Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

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.


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.











For further information on the Beneteau Oceanis 45 please contact Vicsail International at D’Albora Marina, New Beach Rd Rushcutters Bay, Sydney or telephone 02 9327 2088.

Vicsail International website http://www.vicsail.com

Mariners Museum 660x82Insun - AC ProgramMackay Boats

Related Articles

An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May
A Q&A with Don Adams about Sail Canada’s plan to win Olympic medals
I caught up with Sail Canada CEO Don Adams to hear about Team Canada’s High Performance Plan for winning Olympic medals. Sail Canada, Canada’s national sailing authority, is implementing a new High Performance Plan with the aim of improving on their recent Olympic sailing performances. I caught up with Don Adams, CEO of Sail Canada, to learn more about this ambition plan for helping Canadian sailors win Olympic medals while also helping to inspire younger generations to pursue the Olympic-sailing dream.
Posted on 8 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr
America's Cup - Glenn Ashby on hitting the AC50's sound barrier
These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. The big difference between the AC72, the America's Cup Class, used in the 2013 America's Cup in San Francisco and the smaller AC50 to be sailed in Bermuda, lies in their light and medium air performance. 'These boats are incredible. The performance that can be achieved in light airs is the amazing thing. In 7-8-9-10 knots of breeze, you are sailing at 30kts at times.
Posted on 18 Apr
America's Cup - Bernasconi on expected winning factors in Bermuda
ETNZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie Emirates Team NZ's Technical Director, Dan Bernasconi has let out a few clues as to where he thought the differences might lie once the six teams entered in the 35th America's Cup. 'We have had a great run', he says. 'We've had a few hiccups along the way, as always. But the boat is going really well. We are getting through manoeuvres very well. And we think our straight line speed is good.'
Posted on 18 Apr
A Q&A with Nicole Breault about women’s match racing in the USA
I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about women’s match racing in the USA and about her upcoming Clinegatta. I caught up with Nicole Breault to learn more about the state of women’s match racing in the USA, and to also hear more about her upcoming Clinegatta, which is set to unfurl on the waters of San Francisco Bay this July, and which could be a great resource for other talented female match racers who are looking to sharpen their skills.
Posted on 17 Apr
America's Cup - Team NZ return fire at Coutts' social media bullets
Emirates Team New Zealand have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers Emirates Team NZ have corrected the allegations made by America's Cup organisers in a media release on Thursday (NZT) over the team's daggerboard use. In the release, replayed by America's Cup Events Authority and Oracle Team USA CEO Sir Russell Coutts on his Facebook page. It was claimed that the Kiwi team had an issue with daggerboards and were using a rule they had not supported to keep sailing
Posted on 2 Apr