Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailutions - SeldenSail

Beneteau Oceanis 45 - It’s a big wrap!

by John Curnow on 28 Jun 2012
The new Beneteau Oceanis 45 John Curnow ©
2012 European sailboat of the year in the family cruiser category, eh?

It's a big wrap for the Beneteau Oceanis 45, but it's also a fair one. As a company, Beneteau have been happy to evolve the product and continue to meet their loyal customers demands. With this new Oceanis 45 however, the evolution is certainly more pronounced than before, possibly more akin to what Chris Bangle did with BMW’s styling not all that long ago. Maybe not such a paradigm shift, but certainly a clear demarcation.

Think of the new Oceanis 45 as a hybrid of the Beneteau First series and their Sense craft. The idea is blissfully simple and yet, no doubt quite hard to achieve. The objective is to give the Oceanis something like the on-water performance of her Beneteau First sisters and the cockpit space of the very open-planned Senses.

For that reason alone, one could easily say mission accomplished and little wonder then that the vessel indeed got her big wrap. She was penned by Fino-Conq, just like her Oceanis 41 sister. Now when you consider that Beneteau also had the Oceanis 48 on the go at the same time with Berret Racoupeau and that all three look similar, then the Beneteau team are to be congratulated for having the wherewithal to keep it all under control. The interiors were all by Nauta and continue the now very identifiable, open, dark timber, leather finished and slick approach.

So the Oceanis 45 is a case of the sum of her whole, rather than the constituent parts, yet it is these very items that bear mention. She’s beamy at 4.49m and possesses a fairly adroit, nearly plumb bow, which allows for the 13.5m LWL from her 13.85m LOA. The steel L bulb and foil go down 2.15m and together with her form stability, she can handle the squirts with aplomb.

Pittwater was the ideal location to test, I must add. The Oceanis 45 has a solid chine from her first stanchion all the way to her transom and is considerably less portly now at around 9.5 metric tonnes. She’s got her mast around 1.2m further aft than before and the companionway ladder is raked at 45 degrees, rather than 60 as previously, which deserves mention, for one lady summed it up when she commented that she can now easily go below facing forward. These are just some of things that you notice, however.

I had done a review of the impressive Oceanis 58 not all that long ago and loved the simply things, like that particular boat’s use of space and gas struts on locker hatches, so it was no surprise to see the targa bar with the main sheet blocks and large glass portholes around the companionway lighting the main saloon so marvellously.



What I was not ready for was the fact that the new Oceanis 45 did not feel like a small vessel in comparison. Indeed, around the cockpit you would felt like you had just about the same amount of room. True, the for’ard sail locker cannot double up as a crew cabin, there are no gas struts on hatches, there are not two heads servicing each of the aft cabins, just the one, but the white bulkheads and careful consideration of space mean the aft cabins are more than serviceable and you can stand inside to change with no issues.


FYI - You can order her as the three head version, but you do loose the modular nav desk in the process and I imagine that would make the main saloon seem less modern and more compact, as a result. The owner’s stateroom is grand, as always, and our test craft was able to accommodate the owner’s stand up paddleboard with no impingement in to the cabin’s access.


The galley looked to be wonderful for the preparation of all those snacks and meals that you are bound to do with a vessel such as the Oceanis 45. Ample head height storage should be good for pantry access and there are plenty of hidey-holes in various places, like around the nav desk, which is modular and can re-configure to suit purpose. What there are not, and this is a function of her slicker shape (ie. less rocker), are the ubiquitous holds between saloon floor and deck sole. You will get some water bladders in there for long distance work, but apart from the batteries, it is pretty much game over.

Speaking of batteries, any vessel like this is going to need power. Around 25Ah it would seem. To me, the use of solar panels on the last section of the bimini is a good idea, but that will impinge on your visibility of the mainsail and hawk. Our vessel did not have a genset, but there was an inverter off the main propulsion unit, a 54Hp Yanmar. Just quickly, that Diesel was easily able to cruise the Oceanis 45 at 7’s and at full noise (which wasn’t really harsh at all), was miraculously quick and looking like genuine 9’s. In fact, you almost felt like The Stig was going to appear soon. The inclusion of an optional bowthruster meant you never had to consider yourself cautiously, anywhere near the pen.

So then, to those sails. Well, they are the factory-spec and certainly adequate enough. The entry on the headsail is too shallow, however, and you feel like you are always looking to work her up, which may not be to your ultimate advantage, as the speed falls off dramatically once you’ve gone too far. Being fuller, earlier, would reduce this. As Shane Crookshanks from Vicsail Pittwater commented, ‘A tri-radial cut would help enormously.’

The mainsail is a tad innocuous to say the least and could do with a little more roach, but alas we are cruising, not racing, so perhaps I need to tone down the rhetoric there. As mentioned, viewing the sails under all that overhead canvas is challenging and larger vision panels, with Velcro sunshades, ala catamaran style, in the last section would be handy. I found steering from leeward works well and as you’re cruising, hopefully no one is going to mind too much. Failing that, your back to windward rail really offers the best all round solution to the problem and is genuinely comfortable.


For the moment, this relatively new vessel (she was Hull #11 from the factory) has just the two sails, both of 50m2 and a kite pole for goosewinging the heady when travelling downhill. An asymmetric kite is next on the owner’s list and will be of some 156m2, or thereabouts. It will fly from the new pad eye arrangement that is now integral in the anchor fairlead and rollers. Now as with most of this sort of sail today, it will work high in the light and really low in the blow. The benefit is that like an Open 60 or similar, you can have it permanently attached and running on its own furler, similarly, the same also applies to the staysail, should you really be covering some distance with your cruising.

Options and packs are available, as is de rigueur these days, so have them explained and work out what you require. The elegance pack gives you the one electric winch on the cabin top and the leather covered grab rails in the saloon. I don’t think you would want powered winches for primaries, for with the virtually non-overlapping headsail, now that the mast is further aft, you really only have to grab around 1.5 to 2m of headsail sheet as you go through and then do a final trim. As for a kite, you would hope you’re not getting that enthusiastic that you needed to worry, and if you are, you may need to consider that you purchased the wrong type of Beneteau or that it is time to upgrade the crew.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
There is plenty of storage both in the cockpit lockers and aft. Too much perhaps, as the lip of the transom was in the drink rather than above it, but I am reliably informed that will change as Champagne heads further North and the liquid supplies get used. Note that if it is not breakable, then the very deep, for’ard sail locker will help reduce this problem.

So there it is. A running account of what it’s like to sail the new Beneteau Oceanis 45. We’ll return with Part II and see how the European Sailboat of the Year has excelled with her owner’s expectations.





Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
GAC PindarLancer 40 yearsNorth Sails V Gennaker