The new Beneteau Oceanis 35 offers ‘three boats in one hull’. But do they work? Graham Snook heads to Palma to find out
Beneteau Oceanis 35 review
See the August 2015 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
For a yacht so responsive to the helm – thanks in part to her twin rudders -– it was a shame the steering system was robbing it of any feeling. Even with the autopilot physically disconnected, it felt like steering through treacle. There was no play in the system, and I was left wondering if the whole system was over-tightened.
I went out on her over two days and what a difference a few knots of breeze make! In 15 knots of apparent wind her performance was alright, but nothing to shout about. Increase that to 17 or 18 knots and she changes gear, accelerating nicely: still not a racer, but much more rewarding to sail. The helm is comfortable and well laid-out, especially if you opt for the fold-up helm seats. The genoa winches are close to the helm, but sadly not the mainsheet if the optional arch is chosen: the mainsheet then goes to the port coachroof winch. Her raised cockpit sole is only 35cm (1ft 2in) below deck level.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
Her anchor sits forward on the substantial stainless steel bow roller, which has a tack attachment and is supported by a solid bobstay. She’s available with three different keel configurations including a lifting centreboard for creek crawling.
The seating in the cockpit isn’t as comfortable as some, thanks to the hard angled ‘chine’ in the backrest. There is plenty of flat lounging area forward of the mast, but at 1.49m (4ft10in), the cockpit seats are too short to lie flat on.
Down below, the big windows in the forecabin, saloon and galley give a great view. They are recessed into the hull, but I’m not sure how they would stand up to years of fender wear. With the forward bulkhead in position her layout isn’t the most spacious. But with the bulkhead removed she is roomy and feels much bigger than her hull length would suggest. The galley works best in port: front-opening lockers and fridges will be interesting to use on starboard tack.
Would she suit you and your crew?
If you’re after a daysailer, there are better boats for the job. It seems odd, in my book at least, to put frugal accommodation in a 34ft hull designed for offshore cruising. Choosing either the Week Ender (and opting for the bulkhead) or the Cruiser version makes more sense: she’ll make a fun coastal cruiser for two. As guests or children arrive, she can be partitioned for more privacy and stowage. The galley on the Week Ender is small; on the Cruiser it’s a decent size, but an oven is still optional.
If you’re a couple occasionally sailing with friends or family, now or in the future, the Oceanis 35 could make a lot of sense. You’d have a big, spacious boat most of the time when it’s just the two of you, and a practical layout when there are more. The removable bulkhead gives her open-plan living; forward of the companionway is all forecabin with en suite galley and heads.
If her modular layout appeals and you can disregard what this means in the way of her visual appearance below – areas of furniture not attached to the hull and some protruding fastenings – then the Oceanis 35 could grow with you, in step with your life or family commitments.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price €150,372 inc VAT (about £109,383)
LOA 10.45m (34ft 3in)
LWL 9.7m (31ft 10in)
Beam 3.72m (12ft 2in)
Draught 1.85m (6ft 1in)
Displacement 5533kg (12,195 lb)
Ballast 1559kg (346 lb)
Ballast ratio 28.2(%)
Sail area 54.22m2 (585 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 17.6
Diesel 130lit (28.6 gal)
Water 130lit (28.6 gal)
RCD category A
Designer Finot – Conq/Nauta Design
Contact See www.beneteau.com for nearest dealer