Comfort, space and performance: the cruising range flagship of the French yard is made so as not to want to go on shore
WE’VE SAID IT SO MANY TIMES IT SEEMS UNNECESSARY TO SAY IT AGAIN: FOR COMFORT, YOU NEED SPACE. Oceanis 60 is the flagship of an almost thirty-year-old range created specifically for cruising. There are two versions, with three or four cabins, one more for the boat-owner, the other for the charterer, but both united by the same philosophy: to combine not only the pleasure of sailing with comfort on board, but also the possibility of enjoying both on the long-haul.
The term “cruiser” for this boat seems all too reductive. It’s better than that. Berret Racoupeau, just as for Nauta, have gone further. It’s made for comfort, not just for one or two weeks a year, but for all the time you could possibly desire. How did they manage it? Well, two choices made for the deck layout are fundamental, specifically for the space aft of the helm wheels and the trapezium-shaped cockpit, which measures 190 cm fore, towards the hatch, and 240 cm aft, with two side benches of 240 cm each. The trapezoidal form exploits every available centimetre up top and down below, without sacrificing an inch of comfort or width in the two aft cabins. The result is a cabin ceiling height of almost one metre ninety and two other more-than-double berths.
Even more impressive is the area just aft of the two wheels, a perfect space for relaxation at anchor, together with another rectangular space that can be furnished with cushions forward of the electrically lowerable stern platform. This layout directly affects the interiors in another way, allowing space for a tender garage large enough for a dinghy and not only fenders, raft, masks and flippers. Everything suggests that the designers, whatever their individual objectives, worked in absolutely perfect synergy, and this can also be seen in the details. The light in the dinette is exceptional, all thanks to the transparent plexiglass of the hatch and the two walls to its sides. Also outstanding is the sea view that can be enjoyed from the cabins.
Yet the grand large philosophy is not only to be found in the furnishings, but also in the performance under sail. We headed to Palma de Mallorca to test it out with a classic noon breeze of between 10 and 15 knots, respectable but certainly not excessive, and no optional sails such as spinnaker, asymmetrical or Code 0, only mainsail and genny at 120%. Upwind it behaved admirably from 7.5 to 8.5 knots, depending on the hold. But the hull works well even when the boat isn’t too heeled over. Crosswind or downwind with only the main sails, performance was more than respectable. It’s fast, but not skittish, and for this reason it’s perfect for long range navigation. When the wind picks up a gust, it doesn’t react instantly but accelerates steadily. It’s easy to helm, because the winches are all close at hand and the mainsail hoists overhead, in the sense that they run across the rollbar.
The engine boots a remarkable 140 hp, perhaps even a little too much. The advantage is that you can cruise at around nine knots, and as much as 9.6 knots at full throttle. The flip side is the noise in the two aft cabins, the only obvious flaw, with a sound meter reading of 80 decibels cruising and 84 full throttled. Too much for even the most charitable of cruise passengers.
Cockpit benches 240 cm • Stern cockpit area 240×240 cm • Cockpit area 240×190 cm (at the hatchway) • Cockpit table 170×135 cm • Distance between the two helms 84 cm • Helmsman benches 124 cm (each) • Area behind the two helms 300×108 cm • Gangway 48 cm • Underdeck access width 66 cm • Dinette headroom 210 cm • U shape galley 94x160x229 cm • Chart table 137×60 cm • U shape sofa 154x233x147 cm • Dinette table (opened) 146×102 cm • Linear sofa in the dinette 190 cm • Bow cabin headroom 206 cm • Berth 205×175 cm • High above the berth 119 cm • Bow master bathroom headroom 197 cm • Portside stern cabin headroom 188 cm • berth 205×60 cm • High above the berth 83 • Portside stern bathroom headroom 210 cm • Stardboard stern cabin headroom 188 cm • berth 205×195 cm • High above the berth 80 cm • Stardboard stern bathroom headroom 210 cm.
PERFORMANCES AND DETAILS
Saint Hilaire de Riez
Project: Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design (hull and superstructure), Nauta Design (interior)
Hull: LOA 18.97m (with pulpit and davits) • LOA as standard 18.24m • Length 17.75m • Waterline length 16.43m • Max beam 4.99m • Long draft 2.70m • Shallow draft 2.20m • Ballast 6,435 kg • Shallow ballast 7,150 kg • Light displacement 22,051 kg • Fuel tank capacity 480 l • Water tank capacity 708 l • Soft water tank capacity 330 l (optional) • Main sail 87.70 mq • Rolling mainsail (optional) 73 mq • Genoa 120% 90 mq • Asymmetric Spi (optional) 248 mq • Staysail (optional) 48 mq
Engine: Volksvagen Marine TDI 140-5 •140 hp (103 kW) • Sail drive • Alternator 120 A • Weight 265 kg
EC Certification: CAT A 12 people, CAT B 13 people, CAT C 14 people
Price: 459,600 Euro, Excl.VAT (as standard)
(Bénéteau Oceanis 60, Grand large – Barchemagazine.com – September 2015)