An extra deck, without adding much extra weight or costing to much more. The Bénéteau GT50 SportFly has even more space available than the HardTop version
by Nicolò Volpati – photo by Nicolas Claris
The sea is calm and there isn’t much wind. I am on the flydeck of the new GranTurismo 50 by Bénéteau, which has managed to add an extra “floor” while only increasing the overall weight of the vessel by 300 kg. There is a HardTop version of this model.
The hull is identical, as are the two layouts available for the interiors, but there is more space above the dinette. The flybridge isn’t enormous and that allows it to keep a fairly sporty profile. There’s everything you need, starting from the second steering position.
The view is obviously excellent, but I don’t find the ergonomics very convincing. The seat is a bit too far away from the control panel and is a bit too recessed. And my tummy complicates things. It is true that I should lose weight, but there are people who are worse than me.
So a few extra centimetres in height under the driving seat would have been appreciated. The engines are the same for both versions. They are two Volvo IPS 600s, with two D6s developing 435 hp each. The acceleration isn’t bad: in six seconds the hull comes out of the water and it takes 25 to get to top speed. The manoeuvrability is pleasing, both at low and high speed. In addition to the water lines, that is obviously because of the two pivoting bow thrusters with pull propeller. Tight turns with the throttle right open are no problem.
The Volvo bow thrusters have self-limiters, which mean that one can’t push too hard, and so when you are under way and sitting on the flybridge, you never get the feeling that you are going to fall off. The fuel consumption figures are reassuring. At minimum planing speed, 90 litres are needed for both engines and at top speed you need less than 170. What I found less convincing was the speed.
We weren’t even doing 28 knots at top speed. That’s enough for a comfortable family cruising boat, but it’s not particularly exciting. As an alternative, they could have offered a second pair of more powerful engines, but the French yard doesn’t give that option.
The aim is to make the two versions as similar as possible. And actually this model with the flybridge only weighs 300 kg more and only costs 20,000 euros more than the HardTop version. A more powerful pair of engines would have meant a higher price.
On the other hand, I was very impressed by the interiors and the deck, which were designed by Andreani Design and Nuvolari&Lenard respectively. The interiors feature a large saloon, because all the available space is given over to the bridge and the living area. The galley can be found lower down, in the hall of the cabin area. That way the galley has more room and a very large working space.
The volumes have also been very well optimised in the owner’s cabin as well, and I liked the bathroom solution. The washbasin is actually in the cabin itself, and not in a separate room. That means that there can be two further separate rooms, one for the WC and one for the shower, allowing all the area available to be fully used and wide and the creation of comfortable rooms.
The same approach has been used in the open areas. Everything is perhaps rather influenced by the presence, which is not very common on boats of this size, of a garage for the tender. Despite this sizeable volume in the interior, not even the cockpit suffers. Actually, if I hadn’t been told that there was a garage, I would never have noticed it. It was a specific request that came from the Bénéteau dealers, and it makes sense. A 50-foot boat with an area specially for the tender and a practical launch and recovery system is easy to sell.
Bénéteau GT50 SportFly
Project: Bénéteau Power Boats (naval architecture) • Nuvolari & Lenard (exterior design) • Andreani Design (interior design)
Hull: LOA 15.78m • Length 14.17m • Maximum beam 4.40m • Draft 0.90m • Displacement 13935 kg • Fuel tank volume 1300 l • Water tank volume 400 l
Main propulsion: 2xD6 Volvo Penta IPS600 • 4 stroke • 6 cylinders • Bore&Stroke 103mm x110mm • Compression ratio 17.5:1 • Swept volume 5.5 l • Oulet mechanical power 307 kW (435 hp) • maximum rotational speed 3500/min • Dry weight 901 kg
EC Certification: CAT B 12 people – CAT C 12 people
Price: 545,000 € Exclusive VAT
Saint Hilaire de Riez
(Bénéteau GT50 SportFly, I really enjoyed myself! – Barchemagazine.com – Giugno 2018)