will propel the ten-tonne-plus Cyclades along at around eight knots. Access to the engine for servicing is good with side hatches from the aft cabins and a fair bit of room from the front.

Once under way, the Cyclades is a breeze. Under power it will spin on its length pivoting around the keel, and change direction with the agility of a much smaller yacht.

We set sail easily in a mere zephyr of a breeze but in about five knots the big Cyclades slipped through the water better than I had anticipated.

Cyclades designer Berret-Racoupeau is a firm well versed in yacht hull design and one that has penned many a slick race boat. But race boat this is not. It’s designed as a cruiser, and an enjoyable one at that.

As I mentioned earlier, things are not always what they seem in boating, and when we finally found some breeze, the Cyclades was not all that it seemed either. It was light on the helm, responsive and really fun to sail.

The primary winches are well aft, just in front of the two 900mm steering wheels. It’s easy for the helmsman to reach forward and trim the headsail has he steers. Or, as I soon found, grab the sheet as the boat goes through the tack, release it and then walk across to the other side, pull in the new sheet while setting the new course. Simple.

As there’s no traveller, the mainsheet hand has little to do but give helpful advice to the helmsman or duck below for another drink.

As I tacked the boat up Rose Bay chasing the breeze, Ellen, our photographer in the camera boat came by and suggested that I looked like I was having far too much fun for a Friday, and quite frankly, she was right. I had a silly grin that I couldn’t shake as we tacked the big yacht effortlessly upwind, then pulled away and gybed with similar ease.

It would be all too easy to take out six or eight friends on a sunny weekend or even a twilight race and, with one person manning the mainsheet, sail the boat quite successfully.

There’s little to worry about because you’ve got no backstay adjustment, no traveller, no Cunningham, just your sheets and, oh, we did pull on a leech line.

Although we didn’t get the promised and hoped-for 20kt of breeze, the boat did feel substantial and stiff in the water even though it was completely unladen. Add 200lt of fuel, 530lt of water, a few hundred kilos of cruising gear and six mates and I think she’d sit pretty solid in a blow.

Benetti 40 Colvic boat

If the breeze had come up, the single-line reefing and a few turns in on the furler would have sat us back up quick smart.


As we reluctantly returned to the CYC, I was left thinking about the Cyclades and its market. Yes, there are many people who love to potter around on their boats. There are people who prefer wooden boats and the maintenance that goes with them.

However, there are a growing number of people for whom time is precious and their leisure time, they believe, should be spent out of the pen and not in it. These are the people for whom the Cyclades would be an option.

After our sail on Sydney harbour, we furled the headsail, dropped the main into its bag and zipped it up, coiled a couple of halyards and that was that.

I guess, after I left, the boys gave it a hose down and closed the little louvre doors to the cabin, and she was ready for the next adventure out onto the harbour. or beyond.


The Cyclades 43 comes with a recommended retail price of $362,000 which is pretty good for the amount of boat you get. However, Vicsail is offering an extra package for the first ten Cyclades sold in Australia. The package consists of asymmetrical spinnaker gear, a spray dodger, cockpit cushions, front-opening fridge and microwave oven in the galley.

Added to that, boats sold during this year’s boat shows will also get an electronics package and a safety package. The electronics includes: Raymarine ST60 log/sounder, ST60 wind gauge, Raymarine C80 LCD Screen, GPS/plotter and Raymarine ST6001 autopilot.

The safety package offers a choice of the Coastal Sailing Pack which is Cat 7 safety, a mooring kit plus a rubber ducky and outboard; the Offshore Pack, which consists of Cat 7 safety with upgraded flares, a mooring kit and a six-man liferaft; and the Daydreamer Pack, which offers Cat 7 safety, a mooring kit, DVD and a flat screen TV.

Where are the steak knives?


Ease of handling for short-handed sailing

Easy maintenance

Abundant room in the cockpit and below

Sturdy-feeling hull, deck and fittings

Low purchase price for a 43-footer

Introductory pricing offers great standard inclusions


Interior lacks ambiance

Headlining looks and feels inferior

Lack of sail controls will limit performance

Built-to-pricepoint feel

Beneteau Cyclades F14 boat
Beneteau Cyclades F14 boat

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